Jammu tourist sites in isolation

Jammu tourism seems to have come under the spell of bad stars. From the very beginning, it has had so many ups and downs that one thought it may never come up at all. There are many reasons for this dismaying story. The seemingly extraordinary interests which the late Chief Minister Mufti Saeed had evinced in the development of tourist sites in Jammu region like Patnitop, Sanasar, Sudh Mahadev, Mantalai and other places has faded away.
The Government has set up Patnitop Development Authority and Bhaderwah Development Authority to cater to the need of developing various sites to become much coveted tourists sites at the end of the day. Constituting a Development Authority with development of a specific area as the term of reference is all right and should be there. However, the Authority thus devised needs the wherewithal, technical and skilled staff, and above all free flow of funds at proper time so that sub-plans and ancillary plans drawn are completed as pre-requisites of the master plan. Funding is reported to be the main hurdle in executing the plans. While chairing the Board of Directors meeting of Patnitop Development Authority on June 14, 2015, the then Chief Minister, Mufti Mohammad Saeed had announced several vