SHIMLA 17 March:

Chief Minister Shri Jai Ram Thakur said the state government was according foremost priority to tap the tourism potential available in the state besides strengthening the road network which was the lifeline of people of this hilly state.

The Chief Minister was responding to a question by famous actress Kangna Ranaut in the Rising India Summit organized by News 18 Channel at New Delhi on Friday evening. He participated in the panel discussion ‘Nayi Raahen Naye Sapne’ along-with Madhya Pradesh Chief Minister Shri Shivraj Singh Chauhan and Haryana Chief Minister Shri Manohar Lal Khattar on the news channel.

He said that there was huge tourism potential available as the state had been immensely blessed by nature with beauty. The tourism sector was one of the major thrust areas of the state government being the key for revenue as well as employment generation. He urged the people across the country to visit the state for religious, historic and adventure tourism.

Later, while talking to media, the Chief Minister said the state government was giving added priority to Health and Wellness Tourism by developing beautiful locations in the remote areas which were not yet explored but had large scope from tourism point of view. These destinations could be developed by providing good infrastructure and facilities to attract all kinds of tourists. He said the state government was also working on strengthening air services for providing better connectivity to tourists and was encouraging private investment for operating helicopter services. While promoting tourism, every effort would be made to protect the environment, he added.

Shri Jai Ram Thakur said that efforts were afoot for preparing DPRs for 62 newly declared National Highways for the state and at present there were 69 National highways of 4400 kilometres length. He said that directions had been issued to prepare a road map for connecting all the left out Gram Panchayat headquarters with roads and further plan out to connect those villages and hamlets which were still not connected.

The Chief Minister said that initiatives for good governance, strengthening agriculture and horticulture for doubling the income of farmers, employment for youth, good law and order, effective health services at low cost, qualitative education, women empowerment, simplifying procedures for attracting investment, reviving hydropower, tourism and industries sectors, upliftment of weaker sections, clean and safe drinking water and road connectivity were some of the basic priority areas of the state government.

Union Ministers, Chief Ministers of various states, Speaker H.P. Vidhan Sabha Dr. Rajeev Bindal, Irrigation and Public Health Minister Shri Mahender Singh Thakur, Agriculture Minister Dr. Ram Lal Markanda, Member Parliament Shri Anurag Thakur, State BJP Chief Shri Satpal Satti were also present on the occasion.

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