General strikes and blockades will bring no development: Govindas

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IMPHAL, February 3: Commerce and Industries minister Govindas Konthoujam has urged the public or civil bodies to refrain from supporting bandhs, blockades and general strikes in Manipur as it would only hamper the development and economic growth of the State.

The Commerce and Industries minister was speaking as a chief guest at a one-day `National Conference on Tourism and Entrepreneurship: Future Directions`™ at the court room of Manipur University today. The conference was organised by the Centre for Entrepreneurship Development, School of Social Sciences, Manipur University in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism.

Stressing that the government was trying its level best for bringing economic growth, he said the phenomenon of staging economic blockades frequently which can`™t be found in other States is detrimental to the State. The state is losing a lot from the proliferation of bandhs, blockades and general strikes.

In spite of having a lot of potential, he said, the state is facing many obstacles in uplifting its socio-economic condition and hence development is being deferred.

Several civil bodies have taken a decision to intensify the blockade in Tengnoupal along the south-east Asian highway which is an unfortunate development because the highway gives a lot of benefits to the state, traders and entrepreneurs, he said.

The commerce minister said tourism sector in the State can generate employment, income and economic growth but the state is far behind as compared to other North Eastern states despite its potential.

After assuming charge as the Commerce and Industry minister, Govindas said, representatives of the Central government who arrived in the state to study the potential of the Tourism industry in Manipur were not able to provide a roadmap for exploiting its potential.

However, under the aegis of the Chief Minister, he said, the state government submitted a proposal to the Central government to initiate steps for developing the tourism industry here by exploiting its potential.

He added that till date some of the proposals have been executed.

He said the number of unemployed youths of the state was around seven lakhs in a population of 28 lakhs; however, the government was taking possible steps to provide them employment. Each and every one could not be provided with a white colour job, he added.

After the Act East policy which was earlier known as the Look East policy is executed properly its benefits will surely percolate down to all sections of the society, he said.

Tourism Finance Corporation of India Limited assistant general manager A Balaji said to develop tourism in the state the Loktak Lake can be developed without destroying its scenic beauty, adding that Manipur is closely connected with WW II which could be a factor in attracting domestic and foreign tourists as well.

Everyone knows that Manipur is grappling with problems of terrorism and extremism and a bad law and order situation, he said, adding Srinagar also have a bad law and order situation but lots of tourists visit there and the locals are not benumbed by the prevailing situation either.

He also urged the people of the state to be not overwhelmed by the bad law and order situation and waste the its naturally gifted potential which can generate employment and bring growth in the economy and other areas.

Chairman and managing director of Babina Group, Dr Th Dhabali Singh said tourism was one of the biggest, fast growing and fastest employment generating industry but unfortunately the state was lagging behind as compared to Sikkim and Meghalaya in the tourism sector. Even though it has lots of potential, the state was lagging behind with the main reason being the bad law and order situation, he added.

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