Kashmir Indepth

Despite tall claims, authorities failed to lure tourists to Kashmir

Sonamarg lacks basic facilities including water, electricity, internet

Srinagar Jan 10 : Despite revocation of circular that asked tourists to curtail their Kashmir visit days before when central government scrapped Article 370 and 35A, the hoteliers at the famous tourist destination Sonamarg are awaiting for a glimpse of tourists as the destination wore a deserted look due to uncertain situation which remained prevalent for over four months in J&K.  Several hoteliers alleged that despite tall claims of authorities, Sonamarg lacks basic facilities including an internet service which is imperative for promotion of tourism trade.

According to news agency, the famous destination Sonamarg is yet to receive tourists who were asked by the authorities on August 3 to curtail their Kashmir visit without any delay.

As per reports, the vehicles who comes from Srinagar are unable to move beyond Gagangeer due to 2.5 feet snowfall accumulated on the surface. Locals said despite passing of weeks, authorities have failed to clear this vital road as tourists are keen to approach Sonamarg during winters.

The residents and hoteliers told that Gagangeer which is just 9-km away from Sonamarg has been absolutely ignored by authorities. “The area witnesses acute shortage of water and power supply. Snow which is about 2.5 feet is yet to unmoved from roads due to which vehicles coming from Srinagar can’t move beyond”, they said.

Hoteliers of Gagangeer said from couple of months this tourist destination, besides power shortage, is also facing water scarcity which has further crippled our business.

However after revocation of order that barred tourists to visit Valley after August 5, 2019, Sonamarg still wore deserted look where hoteliers are waiting for a glimpse of tourists.

Sonamarg which is spread over thousands of acres surrounded by towery mountains and lush green forestswitnessed only dozen numbers of tourists on Friday. Tourists who have come from different states said, “this is a proud moment for them to visit Kashmir amidst heavy snowfall on the surface”, however they expressed disappointment over “inexistence of internet facility” in the area and said “we are unable to share our joy with rest of the family members who didn’t come here because of family engagement”.

Rajiv Mohanty who visited Sonamarg said, “though I have social networking apps installed in my cell phone but when I reached Kashmir, cell phones have become useless except to see time”. He said in contemporary times, right to internet is basic fundamental right of people but denying this facility tantamount to“undemocratic” outlook of the government.

Pertinently authorities on August 4 barred cellular services including internet on all platforms in Jammu and Kashmir hours before central government scrapped Article 370 and 35A and downsized the erstwhile state into two Union Territories. Days before the abrogation, authorities also directed national and international tourists to curtail their Kashmir visit, but despite the order was revoked after four months, tourists feel uncomfortable in visiting J&K.(JKNS)

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