Jammu : The Chief Secretary, Dr. Arun Kumar Mehta on Wednesday chaired a meeting to review the functioning of Culture Department and the progress under various initiatives.
Commissioner/Secretary, Culture Department along with senior officers from the Department participated in the meeting.
It was informed that under the scheme for Preservation, Conservation, Restoration and Maintenance of Architectural Heritage of Jammu and Kashmir, the Department is developing and restoring 75 heritage sites. In the first leg of the scheme, the Department has taken up 35 sites for revival/restoration works in consultation with the district administrations.
The Chief Secretary asked the Department to uniformly develop these sites by capturing their historical data and displaying the information for awareness of the visitors. The Department was further advised to systematically provide for proper approach road and public utilities- washrooms, parking spaces and eateries at these sites, besides ensuring fencing and cleanliness around the premises.
Dr. Mehta directed training of local youth as guides for promoting the history, folklore, and culture associated with the new heritage sites. He further asked the Department of Culture to organize various cultural programmes at these sites for bringing them on the tourism map of Jammu and Kashmir.
Under the scheme for Promotion of Traditional & Cultural Festivals of J&K, it was informed that 16 mega festivals have been organized so far in which more than 1600 artists have participated, both through online and offline engagements. The Department is firming up action plans for 75 festivals in coordination with divisional administration.
Moreover, to engage students in various cultural activities, the Department will be organizing a 3-tier competition in 3 categories- music, essay writing & debate. The winners of school/college-district level-divisional level competitions will be given cash prizes worth Rs. 3,000, Rs. 5,000, Rs. 20,000 and Rs. 30,000.
Similarly, to promote local participation, singing and painting competitions will be organized at panchayat, zonal, district, and UT levels with cash prizes of Rs. 10,000, Rs. 20,000, Rs. 50,000 and Rs. 1.00 lakh. Approximately, 55,000 participants will be engaged in the proposed activities across Jammu and Kashmir.
It was further informed that the Department is organizing 10 cultural festivals for tourists and visitors at 10 tourist destinations, 05 each in Jammu and Kashmir Divisions to promote the heritage and culture of Jammu and Kashmir among the visiting travelers. These festivals will be organized at Manasbal, DoodhPathri, Sonamarg, Bhaderwah, Shivkhori, Pahalgam, Patnitop, Surinsar, Katra and Gulmarg.
Furthermore, the Department envisages organizing weekend cultural programmes at Mansar and Surinsar by engaging local performing artists to promote traditional music and dance of the region.