Kashmir Indepth

Sonamarg to be thrown open for tourists from Feb 24
DC Gbl, Director Tourism review status of restoration of essential services

Ganderbal Feb 17 (KINS): The Deputy Commissioner (DC) Ganderbal, Shafqat Iqbal and Director Tourism Kashmir, Dr. G.N Itoo Wednesday visited Sonamarg to review and assess on spot restoration of disrupted essential services due to snowfall.
During the visit the duo chaired a meeting that was attended by SDM Kangan, CEO, Sonamarg Development Authority, Executive Engineers of Jal Shakti and KPDCL, ARO Ganderbal, Dy. SP Hq, Dy. SP Traffic, Tehsildar Kangan besides representatives of Hoteliers Association Sonamarg, Beopar Mandal Sonamarg and Pony Wallas and sludge union.
The DC and Director Tourism took briefs from the concerned departments regarding the status of restoration of essential services like water, electricity, Health, snow clearance on link roads and parking areas, restoration of public conveniences, mobile connectivity, etc.
The concerned informed the meeting that men and machinery are already on job and maximum essential services have been restored including water supply, electricity, hospital, police station, mobile connectivity (BSNL) and other allied facilities.
Both the DC and Director exhorted upon the officers to take stock of the ground situation so that restoration of affected works and allied facilities is ensured before its opening for tourists.
After taking briefs from the departments and keeping in view the weather conditions and tourist footfall in the valley, it was decided that Sonamarg destination shall be thrown open for tourists from 24th of February, 2021.
It was also revealed that on opening, an impressive and colourful one-day event to welcome the tourists will be organised during which several programs like cultural items, snow biking, skiing etc.
Speaking on the occasion, Dr. Itoo urged all stakeholders to give their constructive suggestion regarding presenting Sonamarg as a winter destination like Gulmarg and Pahalgam adding that Govt. is committed to sustain tourism throughout the year and assured that the department shall provide all required support in this regard.
He also stressed upon the cleanliness and transparent services to the tourists.
Meanwhile, the DC complemented the efforts of different departments for early restoration of the utilities and services and also stressed the Hoteliers operating in Sonamarg to ensure all arrangements are put in place prior to opening of Sonamarg so that once the tourists arrive they get all the required facilities for a comfortable stay.
To give confidence to the tourists visiting there with regard to safety of Covid, the health department was directed to make arrangements for Rapid Testing of all who visit Sonamarg. Besides, all the stakeholders were directed to ensure cent percent adherence to Covid protocol.
The DC reiterated to the Govt. departments and the hoteliers to upgrade their services and infrastructure to commensurate the weather conditions of Sonamarg as the tourist destination is likely to remain open from this winter with the commencing of escape tunnel of Z-Morh. (KINS)

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