TMC banks on boost in tourism & job creation in Baghmundi
Jhalda: Baghmundi, once a Maoist hotbed, has now turned into a tourist hotspot. With peace prevailing all over 'Jangalmahal', thousands of tourists visit the place every year to witness the beauty of Ayodhya Hills. The increasing influx of tourists has given a major boost to the local economy and generated employment opportunities.
Though Baghmundi Assembly constituency was won by Congress' Nepal Mahato, the region has witnessed a massive boost in the tourism sector due to the efforts of Chief Minister Mamata Banerjee. She has raised a tourism circuit, meeting the long standing demand of the locals. This has turned out to be a major factor in Baghmundi, giving an edge to Trinamool Congress (TMC) in the Assembly constituency.
TMC has fielded Purulia District president of Trinamool Youth Congress Sushanta Mahato from Baghmundi Assembly constituency for the upcoming polls. BJP has left the seat to All Jharkhand Students' Union (AJSU). Turncoat Ashutosh Mahato, who recently left TMC despite being the party's district General Secretary, is fighting as AJSU candidate while Congress fielded its sitting MLA Nepal Mahato. He has been an MLA since 2001.
Meanwhile, sources said resentment is brewing among locals over the overnight defection of Ashutosh Mahato. Ashutosh, however, claimed that the resentment would not impact his poll prospects as he was 'son of the soil.'
"No one had dreamt of such transformation of the area that gave a new definition to Ayodhya Hills as a tourist destination. Besides, generating thousands of jobs for youths in Jangalmahal in police and self employment opportunities, the tourism circuit has led to creation of massive employment opportunities," said Sushanta Mahato.
He further said: "At the same time a series of development projects including creation of Jhalda as a sub division is ensuring better administrative functioning in the area." It was only after the change of guard in the state in 2011 that Ayodhya Hills got a hospital in the area.
As a result, people no longer travel 50-55 km to reach Baghmundi for treatment. Moreover, interior roads in rural areas have been constructed like other Jangalmahal areas. Most importantly, a fire station has been set up at Jhalda.
Samir Mahato, a local resident, said Opposition political parties were trying to mislead people. "We have witnessed the actual 'paribartan' in Baghmundi in terms of development and no one other than Didi has carried out the development of the area," he said.
Students and youths also lauded the Mamata Banerjee government for having set up a polytechnic institute in the area.TMC had bagged 7 out of 9 seats in 2016 Assembly polls leaving Baghmundi. Though BJP had managed to take a lead in all 9 seats in the Lok Sabha polls, TMC is hopeful of winning all the seats in the district and is leaving no stone unturned.