Bandipora: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha Monday said that Gurez Valley had witnessed transformational changes during the last three years.
An official spokesman in a statement issued here said that inaugurating the ‘Shinon Meeras’, the Shina Cultural Centre, curated and developed by the Army and district administration, the LG said, “Gurez has witnessed transformational changes in the last three years. Our dedicated focus was to strengthen physical infrastructure, ensure adequate skilled manpower, and to provide a conducive atmosphere for new business enterprises to flourish. Our collective aim has been to convert today’s weakness into tomorrow’s strength.”
He highlighted the new initiatives taken to tap the tourism potential of Gurez.
“Tourism sector has witnessed a massive increase from earlier 700-800 tourists a year to 35,000 this year till August 15. Today, the increased tourist influx to Gurez has strengthened the local economy and is providing large employment opportunities to the people,” Sinha said.
He said that the power sector had remained a matter of great concern for the people of Gurez for decades. “We are working on war footing to strengthen the power infrastructure, NHPC power project and work on the 33kV line has been expedited and work on infrastructure for inter-connectivity between the villages has started,” the LG said.
He said that the administration had decided to extend Kisan Sampark Abhiyaan by 15 days and impressed on the officials to connect more farmers from Gurez with the endeavour.
Sinha also shared the efforts of the J&K administration for the inclusive development of Gurez.
He congratulated the people of Dard-Shin community and applauded the efforts of the Army for this extraordinary initiative.
“The centre is a unique tribute to preserve and promote the glorious artistic heritage of the Dard-Shin tribal community and to provide glimpses of its rich culture to the world,” the LG said.
“India’s first museum for Dardis traces the journey of Shina culture, languages and Gurezi way of life. I believe Shinon Meeras will become the centre of attraction for travelers visiting this best off-beat destination of India,” he said.
“Various sections of the museum will provide an opportunity to travelers, historians to explore tangible and intangible art and a vibrant space for community to tell their stories and showcase traditions,” Sinha said.
He appreciated the joint effort of the Army, district administration, and the Tourism Department for acknowledging the immense contribution of the Dard-Shin community in nation building.
An official spokesman said that the Army had partnered with reputed institutions of the country to build the museum.
It has a mix of digital displays, exhibits, artifacts, textiles, interactive boards and various sections including Dardistan, Kishanganga River, Gurezi way of life, language section, symbiotic relationship with the Army, souvenir section and AV room.
The sand art would display the operation Eraze – An Army operation for liberation of Gurez in 1948.
An open air amphitheatre having a capacity of 150 people has been constructed on the banks of Kishanganga River for performances by the local cultural dance groups on weekends.
The museum also has a website and a rich social media presence.
At Gurez, the LG also met with various public delegations including Panchayat Raj Institution (PRI) representatives, members of hoteliers and youth club associations and assured them of time bound redressal of their genuine issues and grievances.
He flagged off Dawar-Drass-Darchik car rally connecting the Dard community of Gurez to Ladakh, and unveiled a Shina language primer for promoting the use of Shina mother tongue amongst children of Gurez.
Sinha also flagged-in Vajr Top Expedition by the Army carrying soil of Vajr Top as a contribution to ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’.
GOC-in-C Northern Command, Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi; GOC 15 Corps, Lt Gen Rajiv Ghai; Principal Secretary to LG, Mandeep Kumar Bhandari; and Deputy Commissioner (DC) Bandipora, Owais Ahmad were also present on the occasion.