To promote Patnitop as an independent tourist destination and increase visitors' footfall, chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed on Sunday took wide ranging decisions of infrastructural and recreational importance during the board meeting of Patnitop Development Authority, chaired by him.
He said Mantalai, Sanasar, Baghliar, Dudu Basantgarh, Batote and Kud will be promoted as one tourist circuit with Patnitop as its hub.
He asked the tourism department to develop market strategy for better promotion of the Patnitop circuit.
Placing high priority on starting work on Patnitop ropeway, Mufti granted one week to the concerned authorities to make a final presentation in view of the changes in the alignment recommended by the Forest Advisory Committee.
To attract captive segment of Vaishno Devi and Patnitop-bound tourists, the Mufti approved the basic concept paper on developing tourism around Baghliar dam, which primarily focuses on water-based leisure activities. Under the project, villages of Dharmund and Baghliar will offer family packages in water sports activities like floating cruises, viewpoint for waterfalls, camp life, tented and cottage accommodation, which will draw visitors towards a new concept of leisure tourism in Jammu.
He directed the Udhampur deputy commissioner to identify a land for dumping waste.
He observed that underground cabling of power lines and enhancing capacity of Shivgarh water reservoir are of paramount importance to promote Patnitop as weekend and weekdays' destination. He asked the tourism commissioner to formulate a plan for ensuring uninterrupted power supply at the resort.
In order to sustain footprint of tourists to Patnitop after Chenani-Nashri tunnel is opened to vehicular traffic, the Mufti directed the tourism department to conceive a plan which envisages setting up of add-on attractions like multiplex, amusement park and a toy train.
The Mufti launched the official website of the PDA and also released `20 lakh for developing wayside viewpoints at Dudu Basantgarh for tourists.
The chief minister also passed directions for upgrading facilities in budgeted accommodations at Kud and Sanasar so that the intake capacity of the Patnitop circuit is enhanced. In a separate meeting with stakeholders, the chief minister issued directions for setting up a helipad to operate chopper services for high-end tourists, opening of J&K Bank branch with ATM facility, dedicated pony track and construction of toilet points on user charges basis for the visitors.
For development of Sanasar, the Mufti was briefed that a Nine-Hole Golf Course has been laid, besides conservation of lake and up-gradation of hutments to facilitate tourists.
The Mufti gave directions for carrying out a survey for laying the ropeway between Patnitop and Mantalai.
At a distance of 32 km from Chenani, Mantalai is ideally suited to attract high-end tourists as an airstrip for fixed-wing planes already exists there.