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J&K witnessing golden period: LG

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Jammu and Kashmir is witnessing a golden period as 80 lakh tourists visited the Union Territory in the last few months, a record in the last 15 to 20 years, Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha said here on Saturday.

He also highlighted several initiatives of the government to boost tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.

“I think this is the golden period for Jammu and Kashmir in which all the records of the last 15-20 years have been broken. More than 80 lakh tourists arrived here in the last few months. This has brought prosperity and is helping people establish peace,” Sinha told reporters here.

The LG flagged off an event titled “Athwas”, a unique partnership between citizens and authorities for the rejuvenation of the Dal lake. Under the project, de-weeding and dredging of the waterbody will be carried out in collaboration with the citizens.

“Several activities are happening (on the tourism front), 3,500 shikaras row the lake each day and I think no activity can be bigger than that. Around 400-500 (tourists) arrive here every day. The number of flights has increased. For some, it is difficult to get a ticket to Srinagar just two-three days before (the travel date). Hotels are booked. We are thinking about having more hotels here,” Sinha said.

He said the Dal lake has become cleaner and will be restored to its pristine glory soon.

“The people as well as the administration here have vowed to keep clean the Dal lake, which is the cultural and historical heritage of the city. People from the world over want to visit the lake. The average citizen now feels that the lake has become cleaner than before.

“There are provisions for Rs 136 crore in the budget for cleaning the lake. Money had come before as well, but I do not think it was utilised as it is being done now. The lake has become better and the change is visible,” Sinha said.

He added that money has been deposited in the DBT mode into the accounts of those cleaning the lake, which has led to a change in their economic and social lives and also ensured the cleaning of the lake on a war footing.

About the recent fire incidents in which a few houseboats were gutted, the LG said a provision has been kept in the Smart City project to provide immediate relief in case of fire incidents in the lake.

On the Smart City project for Srinagar, he said the administration is working on the need to protect the city’s inheritance and also to provide modern amenities.

“When you will be able to ride a cycle along the banks of the Jhelum, sip coffee and enjoy free internet for half an hour, you will surely bring us sweets,” Sinha said.

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