SRINAGAR: The Chief Mister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday stressed on setting up more golf courses in the state to attract tourists.
Speaking at a high-level meeting held at the famous ski resort Gulmarg, Sayeed described golf tourism as “critical” to making J&K a high-end holiday destination, and emphasised on setting up more golf courses at Sonamarg, Yusmarg, Dudapathri, and at Jammu’s Jai-Bhaderwah.
He also called for revival of the golf course at Gulmarg.
“We have to see why golfing as a sport has failed to take off at a lovely place such as Gulmarg,” he said.
Describing Kashmir as “ideally suited for high-end holiday travel”, Sayeed said he was confident of the Valley witnessing same tourist rush throughout the year if the facilities were upgraded to the level of international standards.
Sayeed ordered a weeklong mass awareness campaign from October 7 for sensitising all tourism stakeholders about the significance of cleanliness and hygiene at all locations falling under the jurisdiction of tourism development authorities, particularly at Gulmarg, Pahalgam, and Patnitop.
“The campaign shall involve all concerned MLAs, district and divisional administrations from across the state,” he said.
He asked the Chief Secretary to quickly finalise the Gulmarg Master Plan for adding an “international flavour” to the resort.
“Once the Master Plan is finalised, it will enable us to conceive plans for starting a wide range of activities to make Gulmarg a high-end (destination),” he said.
The Secretary Tourism informed the chief minister that all “modalities and procedural requirements” have been finalised, while the revised master plan is expected to be approved in the next cabinet meeting.
The chief minister issued directions for uninterrupted water and power supply availability at the resort.
A Detailed Project Report (DPR) for laying power cables underground at Gulmarg has been prepared on the instructions of the Chief Minister to ensure round-the-clock electricity supply.
The chief minister was informed that a mechanism has been put in place to keep Patnitop, Pahalgam, and Gulmarg “clean and professionally maintained”.
The Chief Executive Officer of Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) informed the CM that while most of the hotels have already installed their own Sewerage Treatment Plants, a DPR for setting up a common STP for effective solid waste management has been prepared already.
The project is estimated to cost Rs 17 crore. The CM also stressed development of healthcare facilities at Gulmarg.
Sayeed visited the picturesque Strawberry Valley. He directed the Secretary Tourism to develop the site for tented accommodations and villas for high-spending visitors.
Chief Minister directed Chief Engineer R&B to macadamise the Gulmarg-Strawberry Valley-Dobi Ghat road. He also stressed on developing cycling tracks for paddlers.
He also set November 25 as the deadline for ongoing restoration of the historic Maharaja Palace
Stressed on creating a facility for imparting training in horse riding to people, the chief minister said, “A Riding Club with good quality horses should be set up at Gulmarg by the Tourism Department”