Interview

Harnessing Technology for Sustainable Development

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Mayur Dixit

The Almora district administration has started a rejuvenation programme for the Kosi River. A lot of plantation work in the river catchment area has been going on. The administration is also working on natural resource management by implementing projects under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and other government schemes, says Mayur Dixit, former Chief Development Officer of Almora, who is now Chief Development Officer of Udham Singh Nagar.

Agriculture and allied activities are the main focus sectors in the district besides development of tourism, for which various fairs and festivals are organised by the district administration every year. These festivals not only increase tourist footfalls, but also serve as an excellent platform to promote works of local artisans.

What are the focus areas to ensure overall development of Almora district?

Almora district is in the Kumaon division of Uttarakhand. At 1,638 meters above sea level, the town of Almora is surrounded by Pithoragarh district in the east, Garhwal region in the west, Bageshwar district in the north, and Nainital district in the south.

The landscape of Almora attracts a large number of tourists, who mainly visit the district to see the snow-clad majestic peaks of Himalayas and experience the unique cultural heritage, handicrafts and cuisine of the region.

Almora is also a major business hub of Kumaon. Developed by the Kings of Chand Dynasty, the town was later maintained and further developed by the British regime.

Agriculture and allied activities are the main focus sectors in the district besides development of tourism, for which various fairs and festivals are organised by the district administration every year. These festivals not only increase tourist footfalls, but also serve as an excellent platform to promote works of local artisans.

How does Almora fare when it comes to leveraging technology to deliver governance services to the last mile?

The district administration of Almora uses technology in every aspect of governance. For example, Geographical Information System (GIS) mapping of all the ongoing development projects has been started. The projects are also monitored with the help of various social media platforms like WhatApp.

Almora being part of Kumaon’s hilly region needs special focus on developing a sustainable environmental ecosystem. Please shed some light on the initiatives related to this.

We started a rejuvenation programme for the Kosi River. A lot of plantation work in the river catchment area has been going on. We have also worked on natural resource management by implementing projects under the Mahatma Gandhi Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MNREGA) and other government schemes.

How smart tourism can be leveraged to ensure more inflow of tourists from various parts of the country and abroad?

To improve tourism in Almora, the district administration is constantly improving its online presence. Provisions are being made for providing low-cost modern facilities to tourists visiting the district. Over the years, transport and communication facilities have improved drastically. Social media is also being leveraged to extensively promote tourism in the district.

What steps have been taken to ensure sustainable development in Almora?

The district administration works with local communities in harmony with nature to ensure sustainable development in the region. Heavy construction activities near rivers and water sources are discouraged by the district authorities. Also, efforts are being made to provide sustainable employment opportunities in village clusters through various initiatives.

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