JOY ROY CHOUDHURY – Kolkata
The World War II route, specially the memorials and the innumerable festivals celebrated in Manipur will be the major planks for tourism promotion in Manipur. Speaking to Express TravelWorld, K K Chhetry, commissioner-cum-secretary, department of tourism, Government of Manipur said, “We have planned to promote the World War II route, specially the memorials and the innumerable festivals celebrated in Manipur to attract tourists into the state.”
Chhetry was in Kolkata as a part of the entourage from the North-Eastern states for a familiarisation trip for the officers of tourism departments of the north-eastern states organised by the Union ministry of tourism. The Manipur Government is trying hard to promote tourism in the state but are being often hampered by inadequacy in infrastructure facilities and sporadic militant activities by some outlawed outfits. Chhetry admitted that infrastructure bottlenecks and negative perception about the state are sometimes causing problems for tourism promotion.
He mentioned that the state has been actively promoting the rich Manipuri tradition, art and culture through the different festivals held in the state from time to time to attract tourists. Later this year it will host a festival aimed at creating communal harmony and a feeling of oneness amongst the people of the state. The festival will highlight the rich art and culture and tradition of the state while giving a fillip to its tourism sector.
Manipur also houses the historic Indian National Army (INA) Memorial, a popular tourist destination in Moirang near the capital Imphal. Moirang is the first place in India where Netaji Subhas Chandra Bose’s INA soldiers hoisted the Indian tricolour in 1944. There is a Netaji Memorial Museum in this complex displaying letters, photographs, badges of ranks and other memorabilia. Also, commemorating the memories of the British and the Indian soldiers who died during the World War II, there are war cemeteries in Imphal which are managed by the Commonwealth War Graves Commission. Tourists particularly from Japan and England, regularly visit these cemeteries and the memorial complex to pay homage to their forefathers who laid down their lives in Manipur during World War II.
Efforts are also on to promote these World War II memorials and golf tourism in a big way in the state, to woo both domestic and foreign tourists.