Srinagar: Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti on Saturday said the government is making serious efforts to promote pilgrimage tourism in Srinagar.
Interacting with workers at the foundation laying ceremony of an integrated development of Hazratbal Dargah, Mehbooba said that her government has plans of developing tourism facilities in Srinagar city in a “big way” so that the city is promoted as a destination on its own, thereby contributing to the local economy.
She said the city has a rich preserve of shrines, mosques and places of heritage requiring protection and upgradation with latest facilities.
“It was (late) Mufti sahabs dream to promote religious sites in Kashmir as tourist destinations and, if God and situation allows, we will accomplish his dream collectively,” Mehbooba while addressing workers at the ceremony said.
She said his late father not only cared about the religious sites only but he also advocated for the welfare of people living around them.
“It was his late father’s wish to take Kashmir out of the crises and make it a heaven just like God had created it (Kashmir). I hope, with the blessings of this (Hazratbal) holy shrine and prayers of you people we will accomplish the unfinished dream of Mufti sahab”, she said.
Pitching for projects in which people have good stake and benefit, Mehbooba asked the project executing agencies to complete the works on the project within the stipulated time and involve locals in terms of work distribution and other components of the project.
Mehbooba hoped that the project would be completed within the stipulated time of two years while assuring concerned officials that there was no lack of funds for the project.
The main components of an ambitious Rs 45 crore project include tensile structures for prayers during summers and rainy season, four-laning of the Dargah entrance, illumination of the shrine complex, underground ablution spots, and dormitory for devotees of far flung areas, re-designing of the Dargah market, an Islamic Cultural Centre, an exclusive Sewerage Treatment Plant for the shrine complex etc.
The project also envisages an unobstructed view of Dal Lake from the shrine complex. Earlier, Secretary, Tourism, Farooq Ahmad Shah briefed the Chief Minister about the salient features of the project. He said Rs 110 crore have been earmarked for various tourism development projects in the Srinagar city.