Jammu: The militancy-hit Kashmir valley would once again become “the paradise on earth” as was once described by Mughal Emperor Jahangir, Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik said Saturday, greeting the people on 70th Republic Day after unfurling the tricolour here.
I have no doubt that a day will come once again when Kashmir will be the same as what Emperor Jahangir had praised – a paradise on earth, said the governor.
Emperor Jehangir had once said about Kashmir, “Agar firdaus bar roo-e zameen ast, Hameen ast-o, hameen ast-o, hameen ast! (If there is a paradise on earth; it is this, it is this, it is this).”
And to restore the lost glory of the valley, Malik pinned his hopes on the support and contribution of people from all walks of life in making the state prosperous.
While seeking the people’s support in turning the state’s fortune, Malik promised that his administration would continue to work on its mission good governance and mission delivering development till the state gets back a democratically-elected government.
“I appeal to the members of civil society, political parties, leaders of all social, cultural, religious and other organisations in the state to come forward and lend their hands in building a prosperous Jammu and Kashmir which will be a role model for other states,” the governor said.
The governor unfurled the national flag and took salute at the march past at Jammu University stadium, marking the 70th Republic day celebrations, which were observed across the state with pomp and gaiety amid tight security arrangements.
Conveying warm greetings to the people on the occasion, Malik also complimented the team of his advisors, chief secretary and the officers of civil and police administration for ensuring a discernible change on development and governance scenario in the state.
I assure you all that this process will continue till a democratically-elected government is back in the state. I will reassure you that the government will continue to work on its Mission Good Governance and Mission Delivering Development, he said.
An Indian Air Force chopper showered rose petals over the venue as the governor unfurled the tricolour amid cheers from the gathering at well-attended function. The people also enjoyed the skill of the dare-devil team of the state police.
Listing various steps taken by his administration to ensure “good governance”, the governor said tourism is an important part of overall development and employment strategy and the government is committed to “unlock” the vast potential of the sector.
We have launched a sustained campaign to address the challenges posed to the sector by the negative perception of the situation in the valley.
Our efforts have begun to pay dividends, which is evident from the fact that hotels in Pahalgam and Gulmarg (hill resorts in the valley) have been registering almost 100 percent occupancy for the past couple of months, he said.
He said the state tourism department is making concerted efforts to attract pilgrims and tourists to the state.
As against arrival of 81.78 lakh pilgrims to Shri Mata Vaishno Devi shrine during 2017, pilgrim arrivals stood at 85.87 lakh during 2018, he said adding similarly, the number of pilgrims to Shri Amarnath Ji Yatra rose from 2.60 lakh (in 2017) to 2.85 lakh (in 2018).
To promote tourism in the Ladakh region, the Centre has approved the proposal of the state to open up more tourist and trekking routes.
An additional investment of Rs 2,000 crore has been approved by the Centre for development of new tourism infrastructure projects in the state under PMDP. The investment will increase the tourist flow to the state by way of providing them better amenities and accommodation across the state, he said.