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Volume 2 lssue 2 March L994 For Private Circulation Onlv

s@ Immunisation: ANecessity
I lr titttc that this issue of the ANLetter reaches you the to all norms of political negotiations as in the case of the
forces would have receiaed a shot in the arm repeal the Air Corporation, which bulldozed its way
from the Marrakesh Declaration. .The juggernaut of through a statutory resolution disapprooing the motion.
'Iiberalisation' will for its continuation build a centralised
mechanism - Worlit Trade Organisation. Essentially, we EQUATIONS plans to prioritise its primary
are told that the aalue of openness would suraiae only in action-research ffirts this year on constitr,tencies which
a highly regulated regime. are tmable to sustain integrity. Emerging from this
prioritisation we will conduct studies proaiding data on
Regulation and protection, nre therefore sought to be seen the social and cultural conflicts that arise from the process
as not contradictory ta tlrc concept of 'liberalising' or of deuelopment (within which tourism is a partiailar,
'opening-up', by iti proponents. And'they may weU be complex form of modernisation), especially those issues
right for all the wrong reasons. relating to ethinicity, rights of minority groups, and the
struggles of increasingly larger numbers of people to
Any system builds for itself the basis for its existence and artiailate identity and cultural space in the context of
in the process also builds mechnnisms by which to protect eaer-growing lrcmogenisation and a global monoculture.
itself , in a sensebuilds for itself an immune system. Today,
tlrc larger debate, acknozuledges the need for this immune
systembut sees its need only for large systems. The small, KT Sr,"ool
the local and those zuith a different form are being asked to
giae-up on their mechanisms of protection for the cause of
the larger.

This does sound aery familiar also in the context of tourisnt

when the local perion is told that s/he is in the'friaileged
position of contributing to the national economic effort.
An effort for which it is imperative to giae-up of lagt
aestiges of security in terms of the land holdings and the
cultural moorings.

ln the context of tourism howeoer, this process is being

taken a step forwardin the creation of the Special Tourism
Areas. Meant for 'intensiTte', 'integrated' and aggressiae
maniplulation of economic processes in faaour of tourism,
the place for questioning ntch concepts, is sought to be
stifled. In this zzay, local sub-systems are being
dismantled in faoour of its integration with globalised

This issue brings case-studies of this process tf

dismantlement as weII as responses to these processes. The From the Nether the ceaseless dance - Dhanarai Kea,hara
ferztour for'tearing down is so great that a go-by is giaen
To The Parhbments Standrna Gommrttee
onTransVort and Tourrsn
India is a poor country whereover43% of thepeoplelivebelow the both under the Constitution of India and the Air Corporations Act,
poverty line. A small section of privileged PeoPle (in 1950 this 1953. It is inconceivable that the Padiament or this Honourable
population was 0.02% of the total indian population and today this committee can pass the said bill without even an enquiry into the
percentage has reduced to 0.01%) yet politically, economically and consequmces of such an action on the stafutory corporations and
in every other way powerful are the customers of the domestic the assets of the people partioilarly when the Executive has
airlines. In addition foreign tourists use the airlines and it's expected admitted before this committee, that no survey was conducted. It is
to mridr the cotrntry by bringing in foreign exchange. therefore obligatory on this Honourable Committee to order an
enquiry into the facts relating to the bill,and conduct a survey to
On a passenger kilometer basis air transport is the costliest mode of determine what would be the consequences of passing the said bill
transport and besides an airlinerequires vast infrastructure whidr repealing the Air Corporations Act, 1953. It is an obligation of the
is also capital intensive. Thus, 99 .99"/o of the population of lndia and Parliament, to the people of India, that no legislation is enacted on
not just the 0.01% of the population who are air passengers have an the basis of inadequate information, mal-information or
inalienable right to be informed of the changes in the Govemmmt disinformation.
Policy and its consequences on the investments made by people in
the National carrier.s: lrdian Airlines and Air India.

Contempt of Parliament 'Auiatinn and tourism should be better

'The Gowrnrnent o. India has introduced in Parliament a BilL TFIE fnandged'
Travel and tourism, which continue to be the world's largest
REPEAL) BILL, 1992. The statement of objects and reasons are
industry in terms of gross output, capital investment,
misleading. It states, "In the fast developing intemational
employment, value addition and tax collectio& should be
air-transport industry, mobilisation of progressively laqger funds
better managed to obliterate its adverse effects on society,
becomes necessary for all airlines. To meet their growth
environment and ecology of the country.
requirements, hdian Airlines and Air India, both constituted under
the Air Corporations Act, 1953 need to tap the capital market for
A recent study by the World Thavel and Tourism Council has
equity funds rather than depend sohly on budgetary support from
projected that by the end of the current year tourism and
the Government as envisaged under the Act".
travel would be accounting for one in every nine jobs in the
world and morethan one tenth of theworld's grossdomestic
In the entirehistoryof both the airlines theyhaveateverystagebeen
keeping up with the requirements of intemational air transport.
They have been acquiring the latest statre of art equipment not only
A recent seminar ofganised by the Foundation for Aviation
for the aircrafts but for all support facilities such as ground suPport
and Sustainable Tourism, focussed on the changed aviation
facilities, communications facilities and computerisation facilities as
and tourism scenario in South and South East Asia.
well as simulators for training.
According to the president of the Foundation, Dr. S. S. Sidhu,
There is neither a need for budgetary support nor for going to the
India has moved into the 'fast lanc' of the developing world
capital market. The above identified portion of the statement of
economy. There are positive indications of the growth being
objects and reasons is entirely and totally inaccurate and
higher in future with greater thrust on the aviation and
misleading. The facts were within the knowledge of the then
tourism s€ctors. But concerted att€mpts would have to be
Ministe{, Shri Madhav Rao Scindia and it must be deemed that he
made tomake this growth symbiotic.
was aware of the correct facts and the proper conclusions to be
drawn therefrom. Therefore, it is clear that there was a gross breach
of privilege of the Lok Sabha where the bill was introduced by -TheHindu,l-Sn/94
misleadi4g the members and the people of India, in respect of facts
on an important legislation.
A survey to determine what would be the consequences of passing
the bill repealing the Air Corporation Act 1953 is particular$
Parliament's Obligation to the People essential since. the errperience after April 1990 is available.

The Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govemment of India has In April 199O the Govemment of India had amended the civil
stated before this Honourable Comrnittee, "a conscious application aviation policy and introduced the policy of 'open skies'
of mind reduced to writing was not there in respect of analysing the deliberately creating confusion and introducing ad hocism in the
impact of private air transport operations on Indian Airlines." Civil Aviation policy. Air Thxies were deliberately and willfully
Therefore, it is evident that no study or survey was made by the allowed to operate as scheduled airlines in gross violation of the law,
Govemment of India on the likely impact on the Indian Airlines and foreign airlines have been allowed to operate on domestic routes
Air India which are assets of the people and statutory corporations through bmami and front organisations, policy pronouncements
by an Act of Parliament. The Parliament has statutoryobligation to have been made that foreign equity would be allowed in these
protect and safe guard the interestsand assets oftheseorganisations bmnni organisations.
All this was do'ne to create a situation of fait accompli and bring Ifthe Air Corporations Act was enacted after such a detailed
pressure on Parliament to enact the repeal Bill as a'there being no examination-to seek to repeal it with a self admitted act of non
altemative' situation. But the consequence of this kind of ad hocism application of mindis entirely malafide and its motive are open tq
has been demorilisation of the Indian Airlines management and question
staff; uncertainty regarding the future of the airline leading to in-
decision in all long term matters. These consequences have already
Reasons and Rationale for Nationalisation
translated themselves into Indian Airlines making losses since the
introduction of the policy, after a sustained record of profits. The chronic problems of, and created by, the private scheduled and
non-scheduled air operators were:
Criminal Violation of Law L. conditions of permit frequently evaded in practice,
2. illegal practices like over-invoicing and under-invoicing of
In April, 1990, when the Government of India decided to adopt a equipment and spares,
policy of open skies and repeal the Air Corporations Act, 1953, Air 3. need for subsidie to licensing
Taxies were allowed to operate as non-schedule operators. 4. spare capacity and unnecessary large fleet,
However, in gross violation of the law these air taxi operators arein
5. urieconomic competition between scheduled airlines and non-
fact operating as scheduled airlines on scheduled routres. In fact
sdreduled operators,
some of them are openly advertising a claim of 98.5% on time
schedule and offering a free passage in case of a two-hour delay. 6. intense competition for a lirnited supply of technical personnel,
Merely because the Govemment has prevented them from 7. high cost of operations including high salaries at upper levels,
publishing a time table does not constitute them as non-sdredule 8. multiple and large inventory of equipment, spares and excess
operators. The Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govemmentof capacities of workshops,
India has maintained before this Honourable Committee, "DGCA 9. high price of aviation fuel in India, and,
cannot give permission for scheduled operations. The permits are
10. uncertain future developments.
issued only for non-scheduled operations."
Tlie Air Corporations Act was enacted not merely to overcome the
The Air Tlansport Inquiry Committee 1950, headed byfustice G. S. above failures and weaknesses of private scheduled and non-
Rajadyaksha has stated the conditions that must prevail in the
scheduled air operators but also for very specific and positive
matter of competitions between non-scheduled operators and considerations:
scheduled airlines.
1. A State organisatiory without a predominant profit motive as in
the case of private enterprises, can operate with the main poliry
"It might also be argued, perhaps with some justification, that the
comparatively small overhead charges of these non+cheduled of undertaking developmental schemes whidt may not be
remunerative but are justified in public interest, unhampered
permit-holders enable them to compete and that this has resulted in
by the paramount necessity of making a profit.
the under-cuttingof passenger and freightrates. Someof the airlines
have made bitter complaints about this competition whidr they 2. Take advantage of tedrnical developments which are rapid in
consider to be unequal and unfair. We are not altogether satisfied civil aviation transport, equipment and operation techniques.
. that this complaint is correct. So long as the sdreduled operators are Such an overall long term planning and re-equipment
protected on their scheduled services by the order of the Director programme must involve considerable capital outlay and only
General of Civil Aviation thatnonon-scheduled operatorshall carry a single state organisation can do so, due to low intensity of
out any charters on the routes or between the points whidr are traffic in lndia.
served by Segular scheduled serviceq we do not think that the 3. Plan and organise the future of the Industry in a comprehensive
sdreduled airlines could have any serious ground for complaint. It way.
is only in the terrain not served by scheduled services that a 4. A unified organisation can bring about economies of scale.
non-scheduled operator has any right to function." 5. One unit in charge of 'operation in the entire country could use
mafmum advantage.
the available resources to
But the Government wants the people to believe that the law has
not been deliberately and criminally violated merely because
6. It could mafmise benefits of optimal use of equipmdnt,
workshop, capacity and technical personnel.
private air operators are not allowed to publish a time-table even
though they are publishing a schedule of flights. What is shocking 7. Need to eliminate financial support to private airlines. It was
is that the Secretary, Ministry of Civil Aviation, Govemmentof India argued that it is better for Government to run the airlines rather
has deposed before this Committee, "How does one know about it than continuously provide financial and other material support
in the Ministry unless the facts are brought out - that somebody is to the private airlines.
violating the law"? 8. Advantages from the point of view of defence, if intemal
services are operated by the state. The advantages are two fold
i)availability in emergency and ii) utilization of equipment,
The Basis for Enacting the Air Corporations Act,1953 workshop and training by the Indian Air Force.
In order to decide on the merits of repeal of the Act, it is necessary Have Indian Airlines and Air India fulfilled the objectives and
to examine why and how the Act came into force. Tlre Rajadyaksha purpose of enacting the Air Corporation Act and granting them a
Committee, after careful consideratiorL recommended several monopoly statw for considerations stated above.?
concessions to be given to the air operators. The Government of
India accepted the recommendations of the Committee and,in fact, Do the reasons for nationalisation of private airlines, as stated
implemented the recommendations. In spite of all the r'oncessions, above, no longer exist and is therereasonable ground and assurance
the air services did not improve and after a ve:y detailed that the failure of the private scheduled and non-sdreduled
examination, the private sdreduled and non-sdreduleci operators operatort in spite of financial and other support from the
were nationalised. Govemment, will not repeat itselfl
It is important that the Government of India inform the people how,
with the lossof monopoly and purely commercial andprofitmotive
being the basis of operation, the objectives of serving the tourist
destinatioru, difficult terrain destinations and public interest
destinations will be served.
In the wake of the Presidential Ordinance repealing the Air
Corporations Act, 1953, endirig the monopoly of Indian This objective of nationalisation has been fulfilled without any
Airlines and Air India, private air taxi operators will be budgetary support or cost to the exchequer and met entirely from
required to have a minimum of three to four aircraft, a internal resource generation.
prescribed staff strength and fly to "far-flungregions" aspart
of thg guidelines being framed by the Ministry of Civil The Govemment did not provide any subsidy or provide any form
Aviation for conversion into regular airlines. of financial support for operation of all the unrenumerative routes.
And, as part of a "percentage formula" being worked out by Instead it created a Civil Aviation Developrnent Fund. This fund
the Mi nishy, all the priva te airlines will be required to operate financed the development of civil aviation including the
on "far-flung" routes, other than the major mehopolitan development of airports.
Indian Airlines has created absets which do not necessarily give
The "far-flung regions" include the entire North-East, Jammu profits on a short-term basis but, are in the nature of long-term
and Kashmir, Andaman and Nicobar islands and development of a state of art airlines that is comparable in its
Lakshadweep. The Ministry is also aware that the private potential to the best in the world. In addition Indian Airlines has
operators do not toudr important stations such as Lucknow, contributed to the development of airlines and civil aviation of
Patna and Bhubaneswar. several Third World countries such as Maldiveg Bangladesh, Iraq,
Afghanistan etc.
The Govemment, however, will be extremely'selective in
allowing any proposal which enjoins a joint venhrre between
foreign and donlestic capital, the sources added.

