Vohra for urgent measures to revive water transport system

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SRINAGAR: Governor NN  Vohra has emphasized the high importance of all the required measures being taken on a time bound basis for operating an inland water transport system in the Kashmir Valley. Such a facility will provide added attraction for the tourists, generate employment avenues and ease the serious problems of traffic congestion.

Last month, the Governor had heard a CII delegation, led by Mr. Sheikh Imran, which had, interalia, informed the Governor about the initiatives taken by the Government in 1996-97 to develop an Inland Navigation System. Thereafter, Raj Bhavan had asked the Divisional Commissioner to review all past decisions and brief the Governor about the way forward.

Mr. Shailendra Kumar, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir, made a presentation on Development of Inland Water Tourism and Historical Sites in Kashmir, at a meeting held at Raj Bhavan here today. Those who attended the meeting included Mr. Navin K. Choudhary, Principal Secretary to the Governor; Mr. A. G. Mir. Inspector General of Police, Kashmir Zone; Mr. Farooq Ahmad Shah, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar; Mr. Talat Parvez, Director Tourism, Kashmir; Mr. Irfan Yasin Shah, Vice Chairman, Lakes and Waterways Development Authority; and Mr. Mir Javed Zaffar, Chief Engineer, Irrigation and Flood Control, Kashmir.

After discussions with the officers attended the meeting, the Governor asked the Divisional Commissioner to very early put in place an inland water transport system in identified sectors of the Jhelum which could be of ready interest to tourists. As such the operational details should be finalized by the Tourism Department and effectively advertised. The Governor asked the Divisional Commissioner to coordinate action between LAWDA, the Tourism and Irrigation Departments and the Police to finalise an Action Plan for the phased development of a number of circuits to be covered by water navigation systems. It was noted that the Tourism and Irrigation Departments and LAWDA could benefit by preparing actionable projects for seeking assistance from Central departments.

The Governor observed that Srinagar city and other areas of Kashmir Valley have a very large number of heritage and historical sites and if an inland water transport system becomes operational a very attractive element can be added in the packages to be offered to tourists.  He advised the Divisional Commissioner to ensure that whatever is viable should be done without any delay, to make a definitive beginning in this direction. He observed that various tourism related events could be planned along the inland water transport circuits to enable the visitors to get to see the historical and cultural heritage of the Valley.

The Governor suggested to Mr. Farooq Ahmad Shah, Deputy Commissioner, Srinagar and Mr. Talat Parvez, Director Tourism, Kashmir, to take all the required measures to publicize the motor-boating facility, which is available in river Jhelum and also involve the hotel associations in publicizing this facility.

Emphasizing the most urgent need for cleaning and preserving the Dal, Wular and other lakes, the Governor observed that would, interalia, also go a long way in promoting water sports in J&K.

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