JAMMU: Minister for Education Naeem Akhtar Sunday called for tapping the diverse tourism potential of Kargil and Leh including adventure sports and mountaineering to give flip to the economy of the area.
“Various initiatives have been taken to fully harness the tourism potential of Kargil and Leh and besides area-specific measures, the desert district is being developed as a part of Rs 97 crore, Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit,” the Minister said while addressing 21st annual function of All Ladakh Students Welfare Association Jammu (ALSWAJ) at Zorawar Auditorium of Jammu University here.
Chairman Legislative Council, Haji Anayat Ali, Councillor LAHDC-Kargil Aga Abbas and members of ALSWAJ besides parents, scholars and prominent citizens of Kargil were present on the occasion.
The Minister said that under Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit proposed under Himalayan Circuit, tourist spots and unexplored areas would be developed at Gulmarg, Baba Reshi, Lolab, Drass, Kargil, Sankhoo, Skuru, Nobra-Turtuk, on Leh-Manali road and heritage sites of Kargil, Leh and Zanaskar.
He said the Tourism Department has also engaged Indian National Trust for Art and Cultural Heritage (INTACH) to prepare a detailed project report for preservation and promotion of historic forts in Kargil. “The government is also showcasing Kargil’s key cash crop — apricot — to attract tourists to the cold desert,” he said and added that plans for developing a ice-hockey rink and amusement park at Kargil are also being evaluated.
For tapping potential for adventure sports and mountaineering which involves hiking and climbing on hilly terrain, the Minister said Kargil is being pitched as the base camp for expeditions to the Nun Kun Peak. The tourism department has already taken up the issue with the Indian Mountaineering Federation, he said.
The Minister urged the local youth to get trained in skills related to tourism and contribute in tourism promotion in their area.
On this occasion, ALSWAJ President presented a memorandum to the Minister and other dignitaries, highlighting issues regarding infrastructure deficiencies in colleges of Kargil and Zanaskar, providing hostel facilities for girl students of Kargil and Zanaskar in Jammu, separate Degree College for Women, setting up of examination centres of SSB in, besides opening of BEd College in the district.
The Minister assured the Association that their demands would be looked into.