Dr Jitendra, Sinha lay e-foundation of Rs 198 cr Mansar Rejuvenation Project

Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha laying e-foundation of Mansar Rejuvenation Project on Sunday.
Union Minister Dr Jitendra Singh and Lt Governor Manoj Sinha laying e-foundation of Mansar Rejuvenation Project on Sunday.

‘Opponents underplay development for vested interests’

Avtar Bhat
JAMMU, Nov 1: In a major boost to conservation of water bodies and lakes in Jammu region, besides promotion of tourism, Union Minister in PMO with Independent charge of North Eastern States, Dr Jitendra Singh and Lt Governor, J&K UT, Manoj Sinha today laid the e -foundation of Rs.198.37 crore Centrally funded Mansar Lake Rejuvenation Project from New Delhi and Srinagar respectively.
“This will be second major river rejuvenation project in the Jammu region after Devika which has been framed on the model of prestigious Namami Ganga project,” said Dr Jitendra Singh in his address.
While taking a dig at some vested elements and disgruntled politicians, he said that Jammu’s development is being underplayed by them to mislead the common masses of the region for their petty political interests.
“Though how hard they may try they will ultimately fail in their designs as the poor beneficiaries of the region have fully acknowledged the development made during last six years of Narendra Modi Government”, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said the poor masses of the region are acknowledging the development made in every sphere of life in last six years which has been underplayed by vested interests for obvious reasons. But they will be exposed before the masses as was done in 2019 after they were rejected by the people at the hustings, he added.
The Union Minister said that all these developmental projects have been launched to improve the lot of common man while reiterating the commitment of Narendra Modi Government that last man in the last queue should be benefited by the welfare schemes.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that history will analyse why these projects which were taken up in hand during the last six years of Modi Government could not be started in last 70 years. “Our opponents do know that the development has been made and they too take advantage of these schemes and use these facilities but hesitate in acknowledging them for their vested political interests”, he added.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that after its implementation, the number of tourists/pilgrims to Mansar will increase from current 10 lakh to 20 lakh per year. He said, that soon after the Modi Government came to power in 2014, it was a priority to develop the far -flung and backward areas at par with other developed regions of the country. He said that the balanced and overall development of Jammu and Kashmir in the last six years on the lines of the North Eastern States underlined the “Sankalp se Siddhi” Mantra of the Modi Government.
Dr Jitendra Singh said, the number of national projects initiated in the region during the last over six years is more than the number of such projects initiated in the earlier seven decades. The incredible development speaks for itself and is too obviously visible to go unnoticed, he said.
Dr Jitendra Singh said that Jammu & Kashmir has received highest priority in the development and particularly the Udhampur-Kathua-Doda Lok Sabha constituency, which can be compared to any other Lok Sabha constituency of India for its landmark developmental works. He pointed out that while Udhampur-Kathua-Doda is possibly the only Lok Sabha constituency in the country which has received three Centrally funded Medical Colleges in three years, Udhampur is the only district in the country which has, on the lines of Namami Ganga and Ganga cleaning project, received two similar rejuvenation and renovation projects for river Devika and Mansar lake respectively.
The Union Minister said, rising above considerations of vote bank, it has been an effort to provide facilities developed in the neglected areas. He said, while the distant area Paddar in Kishtwar got its first Centrally funded Degree College two years back, a new Airport is coming up in Kishtwar under the Central Government’s UDAN Scheme. Similarly, the far flung area of-Pogal-Ukhral and Marmat got their first ever Degree Colleges, Gandoh got its first ever Post Office.
In his address, Manoj Sinha, Lieutenant Governor said that Mansar is of immense importance from pilgrimage as well heritage point of view beyond being the most scenic attraction due to vast Mansar lake and its flora and fauna. He said that tourism contributes to 7 percent of GDP of Jammu and Kashmir, but due to Corona, the sector got hit badly. He said, all efforts are being made to provide relief to people associated with Tourism industry on a large scale. He said that Centre has given Rs 706 crore for Tourism Sector and multi-pronged approach is being adopted to bring Jammu and Kashmir as one of the most preferred tourist destination in the world map.
The Lt Governor observed that the prestigious project aims at increasing tourists’ influx which will facilitate the socio-economic development of the area, open more avenues for its holistic development and generate more employment opportunities for locals.
He said Jammu and Kashmir has the potential to become a preferred tourist destination and this sector can support a much higher employment work force. The UT Government is working on a strategic plan for growth & development of tourism sector in J&K. “With numerous heritage sites, world- class infrastructure and promotion of adventure sports, we can achieve the tag of India’s most preferred tourist destination”, he observed.
Jammu and Kashmir has abundant wealth in terms of water bodies. The Government is working rigorously for conservation & preservation of water bodies in Jammu and Kashmir and is taking comprehensive measures for restoring their ecosystem, said Sinha.
Mansar and Surinsar are the most sought after tourist destinations visited by the tourists in Jammu. It is in the close vicinity of Katra, holy city of Mata Vaishno Devi where more than 1.00 crore pilgrims from all parts of the country and abroad visit on yearly basis. Mansar is of immense importance from pilgrimage as well as heritage point of view besides, being the most scenic attraction due to vast Mansar lake and its wildlife sanctuary and flora & fauna. The implementation of its Rejuvenation/Development Plan will certainly bring Mansar on the world tourism map, he added.
“Comprehensive Mansar Rejuvenation/Development Plan” after its implementation will create employment generation of around 1.15 crore approximately and income generation of approximately 800 crore per year. Development of Mansar and its surrounding hamlets in terms of socio-economic upliftment and better future of the residents of the locals- collectively bringing Mansar on the world tourism map, said the Lt Governor.
He said the UT Government has approved Rs 16.50 crore under CAPEX budget against 13 components and the remaining components will be completed under Central Government’s Swadesh Darshan. “We are targeting to complete the project within a period of 5 years”, he added.
He directed the concerned officers to take requisite measures for creating adequate facilities for the visiting tourists and put in place a robust mechanism to preserve religious, cultural and environmental significance of the lake.
He complimented Prime Minister Narendra Modi for taking the historic step of developing J&K’s rich cultural, historical, natural and religious heritage into world class tourist destinations.
Advisor to LG of J&K Baseer Ahmad Khan, Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary, Tourism, Divisional Commissioner, Sanjeev Verma, Director, Tourism, Jammu, R K Katoch, CEO of Surinsar-Mansar Development Authority, Dr. Gurvinder Jit Singh, and other senior officials from Jammu and Srinagar joined the event.