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LG calls for developing tourist circuits across J&K

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e-inaugurates educational infrastructure projects, 8 KGBVs, 7 girls hostels

Srinagar: Emphasizing on providing a unique experience to tourists and increasing their footfall, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Wednesday passed directions to prepare a comprehensive future plan for promoting tourism sector in J&K, and identifying new, unexplored tourist spots.

While taking a review meeting of Tourism department here at Civil Secretariat, the LG observed that the UT is bestowed with abundant natural beauty and breathtaking landscapes. He asked the officers of the Tourism department for developing various tourist circuits across the UT, laying special focus on adventure tourism, trekking activities, pilgrimage sites, water sports and other popular ventures.

According to an official press release, the LG laid thrust on ensuring easy access to all tourist places, with proper mobile connectivity, ATM facilities and other utilities so that the visitors have hassle-free and memorable experiences.

The LG directed the concerned officers to develop state-of-the-art facilities by coordinating with other agencies for full utilization of tourism infrastructure by which the tourists coming for pilgrimage at Shri Mata Vaishno Devi and other religious places also visit other important tourist destinations.

Directing for high level of inter-departmental coordination for coherent efforts, the LG asked the Tourism department to integrate its efforts with Culture department while organizing mega literary, arts and Sufi festival in J&K. Similarly, coordinate with Forest department for identifying more trekking routes, he added.

The LG also directed for proper maintenance of tourism properties so that they remain in impeccable condition throughout the year. “Ensure that forest hutments, tourist accommodations and stays are utilized properly,” said the LG.

“Lay special focus on revenue generation, work in collaboration with Mission Youth,extend handholding of youth for financial and other requisite support, so that they can earn livelihood in tourism sector, and  at the same time offer best facilities to tourists,” the LG remarked.

Stressing on developing the tourism sector of Jammu region, the LG directed the Tourism department to launch special drive to promote Jammu tourism circuit. He further directed for organizing a 3-months long festival in Jammu to popularize various tourist destinations.

Instructions were also passed for developing all the requisite tourism facilities at Mantalai so that the tourists can witness the beauty of this less-explored destination.

For developing the tourist places located in remote and far-flung areas, the LG directed the tourism authorities to build tourism infrastructure through convergence mode for the convenience of the visiting tourists. He gave example of annual Machail Mata Yatra held in Kitshtwar and other similar religious and tourist spots in remote places.

“Pay special attention to maintain cleanliness at such tourist places and ensure sustainable development without disturbing the ecological balance,” he added.

He also sought detailed status of the working of Jammu & Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation JKTDC and various regional Tourism development authorities, and directed them for regular updating of their websites, providing latest relevant information for tourists and taking all required measures to tap the full potential of tourist sites.

The LG enquired about cruise boat in Dal Lake to be launched soon by JKTDC and exhorted the officers to ensure that tourism projects make visible impact. He asked them to construct public utilities and toilet facilities at all tourist places.

“Plan accordingly so that benefits of government schemes are availed by all stakeholders and beneficiaries,” he added.

A PowerPoint presentation was given by Sarmad Hafeez, Administrative Secretary, Tourism department in which he apprised the LG about the initiatives in pipeline viz. launching of  cruise in Dal Lake by JKTDC, engagement of consultants/event management agencies, integrated web portal, capacity building of stakeholders under Industrial  policy, upgradation of JKTDC properties, helicopter safari services, prepaid services for pony walas, Basic Life Skills (BLS)  training for adventure activities, opportunities  for start-ups under Mission Youth, and upcoming Gurez Festival.

Earlier, the LG was apprised about the various initiatives taken by the department to promote tourism activities after the 1st and 2nd Covid wave receded, like Pahalgam/Patnitop Winter Carnival, Gulmarg Winter Carnival, Christmas  Celebrations, 2nd Edition of Khelo India winter games held at Gulmarg, Badamwari Festival at Srinagar, Tulip festival at Srinagar,  Lohri Festival at Jammu, Travel Marts, National Road Shows, Webinars, Vaccination Drive, Capacity building workshops, Golf Tourism – upgrading of courses, KGC academy, establishment of Film Cell in Jammu / Kashmir, Trekking expeditions and other tourism activities.

Meanwhile, Lieutenant Governor Wednesday e-inaugurated multiple educational projects including eight Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas (KGBV) and seven girls hostels costing Rs 28 cr, besides 344 new ICT labs and 217 CAL centres worth Rs 36.50 cr established in various schools of nine districts under Samagra Shiksha, an official press release informed.

Speaking on the occasion, the LG observed that the new KGBVs and girls hostels will increase the enrolment in these residential schools of educationally backward blocks and shall help in bridging gaps in gender equity.

Dedicating the new Information Communication Technology (ICT) Labs and Computer Aided Learning (CAL)  centres to the students of J&K, the LG said that these labs will be used in the teaching-learning process and the students will have access to modern technologies and digital world.

Till date, 1420 CAL centres and 1588 ICT labs have been established at elementary, secondary/senior secondary levels which are helping the students to learn information technology tools of modern times, he added.

He remarked that “education is fundamental tool for achieving full human potential and maximizing country’s rich talents and resources for the harmonious development of the individuals and the society”. Providing universal access to quality education is the key to economic growth, added the LG.

“Working on these principles, the J&K government is taking new strides towards Hon’ble Prime Minister’s vision of ‘Knowledge Economy and Knowledge Power’. It is our collective responsibility to ensure that every child has access to education for making him/her a responsible citizen for nation’s bright future,” the LG maintained.

J&K has a rich history of women achievers, outnumbering male counterparts in academics, sports, culture or any other field, which makes it even more important for the government to lay a solid platform for them at educational level so that they can aim high, said the LG.

He interacted with some students through virtual mode and congratulated them for their new educational facilities.

Meanwhile, the LG also inaugurated Online School Affiliation and Recognition portal, developed by National Informatics Centre, which will work as a private school information system.

Pertinently, Rs 28 cr worth educational infrastructure projects inaugurated today including Kasturba Gandhi Balika Vidyalayas at KGBV Tandar Chenani, Udhampur; Ramhal, Kupwara, Kuligam, Gundchabutra; Machaddi & Basholi, Kathua;  Mendhar (ChakBanola), Poonch; besides Girls Hostels at Panzipora Sopore; Raniwari, Srinagar; Ramnaga, Panchari, Udhampur;  Manjakot, Rajouri; Peeri and Chatroo, Kishtwar.

The new ICT labs and CAL centres were established in Bandipora, Baramulla, Budgam, Doda, Kishtwar, Kupwara, Ramban, Reasi and Udhampur.

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