LAWDA to charge entry fee for visitors

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KL Report

SRINAGAR

A day after Jammu and Kashmir Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA) decided to charge entry fee from visitors who will cruise through world famous Dal Lake, tourist players have said that it will send a wrong signal across the globe. They have suggested that it is better for LAWDA to charge Rs 100 from Shikara owners per season than to levy entry fee for the visitors.

LAWDA, a government agency responsible for conservation of the Dal Lake has decided to charge Rs 10 from every visitor who intends to cruise through Dal Lake from February 1. “We are not going to charge from any Kashmir but only visitors have to pay this entry fee. This amount will help us to maintain this precious water body,” Vice Chairman LAWDA, Irfan Yasin told CNS adding that LAWDA is spending huge amount on the maintenance of the lake.

LAWDA is mulling to depute waterways officers at 16 Entry Points (Ghats) of Dal Lake who will issue tickets to the visitors before taking a ride in the water body.

Besides general public, Tourism stake holders have castigated LAWDA for coming up with such a plan. Former Chairman House Boat Owners Association, Azim Tuman told CNS that nowhere in India or world, visitors are charged for cruising through water bodies. “It is not the question of Rs 10 but we have to analyze the development properly. Most of the time visitors comprising of families cruise through Dal and they always will not prefer to pay for 6 to 7 members of the family. Ultimately it will affect the business of Shikara owners,” Tuman said suggesting that government should charge Rs 100 for season from Shikara owners.

President of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, G.M Dag said that this step will send a wrong signal across globe. (CNS)

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A journalist with seven years of working experience in Kashmir.

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