Maharashtra to construct first state-run guesthouse in Kashmir

Surinder Singh Oberoi
New Update
Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister Maharashtra met JK LG Manoj Sinha and sought a piece of land for a Bhavan in Kashmir. They met in Srinagar on June 11, 2023

Eknath Shinde, Chief Minister Maharashtra met J-K LG Manoj Sinha and sought a piece of land for a Bhavan in Kashmir, on June 11, 2023

New Delhi: In growing ties between Maharashtra and Jammu & Kashmir, the Maharashtra government has earmarked a significant allocation in its interim budget for the establishment of a Maharashtra Bhawan in Srinagar, Kashmir.

This initiative, announced by Deputy Chief Minister Ajit Pawar on Tuesday, represents a milestone decision with a budgetary provision of Rs 77 crore dedicated to the construction of Maharashtra Bhawans in both Kashmir and Ayodhya.

The allocation for the Kashmir Maharashtra Bhawan marks a historic first, positioning Maharashtra as a state to establish such a guesthouse in Kashmir following the abrogation of Article 370 in 2019.

This move is not just a reflection of Maharashtra's commitment to fostering stronger inter-state relations but also highlights the evolving landscape of Kashmir post the constitutional amendment.

The project received a green light with the Jammu and Kashmir Revenue Department's approval for the land transfer necessary for the Maharashtra Bhawan's construction.

Media reported that an official order by the Secretary of the Revenue Department said the sanction for transferring land measuring 20 kanal at Ichgam, Budgam, to the Maharashtra state government. This transfer is valued at Rs 8.16 crore.

The conception of the Maharashtra Bhawan in Kashmir traces back to Maharashtra Chief Minister Eknath Shinde's visit to Kashmir in December. During his stay, Chief Minister Shinde met with J&K Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, formally requesting land allocation for this visionary project.

Shinde's proposal was bolstered by the recognition of Kashmir's efforts to develop and bring outside industry in Kashmir that will help in getting more jobs to the locals as well as economic development.

Since the abrogation of Article 370, there has been significant infrastructure growth and bringing smart cities to Kashmir.

Chief Minister Shinde articulated the project as a strategic initiative to enhance cultural and economic integration between Maharashtra and Kashmir. Envisioning the Maharashtra Bhawan as a vibrant hub for Maharashtrian art, culture, and cuisine, Shinde emphasized its role in fostering tourism and supporting visitors from Maharashtra.

This establishment aims to be more than a mere accommodation facility; it is envisaged as a bridge connecting the two regions, thereby enriching the national fabric with stronger inter-state bonds.

The move also comes against the backdrop of increased land purchases in J&K by individuals from outside the Union Territory, signalling growing integration and development interest.

As per the information provided by the government of J&K, a total of 185 persons from outside the Union Territory of J&K have bought land in the UT during the years 2020, 2021 and 2022.

 One person bought land in 2020, 57 in 2021 and 127 in 2022,” Nityanand Rai, Union Minister of State (MoS) for Home Affairs, informed the Rajya Sabha in response to a written question.

Furthermore, the J&K government's recent sanctioning of seven new industrial areas points to a concerted effort to attract major investments and boost local industry and startups, highlighting an optimistic outlook for economic and social integration in the region.