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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.

Campus Watch

As major achievement, Nauni varsity scientists bag International project on oilseed research

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Nauni varsity scientists bags international project

Solan: Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry (UHF), Nauni, was in news last week after Jagriti Thakur, a research scholar at the varsity, won US-based International Plant Nutrition Institute (IPNI) Scholar Award for the year 2018.

This week, in a major achievement, the scientists of Department of Plant Pathology at the UHF, have bagged an International collaborative project on developing cutting-edge technology for inducing biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability.

The University will work with nine leading research organisations of the country besides seven renowned research institutes of United Kingdom in the project. The three-year project has a total budget outlay of more than Rs 7.27 crore as Indian component, which will be distributed to the 10 Indian institutes, which are part of the project. Each Indian institute will work on a different aspect of the project with a researcher working on the same area in the UK.

The project has been sanctioned under the prestigious NEWTON BHABHA Fund UK- India Pulses and Oilseed Research Initiative (PORI). The fund has been created by BBSRC of the Government of the United Kingdom and the Department of Biotechnology, Ministry of Science and Technology, GoI.

BBSRC which is a part of UK Research and Innovation, a body which works in partnership with universities, research organisations and government for promoting research and innovation is also making upto £3.5 million available to support the UK components of this research.

Dr HR Gautam, Professor and Head of Department of Plant Pathology informed that Dr Anil Handa, Professor of Plant Pathology will be the Principal Investigator and coordinator of this project while Dr Rajnish Sharma working in the Department of Biotechnology will act as the Co-Investigator.

He added that this achievement is one of the cherished moments in 55 years history of the department. Dr JN Sharma, UHF Director of Research, said that the University is making continuous efforts to get projects from various funding agencies and engage in collaborative work to strengthen the research capabilities and infrastructure.

India is one of the major producers and consumers of oilseeds crops in the world. The university scientists will work on ‘Genomics-led improvement of biotic and abiotic stress tolerance in mustard rape for economic and environmental sustainability’ by utilizing state-of-art advanced molecular approaches like CRISPER/Cas9 for mapping the genes conferring resistance to turnip mosaic virus (TuMV).

UHF Nauni Lab

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology

The Plant Virology laboratory of the Department of Plant Pathology is an internationally acclaimed laboratory and has facilities for conducting molecular level research for determining the genetic diversity of TuMV in Northern India and developing a panel of Indian TuMV isolates for evaluating European and Indian sources of resistance.

Besides Dr YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni, the University of Delhi, South Campus; NIPGR, New Delhi; NBPGR, New Delhi; NRCPB, New Delhi; IARI, New Delhi; PAU, Ludhiana; CAZRI, Jodhpur; DRMR, Bharatpur and IIT Kharagpur will be a part of the project. The University of York, University of Hertfordshire, University of Warwick, University of Essex, Earlham Institute and Rothamsted Research will be the investigators from the United Kingdom.

While congratulating the scientists, UHF Vice-Chancellor Dr HC Sharma said that the project will go a long way in using the latest techniques in biotechnology for disease management to increase the productivity of oilseed crops. This project will also help train our students in using molecular markers for crop improvement.

Through this collaborative project, efforts are being made to encourage multi-institutional collaborations between UK and Indian researchers to undertake high-quality research aimed at increasing crop productivity, resilience, sustainability and quality of pulses and oilseeds grown for food or feed in India. Pulses and oilseeds are important crops in India.

Pulses are relatively under-used crops in the UK but are a major source of dietary protein in India. Oilseeds are grown in both countries and are a valuable source of oil for a variety of uses, as well as animal feed. This collaborative project aims to develop exploit genomic and bioinformatic resources to aid the development of improved varieties for sustainable crop production.

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MoU to construct Naina Devi-Anandpur Sahib ropeway signed

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naina devi-anandpur sahib ropeway mou signed

Shimla: A Memorandum Of Understanding (MoU) to build ropeway between Shri Naina Devi and Shri Anandpur Sahib was signed by Additional Chief Secretary Tourism Ram Subhag Singh, Himachal Pradesh and Secretary Tourism Punjab Vikas Pratap Singh, in Chandigarh today.

The MOU in the presence of Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur and his Punjab counterpart Captain Amrinder Singh.

This ropeway will be constructed by Shri Naina Devi and Sri Anandpur Sahib Ji Ropeway Company Pvt Ltd with an estimated cost of Rs. 210 crores. The ropeway would cover a distance of 3.5 km.

A 10-member Board of Directors would be formed, and each government would nominate five members. The Chairman of the Board of Directors would be nominated by the Punjab government and the Managing Director would be appointed by the Himachal government. Both the governments will deposit 50 Lakhs each as an initial investment.

Chief Minister said that the lower terminal of this project would be at Rampur near Shri Anandpur Sahib, the Intermediate station will be at Toba in Himachal and the upper terminal point would be at Shri Naina Devi. The tourism departments of both the states would work as nodal agencies for this work.

The Tourism and Local Bodies Ministers Navjot Singh Sidhu said that inking of MoU by both the Chief Ministers on the auspicious birthday of Sheed-e- Azam Bhagat Singh is a big gift to the mankind.

In 2012-13, the efforts were made to build this ropeway and 14 acres of land was also acquired for this but due to some circumstances, the work could not be completed.

Naina Devi is one of the 52 famous Shakti Peethas of the country and is one of the most prominent religious places for not only the peoples of the country but the entire world. Likewise, Shri Anandpur Sahib is also a prominent international the religious place.

This project would boost the tourism sector in both the states alongwith strengthening the bond between two states besides facilitating the devotees visiting these two religious places.

It was informed that 80 percent pilgrims come to Shri Naina Devi from Punjab and during last one year, 20 Lakh devotees paid their obeisance in this Shakti Peeth.

The Chief Minister informed that for the construction of this impending ropeway, the matter had been taken up with his Punjab counterpart Captain Amarinder Singh on February 26, 2018.

The Chief Minister of Punjab said that with the construction of this ropeway the pilgrims of Punjab would get rid of the difficulty in reaching Shri Naina Devi.

He said that people of both the states would like to see this project completed at earliest and three year’s time frame has been fixed for its completion.

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Himachal suffers Rs. 1479 crore losses in 4 days alone, Centre releases Rs. 122 crore for rehabilitation

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Monsoon losses in Himachal pradesh in 2018

Shimla: Himachal Pradesh has suffered losses of about Rs. 1479 crore and during the last four days alone. Five choppers of Indian Air Force had been pressed into service to evacuate the stranded tourists and local people.

Chief Minister, who chaired a review meeting today, informed that the Centre Government has released Rs. 122 crore as the first instalment for the State for undertaking immediate rehabilitation measures.

himachal cm in meeting

Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur during meeting held today

Over one thousand people have been rescued from Lahaul valley out of these 147 have been airlifted and remaining have been evacuated by road.

He said the road would be cleared upto Baralacha by this evening. All the rescued people were being taken for medical examinations. Efforts were being made to restore communication network in Lahaul valley.

He directed the officers to ensure adequate availability of essential commodities in the valley. He said that a team of BSNL would visit Sisu today for the restoration of communication in the area. The Government has assured all possible help to the BSNL in restoration work.

Out of 18 towers of BSNL in the valley, seven were working properly.

It was informed in the meeting that 18000-litre petrol and 27000-litre diesel was made available. LPG and other food items were also in sufficient quantity. It was informed in the meeting that water Supply to Manali has been restored and Lahaul valley was also almost restored.

Till the electricity supply was restored in the valley, efforts would be made to provide solar lamps and lights to the people, it was informed. Small transformers would be airlifted from Kullu to replace damaged transformers.

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