There seems to be something terribly wrong with our policymakers. They seem to have their focus blurred. What figures on their priority list has nothing to do with what actually the situation on the ground demands. There seems to be sort of disconnect between policymakers and the people for whom these policies are drafted. Take for example the policy drafted by new government regarding revival of tourism in Kashmir. The chief minister Mufti Sayeed who also holds tourism portfolio has assured that many attractive steps are in the pipeline that would boost tourism in the long run. They include light and sound show at Mughal gardens, Dunga and shikara cruises in Dal Lake and Jhelum, dedicated food streets and bukharas in Srinagar, and promotion of Shehr-e-Khaas as heritage destination. But the first thing that a tourist destination, which has a large chunk of people directly and indirectly dependent on tourism money, offers visitors is an atmosphere where one can relax. In our bid to outsmart each other we are falling in the trap laid by our predecessors. It is ironic that rulers in tourist destination like Kashmir have failed to understand this simple fact that a tourist visits anyplace to get away from his day-to-day routine life. It is more of a break for a tourist then a site seeing package that Kashmir ends up offering. If a tourist ends up getting caught in the same kind of mess that he has left behind then what is the fun of travelling to such a faraway place! One must see look on a tourists face when he gets stuck in a traffic jam for hours! A tourist from an Indian metropolitan city books tickets for Kashmir hoping to get away from city life and chaos and instead lands in an even messier place called Srinagar. The pictures that they have of Kashmir in mind are completely contrasting to the reality. Kashmir over the years, because of successive mis-governance and ill conceived policies, has been turned into a beautiful dust bin.
The outside of it might look attractive but once you see it from the inside it is as dirty as a dustbin can be.
So it is the job of our policymakers to think of ways where we can repackage Kashmir in such a way that it is one of the best retreats in the world. It should rejuvenate a tourist in such a way that he/she is compelled to visit again whenever the noises of big cities begun to haunt. Mere lip service and beating the old drum won’t work. First have got infrastructure in place including roads, accommodation, recreational spots, eateries etc, then we can start creating tourist friendly packages. Or else we can continue selling photo-shopped reality to visitors.