IMPHAL, January 22: The concluding day of the National seminar on ‘Tourism in North-East India: Problems, Potentials & Prospects’ at the Manipur Press Club saw nuanced discussions on the theme. Speaking in the sessions today, various speakers made their points. Pradip Keisham, state convenor Manipur Child Rights for Alliance, Imphal said that any point in Manipur, from where the beautiful scenic landscapes are visible, are occupied by central security forces. He said that the security forces had encroached on many school premises and tourism spots and added that there are security barracks for every few miles and army patrols are seen frequently on roads in the state of Manipur which is totally against the tourism industry.
The two day national seminar was conducted by Ereima Gender Empowerment & Resource Centre (EGERC), Imphal under the sponsorship of Indian Council of Social Science Research (ICSSR), New Delhi.
Nandini Thokchom of Forum for Indigenous Perspectives and Action, Manipur (FIPA) in her presentation on the other hand struck a note of caution saying that Manipur must not be over whelmed by the prospects of tourism and that it cannot entirely depend on tourism industry. She said that the recent Manipur Sangai Festival was more of a trade fair rather than a tourism festival and lamented the state Govt. for marking tourism as a solution to poverty and driving economy growth. Saying that there is no tangible or visible growth through tourism in the state, Nandini said that the State Government`s plan to privatize tourism spots should be assessed critically as privatization in tourism industry only benefits the private sectors.
Shreema Ningombam of Dept. of Pol. Science, Nambol L. Sanoi College presenting her paper said that tourists are often male and male tourists are usually inclined to sex tourism. “Tourism being a growing global economy usually engages with unskilled and unprofessional labors,” said Shreema who validated that profits and gains are enjoyed by the private firm owners only.