Friday, November 20, 2009

Arnas to be brought on tourism map: Jora

Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora has said that the Government is contemplating to bring the “Arnas” valley of district Reasi on tourism map for exploring its varied potential. He said Rs 7.22 crore would be spent on the development of scenic and adventure spots, besides creation of infrastructure for visiting tourists once the State Government would receive accord sanction from the Union Government.

This was stated by Mr.Jora while addressing a largely attended public gathering today at village Gari, about 140 kms from here.

Minister of State for Power, Forest and CA&PD and Minister for Haj, Aquaf, Higher Education and Fisheries, Mr. Aijaz Ahmad Khan also addressed the gathering.

Mr. Jora said that the Government is fully aware about the development needs of the people and is working vigorously to fulfill their aspirations. He said a multipronged strategy has been evolved for the fast development of the State. He said people have high hopes with the Government and assured that it will strive for assuaging their urges and aspirations.

Addressing on the occasion, Mr. Shabir Ahmad Khan said that extending electricity facilities to left-over hilly areas is the priority of the Government. He said a receiving station has been sanctioned for Arnas, which will help in streamlining the facilities in the area. He said all the dilapidated poles and old wire would also be replaced in a phased manner in the area.

The Minister said that every facility would be provided including availability of food-grains well in time through sale outlets and instructed CA&PD authorities to make it sure that every householder gets its ration quota every month.

Mr. Aijaz Ahmad Khan said that people of the State, especially those living in hilly and border areas, have suffered a lot during turmoil. He said the Government is working tirelessly to ensure all round development of the State. He said development of mountainous and remote areas like Arnas is the top priority of the Government, adding that a massive developmental programme has been initiated in these areas.

Mr. Aijaz, who is also MLA of Arnas constituency said it is a matter of satisfaction for the people of Gari and other surrounding villages that for the first time a vehicle plied on the newly constructed Gari-Jag Bogli road. The road had been taken up at an estimated cost of Rs 12 crore. He said execution of Arnas-Dhanoor and Gaundi-Panosa and salal-Sujandhar roads are also being taken up at a total cost of Rs 21 crore. He said 17 water shed development projects have been sanctioned for the constituency under Haryali programme to uplift the socio-economic condition of the people.

The Minister said extension of quality education, healthcare and potable drinking water are also priority of the Government. He said several new projects for the area are in pipeline. He assured the people that being their representatives in the Government, he will not leave any stone unturned for overall development of the area. He sought peoples cooperation in this regard.

On this occasion, the people of the area also celebrated birth anniversary of late Prime Minister Indira Gandhi and paid floral tributes on the portrait of the late leader.

Turtuk in Ladakh opened for foreign tourists: Jora

In a major move to boost tourism in Ladakh region, the Ministry of Home Affairs, Government of India, has relaxed the Protected Area Permit Regime (PAPR) enabling foreign tourists to visit Turtuk village in Nubra valley, situated on the famous Silk Route.

Expressing happiness over the decision, Minister for Tourism and Culture, Mr. Nawang Rigzin Jora and Minister of State for Tourism, Mr. Nasir Aslam Wani said that opening of Turtuk area for foreign tourists would place Nubra valley prominently on the world tourism map. They added that the decision would go a long way in bringing the virgin locales of the region into limelight. The Ministers also appreciated the role of Union Home Minister, Mr. P. Chidambaram for taking personal interest in this matter.

Referring to the potential tourist spots in the region, Mr. Jora said that from now on tourists would be able to travel along the banks of the Pangong Lake, right up to the villages of Man and Merak. Earlier, he said they were allowed to go only up to village Spangmik. He said the route along the Pangong Lake from Merak to Chushul and then across Tsaga La, Tsaga to Loma Bend would also be considered for opening, once sufficient tourist infrastructure is developed there. A large number of foreign tourists are already visiting Nubra valley for Bactrain camel safaris and hot sulphur springs of Panamik, he added

The Minister said that the long pending demand of the locals of Kargil to open the Chiktan-Batalik area for foreign tourists has also been approved by the Home Ministry. The approved tour circuits in the district are, Kargil-Khangral-Shaker-Chiktan-Sanjak-Leh and Dah-Garkone-Darchik-Batalik-Silmo-Kargil town, he informed and added the area is also the home of famous Drokpas, supposed to be pure Aryan tribe. Earlier, the tourists were allowed to travel only up to Dah, he said.

Giving details of the other important relaxations, Mr. Jora said that earlier tourists were allowed to travel in the PAPR area in groups of four, but after the present relaxation tourists can also go in twos. He said permits for visiting these areas are issued by the concerned Deputy Commissioner.

Giving details of tourists traffic to Ladakh, the Minister said the number of tourists visiting the region has touched 75, 000 from the modest figure of 500 in 1974, when Ladakh was opened for tourism and the tourist season which used to be confined to July-August, now extends from May till end of October.