Chiranjeevi hails Kashmir’s resilience

MUKEET AKMALI

Srinagar, Nov 20: Union Minister of State for Tourism, K Chiranjeevi, Tuesday praised people of Jammu and Kashmir for their efforts in ‘showing resilience while fighting militancy.’ The MoS with independent charge assured that Government of India would provide all possible assistance to J&K for promoting tourism sector.
“I am very fond of Kashmir; it has a special place in my heart. I have shot 50 out of my 150 films here,” the film star-turned-politician said addressing a seminar on “Sustainable Tourism: Environment and Infrastructure” at SKICC here.
He added that it was unfortunate that Jammu and Kashmir had to pass through hard times in the recent years. “We need to encourage the resilience of the people of Kashmir who with their courage and dedication helped in revamping the tourism sector in the state."
Chiranjeevi, who is on his first official visit to JK after taking over Tourism ministry, said the Centre is specially focusing on Jammu and Kashmir to promote it as a major tourist destination in the country.
"As many as 100 projects worth Rs 367.66 crores were granted by the Centre in the 11th five year plan and 21 projects worth Rs 96.18 crores have been granted in the 12th five year plan as part of Central Financial Assistance Programme for the state," he said.
“The development of rural tourism in the state is being given great importance,” Chiranjeevi said, adding that 28 villages have already been notified under the plan.
Speaking on the occasion, JK’s Minister for Environment and Forests, Mian Altaf said, “We have provided all possible help to tourism sector. We need to preserve beauty of Kashmir which attracts tourists to this place.”
Altaf added that there is need to enforce complete ban on polythene. “Government has banned use of polythene and we have ensured all possible help to the existing dealers of polythene that they will be duly rehabilitated into other sectors.”
State Tourism Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said JK needs to develop unexplored areas in order to increase the stay of tourists in the state.
“Violence and grenade attacks won’t help us. Peace is important constituent for development and also prerequisite for the development of tourism sector,” Jora said.
Showkat Chowdhary, President, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurants Association (KHARA), said: “We are hopeful that with the support of state government we will achieve the target of 35 lakh tourist arrivals till 2014.”
Chowdhary hailed the efforts of Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Minister of Tourism and officials of Tourism department for pursuing UK government in lifting the travel advisory against JK.
Faiz Ahmad Bakshi, President, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) said: “We appeal the Union government to upgrade the hotel management institute here to university status so that we are able to cater to the manpower requirements.”

Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Tue, 20 Nov 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Wed, 21 Nov 2012 00:00:00 IST




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