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20-year Tourism Master Plan Almost Ready CM   

02 April 2013

Shimla: Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh today said a 20-year tourism master plan was being prepared to promote tourism which not only made a significant contribution to the economy but provided employment avenues as well.

He was replying to a call attention motion in the Assembly moved by BJP legislator Govind Ram about developing tourism infrastructure in the state.

Virbhadra informed the House that the Cabinet, in its meeting held yesterday, approved the Vision Document for Manali and adjoining areas.

“We want to take tourism to unexplored virgin areas and develop new destinations as Shimla, Manali, Dalhousie and Dharamsala are saturated and congested,” he said.

“The increase in number of tourist vehicles plying between Manali and Rohtang has led to traffic congestion resulting in environment degradation. We will come out with a detailed traffic plan soon to regulate vehicular movement,” he said.

The Chief Minister said efforts were being made to promote tourism by strengthening infrastructure like road network, air and train connectivity, parking, restaurants and roadside amenities.

“The 20-year tourism master plan is almost ready. We want to accord importance to rural, ecological, adventure, water and pilgrim tourism so that more tourists visit the state,” he remarked.

He said new destinations like Janjheli, Rajgarh, Chindi, Barot, Shoja, Jhatingiri and Rohru-Chanshal would be developed on priority.

“Strengthening the road network would be our priority. There has not been much progress in expansion of rail network and air connectivity is limited and not restored till now,” he said.

Virbhadra Singh said Himachal Pradesh was probably not getting its due as it was a peaceful state whereas the rail network in Jammu and Kashmir had reached Srinagar.

“I have taken up the matter regarding restoring flights to Himachal Pradesh with the Prime Minister and the Union Civil Aviation Minister but so far there has not been any satisfactory progress,” he said.

Govind Ram said the government must accord top priority to tourism and develop road and rail network besides restoring air connectivity.

“Thousands of people in Kullu-Manali are dependent on tourism and the government must take steps to promote it while protecting the environment,” he said.

He suggested that new destinations be developed and attractions like a snow gallery be developed. Participating in the debate, Asha Kumari of tyhe Congress expressed concern over tourist destinations turning into jungles of concrete .

“We must learn from states like Rajasthan where tourism has been developed while preserving architectural heritage and undertaking construction which gels with surroundings and is not an eyesore as is the case in some places in HP,” she remarked.

She suggested setting up of a botanical gardens with exotic flowers as Jammu and Kashmir had done by setting up the Tulip Garden which was a major attraction.

Others who participated in the debate were Rikhi Ram Koundal, Mansa Ram, Maheshwar Singh, Mahender Singh, ID Lakhanpal, Rajiv Bindal, Karan Singh, Virender Kanwar, Ravi Thakur, BK Chauhan, Sohan Lal, Rajeev Saijal, Bambar Thakur and Randhir Sharma.