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Cops introduce 'tourism policing' in Naxal-hit Bastar

Cops introduce tourism policing in Naxal-hit Bastar
Raipur: The Chhatttigarh's Bastar police, which is already fighting the Naxal menace, has now taken up the task of also providing information about the tourist destinations in the region to visitors.
The aim is to create a positive perception about Bastar in the country and across the globe.
As a part of the 'tourism policing' concept, the security personnel will provide the required information and other assistance to the tourists via the help desks to be set at the tourist places. But, the policemen will not act as tourist guides, a senior official said.
The first such help desk, named as 'BEST COP' (Bastar ensures safe tourism through community-oriented policing), has been set up at a police outpost near the state's famous Chitrakote waterfall.
"Next time when you come to Bastar's Chitrakote waterfall, walk to the police help desk set up at the Chitrakote police outpost if you need to ask questions about the routes, destinations, transportation and other facilities," Deputy Inspector General of Police (south Bastar range) Sundarraj P said.
"We will guide the visitors by providing information.
However, the police personnel will not act as tourist guides.
Our intention is to promote safe and vibrant tourism in Bastar and make our guests feel comfortable," he said.
The attempt, he said, would create a positive perception about the Bastar region not only at the national level but also in the international sphere.
Bastar's popular Dussehra festival, the Chitrakote waterfall, the Tirathgarh waterfall, the Kanger Valley National Park and others places attract tourists not only from across the country but also from abroad.
The visitors sometimes face difficulties in communicating with local people or vendors for getting information and other details about the tourist spots due to the language problem and other issues, the DIG said.
In view of this, a special training on police-tourist interface was imparted a few days back to around 35 police personnel, including women, deployed at various tourist places in the Bastar district, he said. They were trained in various soft skills, like effective communication, positive body language, exchange of pleasantries with the visitors and concern for environment, he added.
The help desk would provide information about the transportation facilities, important tourist spots and hospitals, the police official said.
Initially, the help desk has been set up at the Chitrakote police outpost in the vicinity of the waterfall on a trial basis.
After reviewing its success, the concept would be expanded to other places of tourist importance in the district, the DIG said. The aim is to gradually replicate the concept at other tourist destinations in all seven districts of the Bastar division, he added.
Welcoming the initiative as "a good step," the Chhattisgarh tourism department wants the idea to be taken forwarded in other parts of the state too.
The 'tourism policing' concept has been launched in other states, but, perhaps, for the first time it has been introduced in an area facing the menace of Left Wing Extremism (LWE), Chhattisgarh Tourism Board vice chairman Kedar Nath Gupta said. Chitrakote is the best place to start with as it has been receiving a good footfall of tourists since the past couple of years, he said.
The concept should be introduced by the police in other prominent tourist spots as well, Gupta said.
He also credited the government initiatives, like the 'Raman Jan Tourism Scheme', for the increase in the number of visitors to the state.
Asked about the fear of Naxals and violence affecting tourism prospects in Bastar, Gupta said the rebels have never targeted tourist places in the state.
The visitors in Bastar need not be scared of Maoists as full security is being provided at the tourist destinations, he added.

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