JAMMU: Chief Minister, Ms Mehbooba Mufti today called for launching a comprehensive conservation and restoration programme for the rivers and water bodies of the State. She said the organisations having expertise in conservation of water bodies can be co-opted to provide technical assistance on this front.
The government is committed to preserve the States precious water bodies and extricate these of pollution, the Chief Minister said while addressing a function organised in connection with the signing of Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) for Tawi River Front Development.
The MoU was signed between Jammu Development Authority (JDA) and Sabarmati River Front Development Corporation Ltd (SRFDCL), Ahmadabad at a modest but impressive function organised at the Convention Centre Jammu.
Deputy Chief Minister, Dr Nirmal Singh, Minister of State for Tourism, Ms Priya Sethi, MP, Jugal Kishore, Vice-Chairman SC Board, Mr Bushan Dogra, MLAs, Rajesh Gupta and Satpal Sharma were present on the occasion.
Ms Mehbooba said the restoration of Tawi front would add to the tourism potential of Jammu and would facilitate the Governments efforts to develop the winter capital as an independent tourism destination. She expressed the hope that the involvement of SRFDCL would help give an expert and new touch to the development of Tawi River Front as has been done in case of Sabarmati River in Ahmadabad.
Ms Mehbooba said a similar initiative was taken by the then Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in 2002 for development of Jhelum Front and today the Jhelum banks have become a scenic spot in Srinagar which otherwise had turned into den of anti-social activities. With a little effort and will and with the cooperation of the people, we can and have to safeguard the immense wealth of water resources, she said and added that while other states were struggling for even drinking water, fortunately, J&K has immense resources which need to be conserved for posterity.
The Chief Minister said there is no dearth of tourist destinations in Jammu and with its treasure trove of heritage sites the city will attract a huge footfall of tourists. The government will strategize and diversify activities for development of Jammu as an independent tourist destination for which a comprehensive plan has been drawn up, she said.
Ms Mehbooba said immediately on her arrival here this afternoon, she enquired from the Divisional Commissioner Jammu about the progress of restoration work of Mubarak Mandi Complex. She said Jammu ahs other potential tourist destinations as well which can attract huge number of tourists. She mentioned about Ranjit Sagar Dam in Basohli, Akhnoor Fort, Mughal Sarai in Rajouri, Patnitop, Surinsar, Mansar, Jai in Bhaderwah, Warwan in Kishtwar and Mantalai in Udhampur as places where all ongoing projects will be fast-tracked. She said this will position Jammu as an emerging destination for inbound as well as foreign visitors.
In his address, the Deputy Chief Minister credited the vision of former Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed in promoting Jammu as an independent tourism destination. He said the idea of Tawi Front Development, although conceived long back, was only expedited on the directions of Mufti Mohammad Sayeed. The MoU being signed here today is because of the efforts the late Mufti Sahab, he said.
The Deputy Chief Minister said that the Government has launched major developmental initiatives in various sectors and the results will be there for the people to see.
He also felicitated the people of Jammu for this historic intervention in restoring the glory of Tawi river.
As per the MoU, SRFDCL shall prepare a Detailed Project Report (DPR) for development of Tawi River Front in Jammu city and submit the same to JDA for its onward submission to the Union Ministry of Water Resources and River Development, New Delhi for funding.
The overall objective of the project is to provide high quality River Training and Flood Protection Infrastructure to increase the safety of the Jammu city infrastructure and properties. This will result in the creation of reclaimed land which can be used for creation of recreational and other urban development components and also to promote tourism through various development activities. The project is also aimed at addressing the problem of Sewage presently flowing directly into the river Tawi.
Tawi River originates from the lap of Kali Kundi glacier and adjoining area southwest of Bhaderwah in Doda district. The catchment area of the river up to border in Jammu is 2168 km and falls in the districts of Jammu, Udhampur and a small part of Doda. The length of river Tawi is about 141 kms. After traversing Jammu City, the river joins Chenab River. Tawi River flows through the city of Jammu and is considered sacred and holy, as is the case with most rivers in India. The river traverses through the city of Jammu dividing it into two parts and is analogous to the Sabarmati River in Gujarat which also traverses through Ahmadabad City.
The proposal for development of Tawi River Front was initiated in 2002 but no progress could be made on the project due to lack of knowhow and funds.
MP, Jugal Kishore Sharma and MLAs, Rajesh Gupta and Satpal Sharma also addressed the gathering.
Principal Secretary to Chief Minister, Mr Navin Kumar Choudhary, Divisional Commissioner Jammu, Dr Pawan Kotwal, Commissioner Secretary Housing & Urban Development Department, Mr Hridesh Kumar, Vice-Chairman, Jammu Development Authority, Mr Mubarak Singh, Managing Director SRFDCL, Ms D Thara, Executive Director SRFDCL, Mr D H Shah and other officers of H&UDD and SRFDCL were present on the occasion.
Prominent citizens of Jammu including Sardar Rangil Singh, Mr Ved Mahajan,Mr Dhaman Bhasin, Mr Falail Singh, Mrs Vijay Dogra and others were also present on the occasion.
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