Hornbill Festival
File photo: Hornbill Festival

By: Vikiesa Yano

What do the roads in Nagaland have in common with Northeastern states? They are all hilly filled with greens. But there lies one of the biggest problems in Nagaland and its inability to grow in any sector, especially the tourism department.

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Tourists coming from mainland India or foreigners visit Nagaland for its lush greens, its beautiful mountain ranges, and picturesque sceneries. What they are not expecting is the back-breaking journey it takes to reach those destinations.

Hornbill Festival is one of the biggest and most popular festivals in Nagaland as it reached a peak of 2.43 lakh visitors in the year 2017, but it has gone down in 2018, and 2019 does not look so promising if the road conditions remain the same. The drop in visitors of the Hornbill festival can be credited to the under-construction road from Dimapur to Kohima.

While it would take two hours to cover the stretch from Kohima to Dimapur under normal circumstances, it takes almost three hours because of the poor condition of the road. Because of the dust, the visibility to the drivers also goes down making the ride even more dangerous.

To ask a person to risk his life for the protection of family or one’s own country is a noble cause, but to ask them to enjoy a 10-day festival by undertaking such a perilous journey is absurd, to say the least. But absurdity somehow finds its way into the Hornbill festival as almost every year, many people lose their lives due to vehicular accidents. Most of these careless accidents are caused by drunk drivers driving on the narrow and unpaved roads.

The bad reputation of Hornbill festival has accumulated over the years the change in location of the Hornbill rock contest from 14 stadium in Kohima to Dimapur and the bad road condition are all factors haunting the festival and the State Tourism department as a whole.

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