Efforts to make Bangus valley a tourist destination a complete failure

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Kashmir Wire
Kupwara

The heart throbbing picturesque landscape, Bangus valley, which falls in Handwara tehsil of Kupwara district in Jammu and Kashmir, few years back was brought on a valley’s tourist map but failed to attract the tourists as the route from Nowgam to Bangus valley continues to remain in a sorry state of affairs.

Filled with natural beauty, Bangus, the bowl-shaped meadow, beautiful flowers, green pastures, coniferous forests, glaciers and snow covered mountains has been facing complete neglect from past one decade from the successive regimes.

The enthralling Bangus valley is divided into two vast green fields or zones – Boad Bangus (Big Bangus) and Lakut Bangus (Small Bangus) and is a home to many local Gujjars who herd their cattle in the green pastures of this beautiful valley.

It’s not easy to visit Bangus valley, first we have to register our every detail on the Nowgam TMG brigade due to some security reason as it is a border area, after registering the details of the visitors and the vehicle in which they are travelling, then on reaching Mevar, after parking the car on dilapidated road on mountain, a person has to walk almost three hours to reach Bangus valley, which is not safe

The Bangus valley which is almost 72 kilometers of travel from Srinagar, the summer capital of Jammu & Kashmir, could have been a economic boom for northern Kashmir but the efforts of the successive governments proved totally disappointing.

“It feels like the Tourism and other government department agencies are deliberately slow in carrying out developmental projects in the Bangus valley as from the last one decade the senior officials of the tourist department and the members of the assembly is only making huge promises in front of media to make Bangus a tourist destination but the reality on ground is ugly as the first and the foremost important thing is a proper connectivity which has not been made yet, Javaid Ahmad, a driver of Handwara told  Kashmir Wire.

Riyaz Ahmad from Handwara, who has visited Bangus valley many  times apprehend that Government  will keep Bangus valley as it is , as they (Government) will never want more movement of  the  locals through this area as it falls near the Line of Control and is highly militarized zone in the Kashmir valley.

“It’s not easy to visit Bangus valley, first we have to register our every detail on the Nowgam TMG brigade due to some security reason as it is a border area, after registering the details of the visitors and the vehicle in which they are travelling, then on reaching Mevar, after parking the car on dilapidated road on mountain, a person has to walk almost three hours to reach Bangus valley, which is not safe”, a visitor said.

This marvelous valley consists a number of small streams, which include the Roshan Kul,Tiliwan Kul and Douda Kul being fed by the waters of the Qazinag and Satkulnag springs

While according to reports, an amount of Rs 1.85 crore was released under tourist destination development scheme for Bangus Valley during the financial year 2007-08, but little was invested on ground as the Bangus valley still lacks the basic tourist facilities like guest houses, restaurants, road connectivity, but even after the lack of tourist facilities, it has in no way lessens the marvelous beauty of this heaven-like-garden on the planet.

“It’s a tourist destination and there is no doubt in that. But yes the rush of tourists that we expected is not happening yet due to various reasons. It lacks basic facilities such as accommodation and road connectivity. It being a forest area we Bangus Development authority (BDA) is unable to do any construction so we had requested forest department for trekking route and some accommodation structures”, says Assadullah Rather CEO of BDA.

The current year saw a good number of local visitors to Bangus valley. The BDA says it is their hard work that they collaborated with local schools and colleges to choose Bangus valley for their field trips.

“Besides social media promotion we had collaborated with local educational institutes and due to that a large number of visitor footfall was seen this year”,   Rather added.

Asked why tourists from outside states are not visiting this destination unlike other new destinations like Doodhpathri, the CEO believes it is due to less promotion by the tourism department.

Jammu and Kashmir Chief Minister during her visit to the Bangus valley

“Promotion of Bangus lies with tourism department, we had requested them to put hoardings at Srinagar airport and other places but those did not come up. And we had planned a Bangus festival also but that also did not happen”, Says the CEO.

The local administration has decided to declare it as Botinical garden and a DPR has been handed over to forest department. As far as roads or concerned, two new roads or coming up one from Chotipora Handwara via Wader Bala and Maankal road under PMGSY via Nougam. These roads can prove beneficial to the tourist influx for this beautiful valley.

This marvelous valley consists a number of small streams, which include the Roshan Kul,Tiliwan Kul and Douda Kul being fed by the waters of the Qazinag and Satkulnag springs.

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