"Eco Tourism can help make Assam an economic powerhouse of North East." says Ranjit Barthakur
Ranjit Barthakur, Founder Trustee, Balipara Foundation urges the State’s government to invest in Nature Tourism and focus on economic development of North East by unlocking our nature capital. Assam is rich in its resources, industries and people and by leveraging and protecting the rich inheritance of Assam’s natural assets and cultural heritage for the development of North East, the State can be made into an economic powerhouse, he believes.
The meeting was held in Guwahati on 10 th Jan, 2017 at the Assam Legislature. Sabal Bidhayak is a series of orientation programmes for Assam’s MLA’s, initiated by the Assam Legislative Assembly and designed by the Centre for Development and Peace Studies, Guwahati to bring about change and development in the State. Ranjit Barthakur presented his thoughts on Naturenomics™, Conservation and the Role of Legislators.
The Biodiversity of Assam lends itself to the development of Nature Capital & Nature Industries. The State has industries like Rice, tea, Silk, Natural Gas, abundance of Wildlife, endemic & medicinal plant life, a conglomeration of ethnic tribes, cultural diversity in its art, food, music, song and dance and the confluence of Indian & the Orient that makes it viable for Eco Tourism. There is ample opportunity for Eco-Tourism through Nature, Adventure, Botany, Culture, and Religion and History.
Kaziranga & Manas National Park are World heritage sites and home to the Great Indian One Horned Rhino. Botanic Gardens add to its scenic beauty and Brahmaputra, the World’s largest river, apt for river rafting, river cruising and other water sports. Assam’s tea Industry is a haven for tea connoisseurs, interactions with tribes and ethnic groups a way of exploring its bio-cultural abundance and hospitality, and its various fairs and festivals to celebrate life in Assam.
Ranjit Barthakur, argues that the current economic model is leading to substantial ecological depletion and climate change is further causing environment and natural asset destruction under valuing the Natural Assets & the Nature Industries. A Nature Capital approach to Development, the concept of Naturenomics ™, which is creating an interdependency between nature and economics is critical to restore, sustain and expand the ecosystem.
He points out that Legislations should focus on building the Natural Wealth of the North East by encouraging the growth of additive industries instead of extractive industries, promoting long term sustainability over short term gain, strengthening the brand of Assam’s tourism sector, protecting Natural Assets, developing the eco-tourism infrastructure and overcoming the challenge of connectivity to improve tourism experience and encourage Eco Tourism.
Driving connectivity through Assam’s Riverine systems, focus on agriculture and food security, reorganizing the tea sector, encouraging Skill Building, fostering Tourist safety and amenity, increasing Digital Connectivity and flourishing Natural Assets & growing Nature Capital can all contribute to Eco tourism and the overall development and security of the State.
Sabal Bidhayak since its inception on the auspicious occasion of Gandhi Jayanti last year, has discussed matters on the political health and environment of Assam, tackling insurgency, suggested better governance strategies, the use of digital tools for transparency, flow of information & and innovative development strategies such as Naturenomics ™, in its last phase.