Delhi-Katra express highway, Kamakhya to Vaishno Devi train service and Vande Bharat Express, among other initiatives, are paving the way for the development and promotion of religious tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.
Union Minister of State Jitendra Singh, reviewed the progress of various development projects in Udhampur parliamentary constituency.
"It has been possible under Prime Minister Narendra Modi that religious tourism sites have been taken care of and developed for the first time for ease of religious pilgrimage and revival of religious tourism in the country," Singh said.
Udhampur sector which also includes Katra and Reasi is going to offer a unique religious tourism circuit, with the integrated development through Rs 190 crore River Devika rejuvenation project, Rs 100 crore Mantalai project, Mansar lake under Swarajya Yojana, Sudh Mahadev, Surinsar, etc.
Elaborating further, Singh said, "The holy town of Katra Vaishno Devi got its railway station only after the Modi government took over in 2014 and now the entire area has been included in the national PRASAD scheme."
"In addition, the inter-modal station, the holy spot of Sudhmahadev also received attention only after 2014 and now an alternative national highway is under construction for facilitating connectivity," he added.
Referring to Mantalai project, which was the venue of review meeting, Singh said that the project was initially started by Late Dhirendra Brahamchari, who happened to be the Yog Guru of the then prime minister Indira Gandhi and obtained the land on lease.
However, midway through the project, Dhirendra Bhrahmchari suddenly died following an air crash accident and since then the successive Congress governments did not attend to it and allowed it to turn into a shambles.
"However, it was only after the Modi government took over in 2014 that the project was revived nearly three decades later and now a state-of-the-art wellness centre-cum-tourist resort has come up at this location," explaiend Singh.
"Similar is the case of River Devika which had remained unattended all these years and only after Modi took over as Prime Minister, North India's first-ever river rejuvenation project was approved for the renovation and beautification of River Devika, which is held in holy esteem," he added.
While Mantalai and Mansar are already being included in the official tourist circuit, Shiv Khori is also expected to become part of it soon.
Singh observed that in the neighbouring district of Kishtwar, the Machail Yatra pilgrimage lacked basic facilities.
"In the last nine years, toilets and mobile towers were provided enroute the yatra and in the absence of power supply, exclusive solar power plant has also been provided," he said.
The Minister added, "The Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency is blessed with the treasure of ancient religious tourism sites in the country and it has been possible under PM Narendra Modi that these religious tourism sites have been taken care of and developed for the first time for ease of religious pilgrimage and revival of religious tourism in the country."
"Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency is the infrastructural marvel and best ever connected constituency in the country, and has seen tremendous development in the last nine years.
"The Delhi Katra Express Highway, historic Kamakhya (Assam) to Katra (Vaishno Devi) train covering a distance of more than 2,000 km and connecting the two important destinations of religious pilgrimage and Vande Bharat Express are among the best gifts provided by PM Narendra Modi giving boost to the religious tourism in Jammu and Kashmir," Singh expressed.
The religious tourism circuit in Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency has a very important role in the development and progress of the region as pilgrims across India have a desire to visit these religious sites.
"From the very first day being sworn in as the Prime Minister of India, PM Narendra Modi put forward a vision to connect places of religious interest across the country with a safe, efficient and comfortable network," Singh added.
The ‘Pilgrimage Rejuvenation And Spiritual Augmentation Drive’ (PRASAD) scheme aims to integrate pilgrimage destinations in a prioritised, planned and sustainable manner to provide a complete religious tourism experience.
"It is because of this scheme of the government that religious tourism has been revived in India, Udhampur Parliamentary Constituency being the best example of it," Singh added, while directing district administration to speed up the work on these religious tourism sites so that the projects are completed in time.
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