Friday, October 23, 2009

J&K ideally suited for floriculture industry: Sham

“Flower business can be very profitable, especially in J&K state where this industry has lot of potential as well as suitable climate to prosper”.

This was stated by Minister for Floriculture, Horticulture and Health, Mr. Sham Lal Sharma in the inaugural session of two- day workshop on Development of Commercial Floriculture (Including Tulip) in Jammu & Kashmir in Hotel Le Meridian here today.

The workshop has been collectively organized by Agricultural and Processed Food Products Exports Development Authority (APEDA), Ministry of Commerce, GOI, Food and Agriculture Organization (FAO) and Department of Floriculture, Govt. of J&K.

He said that this is the right time for the Floriculture department along with the subject related agencies in the country to come forward and work in the state, as under the present leadership in the state and the centre the budgetary constraint is no more a matter of concern for the growth in Floriculture in J&K.

Our state has the potential and necessary support but to understand the supply-demand pattern both at the domestic, national as well as the international markets, workshops like these can be of great assistance. The Minister was also of the opinion that the said workshop should give a road map as to how the missing links can be identified and filled so that this natural resource can be developed thus generating lot of employment opportunities for the youth of the state.

The Minister of State for Floriculture, Horticulture, Health, Agriculture and R&B Mr. Javed Ahmed Dar was the Guest of Honor at the Workshop. He was very hopeful of the fact that holding the Workshop with all sections of the Flower Industry especially the growers and transporters participating itself shows the seriousness of the govt. towards the sector as well as the interest of the National Level players in the field to guide us. The Minister appreciated the efforts of Principal Secretary Agriculture Production, Floriculture and Horticulture Mrs. Sonali Kumar to have taken the initiative in this field and brought together different agencies to come together and help the state govt. in this field.

Mrs. Sonali Kumar in her introductory remarks conveyed lot of enthusiasm and hope in the very fact that if we are able to make use of this workshop in an effective manner it will surely be of great help to the Floriculture as an industry in the State. APEDA was represented by its Chairman Mr. Asit Tripathy and FAO by Mr. David Kahan. A special presentation was given by Mr Vijay Sardana, MD APRL and Consultant FAO on the Findings of the Field Survey of Value Chain of Floriculture.

The workshop was also attended by the growers from Jammu and Kashmir and people working in the field of Floriculture at different capacities. Chief Minister Mr. Omar Abdullah is also expected to grace the workshop tomorrow and discuss the action plan so emerged.

Omar stresses on preserving State’s tourist places

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.