First bird festival to take wings soon
The first-ever bird festival of Kashmir would be organised soon with an aim to promote sustainable ecotourism. The festival is scheduled to be held in Pahalgam in south Kashmir and in Dachigam on Srinagar outskirts. Besides bird- watching sessions, awareness camps and conservation drives would be held during the festival. Prior to holding the festival, bird-watching trails would be held across Jammu and Kashmir for over a month. The bird festival would be jointly organised by the tourism, and forests and wildlife departments of J&K in collaboration with the Sanctuary Nature Foundation, a Mumbai-based organisation working for the preservation of birds and wildlife.
Hostels, scholarships for tribal students
Focusing on the education of tribal students, the J&K administration would be setting up 20 new hostels and model residential schools and starting a special scholarship scheme. The new hostels with a total capacity of 3,000 students would help provide residential facilities to tribal students enrolled in colleges and higher secondary schools. The special scholarship scheme will offer incremental scholarship up to Rs 2,400 in place of the existing Rs 450 for boys and Rs 675 for girls enrolled in seasonal centers. The new scheme will benefit over 34,000 students in 1,200 seasonal educational centers. Besides, 10 new Eklavya Model Residential Schools have also been recommended for tribal students.
Drive against erring hoteliers amid season
Amid complaints of overcharging by hoteliers and service providers, the tourism department has cracked the whip on erring service providers in the Valley. A team of tourism department officials conducted inspections at various hotels in Srinagar to check the services and pricing. During the checking, the officials slapped fines on two hotels for exorbitant rates and other service deficiencies. The units were also served show-cause notices. The drive against overcharging by hoteliers and service providers is likely to be intensified in the coming days. Over 6 lakh tourists have visited Kashmir in the first four months of this year and hotels and houseboats are witnessing 100 per cent occupancy.