April 2002 News

Kashmir is safe for tourists

8 April 2002
The Hindu

Srinagar: The Kashmir Administration today made a fervent appeal to tourists across the country, particularly those from Gujarat and Maharashtra, to visit the valley with the onset of Spring, which will be heralded by a two-day "Baisakhi Festival" from April 13. "All Is well here and there is no room for scare. Please come and visit Kashmir" was the crux of the appeal made by the Divisional Commissioner of Kashmir, Pervez Dewan, at a press conference here. Flanked by members of the Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Mr Dewan announced that "Baisakhi Festival" will become a major attraction for tourists all over the country but his emphasis was on Gujarat and Maharashtra, it being the season of tourism for them. He said that a fascinating programme had been chalked out for the tourists. A troupe will perform under the direction of Muzaffar All, and noted Kathak dancer Anamika Singh at the famous Mughal Gardens here, traditionally thrown open to the public on the eve of Baisakhi, which falls on April 13. From the 15 Corps headquarters of Army to J&K Bank, Jet Airways, KHARA, Shikara Union and the Information Department, all are contributing to the success of this grand event. Mr Dewan said free bus rides and shikara tours have been organised for the day in order . to make it clear to the rest of the world that Kashmir Is again in blossom. Though he refused to call it a return of normalcy, he pleaded to the media to project something different from ; gun-toting security personnel which could send a positive message to the rest of the country. Mr Dewan maintained that there was an urgent need to do away with misconceptions about Kashmir as this beautiful piece of land had suffered much in the last 13 years. "The Government is trying to give a `lead to the shattered business community related with tourism. They are the people who put efforts to get people from outside and we just give a helping hand," he said. The Commissioner also informed that elaborate arrangements had been made to ensure safety for those who visit the gardens. "We are making all possible efforts .in this direction," he said. The chairman of KHARA, Habibullah Mir, said: "We welcome any process of promoting tourism in Kashmir and look forwards to complete revival of ailing tourism. This is our livelihood and we have suffered a lot in the past 13 years," he said, adding that a message should go out from here that Kashmir is safe for tourists.


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