General Officer Commanding (GOC), 56 Infantry Division of the Indian Army, Major General Ajay Kumar Vig this morning called on Chief Minister Pema Khandu at his offices here. Both discussed on ways and means and the way forward to promote tourism in Arunachal Pradesh and the Army’s role in the endeavor.
Khandu appreciated Maj Gen Vig, who had taken over as GOC of the Likabali based 56 Infantry division only a month ago, for his keen interest in promotion of tourism in Arunachal Pradesh and his offer to coordinate with the state government in this regard.
The Chief Minister underscored the significant role the Army can play with its resources by providing trainings to trainers in the hospitality and adventure sports sectors. Besides, he pointed, the presence of Army in almost all tourist circuits of the state, offers ample scope for it in contributing towards development of tourism.
He informed the GOC that he had met Lt Gen Anil Chauhan, GOC-in-Chief of the Army’s Eastern Command, and discussed in detail about the role Army can play in promoting Arunachal Pradesh as a hot tourist destination in the country. He expressed optimism that with Lt Gen Chauhan’s vision and Maj Gen Vig’s interest, a concrete plan would soon be chalked out that would take tourism industry of the state to the next level.
Khandu observed that the Army can play a pivotal role in disciplines like hospitality, housekeeping, white water rafting, para-sailing, etc that have huge potential in the state’s tourism sector. He assured that a meeting would soon be convened in this regard with the state’s Tourism department and the Army to set the ball rolling.
To the suggestion of the GOC that few stretches of roads need to be taken care of, the Chief Minister informed that all decks for construction of the stretch from Potin to Pangin has been cleared. He assured that arterial roads, which are in poor conditions, are also being taken up on top priority.
He said the state government is also constructing wayside amenities in tourist circuits for ease of tourists visiting places. He also informed about the schemes like the Mukhya Mantri Paryatan Vikas Yojana and Deen Dayal Upadhyaya Swawlamban Yojana under which financial assistance is being provided to local entrepreneurs to set up tourism related projects.
Khandu also emphasized on ‘responsible tourism’ with respect to protection of environment while imparting training to local entrepreneurs. He said the 56 Infantry Division can be roped in for the Subansiri and Lohit belts while the 71 Infantry Division can be roped in for the Kameng belt for promotion of tourism.
Acknowledging the huge tourism potential of the state, Maj Gen Vig offered the Division’s all-out support and cooperation to the state government to tap it. He informed that the Army already has in place systems to provide training in sectors like Home Stays and adventure sports like white water rafting, kayaking, trekking, camp setting, para-sailing, mountaineering, etc.
The GOC said the Army is ready to cooperate with the state’s Tourism department in conducting trainings provided the department identified the fields and potential trainers and entrepreneurs. He suggested that the state government plan a large-scale event for promotion of tourism potential and assured the Army’s fullest cooperation in preparing for it as well as in its conduction.
He informed the Chief Minister that he has already done the ground work of identifying sectors and places which can be worked upon to begin with, which would be submitted to the Tourism department.
While thanking the Chief Minister for his positive response to the suggestion put forward, Maj Gen Vig assured participation of the 56 Infantry Division in all future meetings and consultations to promote tourism in the state.