Tourism has great potential for employment generation
INVC NEWS Chandigarh, The State government is committed to promote sustainable tourism in the state by encouraging private sector to develop tourism related infrastructure without disturbing the existing ecology and environment. This was stated by the Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur while addressing the valedictory session of Indian Tourism Conclave at Chandigarh today. The Conclave was organised by Centre for Economic Policy Research, Chandigarh in collaboration with the HPTDC, Haryana Tourism, Uttar Pradesh Tourism, Punjab Tourism and Uttarakhand Tourism. The Chief Minister said that tourism not only have immense potential of strengthening the economy of the State, but it also has great potential for employment and self employment generation. He said that Goa was one such State of the country, which has made immense progress in tourism development and its economy was based on tourism industry. Other states of the country should also take some lessons for making tourism a major source for strengthening the economy of their respective state. He said that peaceful environment was a main attraction for the tourists visiting our State and the State can also boost its clean and pollution free environment as about 67 percent of the area in the State is covered with forests. Jai Ram Thakur said that six destinations of the State viz. Baddi, Shimla, Rampur, Nathpa Jhakhri, Mandi and Manali have been included under Udaan-II. Himachal Pradesh was probably the first state of the country which has pressed its State helicopter as Heli Taxi between Shimla and Chandigarh for three days in a week. He said that efforts were being made to construct more and more rope way in the State and recently a MoU has been signed between the State government and Punjab to construct ropeway between Shri Anandpur Sahib and Shri Naina Devi Ji. This rope would be completed by the year 2021, he added. He said that the State government has succeeded in getting approved Rs. 1900 crore ADB Project for development of tourism infrastructure in the State. Under this Project Chanshal in Shimla district would be developed as skiing site, Jhanjheli in Mandi district from eco tourism point of view, Pong Dam in Kangra district as a water sports site and Bir Billing in Kangra district as paragliding site. He said that efforts were being made to ensure better road connectivity to the remote areas of the State and for ensuring better air connectivity existing three airports of the State were being expanded. He said that the State Government has recently launched a new Scheme ‘Nai Raahein- Nai Manzilien’ with a budget allocation of Rs. 50 crore for development of unexplored and untapped tourist places in the country side. The Chief Minister said that the Statue of Unity built in the Gujarat was as marvel in itself which was poised to emerge as a major tourist destination. He said that this has attracted over 27000 tourists in one day. Jai Ram Thakur said that the State government was focusing on public private partnership investment for development of tourism infrastructure projects like roadways, resorts, amusement parks golf courses and film cities etc. He said that Union Ministry of Tourism under the ‘Swadesh Darshan Programme’ has approved one Himalayan Circuit for the State of Rs. 100 crore, where work was in progress and under this Scheme, the State government has proposed two more new Circuits which are Eco-Tourism and Adventure and Religious circuits of Rs. 100 crore each. In addition, the Ministry of Tourism has approved a project of Rs. 50 crore for Mata Chintpurni Temple in Una district under the ‘Parasad’ Scheme, he added. The Chief Minister said that the State government would also develop Himachal Pradesh as health and wellness tourist places and the initiative in this direction has been taken by the government by developing wellness and health tourism Centre at Janjehli in Mandi district. Similarly, other places like Sooja, Jhatingri, Rajgarh, Bir Billing etc. would also be developed on the same pattern, he added. Chandigarh BJP President and Director GAIL Sanjay Tondon welcomed the Chief Minister and other dignitaries present on the occasion. Convenor of the Conclave and Former BJP President Punjab Kamal Sharma presented vote of thanks. MLAs Rakesh Jamwal and Paramjeet Singh Pammi, Vice Chairman Himachal Pradesh Water Management Board Darshan Singh Saini, Additional Chief Secretary Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Principal Private Secretary to the Chief Minister Vinay Singh, were present on the occasion among others.