Tourism Minister, Ghulam Ahmad Mir, has said that buoyed by heavy tourist arrival in Ladakh, the Jammu and Kashmir government has embarked on an ambitious plan to put this Himalayan district on the Buddhist circuit to woo pilgrims.
Addressing a gathering after inaugurating Western and Eastern mixed flute concert by Maestro Andrea Griminelli with Emanuele Segre accompanied by Ladakh Musicians at Stok Palace, Leh the other day, the Tourism Minister said with tourism being a major sector contributing in boosting state's economy, the state government is planning to restore the existing monasteries in the region, hire landscaping experts, set up tourism centers as well as provide basic road infrastructure in the region.
"The Government has submitted the detailed project report of the plans to the Centre that we want to implement in Ladakh to facilitate tourism in this region. The detailed project report which has been submitted is of Rs 150 crore to develop tourism circuit in three regions, Jammu, Kashmir and Ladakh," the Tourism Minister said.
Mir said out of this fund, Rs 50 crore has been earmarked to develop the Buddhist circuit in Ladakh while the remaining will be spent on encouraging the Sufi tourism circuit in Kashmir and pilgrimage centers in Jammu.
Ambassador of Italy, Daniele Mancini, the king of Stok Palace, with Queen, Mother-Disket Wangmo, Chief Executive Councillor, LAHDC, Leh, Mr. Rigzin Spalbar, District Development Commissioner. Leh, Mr. Simran Deep Singh, Chief Executive Officer, Leh Development Authority, Mr. Urgain Loondup besides large number of prominent citizens were present on the occasion.
The Tourism Minister said that keeping in view the increasing flow of tourists to Ladakh every year, the government plans to have facilities like the tourist centers not only in the main city but also in places which hold tourist interests like the monasteries in Ladakh, areas around the banks of Indus river and many more. "These centers will guide tourists visiting the region and provide them information and also to cater to their various needs" the Minister said.
Mir said last year around 1.79 lakh tourists visited the region of which over 30000 were foreigners.
The Tourism Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir is abode of rich cultural diversity and known, world over, for its scenic splendour and that the mesmerizing beauty of the State has always attracting tourists of wide-ranging interests to the State.
Mir mentioned the captivating scenery of Ladakh region and added that this part of the State possesses unique attraction for natural beauty lovers. He stressed on preserving the heritage and cultural massiveness of the region.
The Tourism Minister said that government has initiated various measures to give fillip to tourism and showcase State’s diverse tourist attractions and rope in tourists both from within the Country and outside. He said protection and preservation of environment, forest wealth, water bodies, wildlife and natural beauty of the State has been flagged most important aspects in the tourism development programme. He asked the people to contribute in this National mission.
Expressing satisfaction over the preservation of cultural heritage by the people of Ladakh, Mir asked them to remain positively involved in the protection and conservation of environment in this region which is unique and enthralling for the lovers of nature. The Tourism Minister referred to various projects being launched in Ladakh to promote tourism and generate economic activities for the locals. He said Trans Himalayan Centre involving Rs. 25 crore is under execution in Leh while Rs. 20-crore Food Craft Centre and Rs. 30-crore Golf Course are also near completion. He said these projects would give considerable fillip to the tourism and cultural activities.
The Ambassador of Italy, Daniele Mancini in his speech hailed the efforts of State government to promote and showcase the varied tourism potential globally. He while appreciating the arrangements made by the administration for organizing such a marvellous Western and Eastern mixed flute concert at the Royal Stok Palace, said that it was a unique one and underscored the need for organizing such programmes in the future also.