Calls for efforts to make golf courses self-sustaining assets
JAMMU To attract high-end visitors to the enduring charms of the City of Temples, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Friday called upon the tourism stakeholders to compliment the undiluted efforts of the state government, enabling Jammu to gain a firm foothold in the ever-expanding travel industry.
He said Jammus emergence as a top-end tourism destination will solely depend on how we diversify our travel-related infrastructure and facilities. Jammu will be heralded as an independent leisure and adventure destination on the tourism map of the state, he asserted.
The Chief Minister made these observations after inaugurating the state-of-the-art Back 9 Hole Jammu Tawi Golf Course and an impressive Clubhouse, here this afternoon, at a glittering function, which was also attended by a large number of avid golfers.
Flanked by the Deputy Chief Minister, Dr. Nirmal Singh, Minister for Education, Naeem Akhtar and Minister of State for Education, Information & Culture, Priya Sethi, the Chief Minister went around the Clubhouse, which is laced with all modern-day facilities of health club, spa, gymnasium and change rooms.
Comparing the ambiance of Jammu Tawi Golf Course to that of Royal Springs Golf Course in Srinagar, the Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, said he was pleasantly surprised to see this golf course for the first time.
Nestled between serene Trikuta Hills and river Tawi, the Sidhra Golf course, designed by Col. K. D. Bagga, is beautifully spread over 1385 kanal of land, matching global benchmarks in the field of golfing.
With fairways of nearly 275 metres, five big and small water-bodies and a 3200-metre-long water channel, Jammu Tawi Golf Course is equipped with underground sprinkle systems, clubhouse and 6500-metre-long pathways. Hazard area in the shape of beautiful lakes and artificial bunkers make the course interesting and extremely challenging for golf aficionados.
Outlining his objective to diversify tourism sector, Mufti Sayeed revealed his blueprint to venture into adventure, heritage and golf tourism that holds great potential to attract upmarket travellers in Jammu region as well. J&K is a perfect destination for golfing. By creating a circuit, we will be able to provide experience to the golfers in two distinct geographical regions of the state, the Chief Minister said, asking Secretary Tourism to hold golf events at Sidhra Golf Course this winter.
Elaborating upon his plans to aggressively launch Jammu on the tourism map of the state, the Chief Minister emphasized upon expediting work on commissioning Bahu Fort Ropeway, beautification of Tawi Riverfront and the restoration of the Mubarak Mandi Heritage Complex. He specifically mentioned promotion of Ranjit Sagar and Baghliar Dams, Surinsar-Mansar, Jai-Bhadarwah and Sanasar as ideal tourist destinations, which hold great potential.
Mufti Sayeed also reiterated his plans to promote border tourism, particularly in Suchetgarh and Chaka da Bagh, on the pattern of Wagah Border, which attracts a large number of visitors on the weekends.
The Chief Minister also stressed upon formulating a plan for maintenance, operations and marketing of golf courses and favoured pay and play structure so as to make the courses self-sustained assets. Golf courses need constant maintenance of its greens, fairways and sprinkling systems. Given the gift of natural landscape and lush green meadows, tee offs have an exciting future in the state, he added.
The Chief Minister also asked Director Tourism Jammu to fast-track measures for development of Mantalai as an International Yoga Centre. He also emphasized upon formulatingSunday, off-day and weekday packages to woo leisure tourists to the City of Temples.
Mufti Sayeed said seven-month-rule is too small a period to judge any governments performance. Still we have done a commendable job by making the administration responsive to the needs of the people, he said, holding out a promise to deliver justice in all its manifestations to all manner of people and regions of the state.
Referring to the recently-concluded Autumn Session of the Legislature, the Chief Minister said the distasteful events of the first few days pained him. He, however, said the unanimous resolution passed by the Legislature that conveyed a message of peace and harmony across the country and the Subcontinent was one of the highlights of the short session.
The Chief Minister hailed Jammu and Kashmir Chambers of Commerce & Industry for joining hands in sending a strong message of unity in one voice to the fringe elements, which were out to disturb peace and tranquillity in the state.
Describing opposition as an inseparable part of any democratic structure, Mufti Sayeed highlighted its role in opposing, deposing and exposing, adding he also had donned the role many a times during his long political career.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Nirmal Singh said the coalition governments agenda of alliance is coalitions guiding principle for good governance in the state. This government assures the people that all regions will be developed in an equitable manner, he said, while referring to several projects launched by the Chief Minister today, which include multi-tier parking-cum-commercial project at Jammu and foundation of double-lanning of Lakhanpur-Thein Road leading up to Ranjit Sagar Dam.
Describing golf course as an essential part of any developed city, Naeem Akhtar said the project was conceived by the Chief Minister during his first tenure between 2002 and 2005. He also mentioned his association in conceptualizing this prestigious project during his tenure as Secretary Tourism. Golf is no just related to tourism, it actually enhances the profile of the entire city, he said, adding that he was very happy to see the sprawling greens and fairways of the Sidhra Golf Course.
Earlier, Secretary Tourism gave a brief overview about the projects executed by the Tourism Department and also the ones in the pipeline.
Also present were Legislators, Devender Singh Rana, Rani Bloeria and Ramesh Arora, Divisional Commissioner, Jammu, Dr. Pawan Kotwal, Secretary Tourism, Farooq A. Shah and Director Tourism, Jammu, R. K. Verma.
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