Srinagar, May 22: Welcoming the tourism working group meeting of G-20 nations in Srinagar, All Parties Sikh Coordination Committee (APSCC) today said that there is a need to introduce liberal visa policy so that people from foreign countries visit places of religious importance without hassle.
In a statement, APSCC Chairman Jagmohan Singh Raina said that Srinagar is privileged to host delegates of the 20 nations. He said that since there are many places of religious importance in the union territory of Jammu & Kashmir it is important to introduce hassle free visa services to the foreigners so that they visit places without any difficulty.
“The union territories of Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh have tremendous scope of religious tourism. Religious places like Jamia Masjid, Srinagar, Dargah Hazratbal, Gurdwara Chatti Padshahi, Srinagar, Mata Vaishno Devi, Katra-Jammu, Kheer Bhawani, Tulmulla-Ganderbal and Gumpas of Ladakh have a mass appeal, but have not been put on the international religious tourism map so far,” said Raina.
The APSCC Chairman said that these places of religious importance can be frequented by pilgrims from across the globe only when liberal visa policy is introduced. He said that Government of India, Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh administrations should take a cue from the governments of Saudi Arabia, Pakistan and China as they have opened up places of religious importance like Makkah, Madina, Gurdwara Nankana Sahib and Kailash Parbat under liberal visa policy.
Raina said that there is a dire need to introduce master planning on tourism adding that the same would give a new dimension and meaning to the tourism scenario of Jammu & Kashmir. He said that the previous governments never paid any attention to this all important aspect of tourism adding that the present dispensation should try to correct the wrongs done in the past.
“Many greedy people have virtually de-shaped the landscape of places of tourism importance like Gulmarg and Pahalgam. The view of the Srinagar city has also been distorted due to the construction of many malls and high rise buildings. There is a need to create tourist resorts and clusters so that unemployed youth start to earn their livelihood,” said Raina.