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Conclave of Himalayan States Urge Centre for Development of New Tourist Destinations, New Central Ministry

Briefing the media at the end of conclave, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the Centre must take early steps

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Himalayan, Tourist, Destinations
Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission N.K. Singh and NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar also attended the conference and assured them all necessary help to address the issues. Pixabay

A conclave of the Himalayan states here on Sunday urged the Centre for development of new tourist destinations, a new central ministry, steps to stop the widespread migration from hill states and green bonus for them considering their contribution in preserving the eco-system.

Chief Ministers and representatives of 10 Himalayan states urged development of new tourist destinations in these states as old hill resorts had reached saturation.

Union Finance Minister Nirmala Sitharaman, Chairman of the 15th Finance Commission N.K. Singh and NITI Aayog Vice-Chairman Rajiv Kumar also attended the conference and assured them all necessary help to address the issues related to the Himalayan states.

Briefing the media at the end of conclave, Uttarakhand Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat said the Centre must take early steps to stop the widespread migration from the hills. A separate ministry for the Himalayan states should also be set up, he said.

Himalayan, Tourist, Destinations
A conclave of the Himalayan states here on Sunday urged the Centre for development of new tourist destinations, a new central ministry, steps to stop the widespread migration from hill states. Pixabay

Nagaland Chief Minister Neiphiu Rio said the mountainous and hilly Himalayan states faced various challenges due to several factors, like topography and harsh terrain, that contributed to development disability and urged the Centre and the 15th Finance Commission to take these aspects into consideration while allocating funds.

“These states are the sentinels of border security as they share international border with Pakistan, China, Myanmar and Bangladesh, which poses military and demographic security threats,” he said

Stating that Himalayan states contributed to the nation’s eco-system through climate regulation, carbon sequestration as well as source of water, the Nagaland Chief Minister said special attention should be given to these aspects.

Hailing the Finance Commission’s proposal to increase the state’s share in taxes from 42 per cent to 50 per cent, Rio said even with this Nagaland would remain a revenue-deficit state.

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Meghalaya Chief Minister Conard Sangma said it was important that the Himalayan states come together to push the agenda for growth and development.

Echoing Sangma, Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur advocated formulation of a holistic Himalayan policy for sustainable development of these states at par with other states.

On the green bonus issue, the Uttarakhand Chief Minister said the Himalayan states were providing environment security for the country. For providing river waters, clean air and preserving forests, Uttarakhand has been demanding financial support giving it a name of green bonus.

The Himalayan conclave would be held every year, he added.

Himalayan, Tourist, Destinations
Chief Ministers and representatives of 10 Himalayan states urged development of new tourist destinations in these states as old hill resorts had reached saturation. Pixabay

A Mussoorie resolution was also passed. “The hill states pledge to make endeavour to protect and conserve our rich Himalayan heritage and ethos for the prosperity and well being of the nation,” it said.

“We pledge to cherish and nurture the wealth of our biodiversity — glaciers, rivers, lakes, precious forests and wildlife. We also pledge to preserve our vibrant folkart and crafts, the culture and folklore to pass them on to the next generations,” it said.

The resolution also said the Himalayan states would conserve the spiritual legacy of the hill culture and create conducive environment for enrichment of the human spirit.

They pledged to workout strategies for sustainable development of mountain areas, cherish and conserve the history of hill societies and legends and the glory associated with the lofty Himalayas.

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“We are proud of this grand heritage and pledge to hand it over in its pristine form to the nation and the world,” it said. (IANS)

Next Story

Dhanaulti, Fast Emerging as Next Big Tourist Hill Station

If one wants to cherish nature at its best, experience fresh air, drink the mineral water coming directly from the Himalayas

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Dhanaulti, Tourist, Hill Station
With Mussoorie - the Queen of the Hills - becoming over-crowded, it is starting to lose its charm and people are now wanting to explore other options. Pixabay

When one reaches Dhanaulti — a picturesque site in the Garhwal region of ‘Devbhoomi’ (Gods’ abode) Uttarakhand — one can not but feel the fresh breeze gushing through deodar trees and emitting an earthy, woody aroma. This is when you know you have left behind the hustle and bustle of the crowded city.