-The Hindu,5/2/94
Foreign airlines seeh greater o,ecess
Capinet Secretary, Mr. Zafar Saifullah said the Government
meant business as far as promotion of tourism was concerned.
In fulfillment of this expectation of hationalisation Indian Airlines But those who attended the meeting remained sceptical about
has been operating three types of routes. 1. Those which make the Government's ability to push the proposals through.
profits 2. Those that make losses but do not constitute cash losses Representatives of foreign airlines said that if Air India could
3. Those that make cash ]osses. not boost its capacity to bring in more touristq they could do
a) Operation to tourist destinations such as Agra, Khajurahq the job.
Varanasi, Bhuwaneshwar, Jaipur, Jodhpur, Udaipur,
Aurangabad etc. short sector operations which are A representative of Lufthansa said that the airlines had been
uneconomical. The losses are operational cash losses. While the extremely successful in following the Govemment's open sky
Air Thxi operators have bemoaned about tourism in India none policy as fur as cargo flights were concerned. The airline had
of them have flown to these destinations. achieved an 80 per cent load factor. The idea should be to
b) Operations to remote and difficult areas such as the entire North
allow more flights into India if foreign tourists were to
come in.
Eastem region, Leh, Port Blair, Bhuj etc. in public interest
Mr. Turnbull, deputy managing director of Cathay Pacific,
- all these routes are uneconomical and cause operational and
said 20 years ago there were seven weekly flights from Delhi
cash losses.
to Hong Kong while today there were just four.
c) Operation to uneconomic destinations which are non-tourist
and not remote but in public interest (for reasons including Foreign airlines were unhappy that the Government did not
political sensitivity) such as Gwalior, Lucknow Raipur, give permission when Cathay Pacific wanted to fly the Hong
Gorakhpur etc (Gorakhpur has since been discontinued). Kong-Delhi- Hong Kongsector whenLufthansa had achrally
twice scheduled flights to Madras.
- all these are operational and cash loss routes.
d) Concessions to students, armed forces personnel, blind Persons, Obviously, with domestic skies being opened up to
Cancer patients etc. companies other than Indian Airlinet the Government will
e) Haj pilgrimage on concessional rates. be pressed by foreign airlines for greater access.
d) and e) above arc to meet social obligations.
The AirTaxies will not operate on operational loss routes. Even
under the condition of having to meet short sector routes the Air
Taxies have chosen those routes that are loss making but contribute
at least to fixed costs. The Air Taxies have concentrated only on the As a consequence of the Air Corporations Act, 1.953 and the
most profitable routes that touch destinations such as the four monopoly status given therein all forms of capital intensive
metropolitan cities, and Hyderabad, Bangalore, Cochin, operational, technical, communication, commercial, training
Trivandrum etc. In the month of April 1993 the total profit from the facilities did not have to be duplicated. Therefore investment
above mentioned profitable routeswas Rs. 10.66 Crores and thiswas particularly foreign exchange could be optimally utilised and unit
offset by cash losses on routes making operational losses to the costs brought down while at the same time providing an all- India
extent of Rs. 5.47 Crores. The routes that contribute only towards network, irrespective of its profitability and, without any support
meeting the fixed costs contributed Rs.5.35 Crores. or budgetary support from the Government of India.
In addition Indian Airlines provided the Govemment of India
revenues through i) dividends ii) interest on loans and iii) all duties
and taxes. Itmust be noted that inspite of all this the air fares in India
were the lowest in the World.
Access to SIA sought
The Singapore govemmmt wants the Govemment of India
to provide access to Singapore Airlines and in return has
During all the wars, including the IPKF (Indian Peace Keeping Force
offered to boost tourism in lndia by bringing in tourists from
in Sri Lanka) operations Indian Airlines has been the second lin'e of
third world countries, such as China and Australia to specific
defence for transporting troops and equipment. During civil
disturbances, Indian Airlineshas been themainstay for transporting
CRPF (Central Reserve Police Force) and other Para Military The Singapore PM said that at a time when India was seeking
personnel and equipment. During the crisis in lran, 1984, and to raise its tourist inflow from the present one million to 3-5
Kuwait, 1991, Indian Airlines was the main instrument available million in five years, the govemment should look favourably
with the Government of India to evacuate stranded Indian at the offer made by Singapore Airlines.
nationals. None of these operations were done on any commercial
considerations - on the contrary revenue earning seryices were -Times of India, 26/t/g+
curtailed or suspended.
The question that mustbe answered with a clear conscience by this
It is obligatory on the Executive and the Parliament to inform the
Honourable committee and the Parliament is:
people of lndia as to how the secrcnd line of defence and other above
stated operations would be carried out in the future if the Air
Can the Parliament of a poor and highly indebted country repeal, create
Corporations Act, 1953 is repealed.
and or ammd legislation which would have the efect of creating excess anil
retlunilant capacity equhtalent to Rs. 6.3 crores per month (and mostly in
The AirTaxi Operators fureign exchange), for the use and conoenience of 0.01 percmt of the
cruntry's population particularly at a time when the Director Gewal of
The present air taxi operators are blatantly violating the law and all the International Air kansport Assocation has atimated that lwses to
the conditions of the permit as has been argued in earlier airlines worldwide would be about g 2 billion in the year 1.993?
Indian Airlines has invested enormous sums of monev on state of
There are reports of tax evasion or litigation with the intention of art technology required for training, under the presumption of a
regularising tax evasion. While the air taxi operators charge the monopoly status under the Air Corporations Act, 1953. It would be
same fare as Indian Airlines they do not contribute to the a breach of trust if the Act were repealed and any air operator could
Govemment of India by'aray of taxes to the extent and wi th the same offer higher salary and facilities to individualt who can then just
discipline as Indian Airlines. resignfrom Indian Airlines inspite of havingbeen trained atthe cost
of Indian Airlines.
In recent times Continental Airways is reported to have forged
aircraft documents to mislead the DGCA (Director4eneral of Civil Parliament is obliged to investigate the consequence of amendment
Aviation), regarding the age of the aircraft. There are reports that . or repeal of the Act on i) public investments made in training
during the crisis created by the strikeby thepilots of Indian Airlines facilities and ii) in the event of Indian Airlines choosing to, for
some of the air taxi operators had infact auctioned air tickets. There commercial considerations, close down its training facilities and
are also reports that air passengers are left high and dry with no joining the race of offering better terms and inducting hained
liability when the air taxi operators cancel services for any reason. persorrnel from other airlines or air operators, what would be the
instruments of policy to ensure trained a) minpower and b)
An oligopoly was created resultingin the passenger fares increasing ensuring safety?
by over 27%. lndia being a poor country and on the ground of
meeting the requirements of public interest, subsidies will have to High cost of operations including high salaries at the upper levels;
be restored once theAir Corporations Act, 1953 is repealed. multiple and large inventory of equipment, spares and excess
capacities of workshops and high price of aviation fuel in India are
At present the total passenger demand is about 27p00 passengers conditions that remain unchanged since pre-nationalisation days.
per day. IAprovides about 35,000 seats and for reasons of migration
of Pilots to the air tades, there is anunutilised capacityof 8,000 seats Most of the Air Taxi operators do not have the financial or technical
per day. The air taxi operators are providing a capacity of 12,000 competence to operate a national scheduled airline and to acquire
seats per day. Thus, there is an excess capacity of about 30,000 seats modern aircrafts or to establish the infrastructure of ground
per day whidr iS equal to the present day demand. support, maintenance, communication, computers and training.
Neither does the lndian capital market or indigenous Financial
If we assume 80% utilisation of an aircraft the ad hoc policy of open institutions or Exim Banks have the capability to support the
skies has created a redundant or wasteful capacity equivalent to creation of an indigenous sdreduled airline along modem lines.
Rs. 6.3 Crores per month. And that too most of it in foreign There are therefore only two altematives: either to depend on
exchange. foreign airlines and foreign capital market for survival and/or to
become berami or front operators for foreign airlines. There are no
It is pertinent to note that the Director General, IAIA (International other alternatives. The experience of the aviation industry of the
Air Transport Association) has estimated that worldwidg the year world would testify to this.
1993 would end with an estimated loss of U.S. $ 2 billion and the
single cause of this is redundant excess capacity. The cumulative Since the repeal of the Air Corporations Act would increase the
loss over the last four years world wide is estimated at U.S. $ 13.5 dependence on foreign airlines or capital, and a simultaneous
billion. weakening of the national domestic carrier, it is pertinent to ask, in
the event of a foreign exchange crisis and/or economic sanctions on have willingly and without any opposition adopted and adapted
India and/or recession in the developed countries because of which the continuously changing technology in every area of operations
neither aircrafts nor support is available from foreign airlines - what of the airlines. This has been achieved entirely from internal
would be the instruments of policy available with the Government resources inspite of limited capital and operating cash loss routes.
of India to meet the requirements of civil aviation, tourism and This is a unique example in the entire Industry in both the private
public interest as well as national security interests? and public sector.

Within the framework of export-led development, tourism has been Concern is often expressed, and with some justification ,at the
identified, since the eighties, as a potential foreign exchange eamer. industrial relations problems in the airlines particularly in respect
Today, tourism is said to be the largest earner of hard currency. In of a section of direct workers like Pilots being able to paralyse the
setting targets for number of arrivals and increase of foreign airlines. But the root of the problem does not lie in the Air
exchange, oneof thebottlenecks of growthof tourism identifiedwas Corporations Act. It lies in the labour legislation. The Bipartite
non-availability of seats in Indian Airlines. This argument was, and Committee on Labour Legislation headed by Shri Ramanujam,
is, an obvious red herring. President, INTUC, made valuable and unanimous recommenda-
tions regarding craft and caste unions. The Govemment must bring
The honourable committee could summon the data from the Central suitable legislation based on these recommendations.
Reservation System of Indian Airlines on the number of seats
demanded by Travel Agents and Tour Operators over a given period In a poor country if what has been adrieved by Indian Airlines is
of time and the availability of capacity on the tourist routes by adrieved without any budgetary support it can be done by intensive
Indian Airlines. While allegations have been made by the travel use of equipment and manpower. When there is intensive use of
trade and the air taxi operators in the press and even before this equipment and manpower there are bound to be snags and
Honourable committee no facts have been ever laid before the shortcomings in the operations. An analysis of delays in flights on
public. Indian Airlines in the year 1991-92 indicated that delays entirely
attributable to Indian Airlines and whidr are not of a consequential
In today's econo;ric environment even the Tourism Poliry is nature was a mere 4 percent. Total flights delayed 30%,
outward looking and targets are to be met by developing Special consequential delays 21% (delays due to involuntary reasons like
Tourist Areas (STAs); direct point-to-point charter flights and bad weather, VIP movement, air traffic restrictions etc,) delays
upgradation of regional airports to intemational standards (for entirely due to Indian Airlines 4 percent.
. example in Kerala the new focus on Touiism is to have, not one but,
three intemational airports). Tourists will consequmtly bypass the Conclusion
domestic network either completely or partially.
The Air Corporations Act, 1953 was enacted after very detailed
In the light of these considerations and existing reality, it is the investigation and careful consideration. The instrumentalities
obligation of this Honourable Committee and the Parliament to created by the Act have fulfilled the expectations from them. The
inform the people what is the motivation and purPose behind repeal of the Act is being sought through a Bill introduced in the
the repeal of the
- Corporations Act, 1.953 and, in concrete and
Air Lok Sabha on falselnd willfully misleading statement of objects and
specific terms, how the public and national interest will be better reasons. Neither the Government nor the Airlines concemed have
served than with the existing Air Corporations Act, 1953. made any survey or study on the consequence of the repeal of the
Act. is the obligation of the Parliament to investigate the
A Comment on the Service consequences of the repeal of the Act, to enable legislation to be
enacted on the basis of informed debate.
Since Indian Airlines serves the most vocal sections of the
population and foreigners, it is but natural that succes.s is not given
any credit but failure gets circulation and publicity. Failure of
employees or services is noticed and criticisedbutno where has any Extracts froru the Submission of the National Confederation of Officers'
credit been given to the employees of the Indian Airlines that they Associations of Central Public Sector Undertakings (NCOA).

INDfF Cotrlt 7o

(tr q,\e?b,
Droft Wildlife Tourism Guidelines for Indio
Under instruction from the Hon. Minister of Environment, a subgroup
of the Project Tiger Steering Committeq consisting of Mr. Brijendra (lilinistry of Environment ond torests)
Singh, Mr. Ab-h-FtsKumar, Mr. Sati Pud, IvIr. Valmik Thapar, Mr. Bittu
Mardr 37,7994
Sahgal and Mr. Arin Ghostu was formed to draft a position paper as the
first strep towards the formulation of a wildlife tourism poliry for India.
In drafting these grillelines we haae takm into consideration the Corbett, Pench, Ranthambhor and Gir. Dscussions would be
recommendations made to the Ministry by the Committeefor Management of held wittr villagers, transport and tour operators, forest guards,
National Parl<s and Sanctuaries and Tourism under the Chairmanship of the park managers and local conservationists.
late Mr. Sunil K. Roy in 7990. 4. Through a press release,the Ministry should also invite commenb
Once the basic approadr and draft is approved it would need to be and suggestions from the general public A draftpress note would
rc-organised so as to convert it into a 'Guideline Document' for Park beprepared by the subgroup upon approval of the ideas presented
rrumagers and State Wildlife Wardens. below.

