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JK witnessing golden period: Lt Guv Sinha

JK witnessing golden period: Lt Guv Sinha
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Flags off 'Athwas' programme for rejuvenation of Dal Lake

Srinagar: Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Saturday said that Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a golden period as 80 lakh tourists visited the Union Territory in the last few months. He said that the figure is a record in the last 15 to 20 years.
“I think this is the golden period for Jammu and Kashmir in which all the records of the last 15-20 years have been broken. More than 80 lakh tourists arrived here in the last few months. This has brought prosperity and is helping people establish peace,” Sinha told reporters here.
The LG flagged off an event titled “Athwas”, a unique partnership between citizens and authorities for the rejuvenation of the Dal lake. Under the project, de-weeding and dredging of the water body will be carried out in collaboration with the citizens.
“Several activities are happening (on the tourism front), 3,500 shikaras row the lake each day and I think no activity can be bigger than that. Around 400-500 (tourists) arrive here every day. The number of flights has increased. For some, it is difficult to get a ticket to Srinagar just two-three days before (the travel date). Hotels are booked. We are thinking about having more hotels here,” Sinha said.
He said the Dal lake has become cleaner and will be restored to its pristine glory soon.
“The people as well as the administration here have vowed to keep clean the Dal lake, which is the cultural and historical heritage of the city. People from the world over want to visit the lake. The average citizen now feels that the lake has become cleaner than before.
“There are provisions for Rs 136 crore in the budget for cleaning the lake. Money had come before as well, but I do not think it was utilised as it is being done now. The lake has become better and the change is visible,” Sinha said.
He added that money has been deposited in the DBT mode into the accounts of those cleaning the lake, which has led to a change in their economic and social lives and also ensured the cleaning of the lake on a war footing.
About the recent fire incidents in which a few houseboats were gutted, the LG said a provision has been kept in the Smart City project to provide immediate relief in case of fire incidents in the lake.
On the Smart City project for Srinagar, he said the administration is working on the need to protect the city’s inheritance and also to provide modern amenities.
“When you will be able to ride a cycle along the banks of the Jhelum, sip coffee and enjoy free internet for half an hour, you will surely bring us sweets,” Sinha said.
Underscoring that effective community participation is vital to develop and conserve ecological heritage, the Lt Governor said that the de-weeding and dredging will be conducted in collaboration with the citizens.
The Lt Governor further observed that dedicated efforts have been initiated in the last two years to clean Dal Lake, and for conservation and protection of other water bodies across J&K. In this year’s budget, Rs 373 crore has been allocated for development and conservation of Dal and Nageen lakes, he said.
The Lt Governor noted that for the first time in history, a successful campaign is being run with active public participation to clean Dal Lake.
“The de-weeding campaign which was started last year was very successful; now we will add new cleaning machines to the existing fleet and start dredging work on the western side to restore 60,000 Sq metre area”, he added.
On the conservation of Wular Lake, the Lt Governor said that a walkway is proposed to be built along the Lake which will enhance the beauty of Wular as also help in preventing encroachment along it.
“Our aim is to revive the historical and cultural heritage of Jammu and Kashmir and the lakes here are invaluable part of that heritage”, the Lt Governor underscored.
The Lt Governor said that with the inspiration and encouragement of Prime Minister, people of the UT are determined to preserve the natural wealth of Jammu Kashmir.
The Lt Governor further said that for three decades, Khushal Sar Lake had dried up and turned into a sewage dump, and it was only after the significant partnership of administration and people, the lake has been rejuvenated and returned to its original form. 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.
Earlier, the Lt Governor along with Mayor SMC, Junaid Azim Mattu; DDC Chairman Srinagar, Aftab Malik; senior officers and volunteers participated in the Dal cleaning drive.

Press Trust of India

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