Gangtok, 26 May:
Sikkim Krantikari Morcha, in a press release issued today, has criticized Tourism Minister, Ugen T Gyatso’s recent statement regarding the shortage of taxis due to the peak ‘tourist season’ affecting local commuters.
According to the party, Mr Gyatso when asked about the shortage of taxis in the capital had told a leading daily, ‘kehi paunu ko, lagi kei gumaunu parcha [one has to lose something to gain something]’ which the opposition has said is ‘irresponsible’ on the part of the Minister to ‘blatantly’ ask the local commuters to accept the existing situation and move on instead of deploying a strategy to meet the challenges of shortage of vehicles in the capital.
“These commuters comprising of public from various walks of life are the strength that holds the fabric of our society together. The Minister should be reminded that it is his responsibility to come with logical answers and not preposterous statements,” a press release from the party reads.
The party has further pointed out that Mr Gyatso’s prediction of 20 lakh tourist footfall in 2018 should have been almost double if the State had taken adequate measures to ensure proper infrastructural facilities.
“It can be observed that rampant constructions carried out under the pretext of development lack quality and taste. Some infrastructural projects that were constructed apparently to boost tourism have been languishing in a deplorable state devoid of purpose therefore indicating a lack of foresight and commitment on the part of the Government,” the release reads.
The party has further suggested that the tourism and hospitality sector of the State take adequate measures in providing skill-development trainings to the unemployed to tackle the challenge of hosting tourists in the State and create diverse employment opportunities in different sectors like accommodation, food and beverage, transportation, travel agencies etc.
“The authorities should prioritize participation of local stakeholders in tourism and hospitality sector of the State,” the party has suggested.
The party has also pointed out that the State’s online portals are ‘obsolete’ and ‘non-responsive’ urging the department responsible to embrace digital technology and integrated marketing communication.
The party has further suggested that the State Government appoint a monitoring panel to check hike in prices by tourism service providers.
“SKM would like to suggest that the Tourism Minister fulfill his Departmental obligations rather than give baseless statements to the media," the release reads.