2009 National Rafting Championship at Pahalgam

Srinagar (PTI): The hill resort of Pahalgam in South Kashmir will host National Rafting Championship next month, state Tourism and Cultural Minister Nawang Rigzin Jora said on Sunday.

The championship will be held in the third week of June at Pahalgam, 100 kms from here.

He said the state government was exploring the possibility of tapping Pahalgam’s rich potential in golf and adventure tourism given its treasure of natural landscape best suited for modern tourism-related sports activities.

“Pahalgam will get certain add-on facilities to make tourism year-round activity,” Jora said during a visit to Pahalgam.

He said holding the National Rafting Championship will be a beginning in that direction.

Pahalgam, like Gulmarg, is also ideally suited for heli-skiing, which can attract more tourists, Jora said.

The minister took stock of various ongoing developmental projects in the hill resort and met representative of various tourism-related associations.

He inspected the golf course at Pahalgam, which is being upgraded to an 18-hole course at a cost of Rs. 26 crore and is spread over nearly 142 acres of land.

He said the development of golf course would be completed by the end of current financial year.

The minister said in order to provide facilities that can match the best in the world, a health club, six tourist huts and a cafeteria would be constructed in close proximity of the golf course.

Pahalgam Club, with facilities to host national and international conferences, is being constructed at a cost of Rs 12.50 crore, he said.

The officials of Pahalgam Development Authority said the basic infrastructure in Betaab Valley has been created at a cost of Rs 2.38 crore and work on sewerage project at Pahalgam is afoot. They said Rs. 20 crore is being earmarked on upgradation of tourism infrastructure in the area and Rs. 11.59 crore have already being spent for the purpose.

The minister also inspected the newly-renovated Tourist Reception Centre and Adventure Complexes, completed at a cost of Rs. one crore and directed the authorities to keep available all the facilities to the visitors.

He sought cooperation from the people associated with tourism for maintaining ecological balance and urged for awareness campaigns for banning use of non-biodegradable items like polythene at tourist destinations.