With Mussoorie – the Queen of the Hills – becoming over-crowded, it is starting to lose its charm and people are now wanting to explore other options. Located just 25 km away is Dhanaulti which is fast emerging as the next big tourist hill station.

“If one wants to cherish nature at its best, experience fresh air, drink the mineral water coming directly from the Himalayas, then Dhanaulti is the place to be.

“But, say it a boon or a bane, it is fast getting commercialised and we have been seeing a lot more tourists than before. Though they are good for our business, people leave behind a trail of garbage which is very difficult to clean up. It is ruining the natural beauty of the Himalayas,” Anil Kumar, owner of Burans Breeze hotel, told IANS.

Dhanaulti, Tourist, Hill Station
When one reaches Dhanaulti — a picturesque site in the Garhwal region of ‘Devbhoomi’ (Gods’ abode) Uttarakhand . Pixabay

Kumar, who himself belongs to Delhi, said he wanted to escape the noise and pollution of the national capital and hence built a lodge here from where one can see the snow-peaked Himalayan range.

Decoding the name of his hotel – one of the oldest in the area – he said that ‘Burans’ is for the Burans flower (rhododendron) that grows here which brightens the entire place with its red colour during spring time, and ‘Breeze’ is for the strong cool breeze that the place witnesses.

“To attract tourists, we have grown cauliflower, potato, and radish in our gardens and use them fresh in our restaurant,” Kumar said.

Another hotelier, Rakesh Garg, owner of Silver Dew, bought land here in 1997 when Uttarakhand was still a part of Uttar Pradesh but established a hotel only recently when Dhanaulti started seeing tourists.

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“Back then I didn’t know the potential of Dhanaulti becoming a major tourist destination. I bought the land for leisurely purposes but now I see a lot of tourists – from bachelors to families,” he said.

Speaking to IANS, Ajay Pawar, who is a native and handles several hotels in the area, said the hotel business here is going good. “People are liking this place because of its peaceful and chilly environment and the privacy that it offers.

“Several people are coming here and demanding rooms or cottages which are isolated and close to nature. They don’t come here for luxury, they come here to get close to nature, to hear the birds chirp and for the fresh cool breeze.”

“People love this place so much that they want to buy land here but most of it has already been bought and new hotels are coming up there. The prices of land have also shot up in merely last 2-3 years.”

Dhanaulti, Tourist, Hill Station
This is when you know you have left behind the hustle and bustle of the crowded city. Pixabay

Gambhir Singh, a farmer who now runs a confectionery shop, said people are shifting from agriculture activities to work in hotels. Even if a person washes utensils in the hotel, he can make more than what he makes in agriculture, he added.

Painting a gloomy picture for the future of farming on the hills, he said the new generation here does not prefer farming work because of increasing costs, risks associated with it, government’s apathy, and hard work involved which don’t pay off.

Kishori, manager of hotel Rock Resort, said that tourists demand good surroundings more than comfortable rooms, and hence to attract them, they had have planted apple, plum, walnut, and apricot trees.

“People are very fascinated with the trees, they come and take pictures with them. We also make fresh chutneys and jams with the fruits,” he said.

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Vinita Chouhan, member of a self-help group based out of Mussoorie, has put up a shop in Buranskhanda as the place has started witnessing lots of tourists. They have also set up shops in Dhanaulti, Mussoori, the Dehradun trade fair, and the India International Trade Fair in Delhi.

“We sell woollen clothes and traditional Garhwali food items like ‘Urad dal pakora’, ‘Jhangore Ki Kheer’, ‘Mandve Ki Roti’, and ‘Kandali Ki Sabzi’.”

“About 100 women are engaged in weaving woollen items like shawls, sweaters, caps, and socks. Another 10-15 women make papad, chips, pickles, and other items,” she said. (IANS)