Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, Friday morning took a quick round of Pahalgam resort to take a firsthand appraisal of works on the ongoing projects related to tourism and other sectors. He visited the Circular Road, which has recently been macadamised, and various parks maintained and developed by Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) and the Floriculture, Gardens & Parks Department. Secretary Tourism, Farooq A. Shah, Deputy Commissioner, Anantnag, Muneer-ul-Islam, CEO PDA, Riyaz Ahmad, besides several other senior officers accompanied the Chief Minister. Asking PDA to prevent littering of the bowl, Mufti Sayeed ordered fencing and landscaping of stretches of green patches on either side of the roads in an aesthetic way to spruce up the resort environs. He laid emphasis on creation of wayside amenities and landscaping along the Pahalgam-Aru Road. During one of the review meetings, the Chief Minister, who also holds the charge of Tourism Department, had laid stress on scientific disposal of waste, for which PDA has been tasked to have a solid waste management project set up. The Chief Minister, who later travelled to Aru from Pahalgam, described the 16-km drive as a breathtaking experience, as the newly-macadamized road runs parallel to the gushing waters of river Lidder, which snakes through various riveting spots. Mufti Sayeed had ordered promotion of Aru as a Lavender Village and asked Tourism Department to explore possibility of laying a cable car in the resort in a bid to provide add-on facilities to the tourists. He also ordered R&B Department to demarcate cycling pathways on either side of the resort roads as paddling is a very popular eco-friendly sport amongst tourists coming from Europe and the West. On the directions of the Chief Minister, the Public Works Department has macadamized all important roads in and out of Pahalgam, which include those leading to Aru, Circular Road, Betaab valley, Anantnag and Bijbehara. The Chief Minister highlighted the importance of basic amenities like connectivity, uninterrupted power and water supply and communication network as keys to entrench high-end tourist footfall. He also directed Secretary Tourism to maintain established assets like club-cum-international convention centre and golf course so that these are run professionally and are able to generate enough revenue. Secretary Tourism apprised the Chief Minister about various steps being taken to broaden the scope of tourism-related activities in Pahalgam, especially in winter. “While skating rink will become functional in December this year, the skiing slopes along Circular Road will be developed shortly to attract adventure tourists,” he said, while assuring the Chief Minister that the Tourism Department is geared up to present Pahalgam as an ideal winter destination, a la Gulmarg. The Chief Minister, while inaugurating the Pahalgam Club yesterday, had promised to make the resort an all-season destination. The revised Pahalgam Master Plan has recently been approved, paving way for planned development of the picturesque resort. With intake capacity of 10,500, the highest for any resort in the state, Pahalgam is positioning itself as a leading high-end tourist destination in an ever-expanding travel market. The Chief Minister also met several public delegations which apprised him about their demands related to construction of a sports stadium and widening of Pahalgam-Betaab Valley Road.
2015 Kashmir Despatch