L-G Sinha approves Rs 3 crore relief package to tourism sector stakeholders

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The Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha has approved the disbursement of relief accounting to two-crore ninety-four lac and twenty-two thousand rupees in the wake of the second wave of COVID-19 pandemic out of the “J&K Relief Fund” for the tourism sector of Jammu and Kashmir.

The Jammu and Kashmir Finance Department decided to provide 2,94,22,000 rupees as a relief to various stakeholders involved with the Tourism Department.

The various stakeholders as per an order include 4444 Shikarawalas, 1370 Tourist Guides, 6663 Ponywalas, 2150 Dandiwalas/Sledgewalas/Palkiwalas in Kashmir, and 13 Tourist Guides and 71 Ponywalas in Jammu.

Out of the total amount, 88,88,000 rupees will be distributed among the Shikarawalas, 27,40,000 rupees among the Tourists Guides, 1,33,26,000 rupees among the Ponywalas, 43,00,000 among the Dandiwalas/Sledgewalas/Palkiwalas in Kashmir while 26,000 rupees will be distributed among the Tourist Guides, and 1,42,000 rupees among the Ponywalas in Jammu, adds the order.

In August 2019, an unprecedented lockdown was enforced in Kashmir after the region’s semi-autonomous status was removed by New Delhi. While the tourism sector was still recovering from loss caused due to a year without any income, the first wave of the COVID-19 pandemic caused another round of lockdown in the region.

With the arrival of the tourist season this year, Kashmir witnessed a huge rush of tourists coming in after a break of around two years when the Jammu and Kashmir government invited tourists to visit Kashmir. However, the second wave of the deadly COVID-19 virus led to a third lockdown.

The previous incidents and the ongoing lockdown have gravely impacted the stakeholders related to the Department of Tourism in Jammu and Kashmir.

The Tourism Department as per the order has been advised to follow up the release of funds with the Lieutenant Governor’s Secretariat. “The amount shall be transferred from the “J&K Relief Fund” to the official account of the Department for further transfer in DBT mode to the concerned beneficiaries,” it read.

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