Jammu: Chief Minister Omar Abdullah on Friday asked officials to promote lesser known tourist spots to pilgrims, visiting various shrines in Jammu and Kashmir, for bringing development in these places.

"There is also need to divert pilgrim tourists visiting Mata Vaishno Devi in large numbers to other parts to help generating economic activities holistically," Omar said while chairing the third meeting of Surinsar-Mansar Development Authority (SMDA).

Omar related economic welfare of the state to the development of tourism and underlined the greater scope for harnessing tourist potential in a planned manner.

The Chief Minister said Mansar and Surinsar lakes along with pilgrimage sites of Purmandal and Utterbani have a good potential for attracting tourists.

He asked the SMDA officials to conserve and protect the natural beauty of the two lakes and provide all facilities to the tourists coming to these places.

Chief Executive Officer of SMDA, Mohinder Singh said that in the last three years more than Rs 6.60 crore have been spent on various works under the State Plan.

Omar also approved about Rs 1.30 crore as additional grants to SMDA for various works including construction of foot-bridge and flood-protection works. He also approved the construction of a 6 km road stretch in Mansar-Surinsar circuit.

(Agencies)