Tourism in Jammu my prime focus, says Mehbooba

Akhnoor (J-K): Allaying fears about Jammu losing focus due to direct train services to the holy town of Katra, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today promised to take effective steps in positioning the winter capital as an independent tourist destination.

She said there is no dearth of nature destinations in Jammu and with its treasure trove of heritage sites, the city will attract a huge footfall of tourists.

The chief minister made the announcement to a gathering on the banks of river Chenab after inaugurating a tourist complex here.

Mehbooba Mufti Besides Deputy Chief Minister Nirmal Singh, Minister of State for Tourism Priya Sethi were also present on the occasion.

Mehbooba, who also holds charge of Tourism Department, assuaged feelings of certain sections of society, especially businessmen and traders, who think Jammu may lose focus due to better connectivity with Katra and said the government will strategize and diversify its activities for which a comprehensive plan will soon be drawn up.

“An international consultant will soon inspect Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex and chalk out a strategy so that we restore it to its pristine glory. Similarly, we will remove bottlenecks in Jammu Ropeway Project which will provide a huge fillip to tourism sector here,” she said. She said the state will have to learn from Rajasthan to conserve its heritage and culture assets.

Mehbooba said she had studied at Jammu but never got an opportunity to explore the place. “On my first visit last week, I was simply riveted by the grandeur and majestic beauty of Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex. We cannot allow it to be used as a parking place,” she said.

She said Tourism and Culture Departments together will identify the potential sites for tourism promotion in Jammu region.

On infrastructure upgrade, the chief minister mentioned Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basoli, Jammu Ropeway at Bahu Fort, Akhnoor Fort, Mughal Sarais in Rajouri, Patnitop, Surinsar, Mansar, Jai in Bhaderwah, Warwan in Kishtwar and Mantalai in Udhampur as places where all ongoing projects will be fast- tracked. She said this will position Jammu as an emerging destination for inbound as well as foreign visitors.