Tourist spots see surge of visitors, but lack proper maintenance
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Tourist spots see surge of visitors, but lack proper maintenance

Saumya Mishra | January 06, 2018 15:09 hrs

Like every year, major tourist spots across the city saw a surge in the number of visitors on January 1 this year. However, many tourist attractions in Guwahati are ill-equipped in terms of infrastructural facilities and lack proper maintenance.  

Assam State Zoo cum Botanical Garden 

The zoo is one of the key tourist attractions in the city and draws a large crowd throughout the year. However, the footfall of visitors increases manifold during the first week of January.    

According to the zoo authorities, this year 15,174 people visited the place on January 1 and the total revenue collected was Rs 4,36,360. The authorities are expecting the number of visitors to further increase throughout the next week and during the weekend.  

However, the number of visitors declined this year as compared to the previous year’s figure of 20,280. In 2017, in total revenue of Rs 5,55,700 was generated on January 1. 

The zoo authorities attributed the comparatively lower crowd this year to the first draft of National Register of Citizens (NRC) which was declared on the same day.
However, locals feel that the place needs better maintenance. 

“I have been living in Guwahati since my childhood and have visited here numerous times. But now the number of animals has gone down and with the constant rise in the number of tourists, the place is not being maintained appropriately,” said Sanjay Dey, a student and resident of Guwahati.    

However, zoo officials informed that renovation and infrastructure works have been planned and will begin soon. 

“We will begin different infrastructural development projects very soon for which the state government has already sanctioned funds. Under this footpaths will be made, renovation of quarters will take place, toilets and barricades will be made,” said botanist and public relations officer of the zoo, Aparajita Borbora.      
She further added that the authorities take the help of some local NGOs and Scouts & Guides in order to manage the steep rise in the crowd during the first few weeks of January every year.     
 
Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra

Srimanta Sankaradeva Kalakshetra is a cultural institution which showcases the cultural heritage of Assam and the Northeast, and it is frequented by hundreds of tourists on a regular basis. 

This year on January 1, the institute saw a total footfall of 9,698 visitors. Further, Rs 2,59, 620 was generated as revenue on that day. Authorities said that they have seen an increasing trend in the total tourists every year in January.   

In 2017, as many as 7,461 people visited Kalakshetra on January 1 while Rs 1,98, 630 was collected as revenue.    

However, the stinking and ill-maintained toilets in the campus have marred the overall aesthetics of the place.      

“It is a beautiful place to visit in the city but more efforts should be made to maintain the washrooms. I could not enter the washroom because of the strong stench and water which was continuously flowing from the tap of the sink,” said a visitor, Nikhil Kumar.

On the other hand, administrative official at Kalakshetra, Jaleshwar Barman, said that the toilets are cleaned twice a day and the institute has hired four sweepers for the same.

Authorities put the blame on the increasing number of tourists and say that they need to have a better sense of hygiene and cleanliness.  

Regional Science Centre

The regional science centre situated in Khanapara saw more than 9,000 visitors on January 1 this year as compared to 8,000 in 2017. The total revenue collected on January 1 this year was Rs 1,86,000 in comparison to Rs 1,80,000 the previous year. 

Speaking about the preparations to manage the upkeep of the place, Basudev Mandal, in-charge of the museum said that they start preparing for the maintenance and repair works well in advance.

“Since we usually expect a large number of people in the first week, we begin painting works at least a month in advance. We also ensure that all the facilities inside the science centre are in working condition,” he said.

He added that people don’t just visit the science centre for educational purpose, but also from the point of view of entertainment and the authorities have to cater to both the needs of the visitors. 

The regional science centre is a popular tourist destination among the locals of the city. It offers a wide variety of experiences for science enthusiasts and also for students and tourists. It houses several attractions such as the digital planetarium, science magic show, 3D show and sky observation.    

Officials said that apart from local visitors and students they see many tourists as well throughout the year. “Tourists from West Bengal or South India who come to Guwahati, especially to visit Kamakhya Temple, also visit the science centre.”         

The authorities have recently developed a picnic spot inside the premises where people from nearby areas can come for a picnic and avail the facility. It can accommodate up to six picnic groups at a time. The spot is equipped with cooking facilities, running water, garbage dumping and other facilities. 

(If you have a minute, please take out the time to fillout this Survey that can help Guwahati become a cleaner city! Take part in the Swachha Survekshan 2018 survey!)

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