Leh, Kargil identified as destinations for development under Swadesh Darshan: Govt

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New Delhi: Leh and Kargil in Ladakh have been identified as destinations for development under Swadesh Darshan 2.0, the government informed Parliament on Thursday.

Union Tourism Minister G Kishan Reddy in a written response to a query in Rajya Sabha also said the Ministry of Tourism has taken several steps to boost the tourism sector in the Union Territory of Ladakh.

These projects include development of Jammu-Srinagar-Pahalgam-Bhagwati Nagar-Anantnag-Salamabad Uri-Kargil-Leh under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The total project cost of Rs 77.33 crore includes development of tourist facilities at Kargil and Leh in Ladakh for an amount of Rs 13.43 crore. The project was sanctioned in 2016-17, the minister said.

It also includes development of tourist facilities at Anantnag-Pulwama-Kishtwar- Pahalgam-Zanskar-Padum-Daksum-Ranjit Sagar Dam under the Swadesh Darshan Scheme. The total project cost of Rs 86.39 crore includes development of tourist facilities at Zanskar-Padum in Ladakh for an amount of Rs 9.45 crore. The project was sanctioned in 2016-17, he added.

The Ministry of Tourism has revamped its Swadesh Darshan Scheme as Swadesh Darshan 2.0 (SD 2.0) with the objective to develop sustainable and responsible destinations. Leh and Kargil have been identified as destinations for development under SD 2.0 in Ladakh, Reddy added.

The ministry has been promoting Ladakh and its various tourism products on the Incredible India website and through the social media handles of the Ministry of Tourism. It has been showcasing Ladakh in the India pavilion at international travel fairs and exhibitions held overseas, he said.

The UT administration through a notification dated August 6, 2021 has “removed the requirement of permit for visiting restricted areas for domestic tourists”. As on date whole of Ladakh except a few pockets along the LAC and LoC (for security reasons) are open for domestic tourists.

However, permit for foreigners is still a requirement to visit the restricted areas within the UT, the tourism minister said in his response to the query.

The UT administration in collaboration with the concerned security forces has established police check posts at spots identified collectively. Further, the UT administration issues advisory from time to time regarding precautions to be taken for health reasons, safety and security, the minister said.

In response to another query, Reddy said the “Ministry of Ports, Shipping and Waterways has launched ‘Harit Nauka’ guidelines for development of Green Vessels for complete transition to Green Vessels by 2047 and the roadmap for River Cruise Tourism in the country on January 8, 2024”.

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