Tourists visiting scenic Meghalaya could land themselves in jail if they are found littering the roads or tourists spots, according to an advisory from the state police. Citizens are to keep order on public roads, streets and all the tourist spots and desist from causing obstruction, injury or annoyance to passersby, or cause pollution and littering in any public roads and tourist spot. In fact, the state also has the distinction of having the cleanest village in Asia.
Any person not obeying the orders is liable to be arrested under sections of Meghalaya Police Act, 2010 and on conviction by a court of law will be liable to be fined Rs 5,000. The advisory is being enforced by the state police in East Khasi Hills district, which attracts a major tourist inflow in the state. If you are visiting tourist spots, you are also advised to carry garbage bags in vehicles to throw wrappers of food materials and water bottles and finally dump them in appropriate bins, it said.
Tourist footfall in the state has doubled in the last 10 years, according to the tourism department, and the amount of trash being dumped by visitors could create trouble for the beautiful hill state. In 2006, a little over 4 lakh domestic tourists visited the state while in 2016, there were 8.3 lakh of them. During the period, the number of foreign tourists increased from a little over four thousand to nearly 8,500 till December last year.
A tourism official said that there was steady increase of about 50,000 tourists in Meghalaya every year and going by the current rate, their number are likely to double within the next five years.