In a first of its kind visit after the Covid-19 outbreak, a delegation on Parliamentary Standing Committee on Transport, Tourism and Culture held a meeting with stakeholders to review and examine the status of Highways, State Highways, potential and promotion of Tourism sector and preservation of archaeological and heritage sites in Jammu and Kashmir in Srinagar on Thursday.
The Committee led by its Chairman, Member of Parliament, Rajya Sabha T.G Venkatesh held threadbare discussion on the development of Road, Railway and Air Connectivity during the meeting.
Speaking on the occasion, Chairman said that the all-round development of UT is a major goal of Government of India. He said the Committee is on a visit to understand the problems of residents of J&K to resolve them.
He said that the committee is here to listen to the stakeholders about constraints specifically being faced by them in these sectors like road transport and what measures are needed to be taken to ensure that the highways in J&K match international best standards and road safety measures being taken in J&K.
The Chairman also said that the Committee shall also take stock of the promotion of Tourism sector vis-à-vis tapping domestic tourism, promotion of rural and adventure tourism, hotel infrastructure and development of highways for better road transport connectivity.
During the meeting various representatives from tour, travel and hospitality sector representing KCCI, Hotelier Club, TAAK, TASK, PILTOF, HBOA, CTT, AKTO, NTTA, HSG and DTOAK raised various issues related to better connectivity and promotion of Tourism sector.
Demanding better road connectivity, the stakeholders apprised the committee about the problems faced by people due to frequent suspension of both road and air connectivity particularly closure of Srinagar- Jammu Highway during the winter months.
A number of issues and demands were raised by the stakeholders to the Committee like frequent closure of Srinagar- Jammu highway, revival and renovation of houseboats, uninterrupted power supply to hotels, financial packages for artisans, rising unemployment graph due to adversely affected tourism sector, need for cap on airfare, train connectivity, promotion of tourist destinations, round the clock functioning of Srinagar International Airport, better facilities at airport, lifting of travel advisories, cultural and adventure sports, medical tourism promotion, preservation of cultural and heritage, enhancement in central government funds, revival and restoration of lakes and other water bodies and better road connectivity across all tourist destinations.
The committee members assured that all the genuine issues shall be taken at appropriate level for resolution.
The committee also held a meeting with officials of Ministry of Culture and Tourism, Government of India, ASI and UT Government on promotion and preservation of Archaeological sites and artefacts in J&K and concerned officers briefed the delegation on measures taken for promotion of archaeological sites, monuments, and artefacts through a power point presentation.
The Parliamentary Standing Committee, presently on three day visit to Kashmir is led by Chairman of the Committee T.G Venkatesh and other MPs of the delegation on visit to Srinagar include Prassana Acharya, Vinay Dinn Tendulkar, Margani Bharat, Rahul Kaswan, Ramesh Chandra Majhi, Chhedi Paswan, Kamlesh Paswan, Sunil Kumar Pintu, Tirath Singh Rawat, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Ramdas Chandrabhanji Tadas and Krupal Balaji.
Dr Jitendra Singh, Union MoS Prime Minister’s Office and Dr Farooq Abdullah MP Srinagar also attended the meeting. Besides, senior officers from Ministry of Tourism Govt of India, Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P. K Pole, Secretary Tourism J&K Sarmad Hafeez,, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar Shahid Iqbal, Director Tourism, Director Archives & Archaeology, CGM NHAI, GM NHAI, ADG MoRTH and other senior officers were also present on the occasion. The meeting was also joined by senior officers of the UT Administration through video conferencing arranged by NIC Srinagar.