Gilgit-Baltistan government to boost tourism

GILGIT: The Gilgit-Baltistan (G-B) government has decided to put curbs on demonstrations and protests on main thoroughfares so as not to disturb the tourist traffic.

Tourism is a major source of income for the territory, G-B CM Hafeez ur Rehman said, adding that improved security situation had increased the footprints of visitors in the scenic valleys.  

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However, to make sure that the visitors come and spend time and money in G-B, the local authorities should keep the roads open and not allow any group to block roads and highways to stage protests, he told a meeting held to review the law and order situation and the tourism sector.

Chief Minister Rehman said that tourism is thriving owing to peace in the region. “Inflow of visitors will benefit the common people of G-B,” he said elaborating that tourism generates economic activity in the valleys. From porters to tea vendors, jeep drivers, and resort owners everyone benefits from the arrival of tourists.

Rehman attributed this growth in tourism to the improved law and order situation which he said was the result of the effective policies and continued efforts of the government and law enforcement agencies.

Get the roads ready in time to meet the peak flow of tourist traffic when the season starts in summer, the CM told the meeting.

Keeping in view the overwhelming influx of tourists this year, Rehman noted that the infrastructure was developed to ensure smooth flow of traffic in all tourist areas of the region.

In order to avoid road blocks and traffic jams in the region, he laid out a number of steps to be taken by all. Though public meetings and political demonstrations were the true essence of democracy, he said, “no one would be allowed to block roads and highways and waste the tourists’ and residents’ time.”

He directed all the district administration and police to ensure that public meetings were held at specific places so that roads and highways wouldn’t be closed and traffic would continue to flow.

Prior to any public meeting or demonstration, he said it was imperative to obtain an NOC from the deputy commissioners. Strict action would be taken against people using block tinted glasses in vehicles, fancy number plates, and driving without helmets both on districts roads and inter-provincial highways, he announced while reminding the officials to ensure implementation of the ban imposed on the driving of children.

The CM also directed secretary home and IGP to take cogent measures to improve the conditions of police stations and said the government would provide the resources required to arrange for furniture, establishment of conference rooms, and better sanitation facilities in all these police stations.

In the same meeting, Rehman also spoke about the need to secure border districts.

He mentioned that other measures were needed apart from the activation of seasonal check-posts, and also asked for better living arrangements for the soldiers living there.

He stressed the need for better intelligence and communication systems near the passes. The G-B scouts should be deployed in sensitive areas, he said, adding that a special branch of G-B police should be activated for such vicinities besides increasing deployment of police force.

He also enunciated the importance of tourist security and directed that CCTV cameras be installed in all hotels where foreign tourists would stay. Meanwhile, he said that the standard safety operations for tourists should also be continued.

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