Srinagar, Oct 14: Former Director General Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir, Mohammad Ashraf passed away here in 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.
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.
The Department of Tourism condoled the demise of former Director General, Tourism, Muhammad Ashraf who passed away last night here.
Soon after hearing of Ashraf’s demise, a condolence meeting was convened at the Directorate of Tourism here this morning in which the speakers recalled the contribution rendered by late Mr. Ashraf in the development of Tourism in Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh.
The condolence meeting was chaired by Secretary, Tourism, Culture, Youth Services & Sports, Sarmad Hafeez.
Addressing the meeting, Sarmad Hafeez said late Ashraf was an encyclopaedia of Kashmir tourism whose contribution in its growth and development is unparalleled. He said he had the passion of promoting Kashmir tourism to such an extent that he did it even after his retirement through his newspaper columns and books.
The political parties have also condoled Ashraf’s demise.