Maggie Noodles Tourism killing Meghalaya


By Patricia Mukhim

Very few local people would want to venture out to any of the tourist destinations with their family members for a relaxing weekend. The reason? Every tourist spot is over-crowded with tourists from Assam. The number of Assam registered vehicles every weekend has gone beyond count. And the State of Meghalaya with a Government that boast of a ten-billion dollar economy does not even know how to handle this crisis which could actually lead to the destruction of the tourism industry – the only clean, green, non-polluting, non-invasive and employment generating industry. Why can’t those in the Government think that if tourism is killed it is equivalent to killing the goose that lays the golden eggs, for, as of now there is no other industry that is possible in the foreseeable future – what with extortion from every quarter, particularly from so-called pressure groups that cherry-pick issues and with each one contesting to prove who is more patriotic than the next.
On Saturday last while returning from the Umiam Lake area after a tree-plantation programme, a group of us saw tourists parking by the roadside and cooking Maggie noodles on a gas stove and other utensils they had carried along with them. Just about 500 metres away were roadside stalls that also serve Maggie noodles amongst other things but the Assam tourists were just not willing to spend an extra buck on food. With me was Roma Nongpyiur who retired as a senior officer from Government of India Tourism Department. We both stopped to talk to the tourists and asked them why they came all the way and grudged the little that they needed to spend on food. The tourists gave some wishy-washy replies but they were not the only ones. All along the way from Umiam Lake onwards up to Sohra we will see such people spreading their wares and eating by the side of the road.
The other aspect is that unlike Sikkim we in Meghalaya have lost the battle of using local cabs to ferry tourists to different destinations. This of course is an organic industry and should be an entrepreneurial venture by someone with a good business plan but we don’t have such an entrepreneur, sadly. Those behind the wheels in the Assam vehicles drive like crazy; stop wherever they please and don’t seem to care if they create a traffic jam. They are arrogant and insolent to say the least. Sometimes we hear of tourists being beaten up in some distant part of Meghalaya. With the attitude that tourists display, one is no longer surprised that they would be roughed up by locals who resent the intrusion and the arrogance both. It actually takes two to tango.
On Saturday last, I took some guests to the Arwah Cave. The number of visitors there was mind blowing. Does the Tourism Department not understand that there is a carrying capacity beyond which any destination will collapse? Why can’t there be a limit to the number of visitors to the cave? Each visitor is paying Rs 50. If there are 500 visitors, the collectors are actually raking a cool 25,000 bucks a day and believe me on a given day there are more than the above cited number.
Go to the Kynrem Falls on the Shella-Sohra road and the number of tourists there too is mind boggling and there is no one to collect any tourism fee there. So, it’s a free for all show of a magnificent waterfall. The only visible structures there are small shops selling Uncle Chips and other predictable knick-knacks along with betel nut and leaves, cigarettes et al. We have not learnt to add value to our tourism assets.
Let me now come to the Mawmluh cave which is now made famous after it was selected by UNESCO as one of the first 100 among the International Union of Geological Sciences (IUGS), Geological sites in the world and for geological dating – the Meghalayan Age. This 7 km long cave is a like a fairyland inside. I had the joy of being part of a caving expedition along with the faculty of Martin Luther Christian University in May this year. While there are a group of young men as tour guides at Mawmluh and they are courteous and knowledgeable, they need to learn to tell stories to interested and curious visitors. Cavers of course have to rent a suit, helmets with lighting facilities and gumboots. At some point the climb is high and I recall a guide telling me to put my weight on his thigh so I can climb up to the next level of the cave. There are places where the opening is narrow and we had to crawl on our stomachs and at other places we had to wade through waist length water. It’s one of the most interesting learning curve and a memorable expedition – my second after Krem Kotsati which was led by our local speleologist Brian Kharpran and his team. The Mawmluh cave is currently being polluted by the waters flowing from a drain cum canal adjacent to the near-defunct Mawmluh Cherra Cements Limited (MCCL).
Many are of the opinion that the MCCL establishment which has stopped producing cement for over decades, should now be converted into a multi-purpose performance centre cum museum where the geography and history of the Mawmluh cave could be narrated to visitors before they actually enter it. A tour operator said that would fetch more employment than Government continually pouring in money into a dead project just to pay salaries.
Bansan Lyngdoh, a tour operator who has set up camp sites and homestays for tourists beyond the Mawmluh cave at a place he calls the 100 waterfalls is now teaming up with the Tourism Department of the Martin Luther Christian University to create awareness among the youth, women and the local dorbar of the area on how to conserve the cave even while it is being thrown open to tourists; the number of footfalls per day that will make it sustainable for the long run and also to inform tourists about respecting what they are stepping on and what they are touching inside the caves. A story book for children in Khasi and English, explaining the geological formation of the caves – the stalactite and stalagmites and the lives inside the caves such as fish and bats are explained in an easy readable format with illustrations by noted artist Carreen Langstieh is in the offing. This is a value chain that’s needed for every tourist destination. The locals should be the primary stakeholders and not just a few tour operators. In fact, the locals are the best conservators of their piece of paradise.
Meghalaya is truly a beautiful part of this earth and even those of us who see these sights and sounds all the time cannot but be overawed by the sheer beauty of nature. But as usual it is us humans who are also nature’s worst enemies. We are the worst polluters and irresponsible vagrants. It is important for the Tourism Department to come up with strict rules and regulations. Tourist destinations cannot exceed their carrying capacity. Meghalaya is not for mass tourism. Mawlynnong is one such destination which has lost its charm. Nongriat too is getting overcrowded and the Living Root Bridges will soon crash if the number of visitors per day are not restricted.
Granted that the Tourism Department cannot do everything especially enforcing rules and regulations but each destination must strictly implement the rules that dictate the carrying capacity of each place per day. We don’t want to reach a point where like in Italy and other places in Europe the locals get so sick and tired of visitors that they stone them. Too much of everything is bad and over-tourism will kill Meghalaya’s tourism prospects.


