Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has identified 181 villages having picturesque beauty and cultural significance for transformation into tourist destinations and this step will go a long way in strengthening the rural economy and empowering the youth and women by direct and indirect employment opportunities.

The Tourist Villages Development Program was launched by the Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on September 3, 2021 for transforming large number of villages of the Union Territory known for historical, picturesque beauty and cultural significance into tourist villages.

While speaking on the occasion, the Lieutenant Governor had stated that under Mission Youth’s initiative, registered youth and Self Help Groups will be provided opportunity to be a part of the Government’s endeavor to transform the villages of J&K.

Now, Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of Mission Youth J&K, Dr Shahid Iqbal Choudhary has issued notification identifying 181 villages which will be transformed into tourist destinations by providing required support to the youth of these areas.

“The youth-led sustainable tourism initiative will strengthen rural economy and community entrepreneurship, empowering youth & women by providing direct and indirect employment opportunities”, officials said, adding “this step will showcase the landscapes, indigenous knowledge systems, cultural diversity and heritage, local values and traditions, besides encouraging film shooting and offering financial incentives as well as ensuring a digital platform to all these villages”.

The scheme will help in simultaneously addressing the challenge of global warming and unemployment and youth will act as brand ambassador for green tourism making the development more sustainable while bringing prosperity to the community, they further said, adding “CEO Mission Youth will work in collaboration with the Tourism Department for utilizing the available resources in development of these villages as tourist villages”.

They said that Government will develop basic infrastructure in these villages under the close supervision of a Task Force which has already been constituted and any group willing to be part of the Government’s initiative will be given Rs 10 lakh for tourist activities. Of this, there will be subsidy of almost half of the amount in different forms.

Further, an amount of Rs one lakh will be given for creation of home-stay facility and there will be subsidy of Rs 50,000. “This step will go a long way in attracting the tourists to those areas which remained unexplored till date”, officials said.

Moreover, up to Rs 10 lakh incentive will be provided for film shooting in these villages and this is aimed at attracting Bollywood to these areas. Similarly, Rs 8 lakh will be given for film song. Even local registered artists having sufficient experience will be eligible to get up to Rs 2 lakh for song shooting.

In Doda district, the identified villages are Basti, Balote, Dhara, Khellani and Thanala etc while as in Kishtwar district such villages are Afani Warwan, Patnazi Devi Gol, Chingam, Gulabgarh-Atholi-Paddar and Machail. Similarly, in Ramban district, the villages are Tatapani, Jabbarsar, Gool, Kalimasta, Bhorhardar, Neel, Dhanmasta, Senabhati, Alinbass, Mahoo, Demote-B, Adhwah and Bhanti while as in Jammu, the villages are Aithem, Suchetgarh, Baba-Ka-Talab, Daskal Ambrain, Gharana, Jhajjar Kotli, Mathwar and Surinsar.

In Reasi district, the villages are Sangar, Devi Pindi, Chinkah, Baradari, Sujhandhar and Dhanwa while as in Rajouri the villages are Darhal, Mankote, Plangarh, Qila Darhal, Kandi, DKG, Panjnara and Shahdara. In Poonch district, the villages are Behramgala, Nangali, Mendha and Sakhi Maidan while as in Kathua, the villages are Sarthal, Sukrala, Bani, Suchair, Purthu, Jandi, Machhedi and Chew.
Panchari, Mantalai, Lehar and Incha are the villages in Udhampur and Chamliyal, Ghagwal, Mohergarh, Nud, Purmandal and Utterbehni are the villages in Samba district.

Detwas, Uppar Kudara, Achoora, Markoot, Zoorimanz Watlab, Ketson, S K Payeen, Sheikpora Tulail, Ajas Charwan, Bagtore, Athwathoo are the villages in Bandipora while as in Budgam the villages are Khag, Sitharan, Beerwah, Rathsun, Makhama, Hardupanzoo, Raiyar, Khansahib, Poshkar, Pakharpora and Kachwari.
In Baramulla, the villages are Hajibal, Mohra, Salamabad, Nambian, Ringawali, Gogaldara, Qazipora-Katipora, Drang, Rafiabad, Chountpathri, Gohan, Banderkoot, Tujjar Pahlihar, Boniyar, Bandi Bala, Kitter Daji, Limber Vijji, Gawas and Parihaspora while as in Srinagar the villages are Asthanmarg, Athwajan, Zaina Kadal-Fateh Kadal, Fakir Gujri, Dara and Burzhama.

In Kulgam, the villages are Banimullah, Quimoh, Malwan, Behibagh, Kutubal, Hallan Manzgam, Chimmer, Badibehak and Vaseknag while as in Pulwama the villages are Samboora, Shaar Shaali, Kakpora, Awantipora, Litter, Bagh-Sangerwani, Barsoo, Quimoh, Aripal etc. Among the villages identified in Kupwara include Teetwal, Mawar, Keran, Didikote, Chahal Shahkoot, Reshwari, Wadder Bala, Diver and Chandigam.

Similarly, the villages identified in Ganderwal are Baba Nagri, Mammar, Manasbal, Tulmullah, Gultibagh, Sonamarg (Gangageer), Sarbal, Narang, Repora, Khurhama etc while as Zampathri, Dubjan, Hirpora, Kapal Mochan, Sedow and Devpora are the villages in Shopian. Similarly, Kehribal, Dudhwogun, Omoh, Shalnad, Mehmoodabad, Thimran, Akingam, Dandipora and Panzeth are the villages in Anantnag.

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