HP to link Naina Devi Temple with Ropeway

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Shimla, Aug 5 (UNI) Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal today announced that the famous hill shrine of Naina Devi would be linked with ropeway with Anandpur Sahib.

Mr Dhumal made the announcement here on the occasion of launching 'Home Stay Scheme - 2008' of Tourism department.

The work on the construction of identified ropeways would be speeded up to shorten the distances and priority given to construct the Anandpur Sahib-Naina Devi rope way to connect the two prominent holy shrines, he said.

The Bijli Mahadev, Shah Talai and Palchan-Rohtang ropeways would be constructed on completion of required modalities where the rush of the visitors was much higher as compared to other places.

He said that tourism activities would be promoted by encouraging foreign tourists to visit shrine of Dalai Lama at Dharmshala.

He said that to boost tourism in rural Himachal incentives to the rural households having a maximum of three-room accommodation, exemption in fee for change in land use, luxury and sales/VAT, domestic rates for water and electricity.

The Tourism Department will assist in promotion of such units through its publicity campaign and on-line reservation facilities starting the registration process with the local competent registration authorities.

He said that the tourism is generating direct employment to over 36,000 people and indirect employment to lakh of others.

He said that there are about 2,000 hotels of different categories all over the state having bed capacity of over 45,000.

Mr. Dhumal said that 8.8 million tourists registering a growth of 10 to 15 per cent over the past years. He said preceding year 2007-08 figure had touched 57.48 lakh in the last six months of the current calendar year.

Tourism sector contribute 8.5 percent to state GDP.

He said to make their journey more comfortable heli-taxi, ropeways and up-gradation of existing airport infrastructure had to be given top priority.

He said that health tourism, religious tourism, sports tourism, paragliding, mountain biking and raid de Himalaya activities needed to be given boost to draw tourists from world over.

He also directed the authorities to expedite the work on Sundernagar airport.

UNI XC JN BK2113

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