Omar stresses on preserving State’s tourist places


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Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Friday called for a coordinated approach to preserve and protect the State’s eco-balance adding that conservation of its scenic splendour and natural beauty is imperative to salvage future. “God has bestowed upon us His blessings in the shape of beautiful valleys, transparent water bodies, murmuring springs, dancing brooks, enchanting and marvelous mountains with forest wealth and flora and fauna of vast varieties”, he said and emphasized on mass awareness about the importance of protection of these natural treasures. The Chief Minister who is also the Chairman of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) was chairing the 4th meeting of the PDA at Pahalgam. The Minister for Tourism, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister of State for Tourism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani, Commissioner Secretary Planning and Development, Mr. B. B. Vyas, Commissioner Secretary Finance, Mr. Sudhanshu Pandey, Secretary Tourism, Ms Tanveer Jahan, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag and other members of PDA were present in the meeting. Mr. Omar said that the Tourism Department and other agencies linked with this field have a pivotal role to safeguard the beautiful tourist places and create infrastructure there in complete conformity with the requirements of ecology and environment. “The haphazard and unplanned development of tourist resorts not only unbalances the natural beauty but also adds to uncalled for pollution”, he said and asked the Development Authorities to be scientific and pragmatic in carrying forward the plans for tourist facilities. The Chief Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir has been the heaven on earth, many more years before Kerala was ‘God’s own country’ and our efforts should be to restore this unique and prime position of the State on international tourist map. “It has been felt since recently that tourists from east are showing more enthusiasm in visiting Kashmir”, he said and asked the Tourism Department to endeavour for strengthening this trend and encouraging more and more visitors from non-traditional areas while putting in place efforts to revive the tourist flow from the western countries. Underlining the importance of Pahalgam as a famous picnic spot for the national and international tourists of all categories, Mr. Omar said that this tourist resort requires focused attention for receiving large number of tourists and pilgrims every year. “While adequate and befitting facilities are to be created, the attention has to be concentrated on maintaining the clean and palatable environment”, he maintained. The meeting discussed various matters pertaining to the development of the areas and villages within the jurisdiction of PDA. Upgradation of water supply, electric and medical facility, improvement of Pahalgam-Aru road, beautification and landscaping, laying of parks, development of land near amusement park, strengthening and construction of sewerage network, development of golf course, development of Mandlana village as a tourist village, development of Betab Valley, Master Plan for Greater Pahalgam, development of roller skating and promotion of youth tourism also came up for discussion in the meeting. The CEO of PDA gave a resume of the activities and functioning of the Authority and explained the agenda items in detail.


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