Monday, February 26, 2024

Dy CM backs move to deny tourists one-day entry into state

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SHILLONG, Jan 9: Turning away tourists who want to visit Meghalaya for a day is to ensure the safety of residents, Deputy Chief Minister Prestone Tynsong said on Saturday.
The restrictions will be lifted when the COVID-19 situation improves, he added.
“We have restrictions for the safety of our residents and I am sure they will be lifted when the vaccine is in place. They (tourists) should not feel bad,” Tynsong said.
The state government is letting in tourists through the entry gate at Umling in Ri Bhoi only if they stay in Meghalaya for at least two days. More than 800 tourists are entering the state daily and some 150 have been sent back since the Umling gate was opened.
The opposition Congress was critical of the restrictions as they were seen as a move by the state government to promote high-end tourism.
“There would have been no need for restrictions had the pandemic not struck,” Tynsong said, adding “practical problems” made the government decide not to let in visitors on one-day trip.
Officials and investors who need to attend meetings in Shillong are allowed to come for a day as “they are different” from the tourists, he said.
“We are only doing RAT at the entry gate. No one visiting the state for a day would go for RTPCR, Truenat or CVNAT, and this is why people who want to stay for two or more days are encouraged to come,” the Deputy CM said.
Reacting to criticisms from Congress MLA Ampareen Lyngdoh, he said, “She misunderstood the restrictions.”
Lyngdoh had asked the state government if it had consulted all the stakeholders before taking the decision of not letting in tourists who visit Meghalaya just for a day.

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