• July 4, 2022

Daily Gadyal

Latest News From Jammu & Kashmir



May 12, 2022

Arshid Rasool

Often compared It’s beauty to Switzerland; Kashmir wasn’t all beauty only. This place from being heart of Bollywood shooting to conflict zone has seen it all. With cooling weather, Lofty Himalayan mountains in north, vast green valleys with flowers, coniferous trees giving it perfect landscape to gaze at. Large apple fields, snow fed rivers and lakes for boating, fresh mistiness in the air, sweet saffron tea to warm your hands and Roghan gosh to fill your stomach; Kashmir has been a wonderful delight for Bollywood shooting, nature lovers, family vacation on hot summer days and Hindu devotional pilgrim to Mata Rani.
Besides its natural beauty, Kashmir also offers many adventure tourism opportunities in the form of trekking, skiing, paragliding, camping, rafting, mountaineering and rock climbing. However, post abrogation of article 370 and amid Covid-19 restrictions the tourism industry has been adversely affected. But in march 2022, the sector recorded highest tourism in 10 years. About 3,40,000 tourists have visited since January (80 lakh so far).

The political disturbances have put a huge setback for tourism in Kashmir. Tourism is an activity that needs peace and without peace the tourism is impossible. This is the one of key issues that tourism sector of Kashmir is facing.As most of local workers are not familiar with non-local languages and their services doesn’t meet the expected standard of the tourist that adds to the challenges faced by tourism industry.Post Covid the influx of tourist has disturbed the eco sensitivity of tourism destinations.Safety and security of tourists still remains inadequate. Although dedicated helpline with toll free numbers for tourists have been provided but it adds little to the faith of visitors.
Despite being one of most beautiful and attractive tourist spot, most of the destinations in Kashmir have failed to be round the year tourist spots. The trend here has been in summers for destinations like Mughal gardens, Sonamarg and Pahalgam while most the tourists prefer Gulmarg in winters.Poor connectivity for tourism destinations in Kashmir especially in the far-flung areas.Retrieval of govt land and ill-conceived Roshni Act beneficiaries are still acting deterrent for allocation of land bank towards Foreign investment.

The tourism department Could force multiply to ensure safety and security of tourists by deploying tourist police in adequate numbers at Tourist places, life guards/ SDRF at rivers/ lakes along with equipment and having dedicated helpline with toll free numbers for tourists’ facilitationThe DoT must liaise with the mobile operators to ensure good connectivity for all tourism destinations in the Jammu & Kashmir especially in the far-flung areas.Hop-on/ Hop-off bus services and e-vehicles must also be introduced at major tourist destinations in order to curb the traffic.
Organising annual events for promotion of the adventure tourism with the respective adventure sports associations for skiing, paragliding, river rafting, mountain biking, car rally, trekking and endurance events.Fairs and festivals must showcase the unique culture and traditions to increase tourist arrival. The locals must encourage promotion of arts and crafts of Kashmir as part of cultural tourism. Laying of modern ropeway on the pattern of Gulmarg Gondola up to the Amarnathji shrine in Kashmir’s Pahalgam area will insulate the annual pilgrimage against the common disruptions like snowfall and landslides.Service providers and others involved with the tourism industry should get themselves registered on portals, such as SAATHI and Nidhi.

The quantum jump in the budgetary allocation of 786 crore is an evidence how seriously India wants to bring peace through development in otherwise restive J&K due to perpetration of terrorism. After spending almost a year in Kashmir, seeing the unexplored beauty of the valley and travelling uninhabited locations I can say it with firm belief that Kashmir is still the heaven on earth.

Disclaimer: The viewpoints expressed by the authors do not necessarily reflect the opinions, viewpoints and editorial policies of Daily Gadyal