  1. Fully agree with Bipul Gogoi. I very closely follow Ms Mukhim through her articles in Assam Tribune. I am not a Modi lover, but she thinks of herself as the most knowledgeable, erudite and moralistic person, and her off repeated position as a hater of the Modi Govt is well known. She is one of those so called liberal secularists of the country who openly criticise one side of the political spectrum on every issue, but would never utter a word against the Tukde Tukde gang of the country.

    Now coming to the issue at hand. Whenever I drive back to Guwahati from my home town Nagaon, I always shudder thinking of the moment when I would reach the Jorabat trijunction. For, it’s a nightmare driving from that point onwards to Guwahati. The way the Meghalays regn Tata Sumos and other vehicles drive, especially after evening, you never know when you will be just crushed to death. They create such a terrible nuisance on the road . And look who’s complaining. Ms Mukhim, don’t try to paint every Assamese tourist with the same brush. There are nuisance creators everywhere. So please don’t cherrypick and unleash your frustration on the Assamese people only.

  2. Miss Mukhim before writing an article please 🙏 don’t be baised without a proper sample survey. Just with one or two example of few people driving harsh does not mean whole assam vehicle does the same. As u enter Meghalaya, most of the local ML registration vehicle does the same as what u mentioned in ur article when they see AS registration vehicle. This is faced by me many times and even other vehicle of assam as i say here and come very often so i had this bitter experience many a times. Why they go so mad and arrogant no idea and even some local drivers using abusing languages.

  3. Patricia is a big assamophobic. A few tourists cooking maggi does not pollute ur heaven. But overcrowding all hospitals in guwahati by khasi patients is never minded by the local Assamese as they kind of treat khasis, garos, meiteis, arunachali, mizo or nagas as their own in Guwahati & other places.

    Have u experienced the arrogance shown by meghalaya vip cars towards the Borjhar airport ever, madam Patricia? It is a daily harrassment to us local guwahati residents by haughty khasi police & drivers spitting out pan everywhere along khanapara-borjhar stretch. 5 lakh Assam tourists ( out of 5.6lakh per annum) go to ur place in search of some coolness. If u behave this unfriendly way, we will start to go to nearby Bhutan, arunachal, naga, or karbi Anglo g or Dima places. U will lose us & the revenue.

  4. Not every car dwelling with Assam registration means that those are people from Assam ! Out of 10 tourist to Meghalaya 6 are from states outside northeast these days & thus no doubt why we see increase in pure veg dhabas along Meghalaya highways.
    For solution limit the tourist visit to popular sites by limiting the per day entry in a standard order .

  5. I personally have high regards for Patricia Mukhim and whole heartedly acknowledge her contributions as a Social Activist. I also mostly support her suggestions in this article for making tourism sustainable, environment friendly, profitable for the people of Meghalaya. However, in your article Madam you have have made sweeping, generalized comments about tourists from Assam. This is totally unacceptable and uncalled for from a personality like you. Such generalized comments would do no good for tourism in Meghalaya and would do more harm to relationship between the neighbours. I could counter your hate speech about Assam tourists which you may not be able to refute but refrain from it lest it sour the relationship with our good neighbours. I have always been a fan of your writings but you have failed us this time.

  6. Many tourist are vegetarian or become vegetarian when they knows that local shops also cook beef and pork in the same utensil . Although one must say that Khasi ladies are very particular about cleanliness of all aspect of life .
    But there is always a hesitation specially in vegetarian people . So they avoid the food in local shops . I have tried food in these “King’s shop” ! Jim bum is very yummy .
    For a proper tourist economy Meghalaya must be various segments of customer focused Stretegy . From Guwahati to Shillong why people stops at Only Veg Resturants mostly run by non Meghalaya people ?
    Like in MNC Burger counter Green n Red Zone food from separate kitchen ..may be such Stretegy can be adopted . ! Blaming Assam tourist car or vice versa will be counter productive for tourism in beautiful Meghalaya .

  7. Miss Mukhim, you are all along a welknown rustic example of uncivilized hater and hate monger. Nothing less raunchy views are expected. Your filthy views have little to no impact on the human civilisation.

  8. State government must have a checked on the huge number of tourists flow in the State,we must not be happy of getting much money but degrading the resources of charming of the State like unhygienic tourists throw the wastes on the roadside all along the destination they go,instead of clean,green environment becoming dirty n brown environment,tourists should not be allow to stop on the road as per their wish,every villages must have the public toilets for the tourists and maintain them as per rule,all tourists cabs n buses must be hawling at the ISBT mawiong,pick up by the local cabs n buses to different tourist spots as the travellery want,Drivers,tourist guides,members of various Durbar Shong must be given training on different roles they are doing their services to the tiurists

  9. So whats wrong if people bring their own food prepare it with a portable stove and have it??? Meghalaya tourism anyway charges hefty amounts as parking and entry to almost all the waterfalls,gardens, parks etc. still you are mad at the fact that how can tourist come and have their own food instead of stalls!!??? Be grateful and thankful to the tourists who come. Places which are absolutely not worth charging 100-200 per person as entry fee is plain ridiculous. Tourists are not some millionaires or billionaires they too are common middle class people who choose your place to spend their hard earned money so do respect that instead of being outright greedy and selfish.

  10. What about meghalaya people stealing timber in truckloads from Assam forests and the general people supporting theses thieves and gheraoing the forests outpost. Which culminayed in a very unfortunate incident. Can Miss Mukhim recall the incident.
    When you point fingers at someone three are always pointing towards you Madam Mukhim.

    Some tourists may create nuisance and will get the treatment they aptly deserve but one should never generalize as it will harm the general people.

  11. This woman should know that all Assamese who go to Shillong for a holiday driving their own vehicles are all from well to do families. Nobody carries Maggy noodles, Gas stove and cylinder to cook on the roadside. At least I’ve not seen any. Maybe she has seen Bangladeshi labourers going there for work cooking on the roadside. Obviously they travel by Assam registered vehicles that does not mean they are Assamese. Next time she should be careful not to make remarks so low directing against the Assamese. Bipul Gogoi is right in saying that the Khasia mamas who come to accoland in their Sumos and Winger stink as they seldom bathe who pollute the pools making it unusable for others. Before she writes anything nasty I would ask her to pinch her back side and smell if it stinks as she is used to wipe her ass with newspaper and not use water as the plains people do.

  12. I think people dont need the editors Mindset of people not eating from stalls..People like maggie ,They prepare it their way,They eat it healthy,They take it as a chance to Visit their country India and have a good time.The editor should always remember its Assam why Meghalaya growing & why their is food,internet,clothes etc the way it is now

    Have some Respect &start acting like we are one and we all are Indian or else dont complain when you get called chinki and get harresed everywhere,Stop Racism playcard wont help

  13. Most unfortunate that a writer of Patrica Mukhim’s stature would single out the inhabitants of Assam for spoiling Meghalaya’s tourism destinations. This article reeks of an effort to spread communal disharmony.
    I am all for sustainable tourism, but attacking your neighbours will get you nowhere.

  14. Such hatred towards assam can be and will be detrimental for development and livelihood for common meghalayan. Author is a narrow minded “intellectual”. Meghalaya can earn so such if it’s citizens were hard working and creative mere collection of Gunda tax can take you so much ahead. India is a democracy it’s sad a fellow indian calling out another in such a poor light.

