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Tourism activities to be expanded in the State: Chief Minister

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Tourism activities to be expanded in the State-Chief Minister

Tourism activities to be expanded in the State-Chief Minister

With efforts focused at realizing the true potential of tourism, the State Government was endeavouring to harness the tourism potential in a planned and sustainable manner to achieve the objectives. This was stated by Chief Minister Virbhadra Singh while presiding over the 3rd International Tourism conclave and Travel Events Awards held on the occasion of the World Tourism Day here today.

He said State Government had formulated a Sustainable Development Policy-2013 which was serving as a blue print for all present and future tourism related activities in the State.

“The State Government is playing a multi-faceted role of that of a promoter, regulator and a facilitator for all tourism related activities” said the Chief Minister.

He said that tourism was poised to become a principal industry of the State and the State Government, had put in place a framework of rules, policies and laws to ensure that all tourism related activities were ‘tourist centric’ with visitors interest of paramount importance. He said that to meet the infrastructure gaps in the tourism sector, resources of related departments were also being converged for better outcome.

Tourism sector was not only vital for creating employment opportunities but it also contributes a lot in promoting the culture and adding to the economy of the State, he said, admitting that the efforts of the State were promising but not sufficient enough. He said that the State Government was working hard in this direction to pursue the goals and was keen to extend invitation to the entrepreneurs in tourism and hospitality industry to arrive and invest in Himachal.

Chief Minister said that at present tourism was contributing about 9.75 percent to the State Domestic Product (GDP) and there had been consistent increase in inflow of tourists to the State with an average annual growth rate of 11.80 percent in the last couple of years. The Government was providing a budgetary support of Rs 6.5 crore annually to the Department of Tourism and Civil Aviation and the department through International and National Travel Marts was promoting Himachal on a sustained basis as an ideal tourist destination.

He said that for up-gradation of tourists infrastructure Rs 600 crore project funded by Asian Development Bank (ADB), was being implemented and apart from this, with the technical assistance from the World Bank the districts of Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur would be provided a facelift and developed as a favourite tourist destinations.

He said that the hotel units being set up in tribal and hard areas and in backward panchayats were exempted from payment of luxury tax for a period of ten years and a similar concession had also been extended to the tourism units coming up in rural areas applicable from April, 2014. The home-units in rural areas were also exempted from payment of luxury tax for a period of five years.

“It was only after persuasion from the State Government that the GoI extended its capital investment subsidy scheme for the hotel industry in the State” he said adding further that to take our tourism industry ahead, we were keen to invite the private sector investment in the areas of rope-ways, resorts, amusement parks, film cities, mega tourist destination, civil aviation sector, adventure activities like paragliding, water sports etc.

Chief Minister said that Government was endeavouring to expand airstrips at Shimla, Kullu and Kangra to facilitate the high-end tourists and the matter had been taken up with the Union Ministry of Civil Aviation and Tourism.

He said that the State was keen to develop a new airport to cater to heavy duty passenger aircrafts and the process to identify a site near Kandaghat in Solan district was underway. The Government was also mulling to develop helipads in the far-flung and interior areas of the State and commence heli-taxi service with private sector so that the areas unexplored could be made open for tourists.

He said that rationalization of inter-State road taxes and similar related issues were likely to be taken up with the Governments of Jammu and Kashmir, Punjab, Haryana, Uttrakhand, which would go a long way in promoting Tourism activities in the State.

To impose curb on fleecing of tourists visiting the State and to ensure their safety and security, trained police personnel were being deployed in major tourist destinations, he said.

The Chief Minister said that tourism can not prosper without the private participation and requires contribution from all the stakeholders concerned and at the same time it was important that the word of mouth be spread amongst the fraternity which will be the last mile effort to spread Himachal’s tourism potential far and wide.

The Chief Minister also released a website, www.himachaltourism.gov.in of tourism department on the occasion and distributed prizes to the stakeholders who excelled in promoting and popularizing tourism.

A sum of Rs 53 thousand was also presented to the Chief Minister towards Chief Minister Relief Fund on the occasion by Tourism Department.

