'J&K planning to raise new battalion of tourist police'
Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating to raise a new battalion of tourist police to deal in a "humane way" with the visitors to the state who are growing in number.Updated: Sep 01, 2013 18:27 IST
Jammu and Kashmir government is contemplating to raise a new battalion of tourist police to deal in a "humane way" with the visitors to the state who are growing in number.
"We have less tourist police officers to deal with the visitors and we contemplate to raise a new battalion to deal with the tourists more humanely," minister for tourism, Ghulam Ahmad Mir told PTI.
Mir said the department of Tourism has written to chief minister Omar Abdullah to either allow direct recruitment by the department or train the regular policemen for the job.
"We have written to the chief minister and the Home Department to either allow us to recruit directly or carve out a battalion from the regular police," he said.
Mir, however, said that the department believes people from fresh recruitment will be better than training the regular police.
Tourism officials say that against the sanctioned 106 posts, the department has a present strength of 72 tourist police officers, including one Superintendent of Police.
"We have around 72 officers posted in the department out of the sanctioned 106 posts. Even 106 is inadequate as new tourism destinations are coming up and the number of visitors is increasing," Director Tourism, Kashmir, Talat Pervez said.
Pervez said the department feels there is a need to have separate enforcements for the regions of Kashmir and Jammu like the separate directorates.
The chief minister has assured the department to look into the issue and "make some arrangements soon", Mir said.
The Minister said with the situation getting better, more and more people want to visit Kashmir and there is a need to have the necessary arrangements, including infrastructure and police, in place.
"We have had peaceful tourism seasons for the last three years and with more visitors coming here, we require putting in place the necessary infrastructure so that the tourists do not feel any inconvenience," he said.
The Minister said though the "uncertainty in the situation" is hampering development of infrastructure, encouragement for private investments is present.
"We have been working hard to create a conducive atmosphere. Private investors are wary of the uncertain situation, but now there is encouragement and we hope to see more infrastructure development," he said.
The department "is of the people and for the people" and wants to see more public participation in infrastructure development and less reliance on government, Mir said.
The minister further said that the number of tourists visiting the state "does not matter" and that the government wants to achieve quality of services.