  15. Only a week ago my family spent almost 50000 just for a 3 day trip to Shillong and Jowai. All their hotels are full due to people of Assam. During Covid certain hotels where I stayed before lamented that they were closing down as tourists from Assam were not coming. Now that their state is blooming again this pseudo intellectual is spewing venom. A few tourists are irresponsible I agree but why vilify all??

  16. Miss Patricia Mukhim this article of yours reeks of narrow parochialism, ignorance and complete lack of common sense.
    All assam registered vehicles are not run by Assamese nor all of the passengers.

  17. Miss Patricia Mukhim, you have seriously wrote this article leaving many points behind. Pointing your fingers toward others won’t help my dear, you still will have three fingers facing towards you. Ahah! You have gone wrong in here. I request you to visit Assam once and have a look around here. You will surely get to see many of your brothers, sisters, aunties, uncles, grandfathers, grandmothers and many more riding, driving roaming in vehicles and enjoying their vacations, holidays in Assam that which causes pollution, just like you said we do in Meghalaya. But, do we question anyone? Do we create any nuisance? Do we write such articles on them? NO! WE DO NOT! WE DO NOT TARGET THEM. ALL OF US ARE EQUALLY RESPONSIBLE FOR HARMING MOTHER NATURE AND ENCOURAGING GLOBAL WARMING. Anyway, Tourism boosts the credit of the economy, creates multiple jobs, develops the infrastructures of a state, and plants a sense of cultural exchange between people belonging to different communities. You should’ve researched a little bit more about your economic sources. I hope you get me😀

  18. Upon any incident that happens along the disputed borders between Assam and Meghalaya it’s a common occurrence that vehicles bearing Assam registered vehicles targeted in Shillong and near by areas. Miss Patricia Mukhim please enlightenment me if ever such an incident has happened when an vehicle having an ML registration ever here in Guwahati.

  19. Someone is crying because some smart people declined to purchase 10 rs Maggie packet for 100 rs.. And the same goes for your cab service too.. The local charges twice the fare in comparison to assam cab.. And if you really hated assam so much. Simply ban them.. I will love to see how your locals who don’t have the audacity to talk in any language other then their local dialects will handle this tourist.. You can say i am local i know languages, but are you really educated? You justify manhandling of tourist from assam in a news column.. How idiotic of you to do so.. If anything happens to any one whom i even know remotely i will use this news piece as the main source of agitation which causes the harm to them in my FIR.

  20. Your views will create more differences between the netizens of both the states. Think of India as a whole. People of Meghalaya are more dependent on Assam for their day to day needs. First be a self dependent state and then comment on us. We visit Meghalaya for tourism purpose but you people are dependent on us for all basic needs. It’s your failure that you could not develop and nurture the tourism opportunity despite a vast potential. And then you blame our people.

  21. The author may please note that a majority of the so called Assam registered vehicles would be taxis carrying tourists from other parts of the country as well. Many of these tourists would be travelling on a limited budget and would therefore find eating out an expensive proposition. Therefore, if a family resorts to having “Maggi noodles” by the roadside one can’t complain, as long as they don’t dirty up the place. It needs to be remembered that these tourists, both from Assam and outside contribute to the major chunk of tourism revenue for the State of Meghalaya. It is for the authorities of Meghalaya to facilitate these tourists in a manner that the locals also get employment in the process.

    Recently on a visit to Shillong Peak we noticed that one has to compulsorily hire local taxis to the Peak and back apart from purchasing tickets to avail the facilities. This was, we were told, presumably done to provide employment opportunities to local youths post COVID.

    The undertone of the article, which I felt was to malign the traffic from Assam is at best uncharitable. Not expected from somebody who is a Padma Shri and considered to be a benchmark in responsible journalism.

  22. Hi Bipul, This is because you are yourself a huge travel agency if I am not mistaken and most of the market is from Meghalaya for a lot of Assam vehicle, I have personally taken many services from you if you are the person who use to provide travelers to us and I thank you for helping us with your services but comparing the number of Assam vehicles and ML vehicles in Guwahati is nowhere near in comparison. I would like to take As vehicle traveling to Assam because the locals know better of the route even just going to the airport would like to take services from As travel agencies or local vehicles and I hope other people from Meghalaya would understand this as well if we have to make sacrifices for the better man in promoting our local economy and sustainable tourism in both the state of Meghalaya and Assam. why so much hate Bipul? I like Assam and the people and I have lots of friends from Assam but I would like to promote the local economy of Assam by using local services from there.

