Kashmir Budgam District to develop villages to provide impetus to tourism
The tourism department of the Jammu and Kashmir Government is developing some villages to provide an impetus to the tourism industry.
The department in collaboration with the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India, is planning to introduce several development projects in Nowroz Baba village in Khag block of Budgam District.
The director of the tourism department, Talat Parvez, said: "When our tourists and especially the European, Australian and American trekkers come, they are fond of visiting the hinterland and seeing the villages. Therefore, such type of tourist bases will help us. Here we will have our trekking base. We will make a trekking centre in Nowroz Baba. When this centre will be constructed, the tourists would be able to enjoy all the facilities. We will also keep all the trekking equipments in the store."
As part of this project, huts would be built for the trekkers and they would also be provided with several other facilities, including drinking water, toilets and other trekking equipments.
It is said that 60 percent of Kashmiris are dependent on tourism.
A villager, Mushtaq Dar hailed the development projects undertaken by the tourism department and said that it would increase employment opportunities in the village.
"This will be beneficial for us and for the village as this would increase employment opportunities and will also lead to the development of the village. If large number of tourists will visit the village then it will provide us the benefit," said Dar.
Kashmir was once dubbed the Switzerland of the east. It was once a Mecca for climbers, skiers, honeymooners and filmmakers drawn to the state's soaring peaks, fruit orchards and timber houseboats bobbing on Dal Lake in Srinagar, the summer capital.
Indeed, planeloads of India's upwardly mobile middle classes have visited the picture postcard-perfect Kashmir Valley this summer, making it the busiest tourist season since the armed revolt began in 1989.
Hotels and the famed houseboats on the mirror-calm Dal Lake framed by snow-capped mountains are booked for weeks even though new ones such as the Taj chain's luxurious Vivanta have opened.
The streets are blocked with traffic, the shops are filled with customers bargaining for everything from carpets to walnuts, and you could for a moment think you are in an Indian city with its babel of languages from Bengali to Gujarati rather than a disputed region at the heart of 60 years of unremitting hostility between India and Pakistan.
Tourism returned in force to Kashmir in 2005 as violence fell after India and Pakistan began a peace process. Some 600,000 people visited the scenic region, most of them Indians.