Bandipora, August 28: Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha today inaugurated the ‘Shinon Meeras’, the Shina Cultural Centre, curated and developed by the Indian Army and District Administration.
In his address, the Lt Governor congratulated the people of Dard-Shin community and applauded the efforts of the Indian Army for this extraordinary initiative in Amrit Kaal.
“The centre is a unique tribute to preserve and promote the glorious artistic heritage of Dard-Shin tribal community and to provide glimpses of its rich culture to the world,” the Lt Governor said.
India’s first museum for Dardis traces the journey of Shina culture, languages and Gurezi way of life. I believe Shinon Meeras will become the centre of attraction for travelers visiting this best off-beat destination of India, he said.
Various sections of the museum will provide an opportunity to travelers, historians to explore tangible and intangible art and a vibrant space for community to tell their stories and showcase traditions, the Lt Governor added.
The Lt Governor appreciated the joint effort of Army, District Administration and the Tourism Department for acknowledging the immense contribution of Dard-Shin community in nation-building.
The Army had partnered with reputed institutions of the country to build the museum. It has a mix of digital displays, exhibits, artifacts, textiles, interactive boards and various sections including Dardistan, Kishanganga River, Gurezi way of life, Language Section, Symbiotic Relationship with Indian Army, Souvenir Section and AV room. The Sand Art will display the operation ERAZE – Indian Army operation for liberation of Gurez in 1948.
Open Air Amphitheatre having a capacity of 150 people has been constructed on the banks of Kishanganga River for performances by the local cultural dance groups during weekends. Museum also has a website and a rich social media presence.
At the inaugural ceremony, the Lt Governor shared the efforts of the UT Administration for the inclusive development of Gurez.
“Gurez has witnessed transformational changes in the last three years. Our dedicated focus was to strengthen physical infrastructure, ensure adequate skilled manpower and to provide a conducive atmosphere for new business enterprises to flourish,” the Lt Governor said.
Our collective aim has been to convert today’s weakness into tomorrow’s strength, he added.
The Lt Governor also highlighted the new initiatives taken to tap the tourism potential of Gurez.
Tourism sector has witnessed a massive increase from earlier 700-800 tourists in a year to 35,000 this year till 15th August. Today, the increased tourist influx to Gurez has strengthened the local economy and is providing large employment opportunities to the people.
Speaking on the power sector, the Lt Governor said the sector had remained a matter of great concern for the people of Gurez for decades.
We are working on war footing to strengthen the power infrastructure, NHPC power project and work on 33kV line has been expedited and work on infrastructure for inter-connectivity between the villages has started, he added.
The Lt Governor informed that the administration has decided to extend Kisan Sampark Abhiyaan by 15 days and impressed on the officials to connect more farmers from Gurez with the endeavour.
At Gurez, the Lt Governor also met with various public delegations including PRI representatives, members of Hoteliers and Youth Club Associations and assured them time bound redressal of their genuine issues and grievances.
On the occasion, the Lt Governor flagged off Dawar – Drass – Darchik car rally connecting the Dard community of Gurez to Ladakh, and unveiled a Shina Language Primer for promoting the use of Shina mother tongue amongst children of Gurez.
He also flagged-in Vajr Top Expedition by Indian Army carrying soil of Vajr Top as a contribution to ‘Meri Maati Mera Desh’.
Lt Gen Upendra Dwivedi, GOC-in-C Northern Command; Lt Gen Rajiv Ghai, GOC 15 Corps; Dr Mandeep Kumar Bhandari, Principal Secretary to Lt Governor; Dr. Owais Ahmad, Deputy Commissioner Bandipora, senior Civil, Police and Army officers, PRI representatives, members of Tribal Community, students and local residents were present.