Srinagar: Highlighting the need to strike a balance between conservation of environment and development of tourism infrastructure, Jammu and Kashmir tourism minister G A Mir has cautioned that development should not happen at the cost of environment in the state.
"We should develop infrastructure at the new tourist places but at the same time ensure preservation of ecologically fragile zones," Mir said chairing sixth meeting of Kokernag Development Authority (KDA) here on Monday.
He said Kashmir Valley has witnessed tremendous growth in tourism sector during last few years and there has been a huge influx of tourists in places such as Pahalgam, Gulgmarg and Sonammarg.
"There is a need for promoting and bringing new destinations on tourism map like lush green areas of Chattapal, Margan and Simthan top," he said but cautioned that the development should not happen at the cost of environment.
"We have seen that increased human interference has resulted in ecological imbalance in many virgin lush green environs. So instead of going for concrete structures, there is a need to focus on eco-tourism," he said.
Referring to the development of Kokernag health resort, 80 kms from here, the minister said tourism projects worth Rs 18.88 crore were taken up in the area under Centre and State plans.
"Major tourism projects including development of Club Park, Pine View Hill Park at Bidder and recreational park at Dandipora have been completed while work on TRC Kokernag is in final stages and work on Bringi garden at Bidder Hayatpora is also apace," he said adding that 11 tourism development works worth Rs 3.83 crore of different nature have also been completed so far.