Suchetgarh Can Be JK's Wagah: Mufti

18 December 2015
Kashmir Observer

Jammu: Chief Minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed Monday pitched for developing Suchetgarh-Sialkote International Border on the patterns of Wagah in Punjab saying border tourism can act as a meeting point between people from India and Pakistan. Announcing a slew of measures to promote Suchetgarh as a border tourist destination, Mufti said Suchetgarh could easily be promoted as a trading point with Pakistan. 'On the other side it is Sialkote and here it is Jammu. Earlier, when I used to visit this place, people from other side also used to visit this place,' Muft told reporters during his visit to the border areas of Jammu region yesterday. 'It is my desire to develop this place as a tourist destination on the pattern of the Wagah border in Punjab,' Describing Suchetgarh as ideally located for border tourism, Mufti said he will approach the Ministry of Home Affairs to explore the possibility of bringing Suchetgarh within the ambit of cross-border trade and travel, which, he said is a huge confidence building measure between India and Pakistan. He said the government would try to set up an amusement park near the International Border (IB) in Suchetgarh so as to attract more tourists. 'We will also try to make a fountain here so that people who come here can enjoy,' he said, adding that people of Jammu have been complaining that the tourist footfall in Jammu region has decreased after the train service reached Katra. 'We are trying our best to develop this place on the pattern of Wagah border so that this place becomes a meeting point of the people from both sides,' he said. The CM said he would try his best and take up the issue with the Ministry of External Affairs to grant permission for the development of this border point. He said the priority was to develop the place and provide all the basic facilities to the people visiting here. Mufti said the Government of India has spent around Rs 7 crore to develop some infrastructure but that was not enough and more was needed to be done. 'If we need to acquire some land to develop this place, we will do that. This is the one place in Jammu which can be develop as a tourist destination', Mufti said. He said that Sialkote in Pakistan was the nearest point from Suchetgarh border. 'I feel that this is the closest point between the two sides which can also help become bridge between the industries on either side', the chief minister said adding that this place can act as a meeting point between the people from both the sides including people from Jammu and Kashmir, especially school children.