  23. Firstly we eat our own home made foods there coz u khasi people do not know how to cook & ur taste is horrible.Seconly only because of us ur state is surviving in tourism.Thirdly watch ur words before saying anything against Assam coz if we close our roads towards you 🤣🤣🤣 ur beautiful state will be starving.So please think before u speak

  24. Miss Mukhim.
    Come to Guwahati, you will see how many of ML registration personal car with drank driver, top speed and loud music are creating problems.I have seen so many car from ML where drivers hold alcohol.But we never make headline on state newepaper.

    All the well known resorts from Polo orchid to Orchid lake are making your people rich just because people from my state go and spend their money there. You have not noticed that?? If someone is cooking 10 rs ka maggie you have problem with that.With this atitude you cannot attract people.


  25. Let me share my experience with your people. I was there and pursuing my studies from 2019 and suddenly lockdown happend. So i was not able to came to home. There was a grocery store in front of our room at Goraline. Shopkeeper was a female. She was gentle. One day i bought something from their shop. She was not there. Her drunk husband was giving me my essentials,suddenly he kept my things on the dirty floor. I request him to change that.his reaction was “lena he to lo. Nehi to jano”.

    That was just an incident. But i never blame all the people from your state.

    Miss Mukhim you canot identify the problems that are facing by the tourism industry on Meghalaya. Instead of focusing on maggie try to focus on jadoh,tungrymbai and many more that will help you to grow.

  26. let me put it in a better way. The number of people that come in from Assam to Meghalaya on a daily basis is so much more than the number of people who visit other tourist attractions in Assam. If we visit a certain state we would like to promote the state that we were visiting, as it is essential for their livelihood and to promote sustainable tourism and we would expect the same from people who visit Meghalaya.

  27. While the use of words appears to be concerning for general welfare of the people of Shillong (not Meghalaya), but unfortunately these are not facts. This has always been the problem that a few people with the viewership & the access to avenues like newspapers, misuse their position to mislead common people and spread hatred.

    The Shillong that I knew is much different, wherein neighbours celebrated each others festivals together, went for picnics and explored natural beauties with no restriction. Mind it ! we have and will continue to be sustainable while visiting new places and I hope the writer practices what they preach, not limiting to there own city but to nearby or new places they visit.

  28. Actually meghalaya is running with money of assam tourist only. Sohora so called wettest place on earth doest have rainfall of significane will be abandonedby the tourists after may be couple of years. Then they have do cultivation and eat.

  29. Very myopic visioned article. An article calling for improvement of Meghalaya tourism need not be premised on your prejudiced mindset of spreading hate for your neighbours. That is in no way a good example of “love thy neighbours”. Moreover people do have what is called freedom to eat wherever they deem fit, if possible the Meghalaya Govt. could construct some shacks in these places and collect some convenience fees for the same in a proper way. Instead of advocating measures your justifying violence is no way deem fit and totally condemnable. Moreover, traffic congestion in Shillong is a problem because of congested roads and not only because of traffic inflow from Assam. U want to reap the benefits of tourism but according to your own convenience. That is hypocrisy at it’s best. Disgraceful.

  30. How is this person being allowed by such a reputed newspaper to spread hate through the pen.It is a pity that such a forum has been used for racial attack and promoting violence. I will tell you one thing for sure Assam is in a different mood now we are ready to compete with top states in all aspects whether it be in poverty eradication, housing,education, specially health sector.A budding msme sector is ahead.Agri start ups have started exporting. On the other hand you are here abusing the only industry which according to you is mostly contributing to meghalaya’s only profitable sector all thanks to the assamese.Its no problem we will spend our holidays in assam. We are investing huge in infrastructure and yes you are also welcome just dont rash drive and be arrogant or else karma might bite you back. You meghalaya people either fall back or fall in line.

  31. While tourism related rules and norms always need to be implemented & enforced everywhere ( not only to Meghalaya) beneficially, it also to be noted that too many restrictions will only help killing the golden goose ( the industry itself) specifically Meghalaya tourism which depends much on outside tourist. A writer of Patricia Mukhim stature should be well aware of it.

  32. If anybody breaks the law, it is the duty of police to take action , not for residents to get into a tiff and take law in their hands. And if Mukhim madam feels that it is only assamese people who are a nuisance to Meghalaya, then 50 years is a long time to forgive, forget and move on, not to spread hatred and instigate for violence. Otherwise, intolerance from Guwahatian may make travel rather difficult for Khasi people which we donot want to see. And Khasi residents should stop screaming ‘Dokhar’ to people who still believe khasi are generally good people. Let’s not destroy whatever little good image remaining about them.


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