Jammu: Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti Monday said the state government has adopted a multipronged strategy to harness the tourism potential and position Jammu and Kashmir as the leading Global destination adding that the idea is to make the tourism sector as the principal engine of the State’s economic growth.
Winding up the discussion on Demands for Grants of Tourism and allied Departments for the year 2018-19, the Minister, in his maiden speech in the Legislative Assembly, said government’s endeavour would be to frame a tourism policy for not just creating jobs but to ensure better livelihood for the people.
“We should not ignore the environmental consequences while creating infrastructure and exploring new destinations,” he said and mentioned the emerging situation around Pyangong Lake, Ladakh and Sonamarg in Kashmir due to uncontrolled human activities. He stressed on the need on laying equal focus on the waste management in the environmentally fragile destinations.
“To achieve the set targets, the Tourism department is working in a mission mode to make JK a destination that is natural in its environs, global in standards, modern in outlook, traditional in its hospitality, mystical in sensibilities and entertaining in its experience” he added.
The Minister said that a self-sustained tourism model has been envisioned and is being implemented in all three regions of the state for inclusive socio-economic development and ensuring emergence of each region as exclusive independent tourist destination.
He said that emphasis is being laid on creating durable assets in all the potential tourist spots of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh so that a good tourist influx is influenced towards the state.
The Minister informed the House that under PMDP funding, the department envisages consolidation/creation/strengthening of existing infrastructure across the state, bringing about quality facilities like amusement parks, golf courses, Light and Sounds shows, river cruises food streets, way side facilities to attract both domestic and high end tourists.
He said that PMDP funding would be utilized keeping in view various aspects including development of theme based Tourist Circuits on the principle of high tourist value competitiveness which further enhance employment opportunity to the general masses, developing economically favourable Tourism Infrastructure to improve the livelihood, community based development of projects coupled with training, capacity building measures and to un-tab the outdoor activities in adventure tourism.
Giving details of the projects taken up under the Scheme, he said that development of Sound and Light Show with water fountains at SKICC Ghats at a cost of Rs 8 crore and Rs 1.53 crore Eco log Multipurpose hall at Apple Resort at Chinniwooder in Anantnag has been completed, while wayside amenities in Bijbehara at a cost of Rs 1.5 crore and development of Tourism infrastructure at Suchetgarh Border at a cost of Rs 4.92 crore is in progress.
Under Prime Minister Development Package (PMDP), the Minister said that various projects including development of Tourist facilities at Bhagwati Nagar, Jammu involving a cost of Rs 15.96 crore, development of Tourist facilities at SKICC at a cost of Rs 9.25 crore, development of water Sports at Manasbal Lakeworth Rs 5 crore, development of tourist facilities at Dal lake at a cost of Rs 4.5 crore and Eco log huts at Jammu Tawi Golf Course, involving cost of Rs 8 crore are in progress and shall be completed on fast track basis. He said projects under PMDP have been taken up at an accumulative cost of Rs 32.7crore, while works at Tourist Convention Centre, Srinagar taken up under State Plan at a cost of 12 crore are expected to be completed by June, 2018.
With regard to the status of Jammu Ropeway project, he said that project is at advanced stage of completion. He said the Section from Bahu to Mahamaya Park is expected to be completed by March, 2018 and that from Peerkho to Mahamaya is expected to be completed by May 2018.
“To promote pilgrimage centres through a holistic infrastructure development approach, Ministry of Tourism, GoI has sanctioned Rs 42 crore for development of Hazratbal under Pilgrimage Rejuvenation and Spiritual Augmentation Drive (PRASAD). On the same lines, a project has been formulated for integrated development of Katra” he added.
Tassaduq further informed that to tap the tourist inflow from the adjoining States of Punjab, Haryana and Himachal, major tourist attraction projects including Water Sports Complex are being developed at Manasbal, Basohli and Pull Doda in the first instance, while facilities are being created as a part of Border Tourism at Keran-Teetwal-Chakan-da-Bagh-Nowshera-Salamabad (Uri)-Karnah and Rawlakot.
He said the emphasis is being laid on encouraging foreign tourist flow and the short-distance market has been generating tourist to the State in general and to Kashmir Division in particular.
Later the House passed the Grants of Rs 55746.19 lakh for Tourism department with voice-vote.