Shimla, Aug 7: Himachal Pradesh Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal said the state government would approach the Central government to explore the possibilities of opening the passage for pilgrimage to Mansarovar through Himachal Pradesh.
He said the pilgrims had been undertaking the pilgrimage through Uttrakhand under the supervision of the Union Home Ministry and the Government of China but no passage had been made available through Himachal Pradesh. ''The possibilities could be explored to open the passage for pilgrimage through Himachal Pradesh, which would boost religious tourism in the state,'' Mr Dhumal said while interacting with Chinese delegation headed by Shri Peng Gang, Counsellor (Economic and Commercial) of the Embassy of the People's Republic of China, here.
The Chief Minister welcomed the Chinese investment in tourism, hydel, agriculture, forestry and other sectors to take benefit of their expertise especially in road construction and allied sectors.
''Himachal has vast potential in tourism, hydro and agriculture sectors, which if exploited, could emerge as a source of income for the people of the state,'' he said adding that participation of foreign companies in all such sectors would be welcomed.
He said China had expertise in higher altitude herbal cultivation used for manufacturing various medicines, where possibilities of association could be explored.
''The state has vast high altitude areas, which remains covered with snow and is barren most of the time in a year, having no utility for cultivation of any type of crop. Such areas have valuable wild high altitude herbs, which could be beneficial as raw material to manufacture medicines,'' he said.
He said Chinese system of medicine had been using such herbs for preparation of medicines and the same pattern could be studied and implemented under expert guidance. On successful experimentation with the project, herbal tourism would get boost.
The services of the Chinese herbal experts could also be utilised to train the local farmers by motivating them to cultivate herbs as cash crops in their farms, the Chief Minister said.
Mr Peng Gang, apprised the Chief Minister of the keenness of the Chinese government in becoming partners to exploit the tourism, hydel, agriculture and forestry sectors.
He said China had expertise in cultivation of high altitude herbs and infrastructure building where it would be extending all cooperation to the state government.