Series of cultural festivities and other events today marked commemoration of ‘World Environment Day by the Directorate of Tourism Jammu and Bani Basohli Development Authority at the Tourist Reception Centre, Basohli.
Pertinently, the Department of Tourism under the leadership of Secretary Tourism, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, is committed in its endeavour to promote Off Beat Tourist destinations and adventure tourism. “Basohli, being an Off Beat Tourist destination and major water sports destination for the Jammu region, is being promoted for adventure tourism along with leisure and heritage tourism by the Tourism Department”.
The day long celebrations began with an ‘Eco-Tourism Awareness Rally’ by the local school children under the theme of “Beat Plastic Pollution” which is the official campaign theme of ‘World Environment Day 2023’ and is being globally celebrated with the hashtag #beatplasticpollution. The rally was flagged off from Atal Setu Bridge which culminated at TRC Basohli.
The festivities were formally inaugurated by Secretary Tourism, Dr Syed Abid Rasheed Shah with launch of a plantation drive.
District Development Council Chairman, Kathua, Colonel Mahan Singh, besides Director Tourism Jammu, Vivekanand Rai, Special Secretary, Tourism Department, Amarjeet Singh, Joint Director Planning, Tourism, Yasir Balwan, Chief Executive Officer, Bani Basohli Development Authority, Desh Raj Bhagat and Joint Director Tourism, Jammu, Sunaina Sharma besides other officers of Tourism Department and district administration were present on the occasion.
The dignitaries also visited the departmental stalls and interacted with the artisans of local Handloom and Handicraft products which were displayed at the venue under the theme “Humari Kala Humari Pehchann”. Besides, Live Basohli Painting exhibition was also organized on the occasion which received huge appreciation from the visiting dignitaries. Also, the Department of Handloom, J&K had put on a live display of traditional charkha.
While speaking on the occasion, Secretary said that the Department of Tourism is committed towards promoting Basohli as a major tourist destination of J&K. The department shall make all endeavours to bring it to the global tourist map with modern day state-of-the-art facilities and infrastructure, he added.
He said that all critical gaps that need to be worked upon, shall be addressed by the Tourism Department, especially under the aegis of ‘Swadesh Darshan’ and other similar schemes of the Union Tourism Ministry. He appealed all the stakeholders to join hands with the department to usher in an era of collaborative efforts to take Basohli to greater heights.
The main highlight of the festivities was water sports activities organized by the department during the event.
Secretary along with his team of senior officers participated in water sports activities like Boating, Jet Skiing, Cruise along with local stakeholders.
The day long festivities also witnessed mesmerizing cultural performances by the artists of J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages which included folk dance performances, song and music performances. The festivities concluded with the distribution of certificates among the participants of the Live Painting Competition in which first place went to Shivakashi Sharma, Rekha Rani fetched second place and Aastha Billawaria secured third place.
Among others present on the occasion included Sumesh Sapolia, Chairman MC Basholi, Sushma Jamwal, BDC Plai, Sushma Thakur, BDC Dhar Mahanpur, Tejinder Singh DDC member Mahanpur, Abdul Jabbar, Deputy Director Tourism Publicity and officers and officials of Handloom/ Handicrafts, Tourism departments and district administration Kathua.