In a significant move aimed at developing Pahalgam as an eco-friendly high-end tourist destination, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed has ordered revisiting of Draft Master Plan for the hill resort to make it an all-season tourist destination.
"The Town Planning Organisation (TPO) should immediately re-examine its earlier recommendations for Pahalgam and submit a concrete Draft Master Plan on which work can commence in the next three months, after seeking approval of the State Cabinet," Sayeed said chairing a high level meeting at Pahalgam yesterday.
The meeting was convened to review the Pahalgam Draft Master Plan-2032 and ongoing developmental works in one of Valley's premier health resorts. Situated 100 km south of Srinagar, the hill resort also serves as the base camp for the annual Amarnath yatra scheduled to commence on July 2.
To give local population a sense of ownership, Sayeed also directed the Tourism Department to prepare a concept plan for setting up of a School for Skill Development at Pahalgam that professionally trains local youth in various skills.
The skills may be connected to hospitality, housekeeping and landscaping sectors, which are directly connected with the tourism industry.
"Pahalgam has a huge potential to be developed as a tourist-cum-educational hub, on pattern of some of the other resorts in the country like Dalhousie and Dehradun," Sayeed said.
Placing high priority on developing Pahalgam as an all-season tourist destination, the chief minister said the Draft Master Plan of the resort, being conceived by TPO, requires a relook so that a long-term perspective plan, which envisages development of one of Kashmir's most visited health resorts, are incorporated in it.
The earlier approved Master Plan 2005-2025 of Pahalgam is being revised on the directions of the High Court so that basic facilities, development works and recreational avenues for the tourists can be created in a planned manner by adhering to strict procedural and environmental norms, as laid down in the Master Plan.