Highlights Background
1. At ttre very outset it was recognised that a sensible tourism poliry While aclcrowl"dg.g the potential of tourism to offer gainful
could be one of the most effective conservation tools which could be employment to many thousands of people, it should be made clear that
fused to help protect India's vanishing wildemesses. Since most of the purpose of inviting to visit India to view wildlife, or to encourage
what remairu can now be found largely in protected areas, it is people from urban brdia tovisit sanctuaries and national parks, should
inevitable that our sanctuaries and (in exceptional circumstances) NOTbe to extract the maximum possible money from sudr visitors in
national parks be carefully used for shictly controlled tourism in the shortest possible time. Rather, it should be to offer them an unique
specially demarcated tourism zones. In this endeavour it was experience and irsight into a world of peace and natural wonder. It
unanim<rusly felt that the Ministry of Environment should should also be our objective to drive home the fact ttrat the lifesWles of
coordinate with the Ministry of Tourism so that we obtain their those who live in our villages are considerably more
participation in the finalisation and execution of a national wild life environment-friendly than that of most tourists who should look upon
tourism policy. Unless this is done, the policy may remain a paper themselves as honored guests - not customers out to buy goods and
exercise. services in the marketplace.

It was also recognised that in order to usher in a publicly supported, As sudr we should be looking to promote sustainable, moderately
sustainable tourism drive it is imperative thai foresf guirds and priced, clean and wholesome - rather than five-star - facilities.
guides be given a sense of pride in their job. This in tum, it was
recognised, could only be achieved if the Ministry was able to
The Nature of Tourism
instifute a proper training and orientation progranune for sudr key While tourism can and should play a positive role in €nsuring the
personnel. NGOs and individuals who live around our various long-term survival of our wilds, we should not forget tourism's
reserves andthe Wildlife Institute of India (WIl), Bombay Natural potential dark face. Most often the adverse effects of tourism emelge
History Society (BNHS) and Worldwide Fund for Nature - lndia where commerce replaces education as the prime motivating factor.
(WWF-India) and other sudr proven institutions are to be asked to Luxury tourism is particular$ prone to abwe, as is unconholled mass
contribute their expertise and resources. tourism...
It is to the credit of the lrdian goverrunent that from L0 natiornl Tempted by the foreigp exchange (or major rupee income) they bring,
parks and 127 sanchraries occupying about 25,000 sq.km in 1970, the policy makers unfamiliar with the imperatives of environmental
total protected area network in 1991 went up to 132,000 sq.km with protection sometimes tum a blind eye to the negative effects of luxury
. 55 national parks and 421 sanctuaries. One of the obiective of tourism... until it is too late. Unchecked, sudr policies eventuallv
promoting wildlife tourism should be to canvass support from the destroy the very assets that attract people from disiant destinations in
general public, particularly local residents, for an increase this the first place. Disceming tourists, of course, stop frequenting ruined
area to 1,83,000 sq. km, that is, around 5.6 per cent of the counky's destinations long before they and ruined.
land area, comprising 147 rntional parks and 633 sanctuaries (Wtr It is impossible to 'police' tourist behaviour beyond a point. It is
recommendation). imperative, therefore, that tour operators be made to attend orientation
2. It was further recognised that a judicious mix of nature- orientation programmes themselves so that they are able to pass on the appropriatre
and strictly-enforced rules and regulations wouldneed tobeapplied value systems to the customers they handle. Il with the help of the
so as to achieve the twin objectives of offering tourists an enthralling Tourism Ministry we are able to show how sudr an aftitude would
experience... while guarding against the possibility of tourism- actually profit themby attracting'green tourism'it should be possible
related problems causing damage to the very wildemesses which to achieve by persuasion what cannot be achieved by command.
require protection. If there is one central theme whidr should guidewildlife tourism efforts
3. Before finalising any policy on tourism, it was felt that a series of in India, it should be to use tourism as an educatiornl tool for
consultations and debates should be encouraged under the auspicies conservation. It would be self-defeating to try and compete with, or
of the Ministry of Environment so that the views of all those out-do, industrial nations by offering 'plastic' and sanitised five-star
involved or affected by future wildlife tourism activities are luxuries to their citizens. Not merely will we damage our environment,
ascertained. This would include the actual communities in whose but we will almost certainly Iose what little respect we still enjoy in the
midst such tourism will operate, the tour operators, wildlifers and world community for caring so liftle about our own heritage.
policy makers including state wildlife wardens and park directors. Tourismpolicy planners within the govemmentof India, as also tourism
This process should result in an official wildlife policy for India promoters in the private sector, must be made to recognise that the
by March 31,7Y)5. The process of consultation and finalisation conservation of natwe presents ournation with itsbest hope to uplift the
would be conducted over the next 12 months and should involve: quality of life of people of our country. It is in this context that plans
should be made for tourisminto fragile areas whidr are the life-blood of
a) public meetings in New Delhi, Bombay, Calcufta, Bangalore, and millionsof peoplethroughthelengthandbreadthof lrdia. I
Madras inviting people's comments on the issue of wildlife
Thse are extructs from the draft Wildlife Tburism Guidelines, we iwrite
b) actual field visits by subgroup members to at least six (preferably you to partictpate in the debate Imding to the fmmalisation of the
more) representative wildemesses - Bandhavgarh, Periyar, guidelines. Contact EQUATIONS for the full tat.
o promote tourism is, inevitably, to re-create almost every
nafurally occurring activity or phenomenon for the tourist's
recreation. This is the formula followed by most cotrntries
Ksula - tle /ialb
of the South in their eager but illusory pursuit of foreign exchange.
%Aeo lrn a.oc:de?
The extent to which the culture of a landcanbevulgarised inretum
for a few pieces of silver is painfully evident in the annual gaiamela C. Ktt/leena
(Great Elephant March) staged by the Kerala tourism department.

In 1990, the department had the bright idea of parading 50 This year, for instance, Kerala tourism secretary K. |ayakumar
decked-up elephants for the benefit of just as many foreigners, in announced that the total expenditure was Rs.20 lakh, of whidt
the Thek&inkadu Maidan, the venue of the traditional Thissoor Rs. 10 lakh had been collected from a private sponsor (Peerless, a
Pooram. finance company from Bengal). He said that Rs. 6 lakh worth of
ticketswere sold. He remained strangely silentabout theremaining
This travesty of the renowned Poormn (festival) created a stir in the Rs.4lakh.
State, but undaunted, the govemment repeated its performance the
following year, this time with 101 elephants. A radical youth The entry fee to theThrissoor municipal stadiumbeing $ 50, the only
organisation, the Keraleeya Yuaajana Vedi artd the BJP protested entrants were foreign tourists, bureaucrats and other government
against what they termed "the bogus Pooram". functionaries along with their families, and a representative of
Equations who managed to slip in unnoticed!
The Gajamela included a snake-boat race at Alappuzha (in imitation
of that town's traditional VellamkallWater Festival-held during The potpourri of "culture" included anunhappy btrrr,l lirru. togcther
Onam - the national festival of Kerala) and a second parade of of folk forms from different parts of Kerala - trrt'rr,itt'llrrrrr, t,myura
elephants at the State capital, Thiruaananthopuram. nittham, theyyam, thira and the like. There was music by Melam,
whidr calls itself a "traditional Kerala orchestra" - whatever that is.
re:lity and artificiality was becoming increasingly
The line between
blurred. Perhaps as a concession to protesting voicet the The sh.ow was followed by a 3 km ride by tusker to Vilangankunnu.

