SrinagarThe Jammu and Kashmir government on Thursday said that it will soon organise a “Wagah-type parade” in the Suchetgarh sector along the international border to boost tourism in the state.
Minister for Public Health Engineering (PHE) Sham Lal Choudhary told reporters that frequent firing on the boundary was a reality but in the Suchetgarh sector, it has not taken place, especially in the area where a picnic spot has been set up.
He said 1,500 to 2,000 people visit the place every day, especially on Sundays.
“We are going to organise a Wagah-type parade in Suchetgarh shortly. If the parade starts there, I am hopeful that the tourists who visit the state will definitely go there to watch the place and explore the new destination,” he said, without elaborating on the details of the plan.
Earlier, in his address to the people after inaugurating the nine-day Navratra festival, the minister announced that the government has enhanced the budget for the festival by nearly three times.
“I was told by the Minister of State for tourism Priya Sethi that there used to be Rs 25 lakh budget for the festival which has been enhanced to Rs 70 Lakh. In addition, the provision of Rs 50 crore has been kept for the holy town (Katra) in the annual budget to ensure all facilities for the people and the devotees,” he said.
Choudhary made the comments after the minister of state for finance, Ajay Nanda, highlighted the decline in the number of pilgrim arrivals at the Vaishno Devi shrine over the past several years and demanded enhancement of the budget for the festival.
Nanda said over one crore devotees used to visit the shrine but over the past several years, the number has declined and in 2016, nearly 80 lakh pilgrims came.
He listed several reasons, including the 2014 floods and terror attacks, for the dip in the tourist arrivals.
Minister of State for Tourism Sethi said the government was making all-out efforts to project the Jammu region as a separate tourist destination.
“All our efforts are in this direction. We are focusing on various tourist spots and trying to attract tourists to these places,” she said.
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