IMPHAL, September 18: The people of Thanga have groomed themselves to the ways of rural tourism as an alternative means of survival ever since the State government started dismantling and evacuating fishers dwelling huts on Laktak Lake.
Encouraging this trend, the Loktak Eco-Tourism Development Organisation, Thanga is organising a four-day training programme on “Home stay and destination tourism development.”
The programme was inaugurated today at the Yuva Hall, Thanga Ngaram.
The training will be conducted by Held Tourism, Kolkata director Supratim Raj Basu and Shishir Adhikari Guwahati as trainer.
Speaking at the inaugural function as a special guest, social worker RK Shivachandra said rural tourism is a viable alternative means of survival for the people of Thanga who have survived on fishing.
Since cleansing of phumdis started in the lake, fishing is no longer a viable option for the people, he said.
Now, this has opened up an opportunity for the people in rural tourism, he said.
Every tourist or visitor of the State never leaves without a visit to the Loktak Lake, he elaborated.
If the people of Moirang and Thanga are unable to cash in on this, then it would mean the people are unable to take benefit of India’s Look East Policy, he said.
It seems that the government is unable to realise that the beauty of Loktak Lake lies in the phumdis and clearing up the phumdis by spending such huge amounts of money is unfortunate, he said.
Shivachandra opined that before taking up such process, the government should have closely observed how beautification process of such fresh water lakes is conducted in the neighbouring countries.
He observed, the Inland Lake of Myanmar is beautiful because of its phumdis and even 5-Star hotels are built on the Lake, making it a main tourist attraction.
By encouraging rural tourism, the people can promote our culture, tradition and heritage, he said.
Loktak Eco-tourism Development Organisation, Thanga general secretary Ak Biren said since the clearing up of the phumdis and dismantling of fishers’ dwelling huts, the number of fishers in the lake has gone down by more than 30 percent.
Many of the former fishers have started working as hired labour for their daily bread, he said.
The rural tourism scheme of home stay has given new hopes to the people of Thanga, he continued.
During the training programme, locals will be taught on hospitality, manners to treat the tourist and how to welcome people, he said before expressing that there is no other option than rural tourism for the people of Thanga.
Supratim Raj Basu said the basic points to be ensured in a village to promote rural tourism is that the village should be plastic free-zone, intoxication free and locals should promote eco-tourism.
He said like rooms are properly managed in 5-star hotels, the villagers should also be able to managed 50 houses for 50 tourists.
The village should be attractive to the tourist and the houses should be hygienic and clean, he said.
People from big countries will be come to absorb the culture and scenic beauty of Manipur and its Loktak Lake, once word goes out, he said.