Centre approves Rs 387.5 cr for 4 Tourist Circuits in J&K

Sanjeev Pargal
JAMMU, Jan 20: The Central Government has proposed four Tourist Circuits in Jammu and Kashmir at the cost of Rs 387.51 crores covering all three regions of the State to exploit tourism potential in many unexplored areas. The Government has started work on two Circuits and would be taking up two remaining Circuits shortly.
Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, who holds the charge of Tourism Department, stated this in the Legislative Assembly today, in response to a question of BJP MLA Shakti Parihar.
Another amount of Rs 82.97 crore has been approved by the Central Government for creation of Himalayan Circuit in the State.
Four Tourist Circuits approved by the Union Ministry of Tourism for Jammu and Kashmir at the cost of Rs 387.51 crores included Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop, Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh, Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar Dam and Jammu-Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama.
Mantalai Tourist Circuit has been proposed at the cost of Rs 97.82 crores, Gulmarg for Rs 96.92 crores, Anantnag Rs 96.39 crores and Jammu-Rajouri Rs 96.38 crores.
A detailed document submitted in the Legislative Assembly by the Chief Minister revealed that Mantalai Circuit would involve development of tourist facilities at Mantalai, Sudhmahadev and Patnitop while Gulmarg-Baramulla-Kupwara-Leh Circuit would develop several tourist spots and unexplored areas including Gulmarg, Baba Reshi temple,  Lolab, Drass, Kargil, Sankhoo, Skuru, Nobra-Turtuk, Leh-Manali road and heritage sites of Leh and Zanskar.
The third Circuit of Anantnag-Pahalgam-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar dam would develop tourist facilities at Tral, Naristan, Aripal, Gopkral, Faizpanah Harwan, Srinagar Fort, Pahalgam, Padam, Kokernag, Gulabgarh, Bhaderwah, Baglihar Dam, Pul Doda, Ranjit Sagar dam and Basohli.
Fourth Tourist Circuit of Jammu-Rajouri-Shopian-Pulwama would involve tourist places like Jhajjar Kotli, Panchari, Bhimgarh Fort, Sidhra Golf Course, Tata Pani, Loran/Jallian Park, Noori Chamb, Peer Ki Gali, Mubarak Mandi complex, Poonch/Rajouri Fort, Shopian, Pampore, Manasbal, Ajansar and Wullar lakes.
“Authorization of tendering process has been conveyed to the executing agency for two Circuits including Anantnag- Kishtwar- Pahalgam- Daksum- Ranjit Sagar Dam and Jammu-Rajouri- Shopian- Pulwama while two remaining Circuits will be executed by NBCC and NPCC respectively. Chief Executive Officers of Patnitop and Gulmarg Development Authorities have been nominated as State Nodal officers for the purpose,” the official documents revealed.
It said the Government of India has also approved Rs 82.97 crore for 15 projects under Himalayan Circuit under `Swadesh Darshan’. Out of Rs 82.97 crores, the Centre has already released Rs 16.6 crore.
Major projects proposed under the Himalayan Circuit included development of border tourism at Suchetgarh, , amusements parks at Sidhra Golf Course and Srinagar, floating cafeteria at Dal lake, cruise on river Jhelum, skating rink at Pahalgam, border tourism at Salamabad, Uri and wayside facilities along Kargil-Leh highway Golf Course at Leh.
Under `Swadesh Darshan’, the Centre has released additional grant of Rs 3.29 crores for three Development Authorities including Rs 1.72 crore for Gulmarg, Rs 78.6 lakh for Leh and Rs 77.8 lakh for Kargil.
However, under State Plan for development of tourist spots, Jammu region has been granted meager Rs 8.72 crores as against Rs 22.29 crores in Kashmir. While Patnitop Development Authority has received Rs 2.62 crores only during 2016-17, Pahalgam Development Authority and Gulmarg Development Authority received Rs 4.65 crores and Rs 3.26 crores respectively. Sonamarg Development Authority too got Rs 3 crore.
However, in terms of Central funding, Patnitop and Sonamarg Development Authorities got an equal amount of Rs 1.23 crores as against Rs 1.31 crores of Pahalgam and Rs 40 lakh of Gulmarg.
However, Development Bodies of Jammu and Ladakh regions have got sufficient funding for promotion of tourism under the Central sector.
Bhaderwah has been allocated Rs 6.84 crores, Rajouri Rs 3.59 crores, Kishtwar Rs 1.36 crores, Poonch 5.03 crores, Lakhanpur-Sarthal Rs 6.39 crores, Leh Rs 3.49 crores and Kargil Rs 1.73 crores during current financial year of 2016-17.