Mechuka: Arunachal Pradesh Deputy Chief Minister Chowna Mein on Saturday labelled Mechuka as one of the most pious pilgrimages in the state and a possible model ecotourism destination of the country.

Participating in the Neh-Nang Losar festival at Adventure Park in Chupala near here, Mein said “with a more than 400-year-old pilgrimage, Mechuka the most beautiful valley town in the state has the scope to be developed into a model ecotourist town”.

Mein said there are many places like Mechuka in the state that need to be developed for tourism.

“There are many challenges in the state but we must convert these challenges into potential,” he said while adding that no person would be left out of the benefits of the government schemes.

The Deputy CM said the flow of tourists has increased in Arunachal Pradesh post-Covid as it is the most sought-after destination in India for people who want to travel within the country due to the quarantine issues.

Citing that Arunachal Pradesh has the potential for ethnic or cultural tourism, pilgrimage tourism, religious tourism and nature or adventure tourism, he said: “We need to facilitate communication, comfortable accommodation, and hygienic food and above all, we must show warm hospitality to the visitors.”

Mein informed the gathering that measures have been taken to improve road communication and infrastructure development across the state. He also said Mechuka will be connected with fixed-wing aircraft service under the UDAN scheme which will further increase the tourist footfall in the area.

“Our culture, customs, traditions and language are our pride and we must protect, preserve and promote them,” he said, adding that the state government is working for the protection, preservation and promotion of the rich cultures with ₹42 crore allocated to the Department of Indigenous and Cultural Affairs for 2022-23 fiscal.

“We must bring our rich folklore in the written form and document the folk songs and folklores. The honorarium for the registered priests will also be paid by the government,” he said.

Highlighting the initiatives taken under the Budget 2022-23, he said various measures have been taken by the government to develop border villages under the Integrated Development of Border Villages and Golden Jubilee Border Village Illumination Programme, and also to provide mobile networks to all the remote and border villages.

He also said a comprehensive project of ₹400-crore for connectivity and infrastructure development of border villages has been proposed to the Centre.

He further said to develop the new district headquarter of Shi-Yomi in a planned way, the government will provide the required funds in a phased manner for internal roads, district secretariat, electricity and water supply. He also assured to study the feasibility of hydropower projects in the area and develop such a project if found feasible to meet the power requirement of Mechuka and the district headquarters.

State assembly speaker Pasang Dorjee Sona, in his welcome speech, said the standalone micro and mini hydel in the area are not sufficient to meet the power requirements of Mechuka in winter due to decrease in water current coupled with an increase in the use of electric appliances because of cold weather. He sought the setting up of a 1-2 MW hydropower project to meet the power requirements of the area.

Memba Sonam Losar Festival Celebration Committee general secretary Genjan Sona and Neh-Nang Cultural Development Society vice-president Cheeden Goiba also spoke on the occasion, highlighting the importance of the festival celebrated to promote universal peace and prosperity.

Among others, MLAs Balo Raja, Jambey Tashi, Nyamar Karbak and Chau Zingnu Namchoom were present on the occasion.

Folk songs and folk dances by local cultural troupes and special numbers from Tenzin Donsel, a singer and composer from New York, USA, were the highlights of the programme.

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