|EARLY TIMES REPORT|
JAMMU, Jan 22: Several untapped and unexplored tourist destinations in Jammu and Kashmir need special attention while pilgrimage tourism, if supported with adequate infrastructure, can help generate enough employment, uplift socio-economic standards of people and also give a fillip to the tourism industry in a big way.
The 31-member Parliamentary Standing Committee (PSC) led by its chairman T G Venkatesh, which is on tour of J&K UT, must also look into this aspect and recommend measures to the Union Government regarding the same.
This was stated by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) J&K Executive Member Raman Suri, who added that the reservoir of Ranjit Sagar Dam on Basohli side and its islands, Kishtwar & Bhaderwah mountains and their planes, religious sites of Poonch and Rajouri, border areas including wetlands of Jammu and Kathua, seven lakes of Jammu region, green locations of Udhampur and Batote including Yoga Centres and pastures of Sanasar besides several historic temples, all need a good road accessibility and allied infrastructure, the work on many though has already started, to tap the full potential of tourism.
He said, previous governments of National Conference, Congress or PDP always promoted a chosen few destinations but cared least for other areas of Jammu and Kashmir. Far off areas of Doda, Jammu, Bhaderwah, Poonch, Rajouri, Bani, Basohli, Udhampur, Ramban, Dudu Basantgarh or Katra never got the required attention, infrastructure or other allied facilities that could attract tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir. He said, concern of all those stake holders who met the parliamentary delegation at Srinagar is right but Jammu also needs special attention.
Jammu and Kashmir, Raman Suri added, needs better highways, preservation of archaeological and heritage sites besides recreational areas to engage people as well as generate employment. Concern about rise in airfares, he said, is also genuine and the same must be capped. Seeing the potential of youngsters in Jammu and Kashmir, we also need a film city for the simple reason that we have the best locations in the world. Besides this, all heritage sites like S P College in Srinagar, Mubarak Mandi in Jammu and hundreds of temples located all over the state need preservation and upkeep to attract tourists.
Simultaneously, the old city needs massive parking spaces to enable shoppers as well as tourists to visit the old city comfortably and see its historic markets as well as heritage places.