JAMMU: The Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi on Friday informed the Legislative Council that Jammu and Kashmir witnessed a footfall of 78.72 lakh tourists till November last year and added that the state government has devised exclusive circuits for development of potential tourist destinations in the state to attract maximum number of visitors to the state.
The minister was replying to separate questions of Ashok Khajuria and Naresh Kumar Gupta.
Giving details of tourist arrivals, she said around 11.61 lakh tourists visited Kashmir Valley, 2.59 lakh paid obeisance at Amarnath, 61.88 lakh at Mata Vaishno Devi and 2.63 lakh visited Ladakh during last year, an official handout read.
Listing the details about tourism promotion projects, she said “these have been taken up under major tourism circuits like integrated development of tourist facilities along Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop Circuit, Anantnag-Phalgam-Daksum – Ranjit Sagar Dam Circuit, Jammu–Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama Circuit and Gulmarg-Baramulla- Kupwara- Leh Circuit.
“Circuits have been exclusively devised and largely rolled out for creation of facilities and assets under PM’s Development package, Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD schemes” she told the House adding that the roadmap is in tandem with the state government’s focus on promotion of tourism in the state.
She said that Rs 51.15 crore has been allocated to various development authorities for execution of works under PMDP and allied centrally sponsored schemes.
Rolling out the circuit wise allocations, she said, “Rs 19.56 crore have been sanctioned for Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop Circuit, Rs 19.38 crore for Gulmarg- Baramulla- Kupwara- Leh Circuit, Rs 19.28 crore each for Phalgam-Dacsum – Ranjit Sagar Dam Circuit and Rajouri-Shopian- Pulwama Circuit and Rs 37.51 Crore for Swadesh Darshan for Himalyan Circuit.”
The minister further informed that Rs 47.25 crore have been allocated in lieu of tourism assets destroyed in the September 2014 floods.
She also informed the House that the work on first stage of Patnitop Gondola project is apace and is likely to be completed by the end of this year.
Priya Sethi said that government’s focus is to project Jammu region as an independent and preferred tourist destination.
“Keeping in tandem with the focus of the state government on promotion of tourism in the state and to promote Jammu as a separate destination in particular programmes, circuits have been exclusively devised and largely rolled out for implementation of creation of assets/implementation under Prime Minister’s Development Package, Swadesh Darshan and PRASAD Schdemes in particular” the minister asserted.
She said that Prime Minister’s Development Package also includes development of tourist facilities at Jhajjar Kotli, Panchari, Siard Baba Reasi, Sidhra Golf Course, Tata Pani Rajouri, Qilla Dantitop, Loran/Jallian Park. She said work at all these places is in progress as part of the Jammu-Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama Circuit.
She said that the facilities under this circuit for Jammu region are iconic suspension bridge at Jhajjar Kotli, eco log huts, tourist cafeterias, water sports, etc.
Responding to the supplementary questions by Ajat Shatru Singh, Sham Lal Bhagat and Vibodh Gupta, the minister said that the government was “creating best amenities at all the potential tourist destinations in the state”, the handout added.