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Bid to bring Maoist-hit Purulia district back on tourist map

Raktima Bose

Kolkata: In the backdrop of the sudden spurt in Maoist activities and violence in parts of West Bengal's Purulia district over the past year, the State's Tourism Department is trying to put the district back on the ideal getaway map of tourists.

Considered as one of the favourite sites for backpackers looking for a weekend tour amid nature's beauty, the lush landscape of Purulia interrupted by Ayodhya hill range and hilly streams made an ideal destination for both domestic and international tourists few years back.

The district that shares border with Jharkhand has been the scene of Maoist activity in recent times which has brought the flow of tourists to a trickle and directly affected the livelihood of the local tribal population.

In its bid to woo back tourists to the district, the Tourism Department has completed a detailed report that, other than specifying the several places of interest, has primarily focussed on the traditional art and culture practitioners in different areas and creating a database of such persons.

“The core idea is to promote village tourism by luring tourists to visit the remote villages where art in various forms like craftsmanship, music and dance are practised but have seldom got a chance to showcase on a larger platform. While the State Government will promote and supervise the project, the villagers' duty will be to make it a success by following certain guidelines,” Raghavendra Singh, the State's Tourism Secretary, told The Hindu.

The villagers will be sensitised about the necessity to arrange clean water, food and lodging to attract tourists which will subsequently promote their art as well.

Mr. Singh said that lack of information about the natural and cultural diversity of the district has kept bulk tourist arrival.

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