Govt mulling development of 3 pilgrim tourist circuits: Mir

Excelsior Correspondent
KULGAM, June 17: The Government would develop three pilgrim tourism circuits one each at Kashmir, Jammu and Ladakh regions to promote pilgrim tourism in the State.
This was state by the Tourism Minister, Ghulam Ahmad Mir while visiting Kheer Bhawani, Manzgam and Mata Tripur Sundari Shrine at Khana Baran, Devsar today on the eve of Mela Kheer Bhawani.
Interacting with the devotees, the Minister said that Jammu and Kashmir was also rich in pilgrim tourism and to develop pilgrim sites with infrastructure facilities, the Government has mooted a comprehensive project report of Rs. 150 crore to the Centre for funding development of Sufi circuit in Kashmir, pilgrim circuit in Jammu and Buddhist circuit in Ladakh. He said the project is under active consideration of the Central Government which in principle has agreed to provide funds for creation of these circuits in the State.
The Tourism Minister said that around eight shrines of South Kashmir would be developed under Sufi circuit Kashmir with a view to promote pilgrim tourism and provide tourist related infrastructure.
The Minister said that a detailed project would also be formulated for landscaping of these shrines. He underscored the need for providing parking facilities at these shrines and directed the District Administration to identify State land so that necessary work would be taken up.
The Tourism Minister said that the area had a rich tourism potential and Government encourages partnership of private players. He called upon the youth of the area to opt tourism as their occupation, for the purposes Government would provide them soft loans with subsidies for setting up of various ventures under the sector.
Mr. Mir said the Kheer Bhawani Mela serves as a reminder of communal harmony between Muslims and Kashmiri Pandits as the former make almost all the arrangements for the latter’s stay at the place of their worship.
Mr. Mir said the remarkable increase registered in the number of Kashmiri Pandits visiting Kheer Bhawani during last few years is an encouraging phenomenon.
“Government would continue to work to improve the facilities for the increased number of devotees visiting Kheer Bhawani at different shrines of the Valley,” he said  and added Kashmiri Pandits are integral part of the culture and ethos of Kashmir and Kashmiriyat.  He said that their return to the Valley is the cherished goal and yearning of the government and the civil society.
Former MLC, Mohammad Amin Bhat also addressed the devotees.

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