Being a border resident, I wish borders become permanent tourist destinations and vibrant economic units. Let fairs and festivals replace guns and bullets.
This is what minister of PHE, Irrigation and Flood Control Sham Choudhary said after inaugurating 3-day Baisakhi festival on the Indo-Pak border at Suchetgarh in the outskirts of Jammu city. Sham dwelt in detail on the prospects of turning borders into permanent tourist destinations. He said that if we are able to divert even 15-20 percent of visitors towards these beautiful border villages, economy in these areas would get a major flip.
Sham, who is heading department related to ensuring regular water supply, spoke his heart out. For a few moments, it appeared as if a saint was giving sermons on ensuring peace on the borders and in return, deriving economic benefits out of this thaw. Referring to ex-chief minister Mufti Mohammed Sayeed, Sham said “Even visionary leader late Mufti Mohammed Sayeed wished to see tourists flocking border villages. He desired to inaugurate a mega cultural event at zero line of Indo-Pak border”.
He underlined need for creating requisite infrastructure in the border areas and then, ensuring that border tourist destinations are advertised on such a scale that after temples of Jammu and gardens of Kashmir, people rush to borders of Suchetgarh, R.S. Pura, Arnia and other areas. He hoped that Pakistan should realize its folly of importing terror to India and instead of firing on the borders, should dismantle terror infrastructure.
“This would like supplementing efforts of state government in making borders new tourist destinations of Jammu and Kashmir,” said Sham. He further said that borders should attract people from all over the country not only J&K. He went on say that Jammu has beautiful border villages and if there is permanent peace, people would throng in huge numbers to find out what kind of life of people on the border villages live and how beautiful our borders are.
Meanwhile, enlisting the welfare schemes for the farmer community, Sham said that several welfare schemes have been initiated by the centre and the state government including Pradhan Mantri Fasal Bima Yojana (PMBY) for the benefits of farmers. Minister, earlier, planted a sapling at the zero line in presence of MLA RS Pura.
Various multi lingual cultural programmes were also presented, which were the centre of attraction for the people attended the festival. Various government departments had also installed their stalls to display the information related to their area.