Kashmir India’s crown, will do everything to connect it with India: Mufti

Junaid Nabi Bazaz

SRINAGAR: Calling Kashmir as the crown of India, and its integration with India as his chief goal, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed said on Sunday that he would do “everything to achieve it”.
Mufti said the PDP-BJP coalition government in Jammu and Kashmir was an historic opportunity to connect the state with rest of the India.
Addressing a J&K Tourism conclave at Gulmarg, Mufti said that over the years “we have been inviting people from across the world” to visit Shah Hamdan’s shrine in Srinagar, but could neither connect the people of Kashmir with Jammu nor the two regions of the state with India.
“Now there is an opportunity to connect both the regions with India through this government,” Mufti said.
The conclave was attended by Union tourism minister Dr Mahesh Sharma besides representatives from business organizations of Jammu and Kashmir.
During his address, Mufti said that outside the Kashmir Valley, it is perceived that the state is not peaceful but his government’s six year term will remove this tag.
“In the worst of the times, like 2008 agitation not even a single tourist was killed here but I don’t understand what has happened to Kashmir. I will try my levels best to change this face. But let me tell you Kashmir is more peaceful in many ways than rest of India,” Mufti added.
The corruption, which is rampant in the state, Mufti said, won’t be tolerated at any level.
“To bring corrupt people to the book, I will go by the perception of people who are being asked to pay bribe,” Mufti said.
Because of its cultural diversity, Jammu and Kashmir is like a miniature India, Mufti said.
To boost the tourism sector of the Valley, Mufti said there was a need for building a peaceful atmosphere and world-class infrastructure for international tourists. He said that he will push for international flights and chartered flights.
Responding to the grievances of business community, Mufti said that they should try to aim at100 percent occupancy in hotels and shun the “begging-bowl” syndrome.
Indian tourism and civil aviation minster Dr Mahesh Sharma during his address said that the clearance for the three hotels, ITC, Centaur and Ashoka will be done in 90 days.
“These three hotels are waiting for clearance from many years. I promise you their construction work will start again in 90 days,” said Sharma.
Referring to violence along the Line of Control, Sharma said “we will fight terrorism with tourism”.