A Jayathilak out of Chhattisgarh tourism board
A Jayathilak is not Ajit Jogi's man.
But who's gonna convince Raman Singh about that?
A few years back, nobody even knew
anything about Chhattisgarh tourism. Did the little
state even exist a few years back? Two years back,
they called in Dr A Jayatilak, the man behind Kerala's
successful backwaters tourism and 'god's own country'
catchline to run Chhattisgarh tourism. Okay, let's be
very, very clear in these politically charged times.
Ajit Jogi, then chief minister of Chhattisgarh wanted
to promote Chhattisgarh as a great tourism
destination, and he thought Jayathilak was the man for
the job. Enter Jayathilak.
And in the last two years, people
started to think about Chhattisgarh as a state of
India, not a naka or village under some rocks.
Advertisements were splashed in papers and magazines,
articles started appearing in international magazines
talking about the dense forests, tribal culture,
handicrafts et al.
Jogi went out of government in a blaze of tribal fury,
and in came BJP and Raman Singh.
Seems they did not like what
Jayathilak was doing to Chhattisgarh tourism.
Accusations include self-promotion, over-spending and
Self promotion? That sounds like a
charge against Ajit Jogi, not Jayathilak. Of course,
Jayathilak had a high profile as the successful
architect of Kerala Tourism, and like it or not, it
stays with him. By the way, self promotion has not
been described in government employee rules as
Over-spending. Does not matter.
Over-spending is in the beholder's eyes. One can even
say Raman Singh's RSS Khaki knickers cost too much.
Wrong focus. Ah now there we have it.
It seems that The BJP government thinks that tourism
in Chhattisgarh should be focused around a temple
circuit - "Bheoramdeo, called the Khajuraho of
Chhattisgarh, Champaran, the birthplace of Sri
Vallabhacharya, the three deitiesí temples at
Rattanpur, Dongargarh and Danteshwari at Dantewara
have also been identified," says Raman Singh.
Okay, so Jayathilak wanted the Kerala
model of focusing on the rich tourists from abroad who
will be few in numbers but will spend big, focus on
culture and handicrafts etc. Raman Singh wants
temple-trippers from India who can go worship there.
At least that's what it looks like for now.
But then this is standard BJP-RSS
behaviour, right? Chhattisgarh or Kerala, something in
the public eye has to be invariably about Hinduism.
Foreigners may bring in money, but they molest our
virgin motherland, and we will preserve her chastity
at any cost, even at the cost of local tourists in
hordes (if they come at all) peeing on monuments and
scratching 'Raju loves Simran' on walls. This writer
had predicted that Jayathilak will not be allowed to
continue when the government changed. But I had
expected only the charge of him being Ajit Jogi's man.
Nah, one underestimated BJP's love for temples, and
temples alone. Let's see what happens from now. We
will definitely keep a watchful eye.