‘Your arrival will heal wounds’
SRINAGAR: Speaking at the inaugural ceremony of the 64th Travel Agents Association of India (TAAI) Convention, being held at SKICC Srinagar, Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said on Tuesday that “even our country (India) has left us alone” at a time of crisis, but expressed hope that the tourism convention would help heal the “wounds”.
“Kashmir is caught in a quagmire of problems. But our country has left us alone to fight them,” Mehbooba said in her address to the convention that is being held in Kashmir after nearly three decades. It will be attended by more than 700 Indian tourism delegates.
She said there were multiple ways of dealing with these problems, but except the gun nothing had been adopted as a solution.
“This gun leaves wounds which have not been healed. There must be someone who can heal them,” Mehbooba said. “Your arrival will heal them,” she said to the delegates.
Mehbooba praised Kashmir for its safe environment for women, and called Kashmir the best place in India.
“Even if the diversity of entire India is put together, Kashmir is the best. This place, which is heaven on earth, is also the safest place for women in India,” she said.
She blamed Indian news channels for blowing the problems in Kashmir out of proportion. “If there will be an encounter taking place in a remote area in the Valley, they (news channels) will project it as if the entire Kashmir is burning,” she said.
“The truth is that the situation is not like that. Still, it has affected tourism in the Valley as well as in Jammu. Your arrival is a good omen for us. Aap aaye, bahaar aayi,” she said to the delegates.
She appealed to the delegates to spread the message of Kashmir’s hospitality in the rest of India.
Mehbooba also appealed to the tourism department to facilitate people in visiting Hindu shrines in Jammu by easing the traffic congestion on the routes.
She said that every region of the State offers unique attraction to tourists of every kind.
“I have asked the Department to devise packages for every segment-youth, old, newlywed, nature lovers, conservation activists, students of society so that its multi dimensional facet is explored properly,” she said.
Mehbooba Mufti complimented the Tourism Department and tour and travel fraternity for working together to make the convention possible. She asked the delegates to roam around and check for themselves the veracity of reports as displayed by a section of electronic media about the State.
On the occasion, the Chief Minister gave away awards to leaders in different segments of the industry in the country.
Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Mufti in his address said Jammu & Kashmir provides a varied attraction to tourists in terms of the regions, cultures and cuisines. He said while promoting tourism the stakeholders have to act as guardians and conservationists for the preservation of the same. He said today’s TAAI convention offers hope to the members of tourism industry of the State.
Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi also addressed the inaugural function and outlined the uniqueness of the State in providing niche tourism attractions to every segment of society.
Other key speakers on the inaugural function included Sunil Kumar, President, TAAI and Aditya Gosh, President, Indigo Airlines.
Ministers, Abdul Rehman Veeri, Syed Basharat Bukhari, Abdul Haq Khan, Syed Altaf Bukhari; legislators; senior executives of TAAI; members of travel and tourism fraternity of the country; senior officers of Divisional administration and Tourism Department attended the inaugural function of the three day convention.