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The NRI package to promote tourism sounds elite and exciting, but lots more to be checked before it is launched

Hyderabad 360 – Swapna Sundari

Did you hear this? It seems the state government is introducing special subsidised packages to Non-Resident Indians (NRIs) to give a boost to tourism.
The point is that Telangana citizens living abroad can send friends and family on special discounted packages. Those visiting will be deemed guests of the NRI. The idea is to boost the number of visitors and it is estimated that 3-4 lakh visitors may visit the state with this scheme. A cool idea on the face of it, but let us actually explore the possibility.
The young, two-year-old state with an ancient history certainly deserves to be noticed more. Of course, our very own Hyderabad – the crown of the state – has already made a mark on the world canvas with the IT boom and rapid development. But when it comes to tourism, I feel there is plenty more to be done.
Take for example, the prestigious Charminar. It stands today in the midst of a busy market place holding its head high with dignity despite abuse from various ends. There is traffic, pollution and lack of emphasis on the heritage aspect. It even lacks a respectful access road. I am happy that just last week we had the Sabri Brothers performing live in its backdrop.
On the other hand we have the Golconda Fort and other monuments abused by stray dogs and civic nuisances like spitting and littering. It is a matter of great dismay for a developed happening city like Hyderabad to have its pride being taken so easy.
Sudhakar, an NRI from Hyderabad who has been living abroad for over two decades and is now VP in a US firm says, “It is a great intention from the government to promote its tourism, but we need water, roads and even hotels to attract people from all over”, he says. Fair enough. It may take a while to create an aura to our rich history on par with a Jaipur palace or Taj Mahal. So while we run for causes, do charity events and more, how about a bit of local focus on this? Start with the song – Shehar ki galiyon ke peeche, hum hain deewane.

—  The writer is a popular TV show host, radio jockey, professional singer… and most importantly, a hardcore Hyderabadi)

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