The All Jammu Hotels & Lodges Association has raised grave concern, and stressed for improvements about the state of the declining tourism sector in Jammu, especially in the light of this global pandemic.
This week, the Association’s President Pawan Gupta, allegedly wrote to Manoj Sinha, the new Lieutenant Governor of Jammu & Kashmir, about the neglect faced by the tourism sector due to inadequate government relief packages, as well as constant inefficiency in completing a number of tourism centric mega projects, such as the Artificial Lake, the Mubarak Mandi heritage complex, and the development of Raghunath Temple, none of which has been completed despite several deadlines.
The Association members have appealed to the Government to take responsibility for the dwindling state of Jammu’s tourism industry, and formulate befitting policies for revival of the same.
The Government of Nagaland proposes to build three ‘Nagar Vans’ (urban forests) in Kohima and Tuensang municipalities, in accordance with the Union Government’s ‘Nagar Van Yojana’ (urban forests scheme) which seeks to create forests in 200 urban cities across the country, on a public-private partnership basis.
CM Chang, Nagaland’s Minister for Environment, Forest & Climate Change, expressed contentment about this new initiative and also mentioned progress updates on several other green projects currently in a state of construction in the state, such as the School Nursery Scheme and the Brahmaputra Rejuvenation Plan.
“Nagaland is ready for implementation in an integrated manner,” reassured CM Chang.
Uttarakhand, a state-dependent largely on its tourism sector, has suffered badly in the light of Covid-19 pandemic. Less than 10% of all hotels in the state have reopened so far, and the situation continues to look bleak. Furthermore, the State’s quarantine policy for inbound tourists has proved fatal to the hotel industry.
In light of these circumstances, the Uttarakhand Hotel Association has demanded the State Government to initiate regular rapid antigen tests on all tourists and allow the entry of those with negative antigen test reports.
Such a move would give some relief to the tourism sector, as these tourists could then stay directly at the hotels after entry into the state. “Goa and Gujarat have already started rapid antigen tests for people coming from outside. Our state must follow suit,” said Praveen Sharma, board member of the North India Hotel & Restaurant Association.
As part of the Union Government’s Compensatory Afforestation Fund Act 2016, States and Union Territories are required to submit data showing the loss of forest cover due to diversion of forest land for non-forest purposes such as mining or industrial use; so as to allow the Union Government to compensate for this loss.
According to Inspector General of Forest, AK Mohanty, 70% of the data uploaded this year, was found to be either incorrect or incomplete. The Ministry of Environment, Forest & Climate Change has since, asked all states to update the correct data and also ensure a system of robust scrutiny before uploading the data.
Sharachchandra Lele, a fellow at Ashoka Trust for Research in Ecology and Environment, commented, “This points to a bigger, systemic problem: Who are forests & afforestation programs meant for? … these kinds of centralised systems will never work unless they are complemented with local communities and both decide as well as monitor what happens to their forests.”
Under the Nal Se Jal Mission of the Modi Government, 9 Indian Districts have been covered with potable water supply in all houses, including Srinagar and Ganderbal in Jammu & Kashmir.
The Government has claimed that now 44.1% of all rural households in J&K have potable water connections. It also added that this was a reflection of the thrust given by the Government to push development work in the state, after implementation of special status through the removal of Article 370 last year.
(By: Upasana Ray)