Meghalaya's tourism picking up, situation returning to normal, says minister
Shillong, Jun 18: Meghalaya Tourism Minister Metbah Lyngdoh has said that the state is still a favourite among tourists and the improving law and order situation in Shillong, which witnessed tension early this month, has brought about "positive vibes", aiding tourist inflow.
Clashes in the first week of June between Khasis and Sikhs in the city's Punjabi Lane area had briefly affected tourism in Shillong, popularly known as 'Scotland of the East'.
"The state is still a favourite and a safe summer destination for tourists in the North East region," Metbah told PTI in an interview.
Meghalaya Tourism Development Corporation general manager P Das said that government-run hotels, which include Hotel Pinewood, the Convention Centre and a chain of Orchid Hotels with over 100 beds, are "100 per cent occupied" at present. He, however, said that there were no visitors in all the properties of the MTDC in the first week of June.
Federation of Shillong Hotels' general secretary A M Lanong said that as the hill city returns to normalcy, tourists are slowly flocking the state again in view of the summer break. The Meghalaya Rural Tourism Forum (MRTF) has appealed to the state government, seeking removal of the 48-hour suspension of mobile Internet services since June 16.
MRTF chairman Alan West said the suspension has affected the livelihood of people dependent on Internet connectivity across the state. The Tourism minister said the Meghalaya government is firm in dealing with the situation, which arose due to an altercation between Sikh residents in the city's Punjabi Lane area, and Khasi drivers of state-run buses. More than 10 people, including policemen and CRPF personnel, were injured in the clashes.
"The authorities are leaving no stone unturned to ensure that the situation is under control," Metbah said. At least 14 areas in the state are still under constant watch of the state government, he added.