SRINAGAR: Terming Hazratbal shrine as the symbol of spiritual soul of Kashmir, the Minister for tourism Tasaduq Hussain Mufti Monday stressed for developing the shrine and its surroundings area in a holistic integrated and eco-friendly manner.
The Minister said that it will not only help in creating modern-up to date facilities for devotees and visitors but also serve as a key to highlight ,preserve and broaden understanding of the glory of Kashmir and its spirituality Ethos.
The Minster was addressing a meeting convened to review the Integrated Development of Hazratbal Shrine and its surroundings under PRASAD Scheme.
The Minister was informed that the basic premise of the plan includes conservation of heritage, planning for sustainable development, broadening the tourist experiences.
Seeking details regarding the local community participation in the plan, the Minister was apprised that the plan includes a software compound for developing the community skills in the field of hospitality, art and crafts.
It was given out that the plan has been developed within the limits of existing local land use plan, especially the Master Plan for Srinagar City, the Guidelines of PRASAD, Minister of Tourism as well as international and national charters, conventions and standards practices in the field of Heritage conservation.
Tassaduq Mufti stressed for sustainability of plan in an integrated manner by synergizing efforts to focus on needs and concerns of all stockholders to enrich religious and spiritual tourism experiences, besides enhancing employment opportunities.
Seeking details regarding the annual footfall of the shrine, the Minister was informed that the annual footfall of the shrine is 20 lakhs and monthly footfall is 1.5 lakhs.
It was given out the during processions footfall reaches upto 3.5 lakhs in a day and its expected that in future trend will go upto 30 lakhs annually.
The Minister was informed that the tourist activities and management of tourist facilities presently looked after by Tourism department, Lake & Waterways Development Authority and Muslim Waqaf Board in the area are covered under the proposed plan.
Mufti expressing his concern over the number of temporary sheds erected within the site premises said that these not only mars visual appeal but also are major hindrance in the visual link between several of the sites. He was informed that it is proposed in the plan to provide mechanized tensile structures covering the entrance courtyard.
The Minister was further apprised that the various shopping units will be constructed with eco-friendly prefabricated shopping kiosks at an estimated cost of Rupees 140 lakhs.
The meeting was informed that besides various other developmental projects it is also proposed in the plan that a multi storied mechanized parking comprising 4 storey block with a parking capacity of 288 vehicles at main Hazrabal Main chowk at an estimated cost of Rupees 1132 lakhs will be established to tackle traffic issues .
The Minister was apprised that the core idea of the proposed plan is conservation of heritage and culture sharing it with visitors, besides to drive a national mission for rejuvenation and spiritual augmentation of important religious destinations
The meeting was informed that the proposed plan is to position tourism as a major engine of economic growth, creation of job opportunities and to provide complete tourism experiences by enhancing tourist attractiveness of the religious destinations in a sustainable manner.
Mufti stressed for strengthening the measures for safety and security of tourist and to improve the quality tourism services, besides strengthening the mechanism for bridging the infrastructure gaps at pilgrimage destination.
Managing Director J&K Construction Corporation, managing Director J&K SICOP, Managing Director J&K Housing Board, Managing Director J&K Cable Car Corporation, Director Tourism Kashmir and various other senior officers attended the meeting.