Srinagar: Former Director General Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, Mohammad Ashraf passed away in the summer capital, family members said on Wednesday. He was 77.The death of Ashraf has been widely condoled by members of civil society, people associated with tourism and politicians.
The former DG tourism died at his residence in Srinagar at around 2300 hrs on Tuesday and was laid to rest at Polytechnic graveyard Gogji Bagh on Wednesday morning.Apni Party President, Syed Mohammad Altaf Bukhari expressed deep shock and grief over the demise of the tourism expert whose active and post-retirement services helped in promotion of the tourism potential across Jammu and Kashmir.
“The deceased had a vast experience in tourism and his contribution in the field in general and adventure tourism in particular across J&K and in Ladakh would be remembered by one and all”, he remarked.
Bukhari said, the deceased was not only active in promoting the tourism sector during his active services but had used his expertise in the field by making the tourism lovers especially the adventure seekers aware by his writings about the potential and unexploited areas in the tourism in this region.The Apni Party president prayed for eternal peace to the departed soul and courage and strength for his family, relations and friends to bear this irreparable loss.
Ashraf did his engineering from Regional Engineering College at Naseem Bagh. However, he later changed his field and went for training in adventure sports like mountaineering and skiing at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute, Darjeeling and in Gulmarg and completed a diploma in the French language from the Alliance Francaise in New Delhi.
In 1973, he gave a project to the State Tourism Department for setting up of an Adventure Tourism Wing for promotion of adventure tourism in J&K. The proposal was accepted and he was appointed in-charge of the wing.Ashraf was appointed as Deputy Director of Tourism and became the Director of the department in 1992. He was later promoted to the post of Director General Tourism in 1996. He retired from the department as the DG in 2003.
To commend his efforts in introducing rescue measures in Kashmir Mountains, he was awarded “Merite-Alpin” by Swiss in a special function in Les Diablerets in 1993.In 1974, Ladakh was opened for foreign tourism by Government of India. Ashraf was extensively involved in developing tourism in this mysterious and enchanting land beyond the Himalaya.