Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti today said Rs 100 crore would be spent for building tourism infrastructure to promote ‘Shahr-e-Khaas’, the historic Old City in Srinagar as a religious and heritage tourism destination
“Rs 100 crore out of Rs 80,000 crore from Prime Minister’s development package will be spent exclusively for building tourism infrastructure in Shahr-e-Khaas in tune with its distinct cultural and religious heritage,” she said while interacting with people during her tour to the city.
Mehbooba said the tourism department has been tasked to formulate a comprehensive proposal in this regard.
“Tourism promotion programme for Shahr-e-Khaas would include development of facilities like parks, parking areas, heritage sites, guest houses, restaurants, libraries, reading rooms, food streets and interpretation centres to attract tourists to the heart of the Srinagar city,” she said, adding development of various facilities around revered religious places in the city would also constitute part of the tourism promotion programme.
During the tour, the Chief Minister offered prayers at the shrine of Sufi saint Sultan-ul-Aarifeen Sheikh Hamza Makhdoomi and took stock of the facilities available there for devotees and locals.
Expressing dissatisfaction over the garbage being dumped around the shrine, Mehbooba asked tourism department and the Wakf Board to work for the beautification of the shrine and its premises.
The Chief Minister said she would convene a meeting soon to review wakf board’s activities regarding development of shrines and other assets.
She asked district administration of Srinagar to formulate a plan for shifting of illegal settlements from around the Malkhah area, which, according to locals, have become a hub of criminal and anti-social activities.
While visiting Hari Parbhat fort built in 1808 under the reign of Shuja Shah Durrani and pitched on a hillock which gives a birds-eye view of the Srinagar city, Mehbooba called for promoting the area as an exclusive tourist destination.
The Chief Minister also visited Sharika Devi Temple and Gurudwara Chatti Padshahi and interacted with the devotees.
“Despite going through turbulent times in recent past, Jammu and Kashmir continues to stand out as an epitome of brotherhood,” Mehbooba said.
“It is heartening to see that many visitors who come here as tourists and adventurers go back as pilgrims after discovering the treasure of spirituality here,” she added.