GUWAHATI: A day after the BJP government of Assam unveiled its tourism policy after drafting Bollywood actress Priyanka Chopra as brand ambassador, a ruling party MP has taken the wind out of its sails.
In a blunt post on Facebook, the MP for Tezpur, Ram Prasad Sarmah said the best-laid plans of the government would come to nought if tourism infrastructure in the state was not improved.
"Imagine a situation: A chief minister stays overnight in a government guest house in Kaziranga, next morning (he) goes to the washroom for a bath and after smearing soap all over his body finds (sic) there is no water in the tap, (he) calls his PA over cell phone and waits for ten minutes before the water flows to his washroom. If such is the condition of our government guest house, who would come to Assam?" Sarmah wrote on Facebook.
The opposition Congress seized the opportunity with glee. Former chief minister Tarun Gogoi said, "How will Priyanka Chopra promote tourism in Assam? The ministers should do what is required of them and not necessarily go on foreign trips. Let the government build roads first. Only then will people invest in the state."
He pointed out that his government had run the tourism sector without shelling out money on Priyanka Chopra.
The state government intends to use Priyanka Chopra to promote tourism to Assam on television and digital platforms through a series of promos highlighting various attractions.
The new policy offers cash incentives of up to Rs 1 crore for film shootings in the state and a subsidy for those investing at least Rs.1 crore in the form of tourist lodges, hotels, resorts and floating restaurants.
It promises awards in the categories of infrastructure, start-ups, innovative projects, tourist facility maintenance, even roadside dhabas, warden of wildlife destinations etc.