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Japanese Delegation Explores Rural Tourism and Offers Aid in Assam’s Agia

In a bid to bolster rural tourism and provide financial assistance, a delegation from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) recently visited the remote Garo tribal village of Bakdo in Agia, Assam. The village, situated near Agia Chowk, had faced challenges due to the collapse of a wooden bridge over the Jinjiram river, which had not been replaced despite community appeals.

Faced with the lack of a bridge, the villagers took matters into their own hands, constructing a temporary bamboo shed that, unfortunately, faced annual destruction by hailstorms. In a unique turn of events in 2013, village elder Brilliant Marak and local youth Khaibrit Marak observed a consistent congregation of fish in a specific part of the river, leading them to propose building a bridge using the funds from ceasing fish-selling activities.

The proposal gained acceptance, and a 190-meter stretch of the river was designated as a fishing-free area for the bridge construction. With the collaboration of village head Capster Marak, Claward Sangma, Brazil Sangma, and the Bakdo Youth Union, the village is now actively engaged in promoting rural tourism alongside the fish sanctuary.

The tourism cell of Agia College and the district fisheries department are lending their support to this community-driven initiative. The youth of Bokdo are working diligently to enhance the visual appeal of the riverbanks to attract rural tourists. Plans are underway to extend the fishing-free area to two kilometers for the conservation of fish and aquatic animals.

A seven-member delegation from the Government of Japan, including representatives from JICA, visited Agia to inspect and support the rural tourism initiatives in the Garo Tribal Bakdo village. The delegation, greeted by locals adorned in traditional Garo tribal attire, engaged in discussions with villagers and the local youth union while expressing admiration for the undeclared fish sanctuary.

The collaborative efforts between the Japanese delegation and the local community underscore the potential for sustainable rural development through tourism and environmental conservation in the picturesque region of Assam.

 

 

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