SHILLONG, Jan 07: Union Tourism Minister KJ Alphons on Sunday announced Rs 70 crore tourism package to develop religious tourism infrastructure in Meghalaya.
While this announcement come just days before the election dates are likely to be announced in the state, Alphons steered clear from linking it to a political ploy or move to woo voters in the state and stated that the project was announced with the sole intention to develop the tourism circuit and bring about religious harmony.
Justifying the move, Alphons said that the government does not come to a standstill if elections are around the corner as it is a continuous process.
Alphons, however, blamed the Congress led government of the state for not cooperating with the centre in implementing the project.
“We have no answers why the state government is against this project? I had called a meeting in New Delhi on Friday to discuss how to create infrastructure for religious tourism, but no official from Meghalaya attended”.
He further added, “We cannot wait for Chief Minister Mukul Sangma and we are moving ahead with the project”.
The Ministry had sanctioned Rs 61.38 crore for illumination, landscaping, construction of parking lots and toilets amongst other infrastructure in 37 churches.
Another Rs 8.61 crore will be given out for similar projects for 11 other religious groups including temples, mosques and important sites of the indigenous believers of the Khasi Jaintia and Garo.
Prominent places of worship selected include Catholic’s Cathedral church at Laitumkhrah, Jaiaw Presbyterian Church here, Balupada Baptist convention centre, Laban glass mosque and Gurudwara Sahib, Nartiang Durga temple and Nartiang monoliths.