TODAY -

Remove PAP - Allow foreign tourists to enter Manipur
- Hueiyen Lanpao Editorial :: November 18, 2009 -



It's almost ear-shattering to hear political leaders, rulers and officials talking about the potentiality of tourism in Manipur at every available opportunity. It's all the more annoying especially when ministers or officials or whoever from the Centre talk about Manipur's tourism potentials praising the natural beauty of Manipur.

One very important reason why the state remains economically so backward and so under-developed is the absence of tourism as an industry in Manipur.

It's an accepted fact that tourism is one of the fastest growing industries in the world. In India, tourism is said to be the third largest export industry, while gem and jewellery and ready-made garments being the first and the second respectively. From tourism alone, India earns more than one hundred billion rupees almost every year.

During the past few years, India has recorded in average over a million foreign tourists arrival in the country annually. And over one hundred million domestic tourists visit different parts of the country every year.

But unfortunately not a single tourist –both foreign and domestic –arrives in Manipur. Because they are not allowed to enter the state freely without the legal tangles such as Protected or Restricted Area Permit.

Who'd like to experience the tedious, irritating and time-consuming bureaucratic hassles and official red-tapism just for a visit to some god-forsaken place? No wonder, the state doesn't get a single rupee's share out of the hundred billion rupees India earns from tourism.

Since the tourists–foreign or domestic– are not allowed to enter Manipur freely as they wish, there is no question of the state earning a single hundred rupees from tourism.

And the Government of India expects the people of Manipur to learn to be contented with what least they have, while the other states of the country–whether in the south, north, west or middle including once a cauldron of violence–Punjab and presently the hot spot of mass movement –Jammu and Kashmir are opened to the foreign and domestic tourists, a few states in the North East are always closed to them.

There is no gainsaying the fact that Manipur, though small and mostly hilly, is such a lovely place on earth. Surrounded by verdant mountains, the Manipur valley presents a truly captivating feast for the eyes of all visitors to the state.

Among the abundant endowments, nature has gifted Manipur, the brow-antlered deer- Sangai, the Siroy Lily and the Dzuko Lily are sui generis–which are not available anywhere else in the world. Besides, each part of the plural society of Manipur has its own unique cultural heritage.

Apart from the wonderfully enjoyable festivals of varying kinds, there are a number of places in the state where tourists would certainly find enchanting. All these are only waiting for the tourists to come and be seen.

The potentiality of tourism that could be developed as the most profitable industry in the state is higher than that of any other normal industry. This has been acknowledged by the Union Ministers, national political leaders, military officers and bureaucrats.

What then is the central government waiting for ? It's not really necessary to remind the centre that hospitality and tolerance make essential fabrics of the Manipuri Society.

It's not the nature of the Manipuri people to ill-treat our guests and make them victims of circumstances the like of which we had seen in Jammu and Kashmir.

The people of Manipur want the Protected Areas Permit completely removed from Manipur and the foreign tourists allowed to enter Manipur.

Such step will go a long way in improving the economic condition of the state and also in solving the unemployment problem to a large extent thus weaning away the youths from the prevailing state of unrest.





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