SURINSAR, Jan 18: Emphasizing huge potential of the Surinsar Lake as a tourism destination, National Conference President and MP, Dr Farooq Abdullah today urged Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha to have a plan in place in the larger interest of the local economy and promotion of tourism in the Jammu region.
“We will take up the issue in Parliament, as also with the Parliamentary Sub Committee on Tourism, visiting Srinagar soon for incorporating Surinsar Lake Development as a priority project with focus on raising infrastructure on international standards to cater to the needs of the visiting tourists,” Dr Abdullah said while informally interacting with the residents of the peripheral areas during his visit to the heritage lake along with Provincial President Devender Singh Rana and senior leaders.
Dr Abdullah called for developing the lake as an ultimate gateway and week-end destination for the people of the capital city and a huge number of Mata Vaishno Devi bound pilgrims, thronging 24X7 365 days from across the country and abroad. While a blueprint for the holistic development plan of the lake should be initiated on priority, the existing facilities like accommodation and utility services should be upgraded, roads developed, the number of pedal boats increased and state-of- art infrastructural facilities raised.
He said the area has immense potential to attract nature lovers and holidayers, especially those from Jammu city and its peripheries as the region is hugely lacking hangout destinations. For incentivizing tourists, modern facilities will have to be created, he said, adding that he will take up these issues at appropriate forums.
The NC President said the water body can be developed as a tourist destination of pride, provided sincere efforts are made by the government in the larger interest of the people. Alongside its development, he said a promotional campaign will also have to be launched to put the Lake on the tourism map. This will give economic fillip in the area, he said, hoping the youth to get benefit in a big way in terms of setting up restaurants, food jaunts, kiosks etc. He also hoped that all necessary measures would be taken to achieve the objective of enhancing tourism activity in the area.
Dr Abdullah said tourism holds promise for a place like Jammu and Kashmir which is blessed with abundant scenic spots and spiritual destinations that have sustained the economy to a larger extent. During early nineties and even later pilgrim tourism flourished in Jammu a lot and provided succour to the people during difficult times.
“Due to the prevailing pandemic grim situation, both the adventure and pilgrim tourism have received a big jolt and we hope and pray the situation will ease for resumption of normal activities”, Dr Abdullah said, adding the lot of people were dependent on tourism, directly and indirectly.
Prominent among those accompanying the National Conference President during his visit to the scenic Surinsar Lake included Dr Mustafa Kamal, Aijaz Jan, Israr Khan, Haji Sajjad Shaheen, Anil Dhar and others.