Chief Minister announces
Annual CM’s Polo Championship at Drass
Srinagar, August 19 – Chief Minister, Mr. Omar Abdullah Wednesday said that government intends to hire the MI-17 helicopter services for Gurez, Tangdar, Drass, Paddar, Machhail, Zanskar, Marwah, Warwan and other such remote and cut-off areas to provide a constant communication link especially during the winter season. “The union ministry for tribal areas development will be approached to extend support to Jammu and Kashmir in this regard”, he said.
Speaking to a deputation of Polo Promotion Committee, Drass led by its President, Mr. Mohammad Amin here, the Chief Minister said that the matter of constructing a tunnel in Zojilla Pass is being pursued vigorously with the Centre authorities. “We are also looking for weekly helicopter services to the remote areas by hiring big helicopters like MI-17”, he said and added that this would not only help to airlift the passengers and essentials but open these areas for tourism and sports.
Announcing the first of its kind Chief Minister’s Polo Championship to be played at Drass every year to showcase the potential of this area for polo and encourage the talent available here, the Chief Minister said that possibilities to start the championship this year after the month of Ramdhan itself will be explored. He said the event will be made a permanent feature in the coming years and besides inviting national teams, international polo teams will also be invited for participation in the said polo championship at Drass.
Mr. Omar said that the potential of Drass area for ice hockey and skiing will also be explored adding that the tourism and sports departments would be asked to work out strategy for the purpose. He said government has similar plans for other remote and backward areas so that sports and tourism activities are generated there for economic upliftment. He said our hilly, remote and far-off areas are abundantly rich in tourism potential and offer wide-ranging arena for adventure sports. “This has to be exploited for the betterment of these areas”, he emphasized.
The Chief Minister said that government has flagged development of rural and far-off villages as focused area and steps have already been initiated to achieve the integrated and comprehensive development of all such areas alongwith the cities, towns and district headquarters. He said while attention is being concentrated on upgradation of basic amenities in the far-off villages, the focus is also on improving the road connectivity and linking of un-connected areas with the main highways.
Mr. Abdullah said that the demand for Tourism Development Authority for Drass, put forth by the people of this area, will be examined in its right perspective and the concerned department asked to take immediate necessary action in this regard. He said the demand for ice hockey rink at Drass would also be considered. The sports department will be asked to explore the possibilities for the ice hockey rink at Drass, he added.