Shillong: With a movement by tribals calling for protection of their identity gaining momentum, tourists are giving Asia`s `cleanest` village and `wettest` place on earth Mawlynnong and Sohra both in the East Khasi Hills district of Meghalaya, a shirk.
Both places are a treat to visitors because of their natural beauty and hospitality of local residents, whose dependence on tourism as an income generation industry was gradually picking up.
As the state government turned down the demand of implementing the Inner Line Permit (ILP) to protect and safeguard the identity of tribals and is planning to introduce another law aimed at regulating tenancy, pro-ILP activists have announced several anti-government stir.
Citing instances of Tripura and Assam where the indigenous tribals are overwhelmed by outsiders, pressure groups in the state have demanded implementation of the ILP to curb influx and immigration.
ILP is an official travel document issued by the Government of India to allow inward travel of an Indian citizen into Arunachal Pradesh, Mizoram and Nagaland.
As the stand-off between pro-ILP activists and the state government continues, various stakeholders in the tourism sector have expressed concern over the loss they are suffering due to the ongoing impasse.
Residents of Mawlynnong village in East Khasi Hills district, dubbed as Asia`s cleanest village, complained of lower incomes with less tourists inflow to their village.
"The current situation has hugely affected our livelihood," says Rishot Khongsngi, who runs a stall at the village, adding 90 per cent of villagers earn their livelihood from tourism.