Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) president, Mehbooba Mufti, Wednesday said it was PDP’s vision to spread the economic benefits of tourism in the state, while preserving the environment.
Addressing a public meeting in Marwah, she said aim behind the idea for creating Doda-Kishtwar-Sinthantop-
To introduce planned development of tourism, PDP during its tenure, constituted around two dozen Tourism Development Authorities for the unexplored areas across the state, she said adding the concept picked up but got derailed later due the lack of vision on part of present dispensation.
Mehbooba said huge damage was done to the environs at places like Gulmarg and Sonmarg, on the name of infrastructural development, and the rulers simply acts a mute spectators. “Either government’s writ does not run to control the damage or they are hand in gloves with the violators,” she blamed.
She said environment was basic input of our growth and its preservation was a must at any cost. She said due to the lack of vision nobody was listening to the government.
It was PDP’s vision to develop rural and community based tourism so that there would be less impact on scenic beauty around, she said adding far-off places like Marwah, Wadwan where possibility of industrial development is less tourism would be instrument of change.
Mehbooba blamed the successive regimes for deliberately ignoring places like Marwah. She said bewitching scenic beauty of the area has so for remained untapped and added the area has enormous possibility for eco, adventure, culture and heritage tourism. “During its brief time in the government PDP tried to exploit the virgin beauty of the area,” Mehbooba said and added it was necessary to ensure round the year access to this area. She said a tunnel on Marwah road too would be pursued by the PDP. “It is a shame that people residing n these areas have to remain cut off for most part of the year even after 65 years of independence, and failing to access educational or health facilities” added Mehbooba. She said the small initiatives to provide solar lights during the PDP led government was the first introduction of this area to a modern lighting system but it has not been carried forward.
The common tourist circuit for the areas like Doda, Kishtwar, Sinthantop and Kokernag has failed to take shape because of the non-serious attitude of the government, she said.
She said Kishtwar and other areas of Chinab valley, under the previous PDP- Congress coalition saw some massive infrastructure development, but the present dispensation has been offering only lip service to the people living in the mountainous region. She said the people of these areas are not being provided even adequate rations now and most of their requirement has now to be met from open market at backbreaking prices. She urged the government to immediately address this problem so that the people are not driven to starvation in these areas.