government shifted the venue of. the Thrissoor Gaiamela from the Since there were only 42 elephants offering a ride, not all the
Poorammaidan to the municipal stadium from 1992 onwards. It has foreigners could fit onto the howdahs. Many had to ride bareback,
now become an annual affair. seatr'rl on mattresses, clinging on for dear life. The less adventurous
deciclt'd to walk the entire way.
The distortion of local culture begins with the very date on which
Vilangtu*unnz was once just a hillock where the local people used
the Gajamela starts. It's held in january clearly for the convenience
to relax on evenings. NoW it has been leased to a private
of foreigners who are able to tolerate the heat only then- The
organisation, Rockland Tourism, and is out of bounds to the public,
Thnssr,or Pooram is actttally held in the first to second week of April,
as a board signed by the district collector proclaims. Atop the hillock
while the trad itionaluellamkali, perfotmed at Aranmule in the month
is an amusement park, beer parlour and "boating" - the latter refers
of Wtharattadhr', is in AugusFSeptember.
to a narrow circular gully in which water has been filled and along
A 1992 brochure of the Kerala tourism authorities, seeking sPonsors whidr small boats can sail.
for the event, called it "the most unique cultural safari the world has
The foreigners were treated toastaged "villagefair" andhandicrafts
seen", and "the greatest elephant spectacle on earth". The
exhibition, at Vilangankunnz. Those of them who went boating were
department trumpeted the claim to draw over one and a half lakhs
no doubt unaware that inMuthuaara, a village at the foot of the hill,
spectators, including 15,000 from outside the State.
people suffered from water shortage.
This is typical of the hype being hotted out by the tourism The overallcharge for a package tour sPread over three districts was
department every year since the hrstGaianrela in 1990, in an attemPt $150. The foreign tourists were taken to Kochi for sightseeing,
to hide the truth - namely, that never has the figure for foreign shopping and a sunset cruise on its backwaters. They travelled to
visitors exceeded 300! nearby Alappuzlta,whichsuddenly gained the epithet "Venice of the
East", for a snakeboat race and ride.
From a pi tifnl 50 tourists in 1990, the number crept up to 772 in 1997,
165 in 1993 and 288 n1994. They went on elephant rides on Koaalam beach and witnessed
another parade of elephants (51 of them, this time) at the
Where was the promised shower of dollars clinking into State Thiruaananthapuram stadium. The Kerala martial art form,
coffers? In no way was the huge amount spent on the spectacle Kalaripayattu and "ethnic music of Panchtoadyam" were also staged
recompensed. at the stadium.
"Culhrre is not a hamburger to be packed in a day safari," said the What a parody of the very meaning of "festival"! The e4pensive
legend on the T-shirt of an activist of the KEKA, Nature Preseroation tamashas dreamt up by the government will in no way give visitors
Society, at Thrissoor. The Society was joined in its protest by the an inkling of the local culture. Kerala, which the state government
lanakeeya Prathikmana Sangham, a civil liberties group, and the is marketing as "God's own country", is instead turning out to be a
NAVU, Samslcnrilen Suddheeknratu Vedi - a cultural activist group. fool's paradise.
They condemned the ".masala formula" that was sold to the
foreigners in the name of Kerala culture. C. K. Meena is afreelmrcewriter and Proiect Director of Asian lnstitute
of Mass Commtmication, Goenka Founilation, Bangalore.
Any manifestation of culture that is taken out of its context
immediately becomes mockery. For instance, nothing can take the
place of the Thrissoor Pooram, the festival introduced by the erstwhile
Ko chi mahar aja, S hakth an T hamp uran.

The Krishna te mple at T hirua amb adi and D eo I temple a t P m amelckao u

form two traditional rivalling groups. Their elephants, a maximum
of 15 each, go in a procession to the Thel&inkndu maidan near the
Vadakhmnatlta (Shiva) temple, and enthral hundreds of thousands
of devotees and spectators with their display.
The golden nettipattas (forehead ornaments) of the elephants, the
deafening colours of the gold-rimmed silk parasols, the deafening
p nnchaoadyam (an ensemble of five instruments) that plays non-stop,

and even the magnificent fireworks at close of day all can be

mimicked if necessary.
But what cannot be staged is the intense involvement of the native
people for whom this event is a red-letter day, and the unbelievably
dense throng of spectators who strive to catch a glimpse of the
proceedings, who struggle for a foothold a toehold, in any vantage
point in the vicinity.
The same goes for the boat parades at Aranmule, Kuttanad,
Champakkulam and held during Onam. The idol of the local
P aippadu,
deity (Krishna, in the case of Aranmula) is taken in a solemn
procession of decorated 1O0-fooFlong snakeboats, whose prows
curve upward upto 20 feet, like hoods of snakes. Each boat has a
crew of 150 men.

There is no element of competition in the haditional boat show, but

in recent years, Ararutula has been witnessing boat races with
government-sponsored prizes like the Nehru Trophy, or the Rajiv
Gandhi Trophy instituted by the Rajiv Gandhi Foundation. The
procession of the deity has been relegated to the background and
the prize money is of paramount interest.

The foreigners, who don't know any better, believe they are
witnessing a genuine slice of Kerala culture. They see nothing odd
in normally bare<hested mahouts sporting Gajamela T-shirts.
They do not realise that the Great Elephant March logo on the
nettipatta of the main elephant in the Thrissoor parade is a gross
substitute for the image of Vadakkunnatha (Shiva).

The tourism department shows no signs of retracting its position.

Instead, it plans to sell the state down the drain, as is evident from
its "produ ct development subplan".
"We have not succeeded in packaging properly our tourism
" goes an excerpt from this plan. "Existing fairs and
festivals should be marketed more aggressively".

Prt't rous funds are going to be spenton "promoting locally relevant

sorrvt'nirs", encouraging "imaginative packages" such as cruising
touls, walking tours and city-by-night tours, and "sprucing up"
iderr tified destinations.

"TWo new festivals are being planned which will have a distinct
Kerala fl avou r," say s the subplan. "One is a festival of coconuts and
the other on spices."
An Appeal to Legislatons of Onissa Assembly
Presilent Odssa Krushak tvlahasangh

You very well know that Orissa Government has proposed an Environment Ministry after the environmental impact assessment
ambitious sea beach luxury hotel complex on the Puri-Konark sea (EIA) of the project is scientifically studied by an expert body. Such
beach by destroying coastal reserve forest of 2227 acres, and by a proposal on the coast, particularly when it is admittedly
removing from that area the Balukhand-Sanctuary established in ecologically sensitive, needs thorough scrutiny.
1935 before Orissa State was born. All this devastation will be
Allthese tests and procedures are to be gone through under the law
perpetrated to attract affluent tourists, mostly from foreign
before the project is okayed. It will take a long time, if not a few
There is great resistance to this hotel complex from the adjoining The impact of the project on the socioeconomic condition of
villages, from the people in and outside the State. But it seems the adjoining villagers are very serious because they have a green
State Govemment is very keen to get it through. All kinds of economy now - besides their dependence on forest. Formerly
pressures are being put on the Forest & Environment Ministry of before the war, the economy was that of sand dunes and sands. Now
Govemment of India to give clearance for forest removal and for these villages are free from moving sands due to annual-high wind
environmental purposes. The Govemment of India argues that as and occasional cyclones. Agricultural land has tumed green and
long as the sanctuary exists in that area they cannot consider the every family is maintaining cattle to feed the market of Puri. That is
proposal, either for forest clearance and,/or environmental why there is total opposition to the project and every man, women
clearance. and child of that area, are up in arms to resist it. Wherever such hotel
complexes have come up, the socioeconomic lives of the local
The Wild Life (Protection) Amendment Act of 1991 passed by the people have been destroyed, whether it is in Bali or in Thailand or
Parliament expressly states in Section 26-A (3) that "no alteration of Sri Lanka or Goa. They have become the hunting ground of
the boundaries of sanctuary sltall be made except on a resohttion passed by smugglers, drug-peddlers and pimps, prostitutes, both male and
the legislature of the State". Though declaration of an area as a female, particularly the young. Voluminous reports of experts and
sanctuary is within the powers of the State Government, yet eminent people are available about all these places, induding Goa.
alteration of the area of a sanctuary or removal of a sanctuary is The resistance of the Goan people because of clashes of culture and
outside the competence of a State Govemment. The Parliament in economy has compelled Goa's Chief Minister to declare that they
its good sense decided to bestow the power on the State Assembly willnotallow anysinglehotel tobeestablished in future. The lndian
so that the matter is kept out of partisan politics, as evidenced in Navy officials recently have warned the Govemments on the east
normal functioning of a Government. So Parliament has relied on coast that because of tightening security measures on the west coast,
the conscience of the legislators, not on their political affiliation. anti-sqcial rackets have already penetrated into the east coast of
India by sea. The local-people, near the proposed hotel complex at
Despite strong opposition, if the Government wants to denotify a Konark, know more about these dangers to their cultural attitude
portion, or whole of a sanctuary, they will have to approach the and socio-economic conditioh, than we do.
Orissa legislature to pass a resolution. I appeal to your conscience
not to be a party to this disastrous step. Otherwise the Parliament's It is very wrong to impose sudr a hotel complex proposal on them
confidence on you may be belied. in a democralic country. The State Government may well consider
setting up a few hotels, not a hotel complel in a limited area oq the
sea beach where there is no reserve forest or sanctuary.
I I hope my appeal to the legislators will be heeded before they lend

dfNFry' _\.
their support to the hotel complex proposal or to the resolution on
alteration of the Balukhand sanctuary.

It will be proper for me to point out the hurdles that lie ahead of this
fantastic hotel complex proposal. Even if the State Assembly in best
of its judgement, passes the resolution, the Forest Ministry will have
to consider whether to give clearance to fell forest in that area under
Forest (Conservation) Act, 1980, which is primarily meant to
conserve the forest, not to destroy the forest. For this the matter will
be placed before a National Forest Advisory Committee consisting
of officiat and non-official experts, then and then only the Central
Forest Ministry will come into the picture.

Even if the Central Forest Ministry agrces to the Orissa

Govemment's Proposal, it will be meticulously scrutinised by the
traditional route taken by the horse-traders of Spiti when they go to
sell their horses, mostly through barter, to the people of Changthang
and Ladakh. It took me five extremely lonely days to walk from the
T11pMorfrnfrrspffi last village of Spiti to the first village of Changthang and during

AkiefAmtr- these days I came across neither a single human being nor a tree.

