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Uncared Basohli tourism

Basohli in Kathua district is a picturesque region known for its attractive nature, tradition of art like painting and building and folk lore. Much hype is given to the development of Basohli as a tourist destination but this is only hype and nothing practically on the ground. Last year, the Chief Minister visited the place and even inaugurated the Lakhanpur Sarthal Development Authority (LSDA) and the steamer service. She also inaugurated the tourism development works worth Rs 4 crore. The Ranjit Sagar Dam and Atal Setu Bridge at Basohli on Ravi River are the marks of attraction for any tourist. Although Basohli has the full potential for coming up as a very attractive tourist destination but the Government does not seem to be really interested in its development as a tourist destination. This has given rise to the feeling among many local people that the Government is essentially interested in developing tourism in Kashmir valley alone and Basohli is being singled out.
Basohli is just 10 kilometres away from the border with Himachal Pradesh. While Himachal is doing extremely well in developing tourism, the condition of Basohli is very painful. Owing to the absence of a metalled road link between the town and the steamer service tourists return without taking a steamer trips and the entire purpose is defeated.
Let us be frank in saying that the Tourism Department is not seriously interested in developing Basohli as the attractive tourist destination. It is unjust and tantamount to denying the youth of the area opportunities of employment and economic improvement. The Chief Minister is very much interested in developing tourism all over the state wherever possible without making any difference. She visited Basohli and saw the ground situation and issued instructions for its development. Alas, what happens at the lower levels is only a sad story. We do not like that people should carry the impression that there is discrimination against the tourist destinations in Jammu region. That does not help. But how can we close eyes when the instructions of the Chief Minister given on spot are overlooked and ultimately put in cold store? The administration must change its attitude of adopting apathy of sorts against the fast development of tourist spots in Jammu region.

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