SRINAGAR: The G-20 Tourism Working Group summit scheduled in Srinagar from May 22 to May 24 is an event of “normalcy,” and there will be no restrictions anywhere, while schools, colleges, and markets will remain open, a top official of the J&K administration revealed to news agency KNO.
He said that traffic on all routes will play normally, and to facilitate the foreign delegates, a proper traffic advisory will be issued in advance. “There is no question of imposing restrictions/curbs from G-20 Tourism Working Group meetings in Srinagar on May 22 to May 24,” the official said. “G-20 is an event of normalcy, and imposing curbs can spoil everything.”
For the first time, under India’s presidency, G-20 meetings will be held in Srinagar amid tight security cover. “The stage is set, and all preparations are in the final stage. Everything is on the right track,” the official said, wishing not to be named.
He said that a traffic advisory will be issued days ahead of the event to facilitate the visiting delegates. “Discussions are on to ensure a people-friendly traffic plan to facilitate the travel of foreign delegates during their stay in Kashmir,” the official said, adding that “the traffic advisory will be issued in a people-friendly manner.” Gossip lounges across Srinagar were rife with rumours that there would be an imposition of restrictions, and schools may be closed in view of the G-20 event in the capital city of Kashmir. The foreign delegates are believed to travel to North Kashmir during their stay in the Valley, official sources said.
Elaborate security arrangements have been put in place to ensure the smooth passage of the event. The J&K administration believes that G-20 is a great opportunity to showcase the tourism potential of the UT at the global platform and to give the once-ailing tourism industry a global push. Pertinently, Kashmir has been witnessing record tourism arrivals for the past few years, and tourism officials believe that this year, the number is set to break previous records.
Marine Commandos and NSG will guard the main venue in Srinagar – SKICC on the banks of Dal Lake besides hotels and lodges where the foreign guests will stay. The venue will remain under aerial surveillance, while the security grid in Kashmir has framed the counter-strategy to foil all possible threats – Vehicle-borne IEDs, fidayeen strikes, sticky bomb attacks, drone attacks, and grenade attacks. The Army will maintain the highest level on highways and other vital road links in Kashmir. The security arrangements were given a final touch by the Union Home Secretary Ajay Bhalla during the May 9 meeting at SKICC that was followed by another review at Police Headquarters. “A foolproof security cover will remain in place for the G-20 events in Kashmir,” a top security official said. (KNO)