Reviving tourism in Naxal-hit area of West Bengal
Gopibalavpur (West Bengal), Jan.31 : Gopibalavpur town in West Bengal is known for its scenic beauty and has huge tourism potential.
But, the presence of Naxals in the region has severely affected tourism.
The local administration is trying to get rid of Naxals to revive tourism in the area.
"We plan to make it a tourist spot. Forest department officials have already visited the place. We want to develop it into a big tourist spot with the active participation of locals and we are hopeful that they will benefit from it, claimed Pranabesh Mandal, Block Development Officer (BDO) of
Gopibalavpur is famous for a 300-year old Shiv-Durga Temple and the administration is trying to promote pilgrimage tourism.
It is expected that the inflow of tourists will revive allied services like hotels, food outlets, and provide other business opportunities to the residents of the area.
"The area is a stronghold of Maoists, and recently, the top Maoist leader Umakanto Mahato was killed here by security forces. Many youth in the area have joined Maoist outfits due to lack of employment. Revival of tourism can help locals get employment and end the Maoist insurgency," said Gopesh, a villager.
The Maoists mislead unemployed youth, especially in tribal areas, and brainwash them into joining their outfits.
But generation of employment will enable villagers stay out of the clutches of Maoists.