The Ladakh Factor

Before I left for Changthang, a festival called ?a Darcln'took place
atKaza. From the crowds of people at Kaza during this four-day
festival, I estimated that almost half of Spiti's population of 10,000
Scope for Magic was present. Afolkdance houpe from Ladakh (amongmany others
form various parts of Himachal Pradesh), gave many performances
Whatprompted me to go to Spitiwas the fact thatSpitihad justbeen during this festival.
thrown open to tourism. Having seen the extent of damage, to
ecosystems and to value-systems, that has accompanied the spread Seeing the overwhelming response of the Spitians towards the
of large-scale tourism in other himalayan regions, I decided to go to Ladakhi performers confirmed beyond doubt the soundness of an
Spiti and see what I could do to minimise the damage there. I am idea that had been growing in my mind for quite some time- that
trying to get the administration and all sections of the people in Spiti the Ladakhi people, both due to their similarities and their
to start thinking about the various implications of tourism and to differences, represented a force that could possibly become an
work out an evolving strategy for 'sustainable tourism', effective instrument for bringing about awareness, change,
'eco-tourism','appropriate','altemative' or'planned tourism', call whatever in Spiti.
it what you may.
Four committed Ladakhis drove down to Spiti - Mr. Tashi Robgias
I left for Spiti, I was asked by Equitable Tourism Options
Before (onbehalf of LEDeG), Mr. Jamyang Gyallsan and Lama Ge Konchok
(EQUATIONS) of Bangalore to .write an introductory, "ideas & Namgyal (both senior lecturers at the Central Institute of Buddhist
intentions", paper for them, and this was published in July in the Studies, Choglamsar) and their irrepressible driveq, Mr. Tsering
form of a booklet entitled, 'Towards a Tourism Strategy in Spiti'. Mutup Tursey. We covered the whole valley in a whirlwind and
dusty tour lasting a week, holding meetings in key villages along
When I reached Spiti n the beginning of August, a tourism-related the way. This visit, was quite a success, and we made plans about
crisis of sorts was already on. While travelling around Spiti I found future visits, of Ladakhis to Spiti, and of Spitians to Ladakh.
that the people, specially the poorer among them, were selling off
their oldbelongings (manyof themantiques and semi-antiques, and Changing Names
almost all of them irreplaceable) to the tourists. The tourists who
bought these things were not all of them casual buyers; there were There was another disturbing and totally unexpected phenomenon
those among them who had come to Spiti loaded with money and that I came across in Spiti. At the time of admissionJo school, the
with the sole purpose of buying whatever they could that was of names of a lot of children had been changed from their original
antique value. "This process was going on in all parts of the valley, Buddhist names to Hindu names.I asked a lot of people as to how
either directly or through agents, and was fast taking on the scale this came about, and a confused picture began to emerge.
of an epidemic.
This appalently happened much more frequently earlier than now,
Wherever I went, I talked to the people the lamas, the religious
with the result that many young men and women go around with
heads, the pradhans, the tourists themselves, the guides and tour
unlikely sounding Hindu names. Although in almost all cases the
operators accompanying them and on more than one occasion, the
name of the child seemed to have been changed with the consent
'agents' from outside the valley whq it tumed out, had been
(or a t least a lack of protest) of the parents, most such parents blamed
operating in the valley for many years now.
the teachers, who have always been mostly non-local. The standard
comment of parents was, 'The teadrer said he couldn't pronounce
lnKnza,I brought the matter to the notice of the top officials in the
our child's name, so he gave him another name and wrote that down
local administration and urged them to do what they could which
in the register.' The au thori ties and most of the teachers stoutly deny
they did to an extent. All this was beginning to leave its modest
any coercion or pressure, although it was a local ex-teacher (the
effects when, through a sequence of fortunate events, I managed to
Rani's daughter, Dikit) who first told me about this phenomenon,
bring in the 'Ladakh factor' (described later), which probably
and her version blamed the teachers.
proved to be quite decisive.

The net result, not only of these, but of earlier efforts too (Uy th" The origin, though not the cause, of this process seems to lie in two
members of the royal family, for instance), is that this process has adjoining regions, Lahaul and Kinnaur. Both these regions have a
moreor lessstopped in Spifi, andis likely tostay thatway if followed mixed population of Hindus and Buddhists; mixed not only from
up with reasonable effectiveness during the coming months. village to village or from person to person, but also in many cases
within the same individual, since a large chunk of the population
in these two regions of transition isn't too sure of its religion, and in
Changthang fact is reasonably comfortable with a mixture of both - these people
often change their Buddhist names to Hindu names (never vice
Towards the end of August, I trekkedhcross tlte Parang la (1&300ft.) versa), often simply in order to comfortably mix with the people
and then along the Pare Chu river to Clmngthang, a desolate in the plains and foothills during their frequent trade-related visits
dreamland on Ladakh's border with Tibet. The route I took is the there.
While travelling around Spiti, the L,adakhis discussed this hend guidelines for guest houses, architecture based on local materials
(unheard of in Ladakh) with the people. The people everywhere and construction techniques, harmonising with local architecture
were more or less unanimous about wanting to change back their and with the Spitian landscape, and setting high standards of
names, or at least said so. But most felt that if at all it were possible energy, monitoring tourism (a first step to controlling) checkposts
to do so, the process would be too involved.So, after the Ladakhis with wireless sets at vantage points, work out limits to the number
left, I approached the ADC with this problem, and he took the wind of tourists in the valley, the number of tourists on trekking routes
out of my sails by saying, "Bring me the list of all the people who and in the PinValley NationalPark, etc. ATourismCooperativeand
want to change back their names, and I'll set aside procedure and Training Centre was suggested (teaching and guiding in
get all of them changed together," - as simple as that. appropriate tourism).

This meeting took place at the fag end of my stay in Spiti, so I Besides the ADC and other government officials, interaction on
couldn't start on the list. Besides, I wanted to be doubly sure that tourism covered all sections of the people in Spiti, though the results
these people actually do want to change back their names, and varied from the encouraging to the magical there were
weren't just saying what we wanted them tosay (like they probably disappointments galore. But, what is more important, there is scope
did with the teachers in the first place!). for magic - and that's worth going back for. I

Cleaning Kaza

What was planned as a day long cleanup of Kaza on Sunday, the

The author acknowledges support from Manjulikn Dubey, Nagesh Sethi,
Gurcinder Singh, Allea Sabhnwal, Mohit Oberoi, Deepak Thalani and
12th of September, extended into four days of intensive cleaning in
Chistoph Meier
which at least one representative of each family participated every
day. Although they made a relative mess of the cleaning, - collecting
garbage in tractor trolleys only to dump it a little distance away from
Kaza (on the first day), or simply making piles and setting them on
fire (on subsequent days), it was a beginning nevertheless. What is
more important is that these four days of cleaning culminated in an
unprecedented decision - the Vyapar Mandal (shop-owners union)
of Kaza declared a ban on the use of polythene bags in shops, with
a Rs.500/- fine for defaulters! Remarkably, this was a people's
decision, and not one that was imposed by the administration.

Archi tecture-relate d Work

While in Spif i. I had been talking to a lot of people, among them the
officials in the local administration, about not discarding local
materials 4nd construction techniques in favour of the unsightly,
impractical and uneconomical concrete and corrugated GI sheets
that are increasingly showing up; about modifying and improving
traditional and government architecture to make it more energy
efficient by using common-sense materials to more effectively tackle
new problems like increased rainfall and to reduce the consumption
of wood in building.

The response was indeed quite good, and I have been asked to
design and help construct three buildings in Spiti.
I hope to make full use of my presence and involvement in Spiti to
help preserve the richness and the visual, material and social \
harmony with nature that is characteristic of the architecture of
Spiti. I would like to see how the architecture of Spiti can take a few
modest steps in evolution.

With the A.D.C.

The ADC is the administrative head of the Spiti subdivision of the

Lahaul and Spiti district. Due to special circumstances, the ADC
reports directly to Shimla, and is also the head of all the

I had the opportunity to meet him a number of times during my

stay there. Two of these meetings concentrated on tourism-related
issues, discussing effective steps (not gestures) to stop the
outflow of old things (antiques, semi-antiques and other
irreplaceables) frorrr Spiti, a garbage strategy for the whole valley,
f the goals of managers in the official institutions that rule over
Third World debt were to squeeze the debtors dry, to transfer
enormous resources from South to North and to wage
The Debt Boomerang
undeclared war on the poor continents and their people, then their Srsan Cieorge
policies have been an unqualified success.

If, however, their strategies were intended - as official institutions

always claim to promote development beneficial to all members of
society- to preserve the planet's uniqueenvironment andgradually
to reduce the debt burden itself, then their failure is colossal.

The most obvious aspect of this failure or success, - is financial.

