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First ever floating theatre launched in Jammu and Kashmir’s Dal lake

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In Jammu and Kashmir’s iconic Dal lake, the first-ever open-air floating theatre has been launched.

The theatre was opened by J&K chief secretary Arun Kumar Mehta during the closing ceremony of the ongoing Iconic week celebrations.

Boost to tourism industry

The goal of this theatre is to increase tourism in the union territory. Kashmir is known around the world for its natural beauty, and Bollywood directors have referred to it as a “photographers paradise.”

The vibrant launch

Local musicians sang and danced to Kashmiri melodies while a Shikara rally draped with sparkling lights passed through Nehru Park to Kabootar Khana, entertaining guests and bystanders.

The Bollywood film ‘Kashmir ki Kali’ was screened in the theatre for tourists and locals.

The theatre, according to Sarmad Hafeez, secretary, tourism and culture, J&K government, will promote tourism in the Union territory (UT).

“We have a great demand for evening activities. The concept of open-air is pretty unique, not found anywhere in this world. It will greatly advantage the tourism in Kashmir. Shikara, houseboat owners, the hotel industry is welcoming tourists with open hands. J&K is safest from the Covid-19 point of view since the entire tourist industry is vaccinated. Various capacity-building programmes were done on Covid protocols by the industry. Since winter is coming soon, hope people from the country and world will visit J&K,” he said while talking to ANI.

Great initiative

Both locals and visitors praised the government initiative, which they feel will enhance tourism in Kashmir.

Bilal Ahmed, a houseboat owner, told ANI, “Such programmes are good. If they keep happening, tourism will increase in Kashmir. I urge everyone to visit Kashmir and enjoy. It is extremely safe. This theatre is great too. More activities like this should happen so that tourists are attracted to this place.”

“I congratulate the tourism department for organising such a great programme. This is a one of a kind that can showcase the beauty of Kashmir, which has also been shown a lot in movies. Now today, we are able to enjoy a movie in the middle of Dal Lake in a houseboat in such a great environment,” a local visitor Deeba said.

Cleanliness drive

The government of Jammu and Kashmir is implementing a big cleaning campaign along the paths of Srinagar’s famous tourist attraction Dal Lake.

The Department of Floriculture, in partnership with the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, launched a large clean-up campaign to ensure that the walkways are safe for visitors.

The cleaning campaign began on October 2nd and will last through the end of the month.

Floriculture officer of Mughal Gardens Javaid Masoodi told ANI, “Due to the pandemic we could not manage to start this drive earlier, besides, the negligence of people, surroundings and footpaths of Dal Lake are always facing criticism”

Encroachments & illegal construction around the lake

Even in the midst of the Covid-19 outbreak, people are building illegal structures in order to take advantage of the lockdown.

Over 170 unlawful buildings around the lake have been dismantled in the last three months by the Lakes and WaterWays Development Authority (LAWDA), which monitors and develops these water bodies. The authorities have been compelled to install CCTV cameras around the water bodies because people are taking advantage of the shutdown.

“We have started the process of placing CCTV cameras around Dal Lake. Five cameras have been placed while 15 more are being placed at different locations. We will try to cover the whole lake in a phased manner. The cameras will be of high quality so that number plate recognition is there too. And if people are seen carrying the construction material, we would get to know through the footage,” says Dr Bashir Ahmad Bhat, Vice Chairperson, LAWDA.

According to officials, during lockdowns, monitoring and reporting of encroachments both slow down.

This is something that some people try to exploit. For these encroachments, a large number of FIRs have been filed against people. Officials have also seized a number of cars carrying building materials.

“In 2020, LAWDA had done more than 463 demolitions around the lake. And in the last five years we have registered 1000 FIRs against people who encroached on the lake and 124 vehicles were seized too,” adds Dr Bhat.



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