New Delhi, Sep 30 (IANS) In a bid to boost tourism in northeast, the central government has decided to develop the Guwahati airport into a hub for connectivity across the region, Minister of State for Tourism and Civil Aviation Mahesh Sharma said here on Wednesday.
“For this purpose, the government has sanctioned funds to the tune of Rs.1,200 crore (Rs.12 billion) for development of Guwahati airport,” Sharma said at a press conference, adding that the airport has already started working as a heli-hub with the help of Pawan Hans Helicopters for the northeastern states.
The minister said Rs.484 crore has also been sanctioned for upgrade of Agartala airport in Tripura and Rs.90 crore for Tezu airport in Arunachal Pradesh.
The tourism ministry, he said, was working on three projects in Majuli island and Kamakhya temple in Assam and Tawang in Arunachal Pradesh for promoting tourism in the northeast.
According to Sharma, Rs.250 crore has already been sanctioned for the projects under the Swadesh Darshan (Northeast Circuit) and Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spirituality Augmentation Drive (Prasad) schemes of the ministry.
“We need to increase India’s share in world tourism from 0.68 to 1 percent by 2020 to realise the full potential of this sector,” he said. “Tourism helps in women empowerment and youth employment.”
The minister also said the facility of e-visas has been extended to 113 countries and the the government would extend it to 150 countries by March next year.