Ravi S Singh
Tribune News Service
New Delhi, February 2
Union Minister of State for Tourism Prahlad Singh Patel on Tuesday informed the Rajya Sabha that since August 5, 2019, the number of tourist arrivals in Jammu and Kashmir had declined.
August 5, 2019 is a calendar date as the Union government revoked the special status of Jammu and Kashmir by scrapping Article 370, and the state was hived into two Union Territories of Jammu and Kashmir and Ladakh.
In response to a query, Patel said the “impact was felt severely in Kashmir Valley than in Jammu division. He, however, did not refer to the causative factor for the negative development.
He said that, however, tourist footfall in J&K is gradually increasing since last few months.
He further said that in respect to the handicraft sector, no noticeable job losses in J&K have happened since August 5, 2019.
“The artisans engaged in different handicraft activities are continuing their jobs and the government is providing support through schemes and steps are being taken to provide every possible assistance to artisans of J&K through various schemes of Central government.”
The Ministry of Tourism has not conducted a formal study to assess the job losses of artisans and weavers, tour operators, house boat owners, tourist and transport, shikaras, hotel and restaurant industry, tour guides and other allied sector.
He further said that as per the information received from J&K UT administration, the government released a stimulus package as relief in the wake of COVID-19 pandemic for its disbursement among the tourist stakeholders.
The amount of relief which has been disbursed among the stakeholders is to the extent of Rs 1,000 per beneficiary per month for a period of three months.
The lowdown of the disbursement is as follows: Shikara wala: 4880; pony wala: 10,571; tourist guide: 1313; and sledge/dandi wala: 2,150.
The benefit has further been extended for a period of six months at Rs 1000 per month and a sum of about Rs 618 lakh has recently been approved by the government for further release to beneficiaries.
In addition to the effort of the UT Administration, Union Tourism Ministry is giving financial assistance to service providers in UTs of J&K and Ladakh for undertaking promotional activities.
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