Gangtok, Jan 30: (IPR) Minister of State for Tourism (Independent Charge), Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, Mr. K.J. Alphons, inaugurated the Swadesh Darshan Project at Zero Point today. Present with him for the inaugural were the Minister for Tourism and Civil Aviation, Government of Sikkim, Mr. Ugen .T. Gyatso, Hon’ble Minister for Human Resource Development Department, Mr. R.B Subba, Chief Administrator, Mrs. R. Ongmu, Chief Secretary, Mr. A.K Shrivastava, Mayor (GMC), Mr. Shakti Singh Choudhary, Deputy Mayor (GMC), Mrs. LasheyDomaBhutia, heads and officials of various departments and engineers from the Tourism & Civil Aviation Department.
Along with the Minister of State (IC), were Assistant Director General, Ministry of Tourism, Mrs Bharati Sharma and Regional Director (North East), Mr. S.S. Dev Barman.
Secretary Tourism Department, Mr Tshering Thendup Bhutia welcomed the gathering and spoke about the birth and growth of the tourism sector in Sikkim. From infrastructural development to rural tourism and pilgrimage tourism, he stated that the sector has grown tremendously because of the stability of the State and the guidance and support from the State Government. He informed that Rs. 95.32 crore had been sanctioned for the SDP-I under which, the Tourist Interpretation Centre cum Live Demonstration of Handicraft and Handloom was inaugurated today. SDP-II is on-going and has been sanctioned for an amount of Rs. 98.06 crore while a proposal for SDP-III has been made for an amount of Rs. 99.98 crore.
Mr. K.J Alphons addressed the gathering, expressing his happiness in being able to visit the State. He praised Sikkim for the development and growth and most of all for the hospitality and security. He appreciated the efforts and work of the State Government and applauded the State on maintaining cleanliness and hygiene, communal harmony and efficient administration. He also spoke on the commendable growth of rural areas in Sikkim and said that the State was one of the firsts and a leading example in creating tourist spots and activities in all corners, thereby dispersing destination resulting in a pragmatic progress. He cited examples of home-stays and wellness tourism and also encouraged further development of trekking trails so that the people can experience Nature as close as possible. He asked the Forest and Tourism sector to work together in protecting nature but also to be able to let the people into these areas so as to have a sense of belonging and ownership.
He reminded the people that capitalizing hospitality is essential and the potential to do so is immense. He spoke on the importance of equity in terms of employment and said that hospitality generates jobs, resulting in welfare and progress. “It is not the business of the Government to run the business,” he said, stressing on the role of the private sectors and stakeholders. He talked about universal philosophies leading to overall growth and remarked that Tourism must be transformative.
He concluded his address by praising the State Government for being clairvoyant and making progress in extraordinary measures, like the new multispecialty hospital. “Sikkim is the best State in the North-East region,” he said, referring to development, security and stability. He thanked the Department for hosting him and reminded the people that the way to move ahead was through dignity in life and asked them to be respectful and subservient towards each other, especially towards the under privileged.
Special Secretary, Tourism, Ms. NamrataThapa delivered the vote of thanks and expressed her gratitude to Mr. K.J Alphons for his time and presence as well as to the State Government for the development of the tourism sector and the constant support and guidance of the Chief Minister. She thanked the department and everyone present for coming together in making the inaugural program a success.
The Tourism Interpretation Centre cum Live Demonstration of Handicraft and Handloom is located inside the premise of the Directorate of Handicraft and Handloom at Zero Point. It is a five-storeyed structure that consists of two blocks. Block A has 21 stalls with 3 basements; ground floor with an area of 4392 sq.ft. and first floor with an area of 651sft. Block B consists of 7 stalls with 2 basements and an open terrace, covering an area of 1005 sq.ft. The project was started on the 29th of March 2016 and was completed on 24th of November 2018. The total cost of the project is Rs. 439.43 lakh.