Diverse, Rich and Astonishing!!! These words are insufficient to define the beauty of our great Indian cultural heritage and that does not only constitute our identity but gave India a reason of global attention too. India ranks among top tourist destination because of our archeological sites, our values and our uniqueness. But our great culture is being ruined by a malpractice named as ‘Lapka Culture’ where some touts who can be unscrupulous shopkeepers, greedy auto rickshaw drivers or self-styled tourist guides harass foreign tourists with the sole purpose of money making.
Yes, ‘Lapka Culture’ is an emerging trend in India, in which tourists are ambushed at the stations or airports itself by touts and the harassment continues during their stay in the city. These touts often engage in unlawful activities without realizing the gravity of the situation. We get many complaints from female tourists where the touts force the tourists verbally to book their hotel or buy their products and in some extreme cases they even try to touch the tourists.
Such incident not only create an insecurity among tourists but also malign the image of our country. We have acknowledged the gravity of the issue and have started exploring the ways by which Lapka Culture can be put to an end. Some of the proactive steps taken by the government include:
- Harassing or touching tourists could soon be a criminal offence, even punishable under the provisions of organized crime.
- First, touts will be warned, then identified and punished later on.
- This provision is likely to come in effect from April 1.
The issue of Lapka Culture is crucial in Agra due to Taj Mahal but not centric to it, Ministry of Culture with the joint efforts of state & central government has taken several measures to curb it. We are installing CCTV cameras on all the possible locations and linking it with a central control room. We are also opening a single window in Taj Mahal where all the concern of the tourists, be it national or international will be addressed and their suggestions will be welcomed.
Lapka Culture is a ‘National Shame’ and we must work together end it, I call upon the support of all media persons, and all nationals to completely eradicate this disgraceful practice from our culture. We as an individual must not support it, complaint about it immediately in order to protect our culture and cherish our cultural values like ‘Atithi Devo Bhava’ that truly define us.