Chief Secretary B.B Vyas on Monday called for fast-pacing tourism projects in the State to ensure productive use of the resources available to Jammu and Kashmir for this key sector under the Prime Minister’s Developmental Package (PMDP).
“Access the funds available to the sector, use it judiciously and deliver the mandated outcome within the set time-frame,” the Chief Secretary told the officers at a high-level meeting convened here this evening to review the progress of the tourism projects under PMDP.
Director General Tourism, Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, SatyajeetRajan and other senior officers of the Union Tourism Ministry and the State’s Tourism Department were also present at the meeting.
Secretary Tourism, Sarmad Hafeez gave a detailed presentation at the meeting regarding the progress of the tourism projects under PMDP as also the projects taken up under Swadesh Darshan and in the state sector.
The meeting was informed that some of the key projects taken up under PMDP include development of tourism facilities at Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop circuit at a cost of Rs 97.82 crore, development of tourism facilities at Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh circuit at a cost of Rs 96.92 crore, development of tourism facilities at Jammu-Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama circuit at a cost of Rs 96.38 crore and development of tourism facilities at Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar at a cost of Rs 96.39 crore. These projects are being executed by the Government of India subsidiaries, National Building Construction Corporation(NBCC) and National Projects Construction Corporation (NPCC).
The Chief Secretary called for putting in coordinated efforts at various levels in the administration and with the executing agencies to address the bottlenecks, if any, hampering the progress on these projects. He called for regular follow-up of the projects to achieve the desired results at the earliest. “You can personally flag the issues with me, if my intervention is needed at any level to expedite the execution of these important projects,” the Chief Secretary told the officers.
Vyas also called for employing innovative marketing strategies to sell J&K’s distinct tourism projects effectively in a cut-throat competitive market. He lauded the efforts of the State’s officers for trying to give their best while working in the most difficult circumstances. He also hailed the cooperative and positive role being played by the private players in the promotion of tourism in J&K.
The Chief Secretary said Jammu and Kashmir has immense potential for varied tourism activities and with adequate infrastructure in place, every part of the State can benefit from tourism promotion. He said tourism sector also has huge employment generation potential and it can be effectively harnessed to address the problem of unemployment in the State.
He said given the resources available for infrastructure development in tourism sector, the State is going to witness huge augmentation of tourism-related facilities in the coming years.
Speaking at the meeting, DG Tourism, Government of Indiamade special mention of the key tourism projects in Jammu division including the Ropeway Project, Sidhra Golf Course, Convention Centre Patnitop and International Yoga Centre Mantalai. He said he has personally visited these projects to take stock of the progress made by the J&K government.
He called for roping in Confederation of Indian Industries (CII), FICCI and other corporate bodies for facilitating tourism promotion in J&K. He also suggested holding of International Travel Mart in Srinagar around the Tulip Season in March 2018. He assured Union Tourism Ministry’s support for promotion of J&K under the Incredible India campaign.
Pertinently, Rs 2000 crore have been earmarked under PMDP for development of tourism infrastructure in J&K. These funds are to be spent over a period of five years beginning 2016 with Rs 400 crore to be released by the Government of India each year.
The projects to be taken up under PMDP include providing infrastructure at 12 Tourism Development Authorities, creating 3 Tourism circuits, setting up 50 tourist villages proposed and Conservation of Wullar Lake.
It also includes reconstruction of government tourist assets in lieu of the damaged/destroyed assets.
Principal Conservator of Forests, Directors of Tourism Kashmir & Jammu division, Directors of Floriculture, VC LAWDA, Chief Executive Officers of all the Tourism Development Authorities, officers of Cable Car Corporation, SKICC and other concerned Departments were also present at the meeting.