Lay special focus on promotion, development of shrines, monuments to attract more tourists: LG

* Calls for transforming Public Libraries into Digital Libraries

Excelsior Correspondent
SRINAGAR, July 19: “J&K is blessed with the unparalleled wealth of cultural heritage which is mostly unexplored and need to be showcased to the world”, observed the Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha.
The Lt Governor was chairing a meeting to review the functioning of Culture & allied departments including Department of Libraries & Research; Archives, Archaeology and Museums, and J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages here at Civil Secretariat.
This is the land of Sufis and Saints like Shankaracharya, Nund Reshi, Habba Khatoon, Lal Ded, Devi Rupa Bhawani and there is a need to develop heritage sites at their birthplaces in order to make their life history more accessible to the young generation.
Laying special focus on promotion and development of shrines, monuments, and heritage sites to attract more tourist inflow to the UT, the Lt Governor directed the department to integrate tourism and cultural promotion plans, besides holding traditional and cultural events on the backdrop of the historic significance of these important places so that the visiting tourists, as well as the locals, can get the first-hand experience of the rich cultural heritage of J&K.
Specific directions were passed for the development of Shri Shiv Khori and Baba Banda Singh ji Bahadur Shrines at Reasi.
While taking stock of the future deliverables of the department, the Lt Governor directed the concerned officials to prepare an annual activity calendar of Culture department so that people are able to know that what’s in the offering for them and can plan accordingly.
He suggested a host of measures to showcase the heritage and culture of the UT, and strengthen connect of the people with J&K.
Increase the visibility of the UT’s culturally and historically important places amongst the people. Publicize the tourism potential shrines and heritage sites to reach out to more tourists, besides highlighting the Places to Visit at all tourist’s arrival points, the Lt Governor told the officials.
J&K Academy of Art, Culture and Languages shall organize programmes to celebrate all days of National Importance with the participation of the public, added the Lt Governor. JKAACL was asked to take requisite measures to promote literature, art and culture through Theatre festivals, Music and Dance Programmes, Mushairas, Kavi Sammelan, seminars and literary conferences.
On being informed that the Academy is organizing 03 mega Sufi festivals in J&K, the Lt Governor directed for involving Colleges and Universities and roping in local, national and internationally-acclaimed Sufi artists for the same.
While reviewing the working of Libraries & Research Department, the Lt Governor called for modernization of Public Libraries of the Department and upgrading the same as Digital Libraries.
Work in convergence with Mission Youth, J&K and Smart City Mission to turn these Libraries into productive learning-cum-career counseling centres, the Lt Governor told the officers. He further asked the department to explore means to provide online access of the repositories of books available with the libraries to the students through online mode.
Sarmad Hafeez, Administrative Secretary, Culture Department gave a detailed overview of the ongoing projects, besdies the activities to be taken up by the department for the promotion of culture and heritage of the UT.
Baseer Ahmed Khan, Advisor to the Lt Governor; Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta, Chief Secretary; Rahul Pandey, Secretary JKAACL and Director, Archives, Archaeology & Museums, and other senior officers attended the meeting, in person and through virtual mode.

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