Blurred Focus

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.


  1. this is what I wrote to Shuja-ul-Haq…a correspondent with “Headlines today” news channel ,when he ws asking people ,not to cancel their reservations Uvisit Kashmir…..he did responded by saying “thanks” but when same was explained on twitter many kshmiri youngsters abused me for calling srinagar a dirty city : after reading ur article , I feel I did a good job …here it goes my letter to Shuja Ul Haq……
    Dear Sir ,
    Sir , my observation are based on my trip to valley 2 years back ,may be things are better now but I was disappointed &wish to share with you ,my perception of a tourist city :
    Sir ,
    an where at a new place ,we are at loss as to how to go about&make our trip a pleasure trip ….

    Valley must have a TRC ( tourist reception center –present one is for name sake & of no use to tourist )
    My TRC would have :
    A huge air-conditioned hall with 5 to 6 reception officers behind the desks ,having computers , comfortable seating arrangement for visitors , a tea/coffee/sot drink( all paid services)+/aquagaurd water machines And a decent wash room….
    every tourist must reach here first ,register himself with an Id proof …..
    his plans to stay how many days & where all he wants to go.
    In this reception officer should help him.
    I need to talk about these reception officers :

    these reception officers should be young ,smart communicators &having pleasing personality…mix of both male&female :
    This group of officers should be of origin from :Kashmiri +one from North India , one from Tamil Nadu , one from Kerala ,one from Maharashtra ,one from Gujarat …these should be youngsters ….If I come from Jaipur ,and meet a north Indian guy at TRC , and he/she welcomes me in Hindi , that will bring me in to a comfort zone immediately .with sense of security….A malyali tourist being welcomed by a Malayali guy at center will be wonderful for that tourist ..
    The staff will help me with all the information I need ,plus do hotel bookings too…online…a hotel booked through TRC will instill confidence in the tourist of safety&security .
    An contact number should be given to tourist to contact for any kind of need …be it to inquire simple things or in emergency of any sort …..and should be issued a local SIM card , so that tourist can connect with the family immediately. ( some safe deposit returnable money can be charged for SIM )
    Sir , for me sweet beginning will set the mood of the tourist for his remaining days ……hence
    ….Dal lake is so popular spot BUT it was smelling ….this is unacceptable Sir ,how can Kashmiris allow Dal lake to smell fishy !
    at Gulmarg ,phalgaon ….has to have a branch of TRC …hotels or stay at these places should be through TRC……horses should be booked through TRC …again it gives a sense of security …that I am travelling with someone whose back ground check has been done by the government .
    And Sir , Srinagar was not clean ,there was garbage here & there ,Srinagar must represent as best hill city ….there should be “solid waste system” in place or some method to keep it clean .
    All auto-rickshaw or Taxis must have GPRS system as we see now a days in Ola etc ……this is again to reassure tourist that you will be safe .

    People of Kashmir smile less ,specially in Hotels I felt an unwanted guest ,they should be trained & seminar of Hoteliers hold to educate them that these tourist of any cast or color or religion are simply TOURIST ….give them warm welcome ,they are there for few days&plan to spend some money ,help them to make sweet memories .
    Thanking you Sir ,for giving m this opportunity to share my thoughts.
    with respect
    Dr Narain Rupani
    Senior Citizen , Jaipur ,Rajasthan

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