To promote adventure tourism in the Jammu region, a 3-day long National White Water River Rafting championship was organized by Tourism Department in collaboration with district administration Reasi. The mega event which was commenced from November 29, 2013 concluded here today.The Minister for Housing, Horticulture and Culture Mr. Raman Bhalla was the chief guest on the concluding day of the event.Member Legislative Assembly Mr. Jugal Kishore Sharma, Director Tourism Mr. Soujanya Sharma, Additional Deputy Commissioner Mr. S. R. S. Tara, Joint Director Tourism Mr. Shiv Gupta, SP Mr. Sarief Chouhan besides other senior officers from civil and police administration, a large number of senior citizens of the district were present on the occasion who witnessed the event with great curiosity.
In the 3-day National White Water River Rafting championship, 9 teams and two rescue teams participated which included Reasi district, BSF, JKP, Tourism Department, Ladakh, Rishikesh, White hotel, IAPRO, Eco-Adventure and ITBP. The event culminated at Dera Banda Bahadur. Addressing a large gathering of sports lovers and locals, the Housing Minister said the Government was keen to promote tourism in the state and exploit vast potential in adventure tourism in a big way.
Bhalla said it was the first national rafting event aimed at exploring adventure tourism potential in Reasi district. He said large number of unemployed youth of the district would be trained in river rafting skills with the objective that they adopt this as a profession and generate income for livelihood. He informed that Government will construct Adventure Sports Club shortly and also a society of district officers is being constituted for promoting rafting in the district.The Minister appreciated the Tourism Department and district administration for organizing such a grand sports event in Reasi district which will help the sports lovers to further improve their skills.Bhalla highlighted various reformative steps having taken up by the Government in making available all necessary sports facilities to the players of the State especially those living in hilly and far-off pockets. He said that the Government was also initiating various measures to promote adventure sports in hilly pockets of the State.
The Minister said that massive sports infrastructure has been created across the State to promote the sports culture in the State and groom talent of the youth. He said Government was making all efforts to organize more sports events at district level as it helps to tap the available talent.Mr. Bhalla said there was no dearth of talent in the State adding that need was to provide the youth an opportunity to exhibits their hidden talent. He asked the officers to seek cooperation of the education and other departments, besides local sports clubs to organize sports events as it would help to promote sports culture in particular area.Bhalla said adventure tourism has vast potential to generate jobs for the unemployed youth. He said Government would provide soft loans and incentives to these youths for managing own rafts for promotion of river tourism in the belt. These events also help in promoting friendly relationship among the people of different cultures and traditions. He hoped that committee will continue such type of efforts to encourage the sports talent in the State.
Speaking on the occasion, MLC Mr. Jugal Kishore Sharma said we have got tremendous potential of adventure sport like rafting, skiing, sliming, trekking and cycling, adding that Tourism Department is doing its bit to promote that all over world.He said Government has started several mega projects to strengthen and upgrade sports infrastructure, adding funds worth crores of rupees have been earmarked for construction of stadia at tehsil and district levels so that sports lovers could get sports facility in their respective districts so as to compete in the national and international events.He urged the younger generation to participate in extra co-curricular activities besides academic education as co-curricular activities are essential for making the students physically and mentally fit.On the occasion, a variety cultural programme was presented by the artists of Information Department which was highly applauded by the gathering. Later, Bhalla and Mr. Jugal Kishore Sharma distributed Ist, Second and third prizes among the winners. In water marathon category the BSF bagged first prize of Rs. 10,000, whereas runner up team ITBP got second prize of Rs. 5000.The Sprout water sports game was won by JKP and were rewarded Rs. 10,000.