It is noticed that some renowned intellectuals and journalists from Meghalaya during various discussions have alleged people of Assam responsible for destruction of the hill state which is referred as Scotland of the East and for exploiting tourist places such as Cherrapunjee, Dawki and many others because they are the regular visitors. It is hurtful for the people of Assam as it was the founder of the state. Shillong was the capital city of Assam until 1972 and now they are facing such allegation.
It may be noted that tourists across India and from World visits the hill state via Assam, however, how can it be justified that only people of Assam is responsible for such exploitation.
Meghalaya is widely known to be tourists place and the state earns highest revenue from tourism and during the year 2020 owing to Covid-19 the state’s annual tourism revenue dipped to Rs. 3 crores from Rs. 20 crores. Through this point it can be understood that as alleged by the renowned journalists of the state, if tourist stops visiting, the revenue of Meghalaya will be at risk.
One cannot ignore the fact that tourist visiting the spots for of its beauty, cleanliness, nature someway exploits and litters it. It is justified that tourists should be charged extra as entry fees to compensate the exploitation they do and preserve nature of the state. But to raise voice against the exploitation and to target a single state is however not justifiable.
The hilly regions such as Cherrapunji, Jowai etc. are usually cleaned up during rainfall as all the litters flows to the plain areas of Assam. However, the locals of Meghalaya are somehow responsible for the trash in the plain regions. Renowned journalists like Patricia Mukhim should note that it is not only the responsibility of tourists to keep the place clean but also the locals and specifically the state government but the renowned nature-loving journalists are silent in this matter. The state should make provisions for throwing chips packets, cold drink bottles and so on in the tourists spots.
Recently, I visited Manali in Himachal Pradesh. Similar to Meghalaya, the hill station is often visited by the neighbouring state Chandigarh. However, the place is kept clean despite so many visitors coming every year across India. The state provides provisions of throwing garbage and follows strict policy of not using single-use plastics. Sikkim was the first northeastern state to ban single-use plastic in the state. Although, the ban of single-use plastics has been implemented across India since July 2022 however, many shops yet use plastics. If the state like Himachal Pradesh was kept under strict vigilance of not using plastics then maybe the place would have been kept clean. If the locals refrain from using single-use plastics then the state will be free from at least half of the exploitation.
For the motive of urbanization and building houses, the mountains of Meghalaya have been cut down due to which Assam suffers landslide during monsoon. People travelling to Barak valley have to be stranded for hours due to continuous landslides and the mountains are cut down for urbanisation. The state also suffers flashflood within minutes of rain in Jorabat, Khanapara area as water flows down the hills of Meghalaya. However, the nature loving intellectuals have kept silent on these matters.