SRINAGAR: About 80 lakhs people have visited Kashmir in the last few months, breaking all records of tourist arrivals in the Valley in the last 10 years, Jammu and Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said on Saturday and termed the year as the “golden period”.
“Record number of people are visiting Kashmir and this is a golden period for tourism in the history of Kashmir,” LG Sinha said here on the sidelines of flagging off an event titled ‘Athwas’, a unique partnership between citizens and authorities for rejuvenation of Dal Lake.
“We should cash in on this period,” he said.
The LG said that 80 lakh tourists visited Kashmir in the past few months which, he said, is a record number even if compared to the past 10 to 20 years. “Flight operations too, have broken all previous records. Today, all hotels are booked in advance and people of other states are finding it difficult to get an air ticket for Srinagar,” he added.
LG Sinha said that 3500 Shikaras row in Dal Lake on average. “We are committed to ensuring the lake is cleaned on a fast-track basis,” he said adding that the administration led by him is committed to preserving and restoring the lost glory of the world-famous Dal Lake in Srinagar as the administration was working with the local citizens to clean the lake from weeds and other pollutants.
He stated that it was for the first time that the government along the locals is cleaning Dal Lake. “People and the locals of Srinagar are on the same page and under a pledge to see Dal Lake clean from weeds and other pollutants,” the LG said.
“Director Beneficiary Transfer (DBT) mode has helped a lot to ensure cleaning of the lake on war-footing besides changing the lives of those cleaning the Lake. Today you can see Char-Chinar from a distance and in the days ahead, you will see how clean the lake will be. I think for the first time in the past 150 years, Dal Lake looks so clean.”
He said that the Central government had allocated Rs 273 crores for the preservation of Dal and Nigeen lakes in the budget 2022-2023, of which Rs 136 crores will be utilized for the conservation of Dal Lake alone.
“You will soon see that Lake back to its pristine glory for which it was once popular across the globe,” the LG said.
About a question about Smart City, he said, “We are working to make the city a smart city. When you will have a cycle ride on the foreshore while enjoying the free internet for half an hour, you will surely bring sweets to us.”
“The prime minister has also appreciated the efforts of the people of Srinagar and the district administration for the initiative,” he added.
“This year, we aim to revive 3600 water bodies in different parts of the UT. I call upon all stakeholders, PRIs, and departments to join hands with a resolve to save our natural wealth with collaborative efforts”, the Lt Governor said.
On the conservation of Wular Lake, the Lt Governor said that a walkway was proposed to be built along the lake which will enhance the beauty of Wular and also help in preventing encroachment along with it. “Our aim is to revive the historical and cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir and the lakes here are an invaluable part of that heritage”, the Lt Governor underscored.