Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that the nature has blessed Himachal Pradesh with immense tourism potential which needed to be harnessed fully to make it a self-reliant and employment generating the state in the country. He was presiding over the review meeting of Tourism department, here today.The Chief Minister said that state government would develop Shiv Dham at Mandi town where replicas of twelve Jyotrilinga would be created as added attraction to the tourists as well as locals. Under project, Mandi lake would also be developed by introducing the concept of Beas Aarti on the analogy of Ganga Aarti. He said that within three months, detailed project report (DPR) of this project would be prepared and the project would go for bid by November this year.Jai Ram Thakur said that the Union Ministry of Tourism has in principle approved a Rs. 27.18 crore project for development of Maa Chintpurni temple in Una district under PRASAD scheme. He said that few other components were added and the department has submitted a DPR of Rs. 45.06 crore for approval.He said that process for acquisition of 153 acres of land for expansion of Kangra airport has been initiated and OLS survey has been completed for international standard airport in Mandi district. In order to strengthen air connectivity in the state, six heliports have been constructed and upgraded and works on Shimla and Manali heliports were on full swing. He said that presently there were 64 operational helipads in the state and process was underway for construction of more 11 helipads in different parts.
Jai Ram Thakur said that rupees four crore each have been sanctioned for developing village Haat at Kangra and Art and Crafts Centre at Bhalei Mata Temple at Chamba and convention centre was coming up at Kiarighat in Solan district at a cost of Rs. 24 crore.The Chief Minister said that Dharamshala ropeway project was under construction at a cost of Rs. 150 crore and Adi Himani-Chamunda ropeway worth Rs. 289 crore has been approved in principle for which forest clearance has also been obtained. The survey has also been conducted for construction of Bhuntar-Bijli Mahadev of Rs. 94.19 crore and NPV has been deposited in respect of ropeway from Palchan to Rohtang, which would be constructed by spending Rs.340 crore.The Chief Minister also directed the officers to ensure timely completion of all the ongoing projects so that Himachal could emerge as the favourite tourist destination. He said that the light and sound show at Shimla should also be started which would prove as an added attraction for the visitors.Additional Chief Secretary, Tourism Ram Subhag Singh assured the Chief Minister that department would work with dedication and renewed zeal to complete all the tourism projects in a time bound manner.Additional Principal Secretary to Chief Minister Sanjay Kundu, Additional Director, Tourism Manoj Kumar, Project Director, ADB Praveen Gupta and other senior officers were also present in the meeting.