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Peace crucial to development: Mehbooba Mufti

People's Democratic Party (PDP) leader Mehbooba Mufti. Express archive photo.

Srinagar: Peace is necessary for carrying out development, Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti said today adding that her government is trying to address the problems faced by people living in the far-flung areas of the state.

“The government is conscious of the difficulties in border and far flung areas and efforts are apace to mitigate the sufferings of the people. (But) peace is crucial for undertaking developmental activities,” Mufti said.

She was speaking at the foundation stone laying ceremony of a model village in Machil area of north Kashmir’s Kupwara district here today, an official spokesman said here.

Earlier in the day,she also visited a village in Awoora area to express condolences to the family of constable Muhammad Qasim who was killed in south Kashmir’s Kulgam district on May 1 when a bank cash-van was looted by militants.

The model village at Machil would be developed at a cost of Rs 22 crore and would be completed in three years.

Mufti said she would like the area to have facilities in health, education, recreation for youth and other necessities under the Model Village project rather than just a mass of concrete and mortar.

She emphasised on involvement of locals in the works to be taken up under the model village project.

The chief minister said nature has bestowed Machil with abundant beauty and focus of her government would be to develop tourism in the area to maximise tourist arrivals which would also generate employment.

She also reviewed measures to enhance tourist footfall to the Bungus-Drangyari circuit in the district, the spokesman said.

During a meeting here, she was informed that the famed Bungus valley in this frontier district is being developed as a Himalayan biosphere valley and around Rs 15 crore are being expended on developing tourism infrastructure in its catchment.

Terming Bungus as the future of Kashmir tourism, the Chief Minister directed holding of a tourist festival in Bungus valley in midsummer this year.

She said that would not only expose the destination to potential customers, but also give a fillip to tourist footfall to the area.

Mehbooba also directed holding of excursions and visits for the students of schools in the state and local people so that the potential of the place is adequately marketed.

The Chief Minister was informed that Bungus is being developed as Himalayan biosphere valley by Tourism Department under which no concrete structure would be raised within the valley and all tourist infrastructures in the catchment areas would be developed in conformity with local architectural pattern and cultural ethos.

The destination would be offering eco, adventure and cultural tourism in a single package, the review meeting was informed, the spokesman said.

Earlier, the Chief Minister visited the Manwan village of Awoora and conveyed her sympathies to the bereaved family of constable Muhammad Qasim who was killed in south Kashmir’s Kulgam on May 1 when a bank cash-van was attacked by militants.

Mehbooba sat with the family of the slain constable and consoled his aged parents and young kids.

She said the government would take all possible steps for the rehabilitation of the dependents of the slain cop, the spokesman said.

—PTI