Vice Prez reviews development, boom in tourism

Excelsior Correspondent
JAMMU, Sept 15: Vice President Mohammad Hamid Ansari today reviewed development and tourism scenario in Jammu and Kashmir, which has seen revival in the past couple of years after 22 years long militancy in the State.
On his second day of four days visit to the Kashmir Valley, Mr Ansari today visited Pahalgam along with Governor NN Vohra, flagged off a trekking expedition to Ladakh and toured picturesque spots of Pahalgam for about a couple of hours along with his wife Salma Ansari before flying back to the summer capital of the State.
Mr Ansari would be attending a lunch hosted by Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at Dachigam National Park in Srinagar tomorrow. Prominent dignitaries have been invited to the lunch in the National Park.
On Monday, the Vice President would inaugurate National Science Congress at Kashmir University Auditorium. He would address the Congress in the presence of Governor NN Vohra, Chancellor of the University and Chief Minister Omar Abdullah, Pro-Chancellor of the University.
He would meet a delegation of Asian Study Group at the Raj Bhawan on Monday afternoon and then fly back to New Delhi.
Sources said during his inter-action with the Governor and the Chief Minister, the Vice President took assessment of development, tourism sector and political scenario in the State, which have undergone sea change after long spell of 22 years militancy.
Mr Ansari was impressed with boom in tourism this year when all time high tourists including pilgrim tourists visited the State. He hoped that tourism sector would further grow in the State due to normal conditions in the State.
This is the first visit of Mr Ansari to Jammu and Kashmir after being elected as Vice President of the country for second term last month.
As reported earlier by the Excelsior, President Pranab Mukherjee is also visiting Kashmir on a two days visit on September 26 and 27. On September 26, Mr Mukherjee would be attending convocation of Kashmir University along with the Governor, the Chief Minister and other dignitaries.
Pranab would return to New Delhi on September 27.
This would also be the first visit of Mr Mukherjee to Kashmir after being elected as the President in July this year. He had visited the Valley during campaign for the Presidential election to elicit support of MLAs of ruling National Conference, Congress, PDP and other groups.
During his campaign, Pranab had promised to visit Kashmir first after his election.
Meanwhile, Mr Ansari in the presence of Governor NN Vohra and senior district and divisional civil and police officers, flagged-off an expedition to Mount Golap Kangri In Ladakh from the Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering and Winter Sports (JIM&WS) at Pahalgam today.
The expedition comprised 43 mountaineers, including 24 University and college students from various parts of the country, 10 Army and 9 Air Force personnel who will attempt to scale Mount Golap Kangri in Ladakh. This expedition will conclude on September 26. Members of this expedition have undergone mountaineering training organized at JIM&WS.
The members of the expedition were introduced to the Vice President and the Governor who interacted with them and wished them good luck and success in achieving the summit.
The Vice President and the Governor, who were shown mountaineering, rock climbing, skiing, rowing and river rafting equipment also witnessed a climbing and river crossing demonstration given by the trainees of the Institute.
In his presentation, Col Virinder Singh, Principal, JIM&WS, presented a picture of the growth and activities of this Institute and stated that the Institute organizes training courses in Adventure, Adhoc Adventure, Basic Mountaineering, Advance Mountaineering, Search and Rescue, Basic, Intermediate and Advance Skiing course, White Water Rafting and Para-gliding.
It also trained Tourist Guides to enhance employability of the youth.
He said that these courses are also helping in the promotion of adventure tourism in the State. He stated that at the instance of the Shri Amarnathji Shrine Board, the Institute had deployed two rescue teams during annual Shri Amarnathji Yatra to assist the Yatris in any emergent situation, particularly at the difficult stretches of the track.
The Institute has 3 Sub-Centres at Patnitop, Bhaderwah and Shey in Ladakh. Land measuring 50 kanals has become available and an amount of Rs. 15 crore has been sanctioned for the construction of Sub-Centre at Bhaderwah, on which the work is likely to commence shortly; land has also been identified for the Shey Sub-Centre.
Mementos were presented to the Vice President and the Governor on this occasion.
Before departure for Srinagar, the Vice President was presented a memento by Farooq Ahmad Shah, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, on behalf of the district administration, as memorabilia of his visit to Pahalgam.
Earlier, on arrival at Pahalgam helipad, the Vice President, the Governor, Mrs Ansari, and Mrs Usha Vohra, were received by Farooq Ahmad Shah, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag; Vijay Kumar, DIG, Anantnag; Brig. J. V. Prasad, Sector Commander, Sector 1 RR, R K Jalla, SSP Anantnag, Satish Linda, Commandant, 116 CRPF and officers of the district administration.

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