KL News Network
While hailing the government decision of declaring Tosa Maidan as an independent tourism development authority, Tosamaidan Bacho Front (TBF) has expressed its gratitude to the government.
In a press statement issued here, the founder of the front, Dr Sheikh Ghulam Rasool said, “In Tosa Maidan, the community driven adventure and rural tourism (CDART) can be nourished solitarily when basic right to life is ensured.”
“The underlying question is whom to transmit tourism for, when the basic go-betweens of tourism are practically vulnerable to damage and threat? Ensuring right to life is prime everything else including development follows,” he said.
While expressing his concern regarding the functioning of other tourism development authorities, he said, “Unfortunately, all tourism development authorities have brought in place an unprecedented destruction to the environment, ecology, and flora and fauna.”
“Pahalgam, Gulmarg, Sonmarg and rest of the designated tourism destinations clearly bring out the naked truth,” he said, “Therefore, before any further ‘development authorities’ are established and finalized, the government must revisit the past strategies. Environmental impact assessment needs to be carried out; uncovering the elements of environmental vandalism and the officials responsible should be brought to book.”
Sheikh said that while the vital demands made by us are yet to be taken including compensating widows, disabled and community at large, development authority is merely an eye-wash if compensation factor is ignored.
The statement said that since the spirit of CDAR tourism lies in the community itself, our demands as TBF include compensation to the victims and community to be ensured that before the Tosamaidan development authority they will be involved in its formation and functioning and representation of victims, women and tribals must be guaranteed in TDA.
“Assets declaration of the officials who will be appointed in TDA from government side, ecology and environment to be treated as priority, proactive disclosure under Section-4 of J&K RTI Act of tourism department including fund allocation and policy decisions,” the statement further reads.