|Amid tight security, Srinagar decked up for G20 meeting|
Early Times Report
Srinagar, May 20: Amid extremely tight security, Srinagar has been decked up for the third G20 Tourism working group from May 22.
This is the first major international event being hosted in Jammu and Kashmir since its special status was scrapped in 2019 and the erstwhile state was downgraded into two union territories.
G20 comprises Argentina, Australia, Brazil, Canada, China, France, Germany, India, Indonesia, Italy, Japan, the Republic of Korea, Mexico, Russia, Saudi Arabia, South Africa, Turkeye, the United Kingdom, the United States, and the European Union.
Senior officials said three countries, China, Turkey and Saudi Arabia had not registered till Friday for participation in the three-day G20 event in Kashmir.
The security has been strengthened around Sher-e-Kashmir International Convention Centre (SKICC) in Srinagar- the venue for the Meeting from Monday. The officials said the SKICC, on the banks of Dal Lake, has been refurbished.
The road leading to the venue has been beautified under the ongoing Smart city projects.
The delegates plan to travel to Gulmarg may be shelved, sources said.
As part of the ground to air security cover, elite marine commandos and National Security Guards (NSG) have already been deployed in Srinagar for area domination and handling any militant threats. Police, Army and central armed police forces are maintaining round the clock surveillance . A three tier security is in place for the Meeting.
In Srinagar and adjoining Budgam, nearly a dozen schools have been closed as a precautionary measure.
A representative of J&K Private Schools Association said all several schools on Airport Road and the city centre had been closed for a week on government directions.
The security has been tightened also around the minority community resident pockets
The third G20 Tourism Working Group meeting will be held from May 22- 24.
Tourism secretary Arvind Singh on Friday said the stage is set for discussions and deliberations on final deliverables and there are two key deliverables of the Tourism Working Group, which include GOA Roadmap for Tourism as a vehicle for achieving sustainable development goals and G20 Tourism Ministers’ Declaration.
During this meeting, G20 member countries, invited countries, and international organizations will give valuable inputs and feedback on these two draft documents and after negotiations with G20 Member Countries on these drafts, final versions will be placed in the fourth Tourism Working Group meeting and Ministerial meeting.
The upcoming event is working on five inter-connected priority areas - green tourism, digitalisation, skills, tourism MSMEs and destination.
Singh said a side event on ‘Film Tourism for Economic Growth and Cultural Preservation’ will be organized on May 22 and 23 , focusing on strategies to promote film tourism.
“The event will witness the participation of G20 member countries, invited countries, international organizations, and industry stakeholders,” he said, adding a draft ‘National Strategy on Film Tourism’ will be unveiled to provide a roadmap for harnessing the role of films in promoting tourist destinations.