Excelsior Sports Correspondent
JAMMU, Jan 11: Minister of State for Tourism and Culture Priya Sethi today convened a meeting to review infrastructure and other arrangements being put in place for holding snow carnivals in the state at Gulmarg, Pahalgam and Patnitop.
Secretary Tourism Farooq Ahmad Shah, Managing Director JKTDC, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary, Managing Director State Cable Car Corporation Shamim Ahmad Wani, Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood Ahmad Shah besides Chief Executive Officer (CEO) for Patnitop Development Authority, Pahalgam Development Authority and Gulmarg Development Authority took part in the meeting.
While speaking on the occasion, the Minister said “these snow carnivals provide a comprehensive peek into one facet of tourism that J&K has to offer to its tourists and it is essential to make sure that the experience that tourists take from this festival is a happy and culturally rich” adding that “successful snow carnivals will open way for tourist influx in other facets of state tourism”.
The Minister took a detailed account of arrangements being put in place and all adventure, recreational activities planned for the snow carnivals including availability of skiing, sledging equipment, number of qualified instructors for skiing, number of qualified sledges, skiing lifts with per hour capacity to lift skiers, sledging facilities and number of slopes, ice skating rink, any other winter activity available to the tourists.
Besides, the Minister also took special note of the availability of safety guards, tourist police, medical facilities, 24×7 power/water backup, road connectivity and availability of onsite snow clearing machines.
Laying special emphasis on safety arrangements, the Minister directed concerned officials to lay focused attention on snow safety measures including Snow avalanche detection and alarm system and ensure top of the line technological and manual infrastructure is in place for the same. She further directed the CEOs of development authorities to regularly monitor the functioning of these equipments to ensure no lapses in safety.
With regards to the 15 day Gulmarg Snow Carnival scheduled to be held from 22nd January to 5th February, the Minister directed the concerned officials to prepare a day wise calendar of all activities being offered as part of the festival and ensure that it is displayed at all hotels, lodges for the convenience of the tourists. She directed JKTDC to provide 50% off on all accommodation during the span of the carnival.
During the meeting, special focus was paid on ensuring availability of heli ambulance, oxygen supply, and fully equipped first aid centers at all stations of cable car and ski-lift stations for the convenience of the tourists.