BHADERWAH, OCTOBER 22: – Comparing the mesmerising natural beauty of Bhaderwah with that of Pahalgam and Gulmarg, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Thursday called for concerted efforts to spiral tourist footfall by packaging ‘Chota Kashmir’ as an independent leisure destination.
During his visit, the Chief Minister also inaugurated the colourful Bhaderwah Tourism Festival, a carnival of rich cultural and folk events which attracts people from all over Chenab valley. He also chaired the 7th Board of Directors’ meeting of Bhaderwah Development Authority (BDA) during which he took wide-ranging decisions aimed at putting the tourist resort in the forefront of travel industry.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for Forest & Social Welfare, Bali Baghat, Minister of State for R&B and Revenue, Sunil Kumar Sharma, Legislators, Dalip Parihar, Naresh Kumar Gupta, Shakti Parihar and Firdous Tak, Chief Secretary, B. R. Sharma, Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, B. B. Vyas, Director General, Information & PR, Zaffar Ahmed, Secretary Tourism, Farooq A. Shah, Director Tourism, Jammu, R. K. Varma, DIG DKR, Nisar Ahmad, SSP Doda, Zahid Manhas, Deputy Commissioner, Doda, Bhupinder Kumar, besides CEO, BDA, Bal Krishan attended the meeting.
Asking the officers to bring hidden destinations like Bhaderwah on the tourism canvas of the state, the Chief Minister described creation of high-end tourism infrastructure as capital-intensive for which he sought participation of the private players. He said public private partnership in tourism sector will not only spur investment but also sustain local economy by creating job opportunities. “The footprint of tourists won’t increase unless advance planning is done to launch destinations like Bhaderwah and Jai. The optimal use of our existing assets will help make tourism a revenue-generating industry,” he stated.
In order to showcase Bhaderwah, Jai, Padri, Seoj and Kailash Kund as one-circuit destination, the Chief Minister ordered Tourism Department to convene a Travel Trade Conference on November 15 next month at Bhaderwah, to finalise family packages to increase inbound footfall. He also desired that leading tour operators be invited for Familiarity Tours to obtain firsthand appraisal. “Bhaderwah is an ideal leisure destination which can attract tourists from neighbouring Punjab and Himachal Pradesh in large numbers,” he said, while referring to Bhadarwah-Chamba Road as a major link to boost travel industry on the north axis of the resort.
The Chief Minister also ordered setting up of a clubhouse with composite facilities of conferencing, leisure, recreation and indoor sports, besides suites and rooms at Bhaderwah.
Laying stress upon the need to create cluster of huts to improve holding capacity, Chief Minister also outlined his plan to develop Jai as a resort destination by setting up of a golf course, for which he asked Forest Minister to expedite transfer of 1200 kanals of land to the Tourism Department. “Golfing is an eco-friendly sport and Jai has the natural contours and landscape where a golf course can be developed,” he observed.
He also directed Secretary Tourism to have a DPR prepared for an amusement park at Jai, on the pattern of Pahalgam where J&K Bank has set up one under its CSR.
In order to improve connectivity, the Chief Minister asked the Chief Secretary to take up with BRO the up-gradation of 32-Km Bhaderwah-Jai Road. He also announced construction of park with viewing decks at Gatti Morh, 12 km from Bhaderwah town.
Chief Minister emphasised upon completion of ongoing projects and set a deadline of March 15, 2016 for completion of additional accommodation at Tourist Complex at Teligarh. He also asked Chief Secretary to fast-track clearance of 10 kanals of land in next meeting of the Forest Advisory Committee for creation of wayside amenities and food courts at Bhal Padri and Padri, popularly known as Gateway of Chamba.
On development of Seoj Meadow, the Chief Minister directed Tourism Department to carry out a feasibility survey for developing slopes for skiing.