India developing Kargil as tourist destination


New Delhi : The Indian government is pumping in Rs.120 million into Kargil – the remote mountainous region in Jammu and Kashmir that got into Indian drawing rooms due to the 1999 conflict with Pakistan – to bring it on the tourism map.

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The tourism ministry has sanctioned funds for the development of tourist facilities in Kargil, which is about 200 km from the state’s summer capital Srinagar.

“The tourism ministry extends central financial assistance under the scheme of Product Infrastructure Development for Destinations and Circuits for tourism projects based on the project proposals received from them, complete in all respects, subject to inter se priority and availability of funds,” Tourism Minister Kumari Selja told parliament Friday.

The government has sanctioned around Rs.48.447 million for the development of tourist facilities in and around Kargil, Rs.24.17 million for the development of Drass-Panikhar and Rs.47.232 million for the development of Drass-Sankhoo as a destination.

Seeing the chequered past of the place, the government is also keeping in mind the safety aspect in developing Kargil as a tourist destination.

“In order to ensure the safety and security of tourists, the tourism ministry has advised all the state government and union territory administrations to deploy tourist police at tourist destinations and also circulated guidelines for formation of tourist security organisation comprising ex-servicemen,” Selja told parliament in a written reply.

Kargil and Drass shot into headlines in the summer of 1999 when armed intruders backed by Pakistan captured the frigid peaks on the Indian side of the Line of Control dividing Kashmir. This lead to a military skirmish and brought India and Pakistan on the brink of their fourth full scale war.