The all-round development of Jammu and Kashmir is a major goal of the Centre, a parliamentary delegation, which is on a three-day visit to the Valley, said on Thursday as it began consultations with stakeholders on how to resolve problems being faced by the residents of the UT.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture delegation — led by chairman T G Venkatesh — also held meetings on the promotion of transport, tourism and culture in the union territory, an official spokesman said.
He said Union Minister of State in the Prime Minister’s Office Jitendra Singh and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Farooq Abdullah also attended the meetings.
The visit is a first of its kind after the COVID-19 outbreak, the spokesman said.
Speaking on the occasion, Venkatesh, who is the member of the Rajya Sabha, said the all-round development of the UT is a major goal of the central government.
The committee is on a visit to understand the problems of the residents of J-K and to resolve them, he said.
The committee is here to listen to the stakeholders about constraints specifically being faced by them in sectors like road, transport and what measures are needed to be taken to ensure that the highways in J-K match international best standards and road safety measures being taken in J-K, he said.
The chairman said the committee will also take stock of the promotion of the tourism sector vis- -vis tapping domestic tourism, promotion of rural and adventure tourism, hotel infrastructure and development of highways for better connectivity.
The spokesman said the delegation held meetings with the stakeholders to review and examine the status of national and state highways, potential and promotion of the tourism sector and preservation of archaeological and heritage sites in Jammu and Kashmir.
He said the committee also held a threadbare discussion on the development of road, railway and air connectivity during the meeting.
During the meeting, various representatives from tour, travel and hospitality sectors representing several organisations raised various issues related to better connectivity and promotion of the tourism sector, the spokesman said.
Demanding better road connectivity, the stakeholders apprised the committee about the problems faced by people due to frequent suspension of both road and air connectivity particularly the closure of the Srinagar- Jammu highway during the winter months, he said.
The spokesman said a number of issues and demands were raised by the stakeholders before the committee, including the revival and renovation of houseboats, uninterrupted power supply to hotels, financial packages for artisans, rising unemployment graph due to adversely affected tourism sector, need for cap on airfare, train connectivity, promotion of tourist destinations, round the clock functioning and better facilities at the Srinagar International Airport.
He said other issues and demands raised by the stakeholders included lifting of travel advisories, cultural and adventure sports and medical tourism promotion, preservation of cultural and heritage, enhancement in central government funds, revival and restoration of lakes and other water bodies and better road connectivity across all tourist destinations.
The committee members assured that all genuine issues would be taken at the appropriate level for resolution, the spokesman said.
He said the committee also held a meeting with officials of the Union Ministry of Culture and Tourism, the ASI and the UT government on the promotion and preservation of archaeological sites and artefacts in J-K. The officers concerned briefed the delegation on measures taken for the promotion of archaeological sites, monuments, and artefacts through a power-point presentation, he added.
The other MPs of the delegation included Prassana Acharya, Vinay Dinn Tendulkar, Margani Bharat, Rahul Kaswan, Ramesh Chandra Majhi, Chhedi Paswan, Kamlesh Paswan, Sunil Kumar Pintu, Tirath Singh Rawat, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ramdas Chandrabhanji Tadas and Krupal Balaji.