Every single month, from the outset of the debt crisis in 1982 until The debtors lack of unity ensures the draining of their economies
the end of 1990, debtor countries in the South remitted to their and a continuing South-to-North resource flow on a scale far
ireditors in the North an average 5.5 billion dollars in interest outstripping any tlre colonial period could devise. The debtor
payme'nts alone. If payments of the principal are included, then governments have from time to time called for debt relief but have
debtor countries have paid creditors at a rate of almost 12.50 billion never collectively confronted the creditors. As a reward for docility
dollars per rnonth - as much as the entire Third World spends each the creditors have allowed most debtor-country elites to maintain
month on health and education. their links to the world financial system, providing them with at
least a trickle of fresh money and offering them frequent
Moreover, the debt crisis has given creditor countries the chance to opportunities to purchase local assets at bargain prices through
intervene in the management of dozens of debtors' economies - so<alled'debt-for-equity swaps' or privatisation programmes.
using the Intemational Monetary Fund (IMF) and the World Bant<.
Their job is simple: to make sure the debt is serviced. Since the Fallout in the North
average citizen of a low-income debtor country eams less than one
fiftieth of the average citizen of a high income creditor country, this Yet the pressures exerted by dozens of non-govemmental
process is like trying to extract blood from a stone. organizations, in both North and South, have so far failed to alter
basic debt-management policies. Although the Fund and the Bank
To accumulate hard currency and service its debts, a country must now claim that they seek to'mitigate the social costs of adjustment',
increase its exports and reduce govemment spending. Most debtor official response to the crisis advances at a calculated snail's pace,
governments have accepted this and forced their people to co- inching from one feeble and ineffective 'Plan' to the next while
operate with the draconian policies of the IMF and World Bank to leaving the status quo essentially untouched.
ensure that debts are serviced. Much good has it done them. A
decade has passed since the Third World debt crisis first erupted. Until now those in the North who have tried to change the debt
Yet in spite of harsh measures faithfully applied this crisis is today management strategies have rightly based their arguments on
more intractable than ever. ethical and humanitarian grounds.

Bureaucratic immunity The impact of Third World debt fallout in the North is much less
well known because the consequences of debt are far more serious
Debtor countries have deprived their people of basic necessities in and life-threatening in the South than in the North. But although
order to provide the private banks and the public agencies of the people in the South are more grievously affected than those in the
rich countries with the equivalent of six Marshal Plans, the Norttu in both cases a tiny minority benefits while the
prograrnme of assistance offered by the US to Europe after the overwhelming majority pays.
Second World War.
Thxpayers of the North have carried comme.r'cial banks through the
The World Bank and the IMF structural adjusters have by now had Third World debt crisis from the start and vrrtually all of them are
plenty of time to make their measures work. But they have failed. blissfully unaware of the fact. We have paid Northern banks
Had they been corporate executives they would doubtless have between $44 and $50 billion in tax relief on bad debts - enough to
been sacked long ago for incompetence. But no such accountability meet the entire Third World's health spending for one year.
applies to these intemational bureaucrats acting on behalf of the
creditor governments. They need never submit to the judgement of There is another less measurable cost: the strong correlation
their victims. They answer only to their own equally unaccountable between debt and worldwide military conflict. Loans have
superiors and, at the top of the bureaucratic tree, to a Board of frequently been employed by Third World governments to buy
Govemors reflecting the majority voting strength of the richest arms from Northern manufacturers to use againstboth internal and
creditor countries. These lavishly compensated international civil external opponents. Debt promoted the Gulf War. Saddam Hussein
'servants' are found in Washington and throughout the Third saw the invasion of Kuwait as one way of wiping out the colossal
World, living exceedingly well. debts he owed both to that country and to the allies - much of it
used to finance his arms build-up. George Bush granted massive
There are other beneficiaries. For business corporations oPerating debt forgiveness to an allied Arab nation like Egypt as a reward for
in debtor countries, strucfural adjustment has enhanced staying on his side.
profitability by reducing both wages and the Power of the unions.
For many international banks, debt service payments at unusually Third World debt is not the only cause of , say, increased illegal drug
high interest rates in the early 1980s helped to fuel several years of exports to the US and Europe, or of acceler;r.led deforestation
record earnings. From the corporate or banking perspective, the hastening the greenhouse effect. But it is, at least, au aggravating
World Bank and the IMF pass the test with flying colours. factor, Debt-burdened Latin American gc!('rrtrnents become
hooked on dollars from their coca-producing regions. This severely Altematively, we could decide that it is time - high time - we
dampens their incentive to encourage local crops. Increasing drug began to live together on this improbable planet ashomo sapiens
exports, in turry eralate the costs of law enforcement and conbibute with a good deal more sqiou.
to social breakdown in the North.

A Stake in Change
Economist Susan George is a prolifu writu, thinkr and prominmt
campaigner on the subject of debt. Her books include l:lout the Other Half
Such harmful effects did not suddenly spring fully armed from the
head or the belly of the World Bank. They res ult fiom a set of policies
Dies. A Fate Worce tlan Debt, and most recantly The Debt Boomerang
aimed at promoting a capital-intensive, energy-intensive,
unsustainable Western model of development which was
favourable only to Third World elites, Northem bariks and
trarunatiornl co4>orations.

Relying on unbridled free market forces and export-bi growth,

they have devastated the unprotected: the poorest, most vulnerable TheSix Bmrerangs
groups and the environment.
They are still doing it and quite simply, they have to be stopped. .

Debt-induced poverty causes Third World people to exploit

Any standard of human decency or ethical imperative demands a nafural resources in the most profitable and least sustainable
change in debt management, but so does enlightened self-interest. way which causes an increase in global warming and a
Everyone outside thenarrowest of elite circles has a stakeinpositive depletion of genetic bio-diversity. This ultimately harms the
change. If enough people in the North realize that the Third World \lorth too.
debt crisis is their crisis they may well insist on radically different
policies, speak out and seek to join with similar forces in the South. Drugs

For this to happen we must first think lor ourselves, recognize the The illegal drugs trade is the major eamer for heavily
modern mythology that prevents w from acting and then act. There indebted countries like Peru, Bolivia and Colombia. The social
are some obvious directions we can take to help the 'natural and economic costs of the diug<onsumingboom in the North
majority' to become effective. Workert farmers, trade unionists, is phenomenal-$8O billion a year in the US alone.
activists, parents,inlmigrants, taxpayers - we all have to make a
corunon cause against the common danger. Thxes

We do not want to prescribe a programme but to state some Govemments in the North have used their tax-payers' money
principles: to give banks tax concessions so that they can write off
socalled'bad debts'from Third World countries. Butin most
o First, those who borrowed were rarely elected by their peoples. cases this has not reduced the actual debts of poor countries.
They squandered money on arnu or used it to further entrendr By 1997 UK banks had gained from tax credits for more than
their own power and privilege, counting on their poorer half their exposure. The eventual total relief will amount to
compatriots to make sacrifices to pay back the loans when due. $8.5 billion.
Democratically elected governments should not be expected to
assume the debt burdens of dictatorial predecessors. Unemployment
o Those who made the loans were either irresponsible or
intentionally attempting to make the debtors subervient to their Exports from rich countries to the Third World would be
interests. The creditors have been richly rewarded and are in no much higher if those countries were not shapped by debt, and
danger if the debt is cancelled or converted to provide genuine this would stimulate manufacturing and employment in the
develo'pment. They should play by normal rules and not expect North. The loss of jobs due to lost exports is estimated to
the public to pay for their costly mistakes. account for one fifth of total US unemployment.

o The debt has already been largely or entirely repaid. The North Immigration
is, in fact, substantially in debt to the South and it has received,
since 1982, the cheapest raw materials on record. The International Labour Organization estimates that there
o But cancellation and other debt reduction measures must notbe are about 100 million legal or illegal immigrants and refugees
used as an excuse or a pretext to further cut the debtor countries in the world today. Many go to the richer countries of the
out of the benefits of the world economy. The guiding precepts North to flee poverty and the effect of IMF-imposed economic
should be popular participation in decision-making at every
level, social equity and ecological prudence.
r So long as the policies of the rich North represent a mixture of
crude carrot-and-stick mernoeuvres, coupled with basic Debt creates social unrest and war. Iraq invaded Kuwait in
contempt for the South, its problems and its peoples, we cErn 1990 largely in retaliation for the latter's insistence that
expect more lethal North-South tensions, more powerful Saddam's regime repay a $12 billion loan.
boomerangs hurtling back at us, a further forced retreat of the
ridr countries into Fortress America or Fortress Europe.
T To uris m an I tfie p e op fe
recerpts of $278 billion, according to the World Tourism BrbraGehrcts
Organisation. A report done for American Express daims that travel
and tourism account for nearly 5.5 percent of the world's total gross
national product and produce annual revenues of $2.5 trillion. The the eco-tourist can now choose to join a rainforest research project,
tourist industry is the world's largest employer, with anestimated visit African mountain gorillas or opt to take a water divining tour
118 million people working in tourism. to the Sahel.

