May 2016 News

The King Of Meadows Tosamaidan Comes Alive After 50 Years

30 May 2016
DNA
Ishfaq-ul-Hassan

Srinagar: From a dreaded field firing range to famous peace sojourn, Tosamaidan meadow is all set to charm the tourists in Kashmir. Thanks to Mehbooba Mufti-led government the picturesque Tosamaidan was officially thrown open for public on Sunday. The development comes two years after Indian Army handed over the Tosamaidan field firing range (FFR) to the state government after clearing the area from the dangerous material under Mission Falah. The government had leased over 3,000 acres of land at Tosamaidan to Indian Army in 1964. The army was using the meadow as FFR for practicing artillery fire until 2014 when it was de-notified. Figures presented in the Jammu and Kashmir Legislative Council in 2014 revealed that around 63 people have been killed and 40 others have sustained injuries due to the explosion of unexploded shells in and around Tosamaidan since 1965. Jammu & Kashmir CM Mehbooba Mufti waves at locals and visitors before the opening of picturesque Tosamaidan meadow for public on Sunday. Surrounded by lofty mountains, Tosamaidan is known as the king of meadows given its vast swathes of lush green pastures in the central Kashmir's Budgam district. 'Tosamaidan will be brought on the tourism map of the state as an independent and distinct resort without disturbing its fragile environment. There is a need for promoting the historic meadow through community driven adventure and rural tourism initiative to facilitate the turnaround of the socio-economic profile of the locals, especially the youth,' said Mehbooba Mufti, Jammu and Kashmir chief minister. Situated about 10 kilometers from Khag in the Himalayan range, Tosamaidan is one of the largest pastures having three miles length and 1.5 miles width. 'Tosamaidan has huge potential for adventure tourism apart from normal tour and picnic activities to winter and adventure tourism. Every initiative on part of tourism department will be taken keeping in view the local environs and economy,' said Mehbooba Mehbooba later kicked off three-day Tosamaidan Festival to lure tourists to this virgin destination. Horse riding, trekking and mountaineering are all lined up to promote the area as a new adventure tourism destination. 'There is a need for preserving the fragile ecosystem of the area at any cost. I will never allow despoiling of this beautiful meadow while promoting tourism activities', she said.

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