J&K: Parl Standing Committee meets tourism, business, transport stakeholders

at 6:12 pm
Parliamentary Standing Committee

Neyaz Elahi

Srinagar (NVI): Parliamentary Standing Committee – comprising of 31 members from Lok Sabha and Rajya Sabha – met several delegation from tourism, business and other sectors in Srinagar today.

The stakeholders sought improvement in transport system and demanded an end to the Srinagar-Jammu Highway uncertainty.

Pertinently, Srinagar-Jammu Highway is the only road link that connects Kashmir with India. This road witnesses frequent closure due to landslides.

Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industries president Sheikh Ashik led a delegation to meet the Committee members. This delegation said that due to frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu Highway, traders and people suffer immensely.

The delegation demanded action against the Agency responsible for maintenance of this highway.

Sheikh Ashik, while talking to NVI, said that they asked the Parliamentary Committee to take the agency to task for not maintaining the Highway in the interest of the people.

“People especially businesses suffer a lot due to frequent closure of this highway. We demanded round the year connectivity,” he said.

Meanwhile, houseboat owners who also met the members lamented that tourists are reluctant to visit Kashmir owing to skyrocketing air fares. They sought better transport system while one more delegation demanded financial package to revive what they call ‘dying’ tourism sector of Kashmir.

“We demanded a direct rail-link between Srinagar-Jammu due to sharp air-fare. This way more and more tourists will visit Kashmir,” said a stakeholder adding that a detailed memorandum was presented to the Standing Committee members.

The visiting committee members said that they will hold meeting with the officials of Ministries of Civil Aviation, Home affairs, Railways, Tourism, Road Transport and Highways and NHAI on safety and connectivity aspects in the respective sectors.

The members of the committee also held a meeting with the officials of the department of culture and tourism and Archaeological Survey of India, along with representatives of the UT Govt of Jammu and Kashmir, with a focus on ‘promotion and preservation of archaeological sites and artefacts in J&K’.

Among the visiting parliamentary delegation, Minister of State in PMO Dr Jitendra Singh and NC chief and sitting MP Dr Farooq were also present.

Parliamentary Standing Committee arrived yesterday for a three-day visit to Kashmir.

The group of 31 Members of Parliament is meeting stakeholders and officials related to sectors such as road, air, rail connectivity and tourism. The visit is also in connection with monitoring various central government schemes in the Valley with an aim to bring improvement in the way these schemes are implemented.

Among the 31 MPs who are in the Valley, 10 members are from Rajya Sabha and rest are from Lok Sabha.

The delegation is being led by Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) Rajya Sabha member TG Venkatesh. The other members from Rajya Sabha include Congress’s K.C. Venugopal, Prasana Acharya from Biju Janata Dal (BJD), BJP’s Sushil Kumar Modi, Trinamool Congress’s (TMC) Derek O’Brien and others.

From Lok Sabha, the MPs visiting the Valley include Congress’s Anto Antony, BJP’s Manoj Tiwari, Rajiv Pratap Rudy, Indian National Congress’s (INC) K. Muraleedharan, Janata Dal United’s (JDU) Dinesh Chandra Yadav, among others.