Union Tourism Secretary Pervez Dewan has asked the National Council of Educational Research and Training (NCERT) to remove a line in the class 10 geography textbooks which claims that tourism has not been encouraged in the north-east and interior parts of the Himalayas for “strategic reasons”.

Mr. Dewan on Monday informed Kavya Barnadhya Hazarika, a Class XI student of the city’s Maharishi Vidya Mandir Senior School, that he had requested NCERT to remove the “careless sentence”.

Letter

Kavya had written to Prime Minister Manmohan Singh and twice petitioned the President’s Secretariat helpline since April, wanting to know what those “strategic reasons” were.

The Hindu had first reported on Kavya writing and awaiting to hear from Dr. Singh and Mr. Mukherjee.

“There is vast potential of tourism development in the north-eastern States and the interior parts of Himalayas, but due to strategic reasons these have not been encouraged so far,” says a sentence on page 92 of Chapter 7 — whose theme is “Lifelines of National Economy” — of the book ‘Contemporary India Part II’ (January 2012).

Request

Kavya requested Mr. Dewan on Monday morning through e-mail to ask the NCERT authorities to remove the sentence. Mr. Dewan, in his first letter to Kavya while referring to the particular line, stated that despite the efforts of the Ministry of Tourism and the State governments in the region, it was unfortunate that “a careless statement makes a sweeping statement that is totally inaccurate.”

Initiatives

He provided details of various initiatives and expenditures by the Tourism Ministry for developing tourism in the region.

However, the first D.O. letter written by Mr. Dewan on June 6, along with some promotion material of the Tourism Ministry for the north-east and a small gift were received by Kavya only on June 16.

Reply

Replying to Mr. Dewan’s first letter, Kavya wrote: “As you have acknowledged, regarding the painfulness of the sentence … mentioned in that NCERT book given the fact how the Ministry of Tourism is dedicating 12.12 per cent of the total budget on the north east.

“Therefore, that is what I wanted to know from Hon’ble Prime Minister of India and President of India through their online mechanisms. But upon repeated attempts, there was no such replies from their end till today. Anyway, as you have expressed your shock about the matter and have bothered to write to me although I have not approached your Ministry.”