Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said the 75-day long Snow Festival would go a long way in promoting the rich diverse culture and traditions of Lahaul Spiti district and also act as a catalyst for promoting tourism activities in the district.
Addressing the concluding function of Snow Festival of Lahaul-Spiti district virtually from Shimla on Monday, Thakur said the Atal Tunnel Rohtang had opened new vistas of development as it had ensured round the year connectivity. “The tunnel has also given a big boost to the tourism development as it has opened the virgin and beautiful valley to the world tourists.
This will not only provide ample employment and self-employment opportunities to the locals, but would transform the economy of the people of this district,” he said.
Thakur said the Atal Tunnel and tourism were gradually becoming synonymous as over 5,000 tourist vehicles were daily crossing this Tunnel towards Lahaul valley.
He called for taking steps to provide the best infrastructure to the tourists so that they could stay in the valley comfortably.
He further stated that this festival had helped revive the traditions almost on the verge of extinction, besides showcasing the diverse culture to the rest of the world.
This would motivate the tourists from all across the world to visit the valley to have a glimpse of the tribal culture and costumes.
Before the tunnel was dedicated to the nation, there were only about 71 “home stays” and today there were over 450 home stays catering to the needs of the tourists, he said.
The Chief Minister said efforts must be made to diversify the Snow Festival so that it has something special and new to showcase before the rest of the world.
He said that he will personally apprise the Prime Minister about this event held after the Atal Tunnel was dedicated to the nation.
The state government will soon submit a concrete proposal before the Union Minister of Tourism for effective marketing of the Lahaul Spiti district as a tourist destination and steps would also be taken to ensure GI tagging of this event, he added.
He added steps will also be taken to promote cultivation of Sea buckthorn in the valley which will not only give a boost to the economy of the farmers but also promote economic activities in the area.
State Tribal Development, Technical Education and Information Technology Minister Ram Lal Markanda, Principal Secretary, Tribal Development, Onkar Sharma, Advisor to the Chief Minister R N Batta, Deputy Commissioner, Lahaul Spiti, Pankaj Rai were also present on the occasion among others.