SRINAGAR: Union Minister for Youth Affairs & Sports and I&B Anurag Thakur on Friday while inaugurating the 3rd Khelo India National Winter Games at snow covered ski resort of Gulmarg in Jammu and Kashmir said it is a changing picture of Kashmir that the places which were earlier known for stone pelting are now hosting sports events. This is the third edition of the winter games in J&K.
Over 1,500 players from 29 states and UTs are participating in 11 different winter-sports sections during the five-day event. The winter games will conclude on February 14. PM Modi in his message had encouraged the players participating in the winter games. While speaking on the occasion, Thakur lauded J&K Government for developing sports facilities at grassroot level and achieving unprecedented progress in time period.
“You would not believe that the places, where there used to be stone pelting, are now known for sports activities including football, wushu, etc. The youth of Kashmir are participating in the winter games. Cricket players are now coming from here,” he said. “If you go to Srinagar and wherever you see lights switched on during the night, you should understand that Kashmiri youth is participating in sports events there to safeguard his future,” he said.
“This is the picture of changing Kashmir. This is the talent of Kashmir, who would make J&K and India proud,” added Thakur. Indirectly referring to abrogation of Article 370, the minister said, “J&K government has done in the last three years what was not achieved in 75 years prior to that”. “It is a moment of pride that what other states could not do, J&K has done. All districts of J&K have an indoor stadium and playgrounds,” he said.
Referring to the tourist inflow to Kashmir, Thakur said record tourists visited Kashmir last year. “The tourist footfall in Kashmir in 2022 has broken the 75 year record. I hope more tourists will visit Kashmir this year,” he said. The minister said when he was coming to Gulmarg yesterday, he saw boys playing snow cricket at Tangmarg, a few kilometers from Gulmarg.
“I had played cricket in different parts of the country but never played snow cricket. J&K has started a new initiative of snow cricket. It is good for tourism. It will also add to the attraction of tourists,” he added.