Poll-bound Meghalaya will receive Rs 70 crore from the union ministry of tourism to develop various places of worship.
Making this announcement ahead of the Assembly polls to be held next month, union minister for tourism, Alphons Joseph Kannanthanam told reporters here on Saturday night that the projects come under Swadesh Darshan scheme. The current ninth Assembly will expire on March 6 this year.
Projects under the scheme were prepared by a consultant, M/s Ernst and Young appointed by the union ministry of tourism.
Altogether 48 places of worship have been included under the scheme which include places of worship that attract tourists like the Catholic’s Cathedral church at Laitumkhrah here, Nartiang Durga temple and Nartiang monoliths in Jaintia hills, Jaiaw Presbyterian church here, Balupada Baptist convention centre in Garo hills, Laban glass mosque and Gurudwara Sahib here, besides other churches, and temples various religious communities across the state.
“We wanted to develop religious tourism by creating infrastructure at different places of worship. About 1.6 billion trips have been made to various religious places within the country,” Alphons said.
Alphons however slammed the Meghalaya government for not sending any official during a presentation of the above projects on Friday.
“We do not know why the state government is against this project? Is it that they do not want the project because they may not be able to swallow the money since a Central agency would do the project?” Alphons asked.
If the package announced ahead of elections in Meghalaya would woo voters, Alphons said that the governance does not come to a standstill because of elections as it is a continuous process.