SRINAGAR: To celebrate the arrival of spring and to promote tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, in presence of Arif Mohammed Khan, Governor of Kerala, today inaugurated the Tulip festival here at Asia’s largest Tulip Garden located at the foothills of the Zabarwan.
The 6-day long festival is being organized by the Department of Floriculture in collaboration with the Tourism Department of J&K.
On the occasion, renowned Bollywood Singer Badshah’s live performance enthralled the visiting tourists and attracted huge applause from the audience. More such lively performances capturing the true essence of the festival will be presented to the visitors throughout the festival.
Speaking on the occasion, the Lt Governor said that the Tulip Festival provides a perfect opportunity to display the diverse beauty of Kashmir.
Jammu and Kashmir is endowed with unparalleled beauty and natural landscapes which have huge potential for tourism. Earlier tourists were visiting other famous gardens and tourist places of Kashmir, but now tulip Garden has become an iconic destination and attraction for them, the Lt Governor added.
Come and witness the magical experience of 15 lakh fully bloomed flowers of more than 64 varieties planted over 30 hectares in the foothills of Zabarwan, the Lt Governor urged the tourists.
Speaking on the revival of the tourism sector in J&K, the Lt Governor observed that despite the COVID pandemic, the tourism sector is seeing a significant boom in the UT with tourists coming in large numbers.
The Administration is following all the COVID related SoPs and testing is being at all tourist arrival places, besides the Vaccination drive is going on at a rapid speed to ensure the safety of the people, said the Lt Governor. He also sought the support of the people in the fight against the COVID Pandemic and asked them to adhere to COVID appropriate behaviour.
The Lt Governor expressed gratitude towards the Hon’ble Prime Minister for encouraging the people from across the country to visit J&K and experience the pristine beauty of Paradise on Earth.
The government is making untiring efforts to revive the tourism industry and socio-economic development of the stakeholders associated with the sector by providing better avenues and livelihood opportunities and making them AtmaNirbhar. Rs 786 cr has been allocated in the Budget for promotion of Tourism in J&K, which is Rs 509 cr more as compared to the previous year, said the Lt Governor.
The Lt Governor called upon the visiting tourists to carry the fragrance of J&K with them and share their memorable experiences with others.
J&K offers a host of attractions to tourists to experience the scenic beauty, warm hospitality, rich culture and heritage of J&K, said the Lt Governor.
He assured the tourists a pleasant visit to J&K and asked all the stakeholders to play their active part in providing a tourist-friendly environment to facilitate the visit of the tourists coming to the UT.
J&K is now becoming a preferred destination for the film-makers and artists with many renowned film personalities from across the country coming to capture the mesmerizing beauty of the UT, he observed.
Terming people’s active participation imperative in the governance process, the Lt Governor welcomed the suggestions and opinions of the people for the development of J&K and to bring a positive change in society.
The Lt Governor also spoke on the improvements being made in various sectors to facilitate the people of J&K. Speaking about the power sector, the Lt Governor maintained that during the winter season, the power supply has witnessed 25% increase than the previous year. In the coming one year, the Government is aiming to increase the power supply by 70%, he added.
We are also making inroads for commencing International Air Cargo for J&K to enable easy transportation of local products, said the Lt Governor.
Arif Mohammed Khan, Governor of Kerala, in his address, said that Kashmir-the Crown of India has remained the abode of Sufi’s and Reshi’s whose teachings of love, peace, and brotherhood are a source of inspiration for all. He also cited the poetry of Lal Ded and Sheikh Noor ud Din Wali “Nund Reshi” and praised the natural beauty and hospitality of Kashmir.
During the festival, the visitors will see a lot of cultural activities and musical evenings, besides live exhibition of Handicrafts and Handloom products would be also an attraction for them to familiarize with Kashmir’s rich culture and traditions.
The Lt Governor also laid the foundation stone of the Ornamental Cherry theme Garden “SAKURA” worth Rs 9.96 crore.
The project would have different components including Open Air Cafeteria, Water Channel, Bio Toilet, Water Reservoir, Rain shelter, Viewpoint, Kehwa point and Musical Fountain which would prove future attraction of the tourists.
Earlier, the Lt Governor visited Food Court Cum Wazwan Festival, and Handicraft cum Handloom Exhibition and inspected the number of stalls that have been set up to showcase and promote the diversified rich culture, cuisines and crafts of Kashmir.
On the first day of the festival, the visitors were mesmerized and enthralled by different musical and cultural programmes presented by local and renowned artists from outside the UT.
During the festival, sound and lighting systems near the SKICC have been put on display for the visitors, besides the Hari Parbat Fort has also been illuminated to mesmerize the tourists. District Administration has put various measures to contain the spread of the virus and has also issued guidelines on the same.
Rajeev Rai Bhatnagar and Baseer Ahmad Khan- Advisors to Lt Governor and Junaid Azim Mattu, Mayor SMC accompanied the Lt Governor.
Member Central Waqf Council & Chairperson, Waqf Development Committee, Union Ministry of Minority Affairs, Dr Darakhshan Andrabi also attended the inaugural event.
Among others present on the occasion were Rohit Kansal Principal Secretary, PDD and Information; Nitishwar Kumar, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Pandurang K Pole, Divisional Commissioner, Kashmir; Vijay Kumar, IGP, Kashmir, Sarmad Hafeez, Secretary, Tourism; Sheikh Fayaz Ahmad, Commissioner/Secretary, Floriculture; Mohammad Aìjaz, Deputy Commissioner Srinagar; Rahul Pandey, Director, Department of Information & PR; Athar Amir Khan, Commissioner SMC; Dr G N Itoo, Director Tourism Kashmir; concerned HoDs; senior officers of Civil and Police Administration, besides tourists in large numbers.