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Tourist Villages Dev Prog gains momentum in J&K: Govt

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‘5 villages within Dal Lake in Srinagar to be developed as Tourist Villages’

Srinagar: The Tourist Villages Development programme under Mission Youth initiative, which aims at developing 75 villages having distinction in terms of scenic beauty, adventurous terrain, art and cultural, history and archaeology, is gaining tremendous momentum with heavy tourist influx thronging the new destinations.

According to Mission Youth official, broad objectives of the programme are to develop new tourism destinations which will integrate social, cultural and spiritual characteristics with economic contours having requisite infrastructural facilities for tourists within such selected villages. The activities to be covered under the programme included promotion of local hospitality, adventure and sports facilities, construction of budget accommodation, tourist complexes, wayside amenities, Tourist Facilitation Centres, special tourism projects, sound and light recreational facilities besides eco friendly transportation facilities.

The villages to be covered under the programme are being selected on the basis of their rural tourism potential in consultation with Tourism Department by an expert committee of Mission Youth.

The scheme has twin benefit of promoting rural tourism and employment generation for local youth. The gamut of financial assistance worth Rs 10 lakh including Rs 8.50 lakh from banking partner, Mission youth  J&K will provide an amount of Rs 1.5 lakh or 15% of project cost (whichever is minimum) as special upfront incentive (subsidy) under the scheme. Moreover, the beneficiary must be unemployed and registered with the concerned District Employment and Counseling Centre.

The initiative is destined to promote home stays across the UT and will strengthen the rural economy in the region, turn youth into entrepreneurs besides empowering women by offering them numerous opportunities of employment.

The J&K administration through Mission Youth has embarked on a task to rejuvenate and transform more than 75 villages in the Union Territory by promoting tourism and giving sustainable employment to youth.

The government has launched this program to celebrate and commemorate 75 years of Independence under Azadi Ka Amrit Mahotsav under the Mission Youth which will work towards giving a facelift to 75 villages that are already famous for their historical background, picturesque landscape and cultural importance. 

Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, had said that administration will recognize the uniqueness of each village and showcase the landscape, foster the indigenous knowledge system and promote cultural diversity and heritage of these villages.

“It has been learnt that the initiative has also been launched keeping in view the potential of J&K for film shooting purposes. The initiative is also aimed to promote shooting of films and offering financial aid to the villages for their sustainable development,” he said.

LG maintained that “All villages which are part of the initiative will also be provided a digital footprint. This move is also aimed at providing maximum job opportunities to youth from different backgrounds and ensuring their participation in the policies that have an impact on their lives”.

As per officials, the initiative of Tourist Village Network has the potential and propensity to mobilize the diverse geographical and socio-economic landscape of the Union Territory.

“There are several regions in J&K which despite having greater tourism potential have not been able to garner requisite attention due to infrastructural bottlenecks. Destinations which lag behind in sphere of tourism infrastructure, can overcome the downsides by introducing home stays as a means of accommodation facilities for the tourists which do not require heavy investment.”

It is important to note that the government started the movement of promoting homestay tourism in the UT by launching Panchari, a village in Udhampur district with mesmerizing beauty as the first tourist village with homestays.

Meanwhile, the government has decided to develop 5 tourist villages within Dal Lake in Srinagar which included Kachri Mohalla, Sofi Mohalla, Tinda Mohallah, Akhoon Mohalla and a Vegetable market. These villages will have all basic facilities for inhabitants as well as tourists and local visitors. These villages will also provide homestay facilities to tourists.

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