The Union Ministry of Culture and Tourism is all set to redevelop the road from Leh to Kargil as a tourist highway. There are also plans to develop facilities for tourists at regular intervals on 230 kms of the highway between Leh and Kargil.
The ministry wants to highlight Kargil as a tourist place and is preparing an action plan for the development of many facilities for tourists. The ministry believes that once road and air connectivity of this region is significantly improved, Indian citizens who visit tourist places in other locations will pay a visit to Kargil, Drass and other picturesque locations in Ladakh.
Union Minister of State for Culture and Tourism (Independent Charge) Prahlad Singh Patel, told IANS that as of now, the route from Leh in Ladakh to Kargil lacks public facilities. Government is planning to open oxygen parlours on every 20 to 25 kms on the highway where oxygen will be provided along with medical facility. There will also be arrangements to collect litter. The government of India will arrange this infrastructure but it will be run by the local villagers.
Patel said that people are unaware about the hundreds of heritage sites located in Leh-Ladakh and Kargil. The government is also mapping all the heritage sites. Visitors will be able to get information from the Union Culture and Tourism Ministry about heritage sites which are located on the road from Leh to Kargil.
Ladakh MP Jamyang Tsering Namgyal said that people relate Kargil with the 1999 war only. Kargil is largely peaceful and there is no conflict ongoing. Kargil has an immense tourism potential. Once there is a significant amount of tourism in Leh-Ladakh and Kargil, locals will get many jobs.
The central government is also making efforts to promote winter sports and adventure tourism in the region to attract tourists. The government has finalised to open the Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering in Kargil Like Gulmarg in Kashmir. Land has been finalised in Kargil for this institute.
Sources said that this institute will be established within two years. Once it is properly functioning, local youth and youth from other parts of the nation will receive training in adventure sports and would be able to participate in international competitions.