New tourist destinations to be developed in JK : Mehbooba

The members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism, called on the Chief Minister

The members of the Parliamentary Standing Committee on Tourism, Transport and Culture headed by Mr Kiranmay Nanda, MP, called on the Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti here last evening and discussed issues pertaining to development of modern tourism infrastructure in Jammu and Kashmir. 

Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr Navin Kumar Choudhary, Secretary Tourism, Mr Farooq Ahmad Shah and Director Tourism Kashmir, Mr Mehmood Ahmad Shah, were present on the occasion. 

Interacting with the Parliamentary delegation, the Chief Minister said J&K Government is in the process of developing new tourist destinations in the State for which it needs adequate financial and technical support from the central government. “We will involve experts in building state-of-the-art tourism infrastructure at these new destinations,” she said and added that the Government won’t, however, allow vandalizing of these new resorts as has, unfortunately, happened with some of the most cherished tourist destinations in Jammu and Kashmir.

“We would allow only development of eco-friendly infrastructure at the upcoming tourist destinations like Tosamaidan, Ranjit Sagar Dam, Mughal Road and Bangus Valley and develop local economic stakes in tourism promotion,” she said and added that tourism is directly linked to economic revival and J&K has been gifted by the God with breathtaking scenic beauty and water resources which need to be harnessed judiciously for tourism promotion.

Maintaining that violence was hurting the State’s economic interests the most with tourism being the biggest casualty, the Chief Minister sought support of the people in maintaining peace. “Unfortunately, the state’s tourism and business fraternity has to suffer the brunt when atmosphere of peace is disturbed in the valley by violent incidents,” she said.

The Chief Minister hailed the local stakeholders associated with travel and tourism industry for playing a key role in the promotion of tourism. She said tourism spreads best by the word of mouth and the players associated with the industry have played a key role in establishing a feel-good factor among the tourists. 

The Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of the Tourism portfolio, said the department is conceptualizing a plan to promote niche tourism activities in the State including border tourism, religious tourism and adventure tourism 

The other members of the visiting Parliamentary Standing Committee included, Ms Ritabrata Banerjee, Mr Harish Chnadra Meena, Mr Ram Kumar Sharma, Mr Shatrugan Sinha, Mr Dasrath Tirkey and Mr K C Venogopal. 

Senior officers from Rajya Sabha Secretariat and Union Tourism Ministry also accompanied the Parliamentary Committee.