GUWAHATIA: Adventure seekers now have a new address in scenic Meghalaya’s North Garo Hills to not only explore and experience the thrills of nature, but also compete!
Adventure tourism in Kharkutta, about 100 kilometers from Guwahati, has also been taken to the next level with the organization of the first National Paragliding Accuracy Championship in Meghalaya on Friday.
Meghalaya minister James K Sangma opened the four-day competition as the main guest.
“Meghalaya is hosting a National Paragliding Accuracy Championship for the first time and this in itself is a matter of pride. I have a feeling that the event will not only help Meghalaya to showcase its natural beauty, but also boost tourism in the state,” Sangma told media.
Rupert Momin, NPP MLA from Kharkutta constituency, was the man behind the start-up of the adventure sport in North Garo Hills about a few years ago, which finally paid off in the form of a paragliding accuracy contest at Chotcholja in Kharkutta.
“Such an initiative by the MLA is indeed commendable as it will help improve the tourism prospects of the region in the near future which in turn will greatly benefit the local community. This is just a start and in the coming days, adventure tourism in the area will be taken to the next level,” said Sangma.
Momin said the aim of organizing the event was to revitalize tourism in Meghalaya, especially in the post-COVID scenario, when much needs to be done to revitalize the tourism industry.
Officials said Kharkutta has seen a gradual increase in tourist numbers, with both domestic and foreign adventure enthusiasts visiting the area after paragliding avenues were introduced.
“Paragliding will certainly generate more employment opportunities for the youth of the area and contribute to the overall development of the area,” said Momin, who said experts from across the region, including places like Darjeeling and Nepal, were being consulted.
The government of Meghalaya gave financial support to the Kharkutta Paragliding Association to organize the national championship.
More than 100 male and female participants from across the country had registered for the four-day competition via the online medium.
“The trials for the event were held on Thursday and the response has been very good so far. An amateur can come paragliding at the location, assisted by pilots. Young people who want to train can also be guided by instructors,” said a member of the Kharkutta Paragliding Association EastMojo.
North Garo Hills government officials had conducted a site assessment earlier this month to ensure a smooth running of the competition.
“The Deputy Commissioner, Superintendent of Police, District Tourism Officer, District Sports Officer, Block Development Officer and other officials had examined the competition site for smooth running of the competition,” he said.
The organizer went on to say that the fact that the location is not too far from the LGBI airport in Guwahati, the gateway to the northeast, would be an added advantage as the location becomes more popular in the coming years.
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