Centre’s advise on developing Aparna Ashram at Mantalai falls on deaf ears

Incomplete structure Aparna Ashram at Mantalai a victim of Govt’s apathy.-Excelsior/Rakesh
Incomplete structure Aparna Ashram at Mantalai a victim of Govt’s apathy.-Excelsior/Rakesh

No concrete action plan prepared

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Dec 26: Following the foot-steps of the previous dispensations in the State, the PDP-BJP Coalition Government is also not showing any interest in developing huge property of Aparna Ashram at Mantalai despite the fact that Union Tourism Ministry has stressed the need for preparation of action plan in this regard in a time-bound manner.
Due to this, the property, which is in the dilapidated condition, will be a major blot on the upcoming International Yoga Centre instead of helping in meeting the requirements of the tourists.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that Director General Tourism, Union Ministry of Tourism Satyajeet Rajan during his visit to Jammu in the first week of current month was shocked to witness that huge property, which can supplement the upcoming infrastructure at Mantalai in meeting the requirement of tourists, has not received the due attention of the State Government.
During interaction with the officers of the Tourism Department and Patnitop Development Authority at Mantalai, the Director General Tourism was apprised that around Rs 8 crore would be required for development of the property left by Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari.
The Director General, while ruling out any financial assistance from the Union Tourism Ministry for development of infrastructure of Aparna Ashram, had advised the accompanying Tourism Department and Patnitop Development Authority officers that State Government should immediately prepare a plan and earmark sufficient funds from its own resources so that huge property becomes usable well before the completion of International Yoga Centre at Mantalai.
He had explicitly told the officers of the Tourism Department that Mantalai-Sudhmahadev-Patnitop Tourism Circuit would remain incomplete till this property worth several hundred crores of rupees spread over 1002 kanals of land is properly developed and put to use for tourism promotion.
However, till date the advice of the Director General Tourism Government of India has not been taken seriously by the Tourism Department, sources informed. Even the foremost step of preparing Detailed Project Report (DPR) for completion of incomplete infrastructure of Aparna Ashram has not been initiated despite the fact that exact financial implication would be worked out under this exercise only.
“Aparna Ashram has 27 rooms/halls. Moreover, 30 to 40 rooms can be easily created by completing the incomplete hotel by spending around Rs 8 crore but astonishingly the present Government is following the foot-steps of the previous dispensations and is not showing any interest”, sources regretted.
“If the infrastructure is developed then it would supplement the upcoming infrastructure at Mantalai otherwise this would be a blot on the International Yoga Centre, which is expected to be ready within next three-four years”, they added.
It is pertinent to mention here that National Projects Construction Corporation, a Government of India Enterprise has already been allotted the International Yoga Centre project and the Corporation is in the state of readiness for start of work by January-February next year.
While the Government has preferred to maintain blind eye towards the property that can be put to immense use, the State High Court has started playing its role.
This can be gauged from the fact that Division Bench of State High Court comprising Chief Justice Badar Durrez Ahmed and Justice Sanjeev Kumar, in a Public Interest Litigation titled Sumit Nayyar Versus Union of India and Others, has appointed a Commissioner to visit Mantalai as well as Sudhmahadev.
The Commissioner has been directed to furnish report with regard to the existing infrastructure including all the buildings and facilities which are available at these sites. The DB has also directed the Chief Executive Officer of Patnitop Development Authority to provide all assistance to the Commissioner during his visit.
The PIL will come up for further hearing on February 13, 2018 and Division Bench of the High Court is likely to pass necessary directions to the Tourism Department. “It is hoped that following High Court’s intervention the Government will start initiating steps for development of infrastructure left by Swami Dhirendra Brahmachari”, sources said.


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