*Azad dedicates phase-II Zabarwan park to people
*JK Tourism has great potential to attract billions
Union Minister for Health & Family Welfare, Gh. Nabi Azad today stressed upon J&K Tourism Ministry to involve the private sector in big way to boost the tourism infrastructure in the State. He said this is the primary requirement for providing world class facilities to the tourists. Azad was speaking after inaugurating the Phase-II of Zabarwan Park at Belavourd Road, Srinagar in the presence of Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora and Minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani. Among others present on the occasion include, Minister for Education, Peerzada Mohammad Sayeed, Minister for Forest, Mian Altaf Ahmed, Secretary Tourism, Director Tourism, Director Information, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar, MD JKTDC, Tour Operators, Guides,House Boat owners and Traders. In Phase-II of Zabarwan Park the facilities provided include recreation hall comprising of Zabrwan indoor games zone for children, Faraaz Food Court and Ring Ceremony and kitty party hall. Besides Tulip museum and Heritage museum have also been set up in the park to provide a holistic view of Baghi-gul-e-lale situated in the lap of Zabarwan hills depicting rich heritage of Kashmir Valley. Referring to the contribution of the States which involve the private sector in a big way, Azad said “ If J&K has to revive its economy, we have to encourage them in every sector particularly in tourism as it is the back bone of our economy” . He said to achieve this goal Tourism department would have to act as a facilitators rather than a competitor. Azad said that God have bestowed J&K with natural resources and pristine beauty, but it is up to Tourism department, how aggressively it boosts the tourist destinations and spots of the State in the global tourism market to motivate the foreigners to visit the State. He asked the State Tourism Ministry to attend all the big events of tourism in the world as it would provide a big plate form to project the tourist destinations of the State by way of documentary films on tourism and exhibiting photographs of these destinations. Recalling his past experiences as a Union Tourism Minister during disturbance in Valley, Azad said that during this period when no one in the world wants to visit Kashmir, I project Ladakh a potential tourist destination during those days. He said this helped the region to emerge as a global tourism destination as thousand of foreigners are visiting this region and has changed the socio economic profile of the people of the area. For inclusive growth of the State Azad said Centre government is committed to boost this sector for which he said, 22 Tourism Development Authorities (TDA) have been set up across the State to make it a tourist circuit. He said Rs.20 Cr. for each TDA are being spent under Prime Minister’s Reconstruction Programme to provide better services and facilities to the tourists. He said these TDA would help to enhance carrying capacity of tourist destination with better facilities and also increase the staying period of tourists from 4 days to 20 days. He stressed upon the authorities to appoint those officers as Chief Executive Officers to Tourism Development Authorities who have Tourism Aptitude which will help to realize the dream. Minister for Tourism, Rigzin Jora said that collective efforts of every stake holders would help to make J&K world primer tourist destination. He said the department has already taken various initiatives to tap the vast culture, heritage, pristine tourist potential of the three regions of the State. He said by encouraging public private sector partnership will help to boost this sector in every area. Minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani said that under the dynamic leadership of Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah a comprehensive policy have been adopted to tap the tourist potential of the State for which various steps have already been taken. He said tourism is the only sector which provides succor to every sector of the society. He said while providing world class facilities to national and international tourists, the Tourism Department have taken initiatives to provide entertainment and other tourism related facilities for the locals also. He said by the dedication of Zabarwan Park Phase I and Phase II to the people will go a long way in this regard.