Union Minister Jitendra Singh on Saturday said heavy rush of pilgrims is expected during the upcoming annual yatra to the 3,880-metre high holy cave shrine of Amarnath in south Kashmir Himalayas.
The two-month-long pilgrimage is scheduled to commence on July 1 from the twin tracks -- traditional 48-km Nunwan-Pahalgam route in Anantnag district and 14-km shorter but steep Baltal route in Ganderbal district.
"The Amarnath Yatra is expected to attract a heavy footfall this year," the minister of state in the Prime Minister's Office told reporters on the sidelines of a function in Kathua district.
He said Kashmir witnessed a tourism boom last year with a record 1.75 crore tourists visiting the place to enjoy its beauty.
"People mostly used to think of hotels and houseboats during their vacation to Kashmir but this time homestay was successfully introduced to meet the heavy rush,” Singh said.
On the recently concluded G20 meet in Srinagar, he said the successful event debunked the narrative that Jammu and Kashmir is not yet safe for a visit.
"Jammu and Kashmir is bestowed with natural beauty in abundance. If you ask anyone around the world where he wants to go in India, the reply will be Taj Mahal and J-K. However, a narrative was created that J-K is not yet safe for a visit, which was, however, negated by the successful holding of the G20 meet,” he said.
He said Jammu and Kashmir is on the path of renewed growth and development and successful culmination of the G20 meeting in Srinagar is a testament to this change as the government is committed to transforming the Union Territory.
"The common man in Kashmir wants to move forward and become part of Modi's new India. The youth of Kashmir are very intelligent and are looking forward to the schemes introduced by the prime minister to get benefitted like the people in the rest of the country," he said.
The minister said generations have suffered because of terrorism but the youth of Jammu and Kashmir have now decided not to lack behind in the path to prosperity and development.
"J-K is going to play its role in a big way and contribute towards the economy of the country in the coming years."
Earlier addressing Y20 (Yuva Utsav) with the theme 'India@2047' organized by Nehru Yuva Kendra, Singh said the StartUp avenues unfolded in the past nine years call for a change of mindset.
"The nine years of Modi-led government have been, without any doubt, youth-centric but what is required is the change of mindset for optimum utilisation of avenues and various initiatives provided for the youth of this country," he said.
He said the startup ecosystem in the country is now ranked third in the world with more than 100 unicorns.
It has been possible only because of the youth of this nation who have aspirations but earlier did not have the right kind of milieu and aspirational environment as provided under Modi-led government, he added.
"The youth of Jammu and Kashmir must see Aroma Mission as one of the best opportunities in terms of startups knocking at their doors as the purple revolution in J-K offers attractive startup avenues for them," he said.
-With PTI Input