J-K to Register 5-fold Increase in Tourism in Next 3 Years, says Nitin Gadkari

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Stating that the Central government’s focus is to convert Jammu and Kashmir into Switzerland, Union Road Transport and Highways Minister Nitin Gadkari on Tuesday assured a five-fold increase in Jammu and Kashmir’s tourism in the next three years. Besides, the Minister said there would be a 10-fold increase in hotels and restaurants, a five-fold increase in road traffic, and people from across the country and foreign countries will visit Jammu and Kashmir.

“An estimated 49 per cent capital investment is observed in employment when tourism grows. Now it’s the responsibility of state administration to start the process for hospitality like waiters and other staff for restaurants and hotels. Skill development courses should also be started so that people in Jammu and Kashmir can get more employment,” Gadkari said.

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Addressing a press briefing at the under-construction Zojila project, Gadkari also made it clear that both Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh Lieutenant Governors are engaged in this process. “I discussed with Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha last night. I also had a conversation with Ladakh Lieutenant Governor RK Mathur today. So both are already engaged in the preparation,” said the Minister.

Gadkari also said that he communicated to the Lieutenant Governors not to allow people to open hotels and taparis randomly.

“I suggested them to identify the proper location and help such people in openings ‘taparis’ as per market demand,” he added. “We will provide them such facilities in a minimum amount,” said Gadkari. The Minister further directed to make a development plan for Jammu and Kashmir.

Expressing his vision to convert Jammu and Kashmir, Switzerland, Gadkari said he had told the administration to do proper planning with the help of good architecture. “We want to make Switzerland. If there will be cleanliness and beauty all across Jammu and Kashmir, it will attract tourism,” he noted.

Gadkari earlier reviewed and inspected the prestigious 13.5 km long Asia’s most extended bi-directional Zojila tunnel project and 6.5 km long Z-Morh tunnel project on the Srinagar-Leh National Highway on Tuesday here. Zojila Tunnel, which is envisaged to provide all-weather connectivity to Union Territory of Ladakh to Srinagar in Jammu and Kashmir, will be completed at the cost of Rs 4,500 crore. The ceremonial blast of the Zojila tunnel was done on October 15, 2020.

Zojila tunnel is significant and will help keep the UT of Ladakh connected for the whole year with the rest of the country. The tunnel will also boost the tourism sector of both the Ladakh and Jammu and Kashmir UTs and keep the hassle-free movement of the armed forces during any weather conditions. Moreover, the Zojila tunnel is of significant importance concerning national security and development to both UTs. It will provide round the year connectivity to the Ladakh region- Kargil and Leh.

On Monday, Union Minister for Information and Broadcasting and Youth Affairs and Sports, Anurag Singh Thakur, also inspected Zojila and Z-Morh tunnel projects.