Asked Delhi for chartered flights to Valley: CM

SRINAGAR: The state has asked New Delhi to allow special chartered flights to the Valley to counter rising airfares during the peak tourism season, Chief Minister (CM) Mufti Mohammed Sayeed said Thursday.
Interacting with various associations of tourism stakeholders, the CM said he has asked New Delhi for special chartered flights besides allowing night landing facility at Srinagar Airport and starting international flights from Srinagar to Saudi Arabia for Umrah pilgrims.
“The travellers can now avail LTC on private airlines also. Previously, the facility was only available on Indian Airlines carrier,” he added.
Sayeed also launched the ‘Kashmir Calling Package’ with an aim to boost occupancy levels this tourist season.
He asked hotel and houseboat owners to offer “substantial” off-season discounts for attracting more tourists to the Valley.
Sayeed, who is also the state’s Minister for Tourism, said, “Several add-on packages like light-and-sound show in Mughal Gardens, Dunga and Shikara cruises in Dal lake and Jhelum, dedicated food streets and Bukharas in Srinagar, golf, river rafting and adventure sports packages to increase tourist footfall will be promoted this season.”
“The heritage sector will also get a big boost by promotion of Shar-e-Khas of Srinagar city,” he added.
He said the Tourism Department will also operate Jhelum cruises for heritage visitors and beautify Chinar Bagh and Jhelum banks from Zero Bridge to Veer.
Sayeed told the houseboat owners that his government would promote Dal Lake as a “world heritage site, for which immediate steps are required to realign houseboats for facilitating collective sanitation”.
In his meeting with Kashmir Hotelier and Restaurateurs Association, Sayeed said he has already passed directions for creation of a Single Window System, which will collectively examine issues of periodic renewals of hotel registrations, installation of STPs and obtaining of NoCs from all concerned departments.
The government, he said, will “soon finalize master-plans for proper development of city and resorts”.
The Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry delegation appreciated the efforts of the CM in prioritizing tourism and business sectors, and demanded immediate repair of Jammu-Srinagar Highway and inter-district roads that have been severely damaged in last year’s floods.