Tourism sector can evolve as biggest employer in JK: Akhtar
Minister inaugurates JKTDC guesthouse in Tangmarg
Minister for Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar, Friday said the vastly unexplored tourism sector can and must evolve as the biggest employer in Jammu and Kashmir.
The Minister was speaking at the inauguration of “Zaiqa Guest House and Restaurant” at the scenic Tangmarg locality near Gulmarg. The restaurant, built by Jammu Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) at the cost of Rs 1.4 crore, has five wood-paneled rooms, a VIP lounge and a dining hall which can accommodate individuals as well as families.
The Minister, who was accompanied by Secretary Tourism, Mr Farooq Shah, who also holds the charge of Managing Director, JKTDC, said the tourism department must construct an outdoor facility like a barbecue and coffee house at the restaurant, which can become a regular attraction for tourists as well as locals of Tangmarg.
Regretting the lack of facilities at the tourist places across the state, Mr Akhtar said the State Government is evolving a plan for round-the-year tourism to Gulmarg by improving basic amenities like water supply, power and road network.
“A gifted place such as Gulmarg can drive the engine of economy. And I am sure that with the vision of Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Gulmarg will become the Davos of East,” Mr Akhtar said, adding that the renovation of Maharaja Palace at Gulmarg is underway and it will be inaugurated on December 25.
Mr Akhtar, however, stressed that the people associated with tourism sector like tour operators and ponny-wallahs need to change their attitude towards the tourists.
“The tourism has the best team under Farooq Sahab. And I am hopeful that the department will touch new heights and become one of the biggest employers in the state,” Mr Akhtar said.
Stressing on providing world-class facilities to high-end tourists, Mr Akhtar said the tourism department must focus on capacity building. “Things have started improving. Our party has tied up with the BJP for peace and prosperity of the state. The change is visible with improvement in road networks across the state,” he said.
Lauding the Minister of R&B, Floriculture and Parks, Altaf Bukhari, Mr Akhtar said the macadamisation of Parimpora-Tangmarg road will be completed soon and new roads will be built in Kunzer and Badrakoot to exploit the huge tourism potential of Gulmarg.
Speaking on the occasion, Mr Farooq Shah said the state government will fully explore the tourism potential of Gulmarg by providing world class facilities to tourists.
“It is our responsibility that tourists return with happy memories from our state. The tour operators and ponywallahs must stop fleecing tourists. They must evolve a culture of tourism which will make Kashmir an attractive destination for people across the globe,” he said.
He lauded the Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and Mr Akhtar for their efforts in developing the tourism industry in the state, “In coming time, we are going to organize family skiing events as well to attract more tourists to Gulmarg,” Mr Shah said.
The function was also attended by MLA Tangmarg, Mohammad Abbas and CEO, Gulmarg Cable Car, Nazir Ahmad Mir.
‘Infrastructure of the institute must be put to optimal use’
TANGMARG: Minister of Education, Mr Naeem Akhtar, Friday said the Regional Institute of Health and Family Welfare (RIHFW) in Kunzer, Tangmarg, is an “ideal place” for establishing a nursing college.
Mr Akhtar, who was on a tour of Tangmarg constituency made the announcement during an interaction with the staff of RIHFW, which was established in 2013 on 27 kanals of land.
“I will take up the matter (of converting the institute into a nursing college) with the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed and the Health Minister, Choudhary Lal Singh. The institute has fine infrastructure in a readymade state, which must be put to optimal use,” the Minister said.
The Minister said the healthcare across the world is facing severe shortage of manpower, particularly paramedical staff, and the institute will go a long way in addressing the problem of unemployment in the state.
SM Kadri, Principal of RIHFW, briefed the Minister about the works carried out by the institute where over 1200 healthcare workers, doctors and others have got training in basic life support and stabilization techniques over the last two years.
Mr Kadri suggested that basic life support and stabilization techniques, which are crucial in emergency situations for saving human lives, should be introduced in school curriculum. The Minister said he will ask the Board of School Education authorities to consider the matter.
Mr Kadri also told the Minister that institute should have cadres and there is a need of permanent faculty. Mr Akhtar assured the staff that the issues facing the institute will be resolved soon. He also told the staff to give training to students at Kunzer Model School, SP School and other educational institutes falling in its vicinity.
The function was also attended by Director Tourism, Farooq Shah, MLA Tangmarg, Mohammad Abbas Wani,, CEO and Gandola Cable Car, Nazir Ahmad Mir.