Thursday, May 10, 2007

Sikkim tops growth in tourism

New Delhi, May 9: Nagaland, Sikkim and Tripura have outperformed other states of the Northeast in terms of development during the Tenth Five Year Plan, according to data available with the ministry of planning.

The performance of the other five states in the Northeast “had not been as expected,” said the ministry.

Nagaland chief secretary Lalhuma said the state has made “judicious use” of funds during the period.

Several projects have been completed and are now awaiting inauguration, he added. “But more funds are always welcome.”

Joint secretary for planning in the Sikkim government, Sonam Y. Lepcha, said his state has had an unprecedented growth during the period.

Sikkim has invested Rs 30 crore in a state-of-the-art stadium.

Besides, casual labourers in Sikkim receive a daily stipend of Rs 100, one of the highest in the country.

In the tourism sector, too, Sikkim came out tops.

The average growth of the country during the Tenth Plan is estimated to be around 7.2 per cent.

Though this is below the 8 per cent target, it is the highest growth rate achieved in any plan period, according to the planning ministry.

In a written reply to the Rajya Sabha, Union minister of state for planning M.V. Rajasekharan stated that the Eleventh Plan “has recognised the special problems of the Northeast, such as its geographical location, inadequacy of physical infrastructure and low level of entrepreneurship”.

The thrust areas will include improvement of transport infrastructure, exploration of natural resources and encouragement to tourism, horticulture, agriculture and forestry.