7 new treks okayed in J&K protected areas

Jammu

In a mega push to promote eco-tourism in Jammu and Kashmir, the Administrative Council headed by Lt Governor Manoj Sinha on Monday approved development of 7 new trekking routes in various protected wildlife areas.

It also okayed opening up of existing infrastructure and resources of the forest dept to tourists and wildlife enthusiasts to sustainably promote tourism in the forest hinterland without disturbing the ecological balance in the protected areas, a spokesperson said.

He said the decisions would allow online booking of 29 forest rest houses and inspection huts in Kashmir and Jammu divisions, under a common brand and logo from May 1.

The dept of Forest, Ecology and Environment has been directed to put in place a user-friendly online portal for booking identified rest houses on a first-come, first-serve basis according to their availability and intake capacity, the spokesperson said.

He said the dept was directed to refurbish and open another batch of 58 rest houses and huts to tourists by July 1.

The accommodations are in different forest divisions at the quaintest places amid pristine nature, he said, adding till now they were reserved for forest officers to be utilised during official tours.

The spokesperson said the administrative council approved development of new trekking routes in Bahu Conservation Reserve, Sudhmahadev Conservation Reserve, Thein Wildlife Conservation Reserve, Tral Wildlife Sanctuary-Dachigam National Park-Overa-Aru Wildlife Sanctuary, Thajwas Wildlife Sanctuary, Khrew Wildlife Conservation Reserve-Dachigam National Park-Khonmoh Conservation Reserve, and Khrew Wildlife Conservation Reserve.

Policy for houseboats in Dal, Nigeen lakes

The J&K administration has roll­ed out a policy to regulate the functioning of the houseboats mo­ored in Dal and Nigeen lakes by adopting the models of susta­in­able and responsible tourism. Under the new policy, the house­boats are required to be registe­red online, subject to the fulfil­ment of conservation para­meters, within 30 days from the date of notification of the policy. Keeping in view the carrying capacities, the tourism dept has capped the number of house­boats in both the lakes at 910.

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