in Kashmir, the state environment department has pushed a proposal to constitute J&K Eco Tourism Board to the government to recommend measures and identify the potential places for the promotion of eco- tourism in the state.
Sources said that the proposal was under consideration of the General Administration Department (GAD) and a final decision in this regard was likely to be taken in near future.
Highly placed sources informed Greater Kashmir that the proposal for the creation of the Eco-Tourism Development Board was sent to the GAD before the annual Darbar move from Jammu to Srinagar.
“J&K has great potential for eco-tourism and the need is to promote the same. The government has taken the issue seriously and is making every effort to ensure a major breakthrough in the promotion of the lucrative activity. The Creation of JK Eco-Tourism Development Board will prove a major step forward in this direction” they said, adding that a full fledged board would be created after the proposal would get GAD’s nod.
They revealed that the Board would have members from Tourism Department, Wildlife, Environment and Forest departments, besides experts from various fields.
“The officials of Planning and Finance department, members of some NGO’s will also be among the Board members, who will identify the areas and their feasibility for the promotion of the Eco-tourism” they said.
The Eco-tourism provides the visitors and nature lovers an opportunity to travel to ecologically rich areas and appreciate the local culture and bewitching environs in a well guided manner taking care that the integrity of the ecosystem was not disturbed, sources said.
“Such activities create economic opportunities that make conservation and protection of natural resources advantageous to the local people. After the constitution of Board, facilities such as construction of huts, nature trails, treks, view points, safari drive and nature interpretation centre will be created in the identified areas” they said.
Sources said some huts constructed at Dera –ki- Gali area along Mughal Road was the first step of its kind towards Ecotourism promotion.
The Eco-tourism project also provides for training the local people in the identified areas as guides for the visiting tourists.
“The locals will be trained and in that way they would also get employment opportunities, besides the people will also earn by offering accommodation facilities to the visiting tourists” they said.
Chief Wildlife Warden, AK Singh, while confirming the government’s move said that a proposal has been sent to the GAD department. “We are awaiting the approval after which a full fledged Board will be constituted” he said, while he refused to divulge the details about the possible members of the Board.
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