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January 31, 2010

Assam’s picnic spot Chawki attracts tourists as insurgency recedes

     Guwahati: Nature has been generous to Assam by providing it with amazing natural beauty. And, as insurgency declines, people are making their way to various tourist spots across the state. Chawki, an upcoming picnic spot at Uttarkuci in Baksa district of Assam, is attracting hundreds of people from across the state. Filled with immense scenic beauty, lush green mountains and meandering rivers that cross its diversified landscapes, the place is a picnickers treat. The minimum entry fee is charged from every picnic party and the revenue collected is utilized for the maintenance of the place. Located at the Indo- Bhutan Border, Chawki was once affected by militant activity, but But as normalcy returns, so do tourists. “Nowadays, there are less and almost no disturbances in the area. Insurgency problem is lessening here. So, people are coming here peacefully,” said Dipak Kalita, a visitor. A local NGO “Manas Sousi Khongkhor Eco-Tourism Society” comprising of local youths, some of them ex-militants who have laid down their arms and others ex-poachers, have taken the responsibility to develop Chawki and its adjoining areas. The Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), has its base-camps in the area and this also helps to maintain peace in the area. “After the NDFB and the ULFA moved out from here, this place has become very peaceful. As the place is beautiful, people are coming here for picnics. An NGO has opened up and developed this place. Poor people from the area like us can now earn money by doing business,” said Sulkal Daimary, a local vendor The revival of normalcy has not only brought back visitors to Chawki but has also generated business for the local residents who are extremely happy with the changes that have taken place.
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