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Local residents join hands to promote tourism in Lathehar
by Girija Shankar Ojha

     Latehar (Jharkhand): Latehar in Jharkhand is known for its rich natural beauty, forest, forest products and minerals. But Maoists' presence in the area has affected tourism. However, local residents have now started bringing a change in Latehar, as they believe a better livelihood could be possible if a united effort was made to create an environment that is tourist-friendly. Residents in Jharkhand's Latehar District hence are engaged in initiatives to revive the region's tourism industry. For this, they ensure the safety of visitors and provide them with basic facilities. Several locals have become tourist guides. Many others are working as gardeners at popular tourist spots. "We provide protection to the tourists so that no untoward incident or accident affects them. We take care and try to provide all facilities to them," said Manbahal Mistry, a local, working as a guide. One of the popular destinations here is the Lodh Falls, also known as theBuddha Ghagh Falls. It is located in the Mahuadaner block of Latehar, 40 kilometres off Ranchi. The waterfall is situated deep inside the pristine forests of the Chota Nagpur Plateau. The presence of Maoists, also known as Naxalites had discouraged several tourists in the past from exploring the enchanting environs. However, thanks to the efforts of the local residents, the fear of Maoists is eclipsed as the tourists are taken on a conducted tour of interesting places. Rajiv, one of the tourists from Patna said: "I have come from Patna to see Lodh falls. I like certain arrangements made by the government but I specially appreciate the help that I have got from the locals here. They took us around as guides and told everything about this place."
-August 18, 2009

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