Awesome Assam promo video stirs controversy

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Awesome Assam promo video stirs massive controversy

Juthika Baruah | October 21, 2017 12:54 hrs

The Awesome Assam promotional campaign which was launched by the state government has once again stirred controversy with remarks pouring in from the public saying that if the brand ambassador of Assam Tourism, Priyanka Chopra, has done the shooting inside a room of a remote location, then what kind of tourism promotion is she doing? Does she have any knowledge about the tourism sector of the state? Comments expressing emotions from disappointment to blunt rage has been all over social media and state tourism ministry came in for huge flak from the public at large.


New tourism policy launched by the state government


To make Assam a destination for shooting films, Assam government has announced lavish incentives under the new Assam Tourism Policy, 2017 for experienced filmmakers who make films in English, Hindi and any other language.


Assam Tourism Minister, Himanta Biswa Sarma, has launched the new tourism policy approved by the Assam cabinet which will remain operational from 1st January, 2018 till 31st December, 2022.


Launching the policy the Minister said, “Making films in Hindi, English and other foreign languages in locations of Assam, especially on stories based in Assam, will be a huge boon to the tourism sector in the state. Hence, the new tourism policy has made provision for generous incentives for such films.”


The new policy also offers bounty for entrepreneurs willing to set up hotels, resorts, restaurants, roadside dhabas, boats etc. in the state as such ventures will create employment avenues besides promoting tourism.



“A filmmaker should have already made at least five films to become eligible to get incentives under the new Assam Tourism Policy for making films in Assam in Hindi, English or other foreign languages. For such films, the state government will reimburse 25% of the total cost incurred by the film unit in Assam. There will be 10% additional incentives if the script of film is based on Assam and there will be another 10% incentive if more than 50% of the shooting of such a film is carried out in Assam. That leaves a scope for such a film to get maximum 45% incentives on the cost incurred in Assam,” Sarma stated.


The policy which will be made operational coinciding with the Global Investment Summit to be hosted by Assam in February 2018, has announced grant for setting up tourist units/accommodation/ restaurants/dhabas etc. in the state.


Assam government will reimburse 50% of the GST under the new tourism policy to such tourist units set up with minimum investment of Rs 1 crore. There will be 30% (capital investment subsidy) reimbursement of total cost of construction of such units with a cap of Rs 1 crore.


The state government will reimburse 25% of the cost of electrification of such tourist units with a cap of Rs 10 lakhs per unit. If the entrepreneur has to build an approach road to such a tourist facility, the government will provide 75% of the total cost of such approach road.


Several awards for excellence too have been instituted under the new tourism policy in the categories of best infrastructure, best women entrepreneur, best start-up, best innovative project, best maintained tourist facility, cleanest tourist destination, cleanest roadside dhaba, best ICT project on Assam tourism, best warden of wildlife destinations, best photo journalist etc., the minister informed.


Assam Tourism will launch a massive campaign to promote it’s `Awesome Assam’ brand on 1st November both globally and within the country. Road shows will be organized in European/South Asian countries and Chief Minister Sarbananda Sonowal will lead the road shows in major cities of the country.


Tezpur MP RP Sarmah expresses dissatisfaction on the Awesome Assam video


Contradicting on the tourism policy, Member of Parliament from Tezpur, RP Sarmah said, “It is a very welcome step by the government of Assam to industrialize tourism in the state but I want to add that before sending the ministers to foreign lands for advertisement, the government must ensure their interest and knowledge on tourism sector, types of tourism in Assam, their power of expression to make the foreigners, including people from other states, understand the potentiality of tourism in Assam.”


He further stated that before inviting tourists, the government should build up tourism infrastructure in the state. He has also given an example by saying that if the Chief Minister stays overnight in a government guest house in Kaziranga and next morning he goes to the washroom for a bath, after smearing soap all over his body finds there is no water in the tap, 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? 



The MP said that they should learn from Gujarat, Goa, Karnataka and other states’ tourism. “Tourists want good facilities, quick quality service and secure and comfortable stay. The employees in government guest houses should be given hardcore training and enforce strict discipline for running a guest house,” said Sarmah.


He also said that the government must be clear where the tourists will be taken. “The employee should be responsible and they should be forced to work and then only one will come to visit the places of Assam. Communication is another important thing that the government should focus on. They should take the responsibility and appoint tourist guides who can communicate with the tourists,” said Sarmah.


On the other hand, one Avinash Gupta, who has criticised the video of Awesome Assam, said that Amitabh Bachchan being a veteran superstar, had a complete presence throughout the video of the Gujarat tourism campaign but Assam tourism brand ambassador Priyanka Chopra, who has taken a huge amount of money for the campaign, has a footage of only 19 seconds in the entire 3.32-minute video. He also said that the government has wasted crores of rupees on the brand ambassador while she has no knowledge about the tourism culture of the state nor has she tried to know about it. She is seen only inside a room in traditional attire which doesn’t reflect that she is promoting the state’s tourism.

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