Sarmoli in Munsiyari gets best tourism village award

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Pithoragarh, Sept 22                                 Sarmoli village of Munsiyari sub division of Pithoragarh district  has been selected for, National level  award of ‘ Best Tourism village’ by Ministry of Tourism, Government of India,  this year. The award will be given away on September 27, the National Tourism Day, at New Delhi, Kirti Chandra, District Tourism Official, DTO,  Pithoragarh Kirti Chandra said.

“Though, it is yet be announced officially, our Model of village tourism has been selected out of  750 applications, invited by the ministry under this category from all over India, which took several  rounds to take it at final selection, “said Mallika Virdi, initiator of village tourism in Sarmoli village of Munsiyari.

According to Virdi, she had to initiate trainings to local women to make them change their traditional attitude into community attitude to pursue the model ahead.”The credit of this success goes to entire village, ” said Virdi.

“We have formed a NGO, named Himalayan ark, to manage the tourism flow in home stays of Sarmoli in 2017, before that the management was run by forest panchayat Sarmoli, ” said Virdi.

According to Virdi, the ministry has taken 9 parameters in this  regard, including, benifit of entire village, cultural and social angel of tourism model,Management of the model, from the  parameters of livelihood and continuity.”we have started this model of Home stay tourism in our village   in 2004 with involvement of panchayat institutions  and local villagers by forming a sub tourism committee in the village,” said Mallika.

According to Mallika, at present a total of 50 families are directly involved in this home stay tourism in the village.”Besides those directly involved families, we have over 30 other families of taxi drivers, tourists guides and shop keepers of local crafts and agri producers who also get benifits of tourists, who come to stay in home stay facilities in Munsiyari,” said Mallicka Virdi.

“By integration of all tourism stake holders, we have been able to change scenerio of tourism in Sarmoli from individual to collective benifit  by taking regular consultation with our tourism sub committee in the village. We have it clear that we will never change our rural model of welcoming tourists, and never renounce our traditional wollen craft and agrarian produces involved in our village tourism model, ” said Virdi.

A total of 700 tourists have so far stayed at Sarmoli home stays till date That resulted into business of over Rs 50 lakh shared by all stake holders, Virdi said.

Trilok Singh Rana, a renowned bird watcher and stake  holder of Sarmoli village tourism model, has said that this model has also helped in preserving natural resources of the village as the tourism management committee took care of burden of tourist flow on local sources of villagers and never let the local assets let disturbed by that.”This model has involvement of local economic model,social tradition, cultural traditions as well as political lives by sharing the joy and woes of all stack holder, “said Rana.

The Migration commission, formed by state government some 5 years ago had also praised the model by saying that it had stopped migration from the village.

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