G20 meet shows our capability of holding international events: LG

LG Manoj Sinha addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel
LG Manoj Sinha addressing a press conference in Srinagar on Tuesday. -Excelsior/Shakeel

‘Admn committed to promote sustainable tourism’

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, May 23: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today said that the conduct of the third Tourism Working Group meeting in Srinagar has shown that Jammu and Kashmir can host international events.
Addressing a press conference here in Srinagar, Sinha said that J&K has picked up the pace in the development.

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“We are capable enough to host any international event. If there are any shortcomings, we have got them in the legacy. We have picked up pace, but it will take time to fill the void of 70 years,” he said.
Sinha said that the development of J&K since the abrogation of Article 370 is just the beginning of its transformation.
The LG extended his deepest gratitude to Prime Minister Narendra Modi for granting the historic opportunity to host the G20 meeting in the region. Sinha lauded PM Modi’s decision, emphasizing the significance it holds for Jammu and Kashmir.
“I can say with confidence that under the guidance of Prime Minister Narendra Modi, J&K is moving on the path of peace and prosperity. The development post 2019 is just the beginning of the transformation of the UT,” he said.
The LG said that they had a very exciting and productive inaugural session of the G20 Tourism Group meeting today and his administration is committed to promote sustainable tourism. “The significant deliberation, exchange of views and perspectives will help in building a network based on five priority areas for sustainable tourism as we advance towards post COVID pandemic era,” he said.
Sinha said that the Srinagar meeting of the G20 is the biggest in terms of attendance. “I think it is bigger than previous TWG meetings in Siliguri and Gujarat, and except China, all G20 nations delegates, representatives and other stakeholders of tourism industry of the respective countries are participating in the event. I have been informed that 57 delegates from 27 countries are participating in the G20 meeting at Srinagar and it is reflection of India’s strength and our ancient values of ‘Vasudhaiva Kutumbakam’,” he added.
The LG said that in the last 4 years, policies and programmes have been reshaped so that the benefits of growth percolate to the masses and nurture the nature. “In tourism sector, there has been unprecedented increase in the tourist footfall after the second wave of COVID pandemic and we were happy to host over 18 million tourists last year, which, I would say, was unparalleled since Independence,” he said.
Sinha said that the focus of his administration is on green tourism, off beat destinations, involvement of local communities, and according industry status to tourism sector has turned this sector into one of the most flourishing industries in J&K.
The LG said that new film policy, modern infrastructure and ease of doing business, has transformed J&K into a preferred destination for shooting of films, which is also strengthening the economy and providing employment opportunity to the people. “Overall tourism offered large number of employment and contributed around 7% to its GDP in last fiscal year,” he said.
Sinha said that by adopting whole of Government approach, ecosystem of terror sponsored by our neighbour has been almost dismantled. “Schools and colleges remain open allowing youth to focus on career building. Today’s J&K is not a land of hartals or stone pelters. It’s a land of peace and prosperity that responsible and responsive administration is trying too hard to bring in lives of the people,” he said.
The LG said that the grass-root democracy has been growing from strength to strength. “The three-tier PRI system has ensured stability and consistency in development and participation of people in policy making,” he said.
Last year, more than 60 lakh people participated in sports activities. All 4,292 Panchayats in Jammu and Kashmir have youth clubs. “Jammu and Kashmir is aspirational. We are registering a Start-up every second day,” he said.
He said the Union Territory has 7.7 lakh registered entrepreneurs. “Every day, one new industry is being made operational. Six lakh women entrepreneurs here are trying to scale global heights,” he said.
“It is due to efforts of the Government over the past three years that Jammu and Kashmir has risen to the number five in the rankings for income of farmers,” he said.
He said infrastructure projects worth Rs 1.5 lakh crore were underway in the Union Territory.
“The speed of project implementation has increased 10-fold after 2019. We are building an effective and strong rural infrastructure,” he said.
The LG said state land will be auctioned for setting up hotels and infrastructure and some hotels will be disinvested. “We will show you quality hotels after two years,” he said.
On press freedom in J&K, the LG said the press enjoys absolute freedom here. “According to a report by an international organisation, seven journalists in Kashmir were arrested on terror charges and for disrupting social harmony, not for their reporting. The numbers are 10 to 20 times higher anywhere in the world,” he added.
“There is an independent and active media in Jammu and Kashmir. More than 400 newspapers are published here, Sinha said.
On Pakistani Foreign Minister Bilawal Bhutto’s remarks on the G20 meeting in Kashmir, Sinha said the neighbouring country should focus on feeding its own people.
“I think our neighbouring nation should make arrangements for feeding its people and for providing basic amenities. We have come a long way from there. G20 is a matter of pride for us,” he said.
On Bhutto’s statement on India “abusing” G20 presidency with Kashmir meet, the LG said G20 presidency is a matter of pride for the country. “The presence of UN representatives here indicates that the world wants India to host such an event,” he said.