Sarmad Hafeez directs augmenting winter sports facilities

Srinagar: Secretary, Tourism & Culture, Sarmad Hafeez today directed the Tourism Department to augment all winter sports facilities and equipment at Gulmarg so that these are kept in a state of readiness before the onset of winter season.

Chairing a meeting of officers of Tourism and related Departments here today, the Tourism Secretary directed the constitution of teams from Tourism Department and J&K Cable Car Corporation to check the operational worthiness of the equipment like ski lifts, snow beaters etc. at Gulmarg and make these ready for use by the start of winter season. For this, he directed taking all the steps required at the earliest. He said he has already directed upgradation and further improvement of Gulmarg Golf Course for which work is already on.

Mr. Sarmad Hafeez also underscored the need for developing Sonamarg as a winter destination in view of the heavy rush of tourists witnessed last winter. In this regard, he directed exploring slopes for establishing ski lifts and other mechanical equipment at the resort. In this regard, he directed the Sonamarg Development Authority and J&K Cable Car Corporation to undertake a joint survey of the area within a week’s time.

The Tourism Secretary also took a review of the progress on installation of Bio digesters in Dal lake by LAWDA. He asked the LAWDA to fix a timeline in this regard and call the experts from DRDO at the earliest, as decided already. He also asked the LAWDA to pace up its anti-encroachment drive along the peripheries of Dal lake.

Sarmad Hafeez also directed conducting a joint inspection of water treatment plant at Manasbal by a joint team of officials from Tourism Department and UEED. He directed ramping up lighting facilities along Boulevard, at Royal Springs Golf Course and Pari Mahal within a week’s time and make it aesthetically pleasing. He also sought full details of the signages being installed at various tourist destinations by the J&K Cable Car Corporation.

The Tourism Secretary also reviewed pace of disbursement of COVID-19 relief announced by the Government for various segments of tourism sector and directed its speedy disbursement among the beneficiaries.

Earlier, the Director, Tourism, Kashmir, Dr. G N Itoo briefed the Tourism Secretary about the activities being carried out by the Department currently.

He said the Department is collecting details of all the tourism stakeholders for undergoing vaccination programme and in this regard a separate cell has been created in the Department. Besides, the Department is also planning, in coming days, a capacity building programme for tourism stakeholders for post covid business activities once the situation improves.

The meeting was attended by Commissioner, SMC, Athar Amin; VC, LAWDA; Chief Engineer, UEED, Basharat Ahmad; CEOs of Gulmarg and Pahalgam Development Authorities, Inam ul Haq Siddiqui and Mushtaq Ahmad; CEO, Golf Development Authority, Javed Humayun Bakshi; officers from Tourism Department, LAWDA, Mechanical Engineering Department; Cable Car Corporation and other related Departments.


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