Stresses on active partaking of all stakeholders to protect ‘our cultural heritage’
Srinagar: Minister for Tourism, Tassaduq Hussain Mufti, on Saturday said that the government is committed to develop Jammu and Kashmir as a progressive state of the country and asked the officers to put in synergized efforts to optimally achieve the developmental goals.
He also stressed on active partaking of all stakeholders to preserve and promote our rich cultural heritage.
The Minister said this during a marathon meeting held at SKICC in Srinagar.
He stressed that “We have to maintain a balance between development and preservation of our environment and heritage” adding that the goal should be to achieve sustainable development for meeting the needs of today, without compromising the needs of tomorrow.”
“If we want to call ourselves a progressive society, we should start behaving like one. Our people have placed high hopes in us and we should rise to the occasion so that the future of our state as a clean and green place is preserved, which can attract tourists in large numbers,” he added.
During the meeting, Tassaduq sought suggestions from the officers for the preservation of Chinars, “Infrastructure development should not impact our heritage. Under Specified Trees Act, deterrents must be put in place in the form of a stronger legal framework. . The Chinar Development Officer should carry out a physical census to determine the number of Chinars that exist in the State so that a policy can be evolved for their protection,” he said.
Underlining the need for a better public transport system in Kashmir Valley, particularly in Srinagar city, the Tourism Minister said over 40,000 vehicles were added to the already existing vehicular traffic in last two years in Srinagar alone, “We have to make public transport comfortable, affordable and reliable. Bus stops must be designated and there should be colour coding for vehicles,” he said.
Asking the Srinagar Municipal Corporation and the Transport Department to work in tandem with each other, Tassaduq said the route permits must be regulated to keep vehicles from moving into other areas. “There is a need for proper intersections, pavements and intelligent traffic management in the city for which the government has already hired a consultant and the results are showing up slowly. He also stressed on finding suitable place for vendors to make their lives sustainable.
Minister was informed that 200 locations have been identified in the city where bus stands will be established which will enable better traffic management. The officers said a roadmap is also being prepared for developing water based transport while nearly seven to ten bridges are required to ease traffic bottlenecks at various places in the city.
The meeting also took stock of measures that are required to improve the visual cover of Srinagar ahead of the upcoming tourist season.
The Minister expressed concern over the pollution caused by brick kilns and cement plants, mostly in Budgam and Pulwama districts. He was informed that there are 250 kilns in Budgam of which 51 have been closed down, especially near airport. In Pulwama, of more than 150, only 47 kilns are operational. The concerned departments informed that those kilns are being closed which do not follow norms. The Minister also directed the officers to immediately stop illegal excavation of clay and soil which will have disastrous consequences on the environment.
On the issue of disposal of bio-medical waste, Tassaduq said the hospitals must train their staff to segregate waste products at the source so that they can be readily disposed off. He said biomedical waste disposal at hospital level should be in accordance to the set guidelines and there is need for more awareness campaigns on segregation and disposal.
The Minister, who is also in-charge of the Chief Minister’s Grievance Cell, said people are approaching the cell with the hope of getting their issues resolved and stressed on interdepartmental coordination for the effective redressal mechanism .He, however, warned the officers against providing misleading and false information to nodal officers of the Grievance Cell.”Basic information must be verified and the concerned officers must personally see to it that the issued flagged by the Grievance Cell are addressed properly,” he directed.
He said now on, there will be a monthly review of grievances. “I hope people invest in us and we will try and improve the systems,” the Tourism Minister said, adding that the Divisional Commissioner Kashmir, Baseer Ahmad Khan will hold the meetings in case he is not available.
The meeting was also attended by Chief Engineers of various departments, Deputy Commissioners of the districts of Kashmir division, Director Health Services Kashmir, Saleem-ur-Rehman, SSP Traffic, Tahir Saleem, officers of Transport Department and Pollution Control Board, and other senior officers.