Hustle and bustle of tourists to return to “Paradise on the Earth”

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SRINAGAR: The hustle and bustle of tourists may soon return to Jammu and Kashmir with the administration deciding to lift the restrictions imposed on travellers in the wake of revocation of its special status and division into two union territories.

 

Governor Shri Satya Pal Malik, who holds the reign in the UT, issued the direction to lift the advisory asking tourists to leave the valley after holding a situation-cum-security review meeting in Srinagar on Monday.

The information department of the administration tweeted that the restrictions will go with effect from October 10, 2019 (Thursday).

Popularly known as the "Paradise on Earth", Jammu and Kashmir is world famous for its scenic splendour, snow-capped mountains, plentiful wildlife, exquisite monuments, hospitable people and local handicrafts.

More than half-a-million people visited the valley in the first seven months of this year, according to official data. In addition, some 340,000 religious tourists were also visiting the valley in July before their pilgrimage was called off due to the terror claims.

Tourism came to a standstill after the advisory was issued just before the Centre announced the negation of the Article 370 of the constitution and bifurcation of Jammu and Kashmir into two Union Territories on August 5.

The government had asked the tourists to curtail their stay in the Valley “immediately” soon after it took the step to call off the annual Amarnath Yatra on August 2, citing "intelligence inputs of terror threats”. Within three days of the move, the Parliament nullified Article 370 of the Constitution that accorded special status to the state and divided it into two union territories.

The administration had also imposed massive security restrictions - arrest of the state’s political leadership, snapping of phone and telephone lines and deployment of additional troops - to prevent any backlash to the controversial move.

Over the last one week, the administration has taken some steps to test the uneasy calm in the state as it has come under increasing international scrutiny for the prolonged clampdown that has now lasted 64 days.

The first step was the announcement of the Block Development Council elections in the state, followed by the permission granted to a National Conference delegation to meet detained leaders Farooq Abdullah and his son Omar Abdullah.

The Governor has been holding situation-cum-security review meetings daily for two hours generally from 6 to 8 pm since August 5. The meetings initially focused on reviewing the security scenario after imposition of restrictions in the wake of constitutional changes, the spokesman said.

Some of the major decisions taken in the past in the situation-cum-security review meetings include reopening of higher secondary schools, colleges and universities, restarting public transport and opening of additional travel counters at Srinagar's Tourist Reception Centre, the spokesperson said (With inputs from agencies)

Image Credit: Hello tourism

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