In a significant move aimed at developing Pahalgam as an eco-friendly high-end tourist destination, Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Sayeed, today ordered Town Planning Organization (TPO) to immediately re-examine its earlier recommendations and submit a concrete Draft Master Plan on which work can commence in the next three months, after seeking approval of the State Cabinet.

To give local population a sense of ownership, he also directed the Tourism Department to prepare a concept plan for setting up of a School for Skill Development at Pahalgam that professionally trains local youth in various skills connected to hospitality, housekeeping and landscaping sectors, which are directly connected with the tourism industry, an official statement said Monday evening.

The Chief Minister gave these directions while chairing high-level meetings to review the Pahalgam Draft Master Plan-2032 and ongoing developmental works in one of Valley’s premier health resorts.

Placing high priority on developing Pahalgam as an all-season tourist destination, the Chief Minister observed that Draft Master Plan of Pahalgam resort, being conceived by TPO, requires a relook so that a long-term perspective plan, which envisages development of one of Kashmir’s most visited health resorts, are incorporated in it.

The earlier approved Master Plan 2005-2025 of Pahalgam is being revised on the directions of the High Court so that basic facilities, development works and recreational avenues for the tourists can be created in a planned manner by adhering to strict procedural and environmental norms, as laid down in the Master Plan. The Court had also ordered an Environment Impact Assessment (EIA) of the resort to protect its fragile environment.

In a separate meeting, Mufti Sayeed reviewed follow-up action of his directions given during his earlier visit to Pahalgam. During the meeting, he laid stress upon the Tourism Department to take immediate steps to make Pahalgam Golf Course along with its huts and Club Building, a self-sustaining organization. Breathtakingly placed in the lap of lofty peaks, the golf course is considered as one of the most ideally located in the country.

While reviewing the ongoing developmental works in Pahalgam, the Chief Minister set a deadline of 28thNovember this year for Chief Engineer, UEED, Kashmir, to commission the Sewerage Treatment Plant (STP).

The civil works on the STP stand completed and orders for procurement of electro-mechanical component of the STP have been placed, the Chief Minister was informed.

Mufti Sayeed was also informed that the work on Solid Waste Management for scientific disposal of waste at Sarbal will commence in the next few days for which a reputed Consultant has been already engaged by the PDA.

Chief Minister also observed that Pahalgam has a huge potential to be developed as a tourist-cum-educational hub, on pattern of some of the other resorts in the country like Dalhousie and Dehradun.

While briefing the Chief Minister about the expansion of Pahalgam Amusement Park, Chairman J&K Bank, said the development work is presently underway and will be completed by July 22, next month.

During his last visit to Pahalgam, the Chief Minister had issued a series of directions which included developing Betaab Valley as an independent destination, laying of a ski slope, identification of parking lots to de-congest the bowl and improvement in road connectivity, a job entrusted to R&B.


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