Costly Affair

Development of Narbal – Tangmarg road has led to escalation in the land prices as the area is receiving huge investments in tourist related business activities. With several shopping malls and hotels coming up along the road to Gulmarg, employment opportunities have also increased. Nazir Ahmad Rather reports

Tangmarg-to-Gulmarg

Increasing number of showrooms, shopping malls, hotels and food stalls along  Narbal – Tangmarg road has resulted in an escalation of land prices manifold. Businessmen from Srinagar are offering huge prices to landowners for the land along the Narbal- Tangmarg highway. Apart from having the world famous tourist spot Gulmarg in this area, the steep rise in land prices has been attributed to the presence of picturesque landscapes,   congestion-free business places and the prevalence of a peaceful environment in the area.

This area is peaceful and it is having tremendous business potential because of Gulmarg. Gulmarg receives thousands of tourists both in winter as well as in summer so this area is very much viable as for as business is concerned,” says Dr Gulnaz the owner of Mirch Masala lounge and shopping mall at Dhobiwan Tangmarg.

“We are investing here because this area attracts thousands of tourists throughout the year as compared to other tourist destinations,” explains Mushtaq Ahmad, co-owner of Mirch Masala Lounge. He says that two years back they purchased the land here at the rate of Rs18 lakh per kanal and now the same land is pegged at whopping Rs 60 lacs a kanal.

The stakeholders who have invested huge sums of money in establishing their business units in this area believe that this area is least congested and very peaceful that is why they are comfortable in opening up business units here.

“This area experiences lesser number of hartals and other kinds of disturbances, which is really very much encouraging as for as tourism-related business is concerned,’’ says Javid Ahmad khan, owner of Sultan-e-Kashmir Art and Craft Showroom at Batpora kunzar. He says that this area is comparatively better as compared to the congested locations of Srinagar.

 Another reason considered to be responsible for steep rise in the land prices in this area is the development of the Narbal-Tangmarg road. The developmental work included widening of road into two lanes, installation of high-mast electric lights running through the centre of the road, maintaining a green turf and establishment of public parks.

“Earlier it was not like this, ever since the development of public parks and beautification of the roads have taken place, the land prices have abruptly gone up,’’ says Mohammad Ayoub Bhat a property dealer from Waripora Tangmarg.

He says that previously a kanal of land in this area would hardly touch Rs 10 to Rs12 lacs but now the scenario stands changed as the same land is priced at Rs60 lacs. He believes that land prices are expected to touch the highest ever prices in the days to come as Gulmarg and the surrounding areas are thronged by a record number of tourists every year which is good as for as business is concerned. The mushroom growth of food stalls and shopping malls has not only triggered the high land prices but it has equally opened up a good number of employment opportunities for the youth as well.

“Gulmarg and surrounding areas are actually turning out to be the extensions of capital city Srinagar and development of better roads have made the remotest parts accessible to tourists; these developments have not only escalated the land prices here but has also opened up dozens of employment opportunities for the local youth as well,’’ opines MLA Gulmarg and Minister for agriculture Gulam Hasan Mir.

The show room owners also believe that huge influx of tourists since last couple of years towards this side has opened up a good number of job opportunities for the local youth here.

“Arrival of tourists to Gulmarg in huge numbers has really opened up employment opportunities for local youth here,’’ explains Mohammad Salem Zaman, owner of Kunzar Shopping mall who has employed around 26 youth in his shopping Mall.

Most of the youth get themselves employed in these shopping malls and food stalls as cooks, waiters, and sales executives.

“I was previously working in Nepal as a sales man but very recently I got a job here as sales executive in Art and craft Bazar at Dhobiwan Tangmarg. They are paying me handsomely,’’ says Shahid Ahmad Dar, a sales man from Barzulla.

He explains that a good number of unemployed youth are increasingly getting themselves adjusted in scores of hotels and shopping malls in this area.

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