Shillong Dec 21: Chief Minister Conrad K. Sangma along with Minister, Tourism, Sniawbhalang Dhar, distributed cheques worth Rs. 1.50 Crore to 34 localities in Shillong & Rs. 5.40 Lakhs to eight localities from Jowai as catalytic fund to aid localities to carry forward various activities under the Locality Beautification and Enhancement Competition at a function held in Shillong.
An initiative of the Department of Tourism, Government of Meghalaya, the project is aimed at empowering community level institutions to take on community beautification and enhancement activities and projects in their respective localities and durbars through a competition amongst localities.
The competition amongst localities with a framework for evaluation in various components ultimately aspires to beautify and enhance the localities and to make them tourist friendly.
The pilot phase of the competition is limited to the localities of Shillong, East Khasi Hills District, Tura, West Garo Hills District and Jowai, West Jaintia Hills District.
The key objective of the Locality beautification and enhancement competition are as, to rejuvenate and beautify towns and localities of Meghalaya, to enhance and drive tourism experience in urban areas of Meghalaya , to empower community institutions and instil a sense of civic pride, to release catalytic grants to localities to undertake painting works such as (but not limited to) painting of compound walls, white washing works, repair of publicly visible walls and surfaces, paintings of house exterior walls and undertaking street art.
The project aims to transform towns and localities into vibrant locations by also encouraging residents to take ownership and to work towards sustaining efforts put together by the entire community throughout the exercise.
Meanwhile, in order to create quality tourism infrastructure, especially tourist accommodation the government introduced the Meghalaya Homestay Scheme.
Under the scheme the government will provide 35 percent front-end subsidy in addition to 35 percent back-end subsidy, taking the total assistance provided to 70 percent.
Meghalaya is among the most desired tourist destinations in the country with a footfall of about 1.2 million in the year 2018 from both national and international tourits.
So the tourism department felt the need for facilitating the growth of tourist infrastructure in the State by linking and employment oppurtunities.
The homestay scheme of the Tourism department is a convergence between the existing Tourism scheme and Meghalaya Homestays Scheme.