Tourism revival essential for JK’s sustainable dev: Forest min

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‘JAMMU: Government is keen to equip Surinsar and Mansar gardens with modern infrastructural edifice to facilitate tourists thronging these places from across India, Minister for Forests, Ecology and Environment Choudhary Lal Singh stated on Wednesday adding that Surinsar and Mansar gardens were one of the finest tourist destinations in the state.

Singh was chairing a meeting of officers at Civil Secretariat, here.

Commissioner/Secretary Forests, Ecology and Environment Sourabh Bhagat, Chief Wildlife Warden Manoj Pant, Conservator East Circle Kh Qamar-ud-Din, Regional Director Wildlife Dr V S Sinthil Kumar, Secretary Technical Forest Department Ramesh Kumar, Director Finance besides other senior officers of forests and wildlife were present on the occasion.

He directed the wildlife department to purchase two steamers, one four-seater for Surinsar Lake and other ten-seater for Mansar Lake, for anti-poaching activities, read an official handout.

The minister directed the officers to prepare a comprehensive plan for creating more tourist facilities at Thein Dam in Basholi, Jastrota Talab in Kathua, Mansar Lake in Samba and Surinsar in Jammu so that the visiting tourists did not face any inconvenience on this account.

Lal Singh asked the forests department to plant ornamental and fruit trees around the areas of Thein Dam in Basholi and also demarcate the area with chain link fencing for avoiding encroachments. He asked the officers to construct pathway along the areas of the Tein Dam for convenience of the tourists.

While highlighting government’s initiatives towards tourism promotion in the state, Singh informed that “government has earmarked Rs. 1.27 crore for conservation of wetlands of Pangong Tso and Tso Morari in Leh”.

The minister said that the state government was committed to revive tourism industry which is essential for sustainable development of the state. He said that tourism has contributed immensely to the growth of the state. He said, “Multiple beneficial aspects of domestic and international tourism have special relevance to the socio-economic development of the state.”

Lal Singh said that state’s economy would grow immensely if proper attention was paid towards available natural resources of all the three regions of Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh in the state. He added that in Jammu, after industrial sector, pilgrim-tourism offered great potential that needed to be properly tapped. “Even if 10 per cent of 72 lakh visitors are encouraged to tour tourist destinations like Bhaderwah, Surinsar-Mansar and Bani-Basholi, it will spread the yarn of tourism further in the region”, the minister said.

Referring to the tourism potential of Kashmir valley, the minister said the “Paradise on Earth” is blessed with attractive spots that require immediate up-gradation. He underscored the need for formulating a viable and relevant strategy for sustainable tourism development of the valley, the handout added.

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