JAMMU: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed Wednesday said his government would promote river cruise and open-top buses as add-on facilities to give fillip to heritage and pilgrim tourism in the state.
Stating that the government intends to promote old Srinagar as a pilgrim and heritage tourism destination, Sayeed, while responding to a question in the House here, said, “Special cruises will operate in river Jhelum exclusively to Khanqah-e-Moula, Zaina Kadal and the historic Jamia Masjid.” “Open-roof bus service for city sightseeing will also be introduced in both the capital cities. A few of these buses have already started to operate in Srinagar.”
Emphasizing upon the need to outsource all properties of JK Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) along the Srinagar-Jammu Highway, he said government will “vastly improve wayside facilities along major road networks in the state to facilitate the passengers as well as tourists.”
Public conveniences at all transit points along the Highway will be renovated for comfort of the visitors, he added.
The Chief Minister said the government will also take steps to develop Shikargah in Tral as a tourist destination.
Defunct JKTDC cafeterias to be outsourced
The Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, said all defunct JKTDC cafeterias will be outsourced in due course of time.
Replying to a question in the Assembly on behalf of Minister for Tourism, Hanjura informed that work to upgrade JKTDC’s cafeteria at Aishamuqam (Pahalgam) on Khannabal-Pahalgam road was taken up during the last fiscal.
Besides offering the variety of foods, the upgraded cafeteria would have public convenience facilities for the tourists and pilgrims, he said, adding there, however, is no proposal to establish new cafeteria and public conveniences in the area. Replying to another question from Javid Ahmed, the Minister said that there is no proposal with government to construct Chailifts or Gondola from Tee-Pee to Bagh Bella for development of Tourism Industry in Karnah and Bangus Valley.
DPR for Banihal Dak-Bungalow in process
The Minister informed the House that Detailed Project Report for reconstruction of the gutted Tourist Dak-Bungalow at Banihal is under preparation.
“Under the proposed plan, the department envisages to construct 10 double-bedded accommodations, restaurants, and kitchen, along with development of the surrounding areas,” he said.
Replying to a question from Vikar Rasool, he informed that two projects—Development of wayside amenities along Jammu-Srinagar Highway from Jammu to Banihal and Destination Development of Mohu-Mangat-Gool, Banihal—has been submitted to New Delhi’s Ministry of Tourism for sanction. Thirteen tourism-related works have been taken up in Banihal constituency at an estimated cost of Rs 3.13 crore, he said, adding Rs 1.14 crore have been expended on these works during the previous financial year.
“Five works have been completed while remaining works are at various stages of execution,” he said.
No proposal to fix rates
Hanjura said the government has no proposal to fix rates or charges for marriages and other related functions in hotels, farmhouses or banquet halls in Jammu province.
He was replying to a question on behalf of the Minister in-charge Housing and Urban Development Department.
The question was asked raised by Naresh Kumar Gupta.