US ambassador visits Kashmir, takes Dal Lake boat ride (Second Lead)

March 17th, 2011 - 11:09 pm ICT by IANS  

Jammu/Srinagar, March 17 (IANS) US Ambassador Timothy J. Roemer flew down to Jammu Thursday and met Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and a cross section of Kashmiris. Later, he went to Srinagar and toured many areas of the summer capital city.

After paying obeisance at the famous Hazratbal shrine in Srinagar which houses the Holy Relic of the Prophet, Roemer took a motorboat ride of the famous Dal Lake in the afternoon.

He was accompanied by the officials of the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority which is engaged in a massive preservation project on the Dal Lake. The city’s famous water body has been facing an ecological disaster because of human interference and discharge of effluents from various hotels and residential colonies around it.

“The ambassador was apprised of the various projects undertaken to restore the lake to its original glory,” an official said.

“He was also informed about the huge monetary aspect of the massive preservation exercise. He has promised to look into the possibility of US assistance for this ecological project,” he added.

Later, Roemer paid obeisance at the Hindu temple atop the Shankaracharya hillock before retiring to the Lalit Palace hotel.

Earlier Thursday, he met Omar Abdullah in Jammu and discussed a host of issues.

While details were not known, Abdullah tweeted: “Had an interesting meeting with (Roemer).”

His later tweet read: “And no, I did not discuss the WikiLeaks with the ambassador, though I am sure you will read about this meeting in a year or two.”

During his visit, Roemer is to interact with a cross-section of local leaders, students and youth.

This is the American ambassador’s second visit to Jammu and Kashmir within six months. In September, he visited Leh.

On Saturday, he will interact with students at a Srinagar school.

A US embassy statement said Roemer wanted to “engage and listen to the people and connect with the youth of the state”.

“I want to engage with the people of Jammu and Kashmir just as I do with the people everywhere else in India.”

“The youth are the leaders of tomorrow who will shape the destiny of the state. I want to talk to them about their hopes and their aspirations for themselves and their community,” Roemer said.

“I do this everywhere I travel - it is part of my job to talk and listen to people from all walks of life in all regions of the country.

“I talk to people from all backgrounds and ethnic groups, to better understand the environment I work in and to better perform my job as America’s Ambassador to India,” Roemer said.

Related Stories

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Posted in National |