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Thursday, March 26, 2015

Madhya Pradesh - the heart and heartbeat of India

Back to where the heart is!

Tourism has again called me back in its wings. My fourth stint in the tourism sector began on the 8th of January this year with the government of Madhya Pradesh as its Commissioner and Managing Director of Tourism. Being wanted is definitely a great feeling that I have been exulting in since the day of my arrival in the beautiful state that I believe has been crafted especially for the roving tourist.

And this return, perhaps the only case of its kind ever in the country where the services of a central services officer have been requisitioned by a state government for the third time, often makes me feel like a tourism expert and at times I start acting like one. Yet I pardon myself on such mistakes that I often commit, regarding myself as a tourism expert or a management guru and sometimes as a leading exponent of smoking beauties, the steam locomotives of yesteryears.

Yet in reality I am none of the above. The nation has a plethora of experts in the tourism and management fields, experts who are many notches above me and given the chance would make a much better contribution than me. Perhaps my expertise lies in converting an idea into reality remaining within the system that is perhaps designed for acts of non-deliverance. And this penchant for delivery is not tourism centric – it has been happening in almost all areas with ease.

The faith and trust that the government of the state has reposed in me is not at all an easy head load. The pressure for deliverance is mind boggling yet the positive and friendly vibes that emanate from almost all sections of the Vallabh Bhawan have ensured that no even an iota of tension is in the air. Heavy pressure but no tension and too much on the plate is perhaps a utopian scenario in a sarkari environment.

The state is indeed not only the heart but also the heartbeat of the nation. Almost in the centre of the nation with ease of access, moderate climate, beautiful landscape, simple people and an amazing variety and richness of tourist destinations, all go to make this state the essence of the republic. The job that way is relatively simple. The richness has to be showcased, basic infrastructure put in place, craft culture and cuisine packaged and showcased, events created and packaged, private sector facilitated to put in place tourist infrastructure, information widely and efficiently disseminated and above all professionalizing the state run tourism corporation, handling which is my primary charge.

And all this would be possible. After all a beautiful state that is so well governed besides being headed by an individual who has concern for human values at the core of his heart, has to excel in the business of tourism.

I also now realize that far more important than mere showcasing that most of the leading states are indulging in, is the need to put right things at the ground level. And this is where the state of Madhya Pradesh stands out in almost all areas especially tourism where the works at the ground level have outpaced their showcasing. This has also resulted in a groundswell of support from the general public as they witnessed what they never had earlier – things changing for the better at a very rapid pace.

And this pace is now going to continue. And why not – when work becomes fun can excellence be far behind?  

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