Not surprisingly, the majority of the world's tourists are from the Tourism Concem, a non-governmental organisation formed to
industrialised countries, with 57 percent of tourists coming from monitor the impactof tourismon ThirdWorld countries and ensule
Europe and 16 percent from North America. Put another way, 80 responsible tourism, has published a charterfor sustainable tourism
percent of all international travellers are nationals of just 20 in collaboration with the World Wide Fund for Nature. The objective
countries. of the charter is to promote tourism that is just, sustainable and
participatory. Eco-tourism (a.k.a good tourism) should do all the
Thus, it is largely the tourist industry in the affluent tourist- following:
generating countries that determines the nature and scale of
tourism. These tour operators are interested primarily in short- term
o avoid waste and over-consumption
benefits and realising a refurn on capital and investments. However, o use local resources sustainably
the social, cultural, environmental and economic costs of tourism o maintain and encourage natural, economic, social and culfural
are paid by the less affluent, tourism-receiving countries. diversity

While proponents of the tourist industry are keen to stress the

o besensitive to thehostculture
potential benefits of tourism (i.e. hard currency), they are less likely o involve the local community in planning and decision-making
to admit the damage tourism often cauees. . assess environmental, social and ecrcnomic impacts as a
prerequisite to developing tourism
There are many examples of
tourism resulting in severe
environmental degradation (e.g. the area around Mt. Everest in o ensure that most of the benefits go to the local community and
Nepal is strewn with litter left by hekkers, and the streams are avoid over-dependenry on tourism as the only industry
polluted wiih human waste; coastal erosion around beach resorts is o market tourism responsibly, respecting local natural and
aproblem in Kenya, Goa and in the Philippines), debasing the host culfural environments
culture (e.g. the child sex industry in Thailand), dislocating local o train staff in responsible tourism
economies and displacing local people (e.g. the creation of game
parks in Kenya and Tanzania has excluded the Maasai from
o monitor impacts of tourism and ensure open disclosure of
traditional grazing lands; the fishing communities that once
inhabited the coast of Penang, Malaysia have been displaced by
Yet evm small groups of people or for that matter the lone tra'veiler,
beach hotels) and creating conflict and resentment (e.g.
no matter how sensitive, may have a disruptive effect on local
over-conslunption of water by hotels has resulted in conflicts over
culture. This is true especially if the host community has had very
water distribution in Goa, India; the destruction of ancient
little contact with 'mainstream' societv as is still the case with some
Hawaiian sacred burial sites in order to build resorts has sparked
tribal people.
protests; the Mohawk uprising in Canada was triggered by plans to
extend a golf course on Mohawk burial grounds). ln the case of recently contactetl tribal people, the most obvious
danger is that visitors may unlt i'[tingly introduce new diseases to
Mudr of the money generated by tourism is remitted abroad. For
which people in the host community have no immunities. This
example,60 percentof Thailand's $4 billion ayear tourismrevenues
leave the country, according to Tourism Concern. Some critics of the
happened to the Yanomami when gold miners entered their
territory in the 1980s and brought with them a deadly strain of
tourist indwtry have called it the new imperialism.
malaria, as well as influenza and tuberculosis.
Mass tourism has been the target of the most criticism. Because it is
On the other hand, many tribal peoples have interacted with the
so large-scale, it places an undue burden on local resources, skews
world at large for generations and may even actively encourage
the labour market and increases prices for goods and property in
tourism and trade. Tourist interest can sometimes encourage a
the area. This may create increasedhardship for thelocalpopulation
cultural revival and with it the protection of a people's historic and
and breed resentment, as has happened in Goa, India.
cultural heritage, as in the case of Mayan culture in the Mundo Maya
In response to the more obvious negative effects of tourism, many project in Central America. Indigenous people should play a key
tour operators have now proclaimed themselves to be 'green' and role as local guides with their unique knowledge of the area.
have jumped on the eco-tourism bandwugon. The exact definition
of eco-tourism is a matter of considerable debate. It is also not clear While tourism usually promises to provide employment to the local
whether eco-tourism provides solutions to the problems caused by commirnity, the jobs are most often unskilled, menial and poorly
tourism. paid. Very rarely do tribal peoples control the operation of tours in
their own territories.
Eco-tourism hopes to change the unequal relationships of
convmtional tourism. Thus it encourages the use of indigenous More often than not, the needs and rights of indigenous peoples are
guides and local products. Ethical tours purport to combine ignored. For example in west Nepal, the Chhetri people were moved
environmental education with minimal travel comforts, help from their lands to make way for [,ake Rara National Park,
protect local flora and fauna and, provide local people with disrupting theircommunity and leading tonew deforestation at the
economic incentives to safeguard their environment. For example, relocation site.
Survival Intemational does notclaim tobe able toresolve the debate peoples in this marurer we need to see them on their own terms as
surrounding eco-tourism. However, when tribal communities are dynamic and complex societies.
the touristdestinations inquestion,itisrightandwhollyappropriate
that the wishes of thesecommunities be respected. As Rigoberta Menchu, a GuatemalanQuiche Indian and Nobel peace
Prize winner commented, "What hurts Indians most is that our
The key word is control. Not only do tribal peoples have a right to costumes are consideredbeautiful, butit's as if theperson wearingit
their lands, they also have the right to decide what happens on their didn'texist".
lands, to determine their fu ture and.way of life.
Often tribal peoples are photographed without their permission. If
lf andwhen tribal peoplesinvite tourisminto theircommunities, and the photographer publishes the photos, receiving royalties, the
theyshould always be consul ted first, theyshould alsobe involved in people in the pictures almost never get a share of these royalties or
the planning and operation of tours, if they so wish. Clearly, the even get to see the photographs.
benefitsof tourismon tribal landsand in theircommunitiesshouldbe
shared according to agreements negotiated with them, just as they Tourism may distort and irreparably alter the local economy. Tribal
should with any other concessions to exploit resources on their lands peoplewhowereonceself-sufficientor dependedon local trademay
(e.g. ti mber, minerals or oil). now become dependent on the tourist dollar, pound or franc and the
vagaries of the globa I economy.
All too often tour operators treat tribal peoples as exotic objects to be
enjoyed as part of the scenery. They are expected to perform tribal The examples of exploitation of tribal peoples in the name of
music and dances for the consumption of tourists. Devoid of their promoting tourism are familiar to most people who have travelled.
original ceremonial context, these aspects of tribal culhre are The need to bring in foreign currency is used to justify this abuse of
trivialised and become meaningless. Handicrafts which were once tribal peoples rights and denial of their dignity. Clearly, tour
produced for particularuses, are hrrned intotourist trinkets. Culture operators and governments are often willing collaborators and
for many tourists becomes synonymous with song dance, 'native perpetratorsof this form of exploitation. This canbe stopped if tribal
dress' and handicrafts, ignoring the ideas, values,belief systems and peopleare givencontrol over theaccessand developmentof tourism
kinship pattems of the people being visited. Indi- genou -- i-'ulture is intheircommunities. I
devalued and stereotypes are reinforced and perpetuated. (See
"Kerala-the fool's paradise", elsewhere in this issue)
Babara Gehrels is UK coordinator, Suraiaal International. Suraival
Eco-tour operabors are selling 'Rarnforest tourism' to the International is a woildwide moaanent to support tr ibal peoples. lt stanils
environmentally interested traveller by promoting the image of for their right to decide their monfufure and lrclps themprotect their lands,
tribal people as 'noble savages'. Rather than patronising tribal enaironment andzuay of life.

Lettets to the t ilitot

Thank you very much for sending me Vol 2Issue 1 (Oct 93) of of Tourism Carrying Capacity, put forth by Ashok Chatterjee of
ANletter. I am happy to note that you are questioning and the National Institute of Design, on page 5 of the October issue.
challenging the concept of high-income tourism, which often
uses up scarce water resources, takes over private lands under We have then to mount campaigns at the local, state, national
antiquated land acquisition laws and corrupts the irrnocent and international levels. Some of the issues we need to debate
villagers with drugs, sex and alchohol. The cultural gains of are:
tourism and the economic benefits are often overshadowed bv 1.. the need for medium-priced hotels to be planned and built,
these negative aspects.
2. the adverse effect on the environment should be limited
(at the planning stage this can be taken into account),
I attended the meetings at the ISI Bangalore last fune, at which
the lndian People's Tiibunal was set up. I heard two talks on 3. involving local people (such as the patrclnyaf and
tourism (by Norma Alvares and Roland Martins) and discussed community leaders of Goan villages whom you quote on
page 7 of the Newsletter for Oct 93), so that the financial
the matter with them. I visited Goa recently for a few days. My
benefits of tourism on a small scale are as widely spread as
impression is that it is not too late to evolve a balanced approach
to tourism development, whereby the common people are
provided with employment, but the environment is still 4. averting the danger of community leaders being bought
preserved to some extent. ovet or otherwise incorporated into the new tourism
culture, a distinct possibility in the Indian context,
I also made short presentation at the Bangalore rireetings, and
a 5. drawing up an action plan for a particular city/
put forth the view (which I still hold) that, while Goa may need area/region in consultation with "community leaders" and
less tourism of the wrong kind, places like Hyderabad, voluntary action groups but excluding or minimising, the
Gulbarga, Bidaq, and Bijapur need more tourisrr., but of the right role of five-star hotels, etc. and
kind. 6. the State Tourism Departments, and Corporations should
be involved (but perhaps not at the initial stages).
It seems to me that we have to formulate our views in regard to
these matters very dearly, for different areas, using the concept Dr. Vasant K Ba ra llyderabact (ZJ1.gl

Cable: EQUATIOIS SeNGafORE Des:$ & [ay@t by DharEraia Ke"lura ard Typ6etting by Verba Network Sewie, li]9, 8th tdai& 12th Crc$, Mauswilm, Bogalore, Phore: 346692