*Inaugurates Intl Film Festival at Leh
LEH (LADAKH), June 15 : Welcoming the participants of Ladakh International Film Festival here, Chief Minister, Omar Abdullah, Friday highlighted the State’s captivating natural beauty, unparalleled world class film locations, rich heritage and cultural diversity making special reference to unique serenity of Ladakh region.
“Our beautiful land offers wide-ranging attractions to the tourists of all interests and we have to add variety to this speciality by focusing on sports, cultural, adventure, pilgrim and heritage tourism”, he added.
Inaugurating the International Film Festival, the Chief Minister underscored the need for preserving ecology and conserving the natural wealth God has gifted to the State in many forms. He said the mountainous beauty, and heritage of Ladakh would always be interesting subject for film makers and global tourism.
Omar Abdullah asked the people of Ladakh to devote their fullest attention in maintaining and conserving the eco-system, heritage and cultural richness of the region to maintain its attraction and solace giving splendour encouraging nature lovers, adventurers and tourists of all interests to visit this beautiful part of Jammu and Kashmir. “You should maintain the eco-system and environment of your land to preserve it for the present and the future generations”, he emphasized and underlined this necessity in an era which is greatly threatened by climatic change and environmental degradation.
The Chief Minister said that holding of International Film Festival will help to showcase Ladakh internationally and attract more and more tourists to this beautiful place. He expressed the hope that the festival will be of world class standard matching any high class festivals taking place internationally.
“With the coming up of excellent infrastructure in the shape of auditorium, I expect that the holding of festivals of national and international standards would become permanent feature in Leh”, he said and assured all possible help from the Government in organizing events of high significance in the State to give fillip to tourism industry generating economic activities and employment for youth.
As many as 60 films on various subjects including documentary, art and feature films will be screened during the 3-day film festival to be chaired by Sham Benegal and participated by reputed film personalities from national and international cinema fraternity.
The Chief Minister also laid foundation of about Rs 12 crore-Golf Course at Leh to be developed over an area of 1520 kanals of land. The 18-hole Golf Course of world class standard is likely to be completed within next 2 years.
Speaking on the occasion, the Chief Minister said that tourism has been the mainstay in the economy of Ladakh and its strengthening and upgrading has been flagged as an important sector by his Government.
The Chief Minister said that construction of golf course in Leh would give impetus to the efforts of the Government to showcase this area for high class sports tourism. “Golfers can avail the opportunity of this course to play in a different geographical condition and enjoy the unique beauty of this area”, he added.
Later, the Chief Minister inaugurated Rs 7 Crore Water Supply Scheme to provide protected drinking water to about 20,000 population of Leh town and a floating population of 40,000 souls in the shape of tourists and migratory labours.
The scheme will provide 2.5 lakh gallons of drinking water per day raising the total tap water supply to 9.50 lakh gallons per day in Leh town.
The Chief Minister said that upgradation of basic amenities in the State has been underlined as priority concern by his Government. He said while focused attention is to reach out people in far-flung areas in the process of development, equal attention is on catering the needs of people in the cities and towns.
Minister for Tourism, Nawang Rigzin Jora, Minister of State for Tourism, Nasir Aslam Wani, Chief Executive Councilor, LAHDC, Leh, Rigzin Spalbar and various Executive Councilors were accompanying the Chief Minister.