Opening up Manipur to the world Visa office soon assurance

This is perhaps one of the best news to have come out from the ongoing Sangai Festival-that is a Visa office at Imphal. After the Passport office opened at Imphal sometime in 2015, it is natural that the follow up action should be a Visa office here too. This means travellers intending to travel from Manipur to outside the country need not have to rush to Kolkata or elsewhere to get their Visa. The immediate fall out will obviously be a cut on huge expenses, for travelling to cities like Kolkata or elsewhere is never cheap. This is perfectly in line with the much hyped Act East Policy of the country, where Manipur has been placed as the gateway of India to South East Asian countries. This will also serve as a trump card for the BJP led Government in Manipur when Parliamentary election is held in the early part of next year. A Visa office here would mean taking the North East and Manipur in particular nearer to South East Asian countries and while a Visa office here would mean making it more convenient for the people in travelling abroad, this can also have a pull factor and this should also be seen along the line of promoting tourism in the State. Chief Minister N Biren did not exactly say when the Visa office will be opened, but he could not have chosen a better occasion to announce this than at the Indo-Myanmar Sangai Business Summit. Right venue and right time for this is also the moment to hardsell Manipur to the outside world and what better than in the midst of the ongoing Sangai Festival, which must have attracted a number of visitors to Manipur.
Once the Visa office is opened here, the State Government may also take it up with New Delhi and work out the modalities of making Visa on arrival facilities for some of the immediate countries in South East Asia, for example Myanmar, Thailand, Cambodia etc. A model which can be pursued intently and which can go a long way in hardselling Manipur to South East Asia and countries beyond that too. Chief Minister N Biren too must have consulted the Centre, before he made the announcement and this reflects well on the Act East Policy of India. The credit for this should obviously go to the BJP led Government at New Delhi and this is something which can stand it in good stead with Parliamentary elections come next year. Passport office working well and a Visa office in the pipeline and this sounds well for Manipur. This is also the time for the people to reciprocate and make the place more tourists friendly. Opening up to the world, more particularly to the immediate neighbours, is all about promoting tourism and promoting tourism should not be seen in isolation of the efforts taken up to make travel more convenient for the people. This is where the Visa on arrival model should be studied and then acted upon to truly promote Manipur to the neighbouring countries. Such an arrangement can also go a long way in addressing the employment question.

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