By Basharat Ladakhi
Chairman and Chief Executive Councillor, Kargil Kacho Ahmad Ali Khan inaugurated the 2-day Kargil-Ladakh Tourism Festival 2017 at Khree Sultan Chow Sports Stadium Bemathang here today.
The two-day event features multi-ethnic traditional music and dance performances by the folk artists of different ethnic groups of the region including Purgi, Balti, Shina, Dardi besides several matches of traditional horse polo and archery, stalls of local art and craft and ethnic food besides theatre performances based on the traditional values and way of life.
While inaugurating the event, Kacho appealed to the public to come and visit the festival and understand the richness of the local culture and heritage. The CEC said that development of tourism is among the priorities of the Council, and it is fully committed to develop this sector in the district on modern lines. He said that focus is being laid to hold promotional events in different states of the country this winter, so as to promote Kargil as a major tourist destination.
Praising the scenic beauty and the multi-ethnic culture of Kargil, the CEC said that over the last few years a large number of tourists have been diverted towards this unexplored dreamland due to the efforts and initiatives taken up by the present government. He said that a number of incentive schemes are in place to encourage the private stakeholders while as due impetus is being given to raise necessary tourism infrastructure in the district.
Kacho exhorted upon the Tourism Department to further intensify its publicity and promotional activities so as to attract a maximum number of tourists from across the country to the area. He said that thrust needs to be given to better connectivity, tourism infrastructure and development of hospitality sector for boosting the tourism to benefit of local stakeholders. Earlier, the CEC went round the ethnic food and local handicraft stalls and appreciated the concerned Departments, women SHGs and other agencies for having put up a spectacular show.
A colourful and scintillating cultural programme depicting the culture and traditions of Kargil was the main attraction of the event on the inaugural day today. The performances included Balti song and dance, Purgi folk music and dance, Jabro dance, Shondrol, Manthana, marriage song, Shina/ Dardi music and dance performance by the artists of the Aryan valleys of DarchiksGarkone and Drass reflecting the cultural diversity of the region besides several other colourful performances.
Expressing optimism about the future of tourism industry in the district, Kacho said that effective coordination between the government and private players was imperative for the multifarious development of tourism and allied sectors and the district has great days ahead.
Underlining the tourism potential in the district, the CEC impressed upon the people particularly the unemployed youth of the area to build paying guest houses, hotels, restaurants and related infrastructure with advanced facilities so that adequate accommodation besides other related facilities could be made available to the visiting tourists.
Referring to round-the-year road connectivity of Kargil with different parts of the Country, Kacho expressed hope that the construction of Zojila tunnel would help in giving a fillip to tourism in the region. The completion of the tunnel, on the one hand, will play an instrumental role in paving way for round-the-year connectivity to the tourists besides locally made products and other items will get huge exposure in other parts of the Country, Kacho said.
Executive Councillor for Education, Advocate Muhammad Amir, Executive Councillor for Agriculture, Muhammad Hussain, Senior Superintendent of Police Kargil, Tsering Gyalpo, AD Tourism Kargil, Aga Syed Toha, senior Civil, Police and Army officers, school children and a large number of people witnessed the colourful festival.