Madhur Tankha

NEW DELHI: Tourism being one of the two themes at the 26th edition of the India International Trade Fair (IITF) at Pragati Maidan here, the North-Eastern States are trying to "woo" visitors to some of their famous and picturesque cities and towns.

Said Indira Nongpiur, Deputy Director Tourism of Meghalaya Government: "We want to promote tourism in our State in a big way, especially as it is one of IITF's theme this year. Therefore we are giving a wide variety of information through brochures to everyone who visits our pavilion. With Shillong being one of the biggest hill stations, we have the potential to attract tourists. Products of our small entrepreneurs is also on display at the pavilion."

Meghalaya is famous for its brooms as well as fruit products like jams and juices and all of these are available at the fair.

Assam has a wide array of goods to offer like food products, clothes and handicraft items. Assam's Deputy Director Prabir Kakati said that in conformity with IITF's theme of "small and medium enterprises and tourism" we are showcasing developments in handicrafts, industry and the incentives available to potential investors for setting up different industrial units in the State.

Manipur has on display tribal art, handicraft items, curios and cottage industry items besides salads and ginger. Artist L. Singh has carved a unique creature -- a combination of dragon, python and crocodile in wood -- that is priced at a whopping Rs.150,000. Made from indigenous ` tyren' tree, it took him exactly three years to create.

Apam Ragui, a nodal officer at the Manipur pavilion, said his State is famous for "nungbi" pottery that is made with black stone and local clay. "From `kauna', a local reed that grows under water, we produce a wide array of products. This time round we have brought items like mattresses, sleeping bags and quilts made from kauna," added Mr. Ragui.

Nagaland has traditional mouth-watering dishes like rice with pork cooked in bamboo shoots to offer.

Partition or room dividers are the most sought after items at the Tripura pavilion.