Assam to give villagers loans to set up homestays near Baghjan blowout site
Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah on Saturday said the tourism department is ready to swing into action with corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds of the Oil India Limited (OIL)
The Assam tourism department has announced a roadmap to develop surrounding villages around the Baghjan blowout site by providing 100 per cent subsidized loans to the affected villagers for building “homestays” to attract tourists, with Dibru Saikhowa National Park as the nerve centre.
Assam Tourism Development Corporation (ATDC) chairman Jayanta Malla Baruah on Saturday said the tourism department is ready to swing into action with corporate social responsibility (CSR) funds of the Oil India Limited (OIL). Assam tourism’s infrastructure development plans were ravaged by the blowout that continued to blaze Baghjan and nearby villages for months.
“We are going to boost tourism infrastructure in the greater Dibru Saikhowa area, covering Baghjan, Barekuri, Natun Rangagora and neighbouring areas as one tourism hub with CSR funds from OIL. 50-100 homestays will be built with 100 per cent subsidy from the state government to make the affected people self-dependent by contributing to the tourism sector,” Baruah added.
He said the plan is to deploy luxurious country boats in Maguri Beel and construct jetties, as well conservation centres, for breeding ornamental fishes, turtles, hoolock gibbon and medicinal plants there. “The plan is to conserve the diverse flora and fauna in the areas around Maguri Beel,” he added.
While the Baghjan area, which was ravaged by the gas well blowout is located close to the Dibru Saikhowa National Park, the Maguri wetlands and Barekuri forest areas have been habitats of the hoolock gibbon.
Baruah said the tourism department’s plan is also to help the local weavers by setting up selling points of textile products and a tribal cultural museum to house the treasures from the tribal culture to draw tourists.
As the state’s tourism industry has been hit hard by the lockdown, the tourism department has launched the “Paryatan Janjivani” scheme to revamp the financial condition of the stakeholders.