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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.

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HP Govt Makes RT-PCR Negative Report Mandatory for People Arriving from Seven States

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entry of tourists in himachal pradesh

Shimla-Tourist movement to Himachal Pradesh is likely to get hit during the peak season as the state government has made it mandatory for people of seven high load states viz. Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh need to carry 72-hour prior RT-PCR negative report while visiting the State. The restriction would apply after April 16th.

The decision came after Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, who had been insisting that there would be no restriction on tourist movement to avert economic losses to the tourism industry, held a review meeting amid a massive surge in new cases and deaths.  

The state government has decided to allow tourists to visit the State, but at the same time, hotel owners and tourists should strictly adhere to the SoPs, Chief Minister said.

“The virus was spreading at a fast pace which was the biggest concern. During the last 45 days, the State has reported 10,690 new covid cases. 120 deaths were reported in the State during the last 45 days,” he said.

Over 900 new cases with 12 fatalities were reported on Saturday only.  On Sunday, according to the Health Department’s daily update, the state recorded 512 new cases. 

Pertinent to mention that Maharastra, Delhi and a few other states had been suggesting that a complete lockdown could be imposed if the high rate of resurgence continued in the coming days.

Though the Chief Minister had been maintaining that lockdown would be the last resort, the tone appears to be changing with the worsening of the COVID-19 situation.

Further, laying stress on twin strategy for testing, tracing and treatment with effective surveillance of micro containment zones, Chief Minister said that greater emphasis must also be laid on RT-PCR tests to achieve the target of 70 percent RT-PCR tests.

He said that the State Health Department must also take steps to increase bed capacity to meet out any eventuality.

Meanwhile, no restriction has been put on the devotees visiting various temples in the State during the Navratri festival.

The government said no overcrowding would be allowed in buses and other public transport and private vehicles. Wearing face masks even in vehicles must be enforced strictly.

Chief Minister, who faced widespread criticism over violation of SOPs during the political campaigning for elections to the Municipal Corporations, blamed laxity shown by the people for a sharp resurgence of COVID-19 cases in the State.  

 

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Himachal Pradesh: 662 New Cases & 7 Deaths in 24 Hours, Over 4500 Cases & 55 Deaths in 9 Nine Days

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Himachal Pradesh COVID-19 report

Shimla– The number of new daily COVID-19 cases and deaths in Himachal Pradesh was reported to be 662 and seven respectively on Friday till 7 pm. Kangra district reported the highest 165 new cases and four fatalities, while Sirmaur, Shimla, and Mandi recorded one fatality each.

View details of COVID-19 deaths below:

Daily covid 19 deaths

Source: HP NHM

Solan followed Kangra district with 132 new cases.

Find district-wise details of new cases below:

Daily COVID-19 deaths in himachal pradesh

Source: HP NHM

The COVID-19 case and death tallies have now reached 68173 and 1090 respectively. In April, the state has recorded a huge surge in cases. In the nine days of this month, the state has recorded 4568 new cases and 55 COVID-19 deaths – a rate of more than six deaths per day.

The state government today reviewed the situation in its Cabinet meeting and expressed concern. However, no restrictive measures were taken except extending the closure of all educational institutes till April 21.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur had been maintaining that a lockdown would be the last resort.

Further, the state government today said that to make vaccination people’s movement, 11th to 14th April may be celebrated as ‘Teeka Utsav’.

The government said that the biggest matter of concern was that the virus was spreading at a fast pace. In addition to this, the number of death has also increased rapidly. All the districts have been advised to enhance their capacity be it bed capacity, quarantine capacity and medical equipment capacity etc.

Chief Minister Jairam Thakur said that strict action must also be taken against those involved in gross violation of SOPs. He said that the hoteliers must also strictly follow the SOPs so that the State Government may not be forced to take action. He said that laxity shown by the people has resulted in sharp resurgence of Covid cases in the State.

It’s pertinent to mention that during the campaigning for the elections to Municipal Corporations, all parties and their leaders including the Chief Minister violated all SOPs without attracting any action. The parties also faced criticism for ignoring public health for the sake of political interests, thus, setting wrong examples for the public.  

Feature Image: Pexels@polina-tankilevitch

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HP Cabinet Decisions: Educational Institutes Closed Till April 21 Amid COVID-19 Surge, No Decision on Other Restrictions

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HP Cabinet decision on curfew

Shimla-The Himachal Pradesh Cabinet today held a meeting in which it expressed concern over the sharp surge in Covid-19 cases in the State. The Cabinet decided to keep all educational institutions closed till April 21. The institutes would also remain closed for teaching and non-teaching staff except the staff required for exam duties till the 21st of this month.

A decision was taken to fill up 311 posts of Forest Guards in the Forest Department on a contract basis through direct recruitment. These include already approved 113 posts of Forest Guards by the State Cabinet during its meeting held on 9th of March this year.   

The Cabinet decided to fill up 25 posts of Agriculture Development Officers on a contract basis in Agriculture Department through HP Public Service Commission against direct recruitment quota. 

It decided to implement the central sector scheme SVAMITVA in the state for surveying the land parcels in rural inhabited areas using Drone technology. For this, Revenue Department would be designated as the Nodal Department for implementation of the scheme with the support of the Panchayati Raj Department. For this, MoU would be signed with the Survey of India for starting the scheme in the State. A State Steering Committee, State Project Management Unit and District Project Monitoring Unit would also be constituted for effective implementation of the scheme.

The cabinet also gave its nod to extend employment on compassionate ground to the eligible indigent of the deceased employees against available vacant posts of Class-III and Class-IV in relaxation of five percent quota as against the available vacant posts of class-III and Class-IV in DC offices of Shimla, Kinnaur, Solan and Kangra and office of Settlement Officer Kangra Division.  

It also gave its consent that the project for the development of multi-storey parking-cum-shopping complex at U-Block Mandi may be awarded under PPP mode to the highest bidder at an annual concession fee of Rs. 63,63,000 plus GST and all other applicable taxes per annum, as per terms and conditions of RFP. The selected bidder would also pay an upfront premium of Rs. 2 crores to the authority by way of five equal instalments of Rs. 40 lakh each for 24 months starting from the compliance date.

The cabinet also gave its approval for the creation of five posts of different categories for each newly created Nagar Panchayats viz Shahpur, Chirgaon, Nerwa, Nirmand, Anni, Kandaghat and Amb for smooth functioning of these newly created Nagar Panchayats.

Presentations were also made before the Cabinet by Jal Shakti Department on the prevailing drought situation in the State. It was decided to hold a review meeting under the chairmanship of the Chief Minister including all the stakeholder departments for further decisions.

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