Topchachi (Dhanbad), March 14 : The one time popular Topchachi Lake of Dhanbad which was closed for a decade following naxal problem, has now been thrown open for public by the Jharkhand government.
Visitors were disallowed in this area after naxals had gunned down 22 police personnel 10 years ago. But, with the government determined to bring normalcy in the State, the authorities have decided to reopen the lake for tourists and other holidaying visitors.
The reopening of the Topchachi Lake has proved a boon for many local families who are benefiting from tourists' arrival here. The new avenue has given employment to locals, especially the women who have been involved in a self-help group.
This self-help group arranges for tourists' recreational activities like boat rides. The State government assists the group for its needs.
At least 10 boats have been provided by the government, which has enabled the women members to add to their family income.
"Since this a naxal-infested area, our preference was to provide a secured living to the residents. Moreover, the number of tourists was also less. So, we thought of promoting the locals and established the self-help groups for the local women here. We received funds from the Tourism Department for the region's development and now the women here are managing it well," said Ajay Kumar Singh, the District Commissioner of Dhanbad.
The local administration, having witnessed the success of self-help groups, is now hopeful about improvement in the socio-economic scenario in this region due to tourists' arrival.
Tourists are happy with the State government's development work.
"The place is good. We actually feel really nice coming here. They are doing a fine job by providing employment to these people who are economically not that well. The women are doing well and it should be continued," said Ali Hasan, one of the tourists.
Women have also welcomed the Self Help Group that has instilled confidence in them. .
"The District Collector helped us and gave us the support that we needed and now whatever we are earning, it's all because of the Collector. We feel really good when we see people coming here. If the District Collector gives us more help, we would do better. We are trying to develop and move ahead," said Moni Devi, one of the members of the self-help group.
Local people hope that the government would be able to ensure a permanent normalcy with the passage of time. By Ajay Kumar