New Delhi: Former Chairman of Jammu and Kashmir Public Service Commission Mohammad Shafi Pandit has been elected as national president of Youth Hostel Association of India which is part of a leading international youth accommodation network with presence in 90 countries.
Pandit defeated Harish Saxena in the triennial election where around 160 national council members of YHAI from across the country voted.
YHAI is an associate member and part of the Hostelling International, UK since 1952, which has a network in 90 countries with a total of 4000 youth hostels. The members of YHAI are eligible to stay in any youth hostel, in any of the associate country.
In India, YHAI has a network of more than 95 Youth Hostels, starting from Leh-Ladakh to the Andaman and Nicobar islands.
Pandit, who is the first Kashmiri Muslim to join Indian Administrative Service by direct recruitment in 1969, said he will move a proposal to the government to set up youth hostels in Public Private Partnership model in various states.
"YHAI will further promote bonding among people within the country as well as with outside world. My priority will be to expand the network of hostels in India. I will also focus of promoting adventure tourism and love for nature among the youths," he said.
The former bureaucrat said he will also take steps to promote involvement of women in activities of YHAI.
The hostels under YHAI include both partnered accommodations under the Licensee Youth Hostels scheme and hostels under the direct administration of YHAI.
A property or hotel can enter to an agreement with YHAI and can become a Licensee Youth Hostel (LYH) after meeting the basic hygiene and safety standards mentioned by YHAI.
K Purushotham, Ashok Khanna, J Shine and Hrishikesh Yadav have been elected as National Vice Presidents of YHAI while S Venkat Narayanan was elected as national chairman for second consecutive term in the election yesterday.