Major Vijay Singh Mankotia, Vice-Chairman of Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Board said that tourism was a large Job creator industry in the world and was the most vital sector that helps in economic growth and prosperity.

He stressed on the re-establishing and re-vitalizing the bond between Man and Nature, which was possible in exquisite natural beauty of the State. He said that the bond between Man and Planet life, the bond between Man and God and the endless search for peace and tranquility which is broken in race towards materialism can be found nowhere except in Himachal Pradesh which was bestowed with immaculate natural beauty.

Mankotia said the matter regarding linking of interior area with suitable road network had been taken up with Government of India and the Chief Minister himself has persuaded linking of interior and far-flung areas with roads and also the talks with the Government of Jammu and Kashmir, Uttrakhand, Punjab and Haryana were in the offing to take up a joint representation with GoI so as to ensure that all the yardsticks and measures for funding for hill States differ from those of other States.

Guldeep Singh Sahni, President Outbound Tour Operators Association of India and Mr. Jyoti Kapur, President , Association of Domestic Tour Operators appreciated the efforts of the State Government in developing the tourism sector.

Dr Gulshan Sharma CEO, International Chamber for service Industry stressed for developing cinematic tourism and medical tourism in the State. He said the medicinal tourism have a great scope in the State as Himachal was a home to number of herbal medicines. He proposed for 100 crore domestic project for development of tourism by International chamber of Service Industry in the State entirely sponsored by GoI and also proposed to hold a conference of all the North Indian States for Integrated Tourism development of entire North India and to make it as the leading tourism destination in the occasion.

Earlier, Mohan Chauhan, Director Tourism and Civil Aviation said Himachal Pradesh was a front runner in tourism sector and there was a vast scope of expanding the tourism activities in the State. He attributed the development in tourism sector to the Chief Minister and said that the enlightened spirit and conviction of Virbhadra Singh had made impossible the possible in the development of tourism sector in the State.

Vice Chairman, Tourism Development Corporation Harish Janartha was also present on the occasion.

Misc News/Press Release

Season’s First Spell of Snow in Shimla, Manali, Cold Wave Intensifies Across State

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Snowfall in Shimla and Manali 2019

Shimla-Manali and Shimla received the first spell of snow in this season on Thursday. Tourist destinations like Kufri, Narkanda, Kharapather, Kotkhai etc were covered in snow.

The Rampur-Shimla Highway was closed to traffic after snow piled up. The traffic on this route was re-routed through Basantpur. About 20 routes in the upper Shimla region, including Chaupal and Rohru, are also hit by snow. 

After some minor accidents were reported, Shimla Police has requested drivers to be careful while driving in snowy conditions.

Drive Carefully! With season's first spell of snow, roads in #Shimla became riskier to drive. On Thursday morning, an…

โพสต์โดย Himachal Watcher เมื่อ วันพฤหัสบดีที่ 12 ธันวาคม 2019

Another popular tourist destination of the state, Manali, also received the first spell of snow in this season, cheering the hospitality industry. Solang Nala and Gulaba received about one foot of snow, while Marhi received two feet. Rohtang Pass has received over three feet of snow. All traffic on Rohtang Pass and Solang Nala routes was stopped near Nehrukund. Snow has hit traffic movement and electricity supply in some parts of Manali.

Other than these destinations, Lahaul-Spiti, Pangi, and Kinnaur were also disconnected from the rest of the state due to snow. Over 75 routes across Himachal were hit by snow.

Some parts of Sirmaur including Churdhar and higher reaches of Mandi district, including Shikari Devi and Kamarunag, also received a spell of snow. 
Shimla city and plains witnessed rain since morning.

The cold wave has intensified in the state with the ongoing spell of snow and rain. The Himachal Pradesh met department has predicted more snowfall on December 13. The Met on Wednesday had issued a yellow weather warning for 12th and 13th December with a prediction of rain and snow in most places across the state.

The Met has predicted that the state could receive more snow and rain till December 15, which would further intensify cold wave.

Weather Prediction for Himachal Pradesh 2019

Source: HP Met

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Missing Youth Case: Friend to Face Polygraph Test, Family Questions Police Investigation

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Missing Shimla Youth Shubham

Shimla-In the case related to the disappearance of Shubham, a local of Shimla’s Rohru, his arrested friend, Puneet, will go through a polygraph test. It was informed by an official of the Shimla Police on Tuesday.

After local police remained clueless in the case, a plea was submitted to a court seeking permission to conduct polygraph test on the suspect. The court has granted permission, the official informed.

The family of the missing youth is now raising questions over the investigation. They expressed a possibility that police could be working under some kind of pressure.

After 11 days of Shubham’s disappearance, the district police has revealed new details, which are obtained by questioning the suspect. Following the dissatisfaction expressed by the family, the SP has announced formation of a Special Investigation Team to investigate the case. The district police has already announced reward for anyone who would provide information related to Shubham.

As per the statement by the Superintendent of Police, Shimla, Ompati Jamwal, search operations are being conducted under the supervision of the DSP, Theog.  Daily 25-40 police personnel have been searching the area from where Shubham had gone missing. He also said that dog squad and drones were being used in the search operation.

Shubham had left with his friends to attend a car rally. His friend, Puneet had asked Shubham to photograph him during the rally. They were returning to Jubbal from Deha when Subham went missing.

“According to the version given by Puneet (to the police), along with 15 other youth, they had stayed at some house and had consumed liquor. After they left the house, Puneet stopped the vehicle (Gypsy) somewhere in Deha as Subham said he wanted to vomit. Subham got out of the car,”

SP Jamwal told media.

“Puneet said he fell asleep, and when he woke up, Shubham had not returned,”

Jamwal said. However, Jamwal said this information is based only on initial investigation and claims of the suspect were yet to be confirmed.

Father of Shubham, Krishan Chand, has expressed suspicion on Puneet. On Monday, the disheartened father of the missing youth held a press conference in Shimla where he burst into tears.

“I am sure that Puneet is behind all this, and he knows about my son,”

the father told media.

“The entire area is a jungle. For the last 10 days, over 100 people along with 60-70 locals from Deha village have been searching the area. We did not find anything. Still, the police is only searching the same area every day,”

the father said.

“I request the government to find my son. No matter in what condition, but find him soon,”

he said.

The SP hoped that a polygraph test would help crack the case. The test could be conducted within this week.

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Snowfall, Rain Predicted in Himachal, Yellow Warning Issued for 12, 13 Dec

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Snowfall in shimla and kullu manali in december 2019

Shimla– At least seven districts of Himachal Pradesh are likely to witnesses snowfall and rain till 16 December 2019.  The Himachal Pradesh Meteorological Department, Shimla, has issued a yellow-coded weather warning for 12 and 13 December. The warning is issued for Mandi, Shimla, Kullu, Sirmaur, Kinnaur and Lahaul-Spiti districts.

Rain and thundershowers are predicted at most places in the plains and rain/snow in Middle Hills on 12 December. For Higher Hills, the Met predicts rain/snow in most places.

On 13 December, widespread rain/snowfall is predicted in Middle and Higher Hills. Plains are likely to receive widespread rain.

snowfall in shimla and kullu in december 2019

Source: HP Met

Further, Met dept. predicts rain/snow in Middle and Higher Hills at isolated places from 14-16 December. The weather is likely to remain dry on 15 and 16 December in the plains.

Following the prediction of the Met Department, District Administration, Shimla, has issued an advisory requesting trekkers and locals to avoid going to higher reaches of the district on 12 and 13 December. The administration said Narkanda, Kharapathar, Kufri could receive snow on the said dates.

The district administration said it is prepared to keep roads open in case of snow.

The temperature is likely to drop, intensifying the cold condition across the state.

It is important to note that Rohtang Pass remains closed to traffic and locals are left to cross the pass on foot. The locals complained that the only link between Lahaul-Spiti and Kullu in winters is the Rohtang Tunnel, which is non-functional, and no helicopter flights are being provided.

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