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Priya Sethi inaugurates 3-day Gurez Festival

‘Govt will redouble efforts to bring Gurez on world tourism map’

Calling for improving tourism infrastructure in Gurez Valley, Minister of State for Tourism, Priya Sethi said that measures are being taken to improve connectivity to the picturesque valley particularly during winter months to boost the tourist arrival.

He said with the help of Civil Aviation, Chopper Service has been introduced to the Gurez Valley to keep it connected with the rest of the world.

The Minister, who was speaking as Chief Guest at the inaugural function of the 3-day Gurez Festival which began here today, said under the scheme Union Government provides 80% subsidy to the State Government for introducing aerial connectivity to the backward areas.

Complementing the Department of Tourism for organizing the festival in Gurez, the Minister said such festivals help promote and highlight local culture and the beauty of the places.

“We will redouble efforts to bring Gurez on the world tourism map. We will highlight its beauty and culture,” said Priya Sethi.

Assuring that the Department would continue to hold festival at Gurez annually, the Minister said the place will also be promoted for adventure sports like trekking, whitewater rafting, mountain biking and angling.

Deputy Speaker JK Legislative Assembly Nazir Gurezi sought Government’s support in the development of the roads and other infrastructure in the Gurez Valley to attract tourists to this virgin tourist spot.

He said the work on the Kishanganga power project is underway in Gurez which would help bring development to the area.

“After three years when the power project would be completed, Gurez which is facing electricity outage will have 24 hours power supply,” said Gurezi.

He also said that from his development fund, the Government will install 200 street lights from Gurez to Tulail. He also sought setting up of exclusive Development Authority for Gurez to expedite development of tourism infrastructure in the area. He also informed that the locals have also grown tulips in Gurez which bloom in July.

Speaking on the occasion Director Tourism Kashmir Mahmood A Shah said the Department started Gurez Festival in 2007 to bring it on the tourism map.

“Gurez has a lot of tourism potential. There is a scope for all activities including trekking, mountain biking, whitewater rafting which needs to be promoted through such festivals,” said Shah.

The Deputy Commissioner Bandipora Sajad Hussain said the district administration has taken up many tourism projects to bring the district on the map of tourism. He said Rs 134 crore project is underway in Bandipora for the beautification Nallah Madhumati and Bonar Nallah under330 MW Kishanganga Hydroelectric Power Project being constructed by NHPC under its CSR programme.

The Wullar project of Rs 320 crore has already being sanctioned for the preservation of Wullar Lake and 33 kilometers boulevard around Wullar Lake is also being beautified.

Earlier, the Minister visited stalls of the different Departments including horticulture, sericulture, apiculture, floriculture highlighting their products.

On the occasion, Priya Sethi also unveiled exclusive brochure on Gurez which provides all information about the places to visit in the Gurez Valley.

The Minister also flagged off mountain biking rally in which around 20 bikers from Srinagar and youth of the Gurez participated.