Mansar Lake Project in Jammu to attract 20 lakh tourists every year: Jitendra Singh

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Jammu, Nov 1 (PTI) Union minister Jitendra Singh on Sunday inaugurated the Mansar Lake Project in Jammu which he said will attract 20 lakh tourists every year once completed.

The Union Minister of State (Independent Charge) Development of North Eastern Region (DoNER) said that it was a historic day for the people of the region as the Mansar lake development plan was getting fulfilled after a long wait of 70 years.

Speaking after the e-foundation stone laying ceremony of the Comprehensive Mansar Lake Rejuvenation/Development Plan, Singh said that the number of national projects initiated in the region in over last six years are more than the number of such projects initiated in the earlier seven decades.

'The incredible development is too obviously visible to go unnoticed,' he said, adding that after its implementation, the number of tourists and pilgrims will increase from the current 10 lakh to 20 lakh per year.

Singh said that the Mansar Rejuvenation Plan will lead to employment generation of about 1.15 crore man-days and will generate an income of more than Rs 800 crore per year.

'Ever since the Modi government took over, Jammu and Kashmir has received highest priority in development and particularly the Udhampur-Doda-Kathua parliamentary constituency, which can be compared to any other Lok Sabha constituency of India for its landmark developmental works.

'While Udhampur-Doda-Kathua is possibly the only Lok Sabha constituency in the country which has received three medical colleges in three years, Udhampur possibly the only district in the country which has on the lines of Namami Ganga and Ganga cleaning project received two similar rejuvenation and renovation projects for River Devika and Mansar Lake respectively,' the minister said.

Both these projects will cost about Rs 200 crore, Singh said, adding that River Devika is said to be the sister of mother Ganga and that the Mansar lake finds reference in the ancient writings of Mahabharata.

He said that over the last six years, many such new projects were initiated and similarly, dumped projects were also revived after decades. He cited the Shahpur Kandi Irrigation Projects which were revived after four decades and the Ujh multipurpose project which was also revived after over five decades.

In the same vicinity, the minister said, North India's first biotech industrial park and the first ever seed processing plant are also coming up, which will generate job opportunities as well as sources of livelihood and research.

Singh referred to the Katra-Delhi expressway corridor, the work for which has been started.

He said while the world''s highest railway bridge is coming up in Reasi, the work on a new national highway project from Sudhmahadev via Marmat to Khileni has also started.

Rising above considerations of vote banks, it has been an effort to provide facilities developed in the neglected areas, the minister said.

He said that while the distant area Paddar in Kishtwar got its first centrally funded college two years back, a new airport is coming up in Kishtwar under the central government’s UDAN scheme.

Similarly, the far flung area of Poghal-Ukhraj and Marmat got their first-ever degree college, Gandoh got its first ever post office, although these areas have been over the decades represented by the central ministers, he added.

In his address, Manoj Sinha, the lieutenant governor of UT of Jammu and Kashmir, said that Mansar is of immense importance from pilgrimage as well heritage point of view and is scenic attraction due to vast Mansar lake and its flora and fauna.

He said that tourism contributes to seven percent of Jammu and Kashmir's GDP, but due to coronavirus the sector got hit badly.

All efforts are being made to provide relief to people associated with the tourism industry on a large scale, Sinha said, adding that the Centre has given Rs 706 crore for tourism sector. A multi-pronged approach is being adopted to make Jammu and Kashmir a preferred tourist destinations on the world map, he added. PTI CPS AKV AAR AAR