SRINAGAR, Jan 20: Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, today said that the Government is committed to develop Jammu and Kashmir as a progressive State of the country and asked the officers to put in synergized efforts to optimally achieve the developmental goals.
He also stressed on active partaking of all stakeholders to preserve and promote our rich cultural heritage. The Minister said this during meeting held at SKICC here today.
He stressed, “we have to maintain a balance between development and preservation of our environment and heritage”, adding that the goal should be to achieve sustainable development for meeting the needs of today, without compromising the needs of tomorrow.
”If we want to call ourselves a progressive society, we should start behaving like one. Our people have placed high hopes in us and we should rise to the occasion so that the future of our State as a clean and green place is preserved, which can attract tourists in large numbers,” he added.
During the meeting, Tassaduq sought suggestions from the officers for the preservation of Chinars. “Infrastructure development should not impact our heritage. Under Specified Trees Act, deterrents must be put in place in the form of a stronger legal framework. . The Chinar Development Officer should carry out a physical census to determine the number of Chinars that exist in the State so that a policy can be evolved for their protection,” he said.
Underlining the need for a better public transport system in Kashmir valley, particularly in Srinagar city, the Tourism Minister said over 40,000 vehicles were added to the already existing vehicular traffic in last two years in Srinagar alone, “we have to make public transport comfortable, affordable and reliable. Bus stops must be designated and there should be colour coding for vehicles,” he said.
Asking the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and the Transport Department to work in tandem with each other, Tassaduq said the route permits must be regulated to keep vehicles from moving into other areas. “There is a need for proper intersections, pavements and intelligent traffic management in the city for which the Government has already hired a consultant and the results are showing up slowly”, he added.
The Minister expressed concern over the pollution caused by brick kilns and cement plants, mostly in Budgam and Pulwama districts. He directed the officers to immediately stop illegal excavation of clay and soil which will have disastrous consequences on the environment.
On the issue of disposal of bio-medical waste, Tassaduq said the hospitals must train their staff to segregate waste products at the source so that they can be readily disposed off. He said biomedical waste disposal at hospital level should be in accordance to the set guidelines and there is need for more awareness campaigns on segregation and disposal.
The meeting was also attended by Chief Engineers of various departments, Deputy Commissioners of the districts of Kashmir division, Director Health Services Kashmir, Saleem-ur-Rehman, SSP Traffic, Tahir Saleem, officers of Transport Department and Pollution Control Board and other senior officers.