Srinagar: Praising the "resilience" of the people of Jammu and Kashmir in fighting militancy, Union minister K Chiranjeevi said the Centre is specially focusing on promoting tourism in the state.
    
"Unfortunately, Jammu and Kashmir has passed through hard times in the recent years, but the resilience of the people of Kashmir has helped in the tourism picking up in the state," the Union minister for Tourism Chiranjeevi said while addressing a seminar on 'sustainable tourism-environment and infrastructure' at Sher-i-Kashmir International Conference Centre (SKICC).
    
Chiranjeevi, who was on his first official visit after taking over Tourism ministry, said the Centre is specially focusing on Jammu and Kashmir to promote it as a major tourist destination in the country.
"As many as 100 projects worth Rs 367.66 crores were granted by the Centre in the 11th five year plan and 21 projects worth Rs 96.18 crores have been granted in the 12th five year plan as part of Centre Financial Assistance programme for the state," he said.
    
The development of rural tourism in the state is being given great importance, Chiranjeevi said, adding 28 villages have already been notified under the plan.
    
Welcoming the UK decision on its travel advisory for the state, he said the Jammu and Kashmir is seeing a huge rush in the number of tourists even in off season which is a great development.
    
Union Health Minister and former chief minister of the state Ghulam Nabi Azad, who also accompanied him during the visit, said Kashmir is much safer than rest of the country and there is a need to promote the state at national and as well as international level.
    
"Kashmir is safe. It is much safer than rest of the country. There is no crime in the Valley as like other states," he said.

(Agencies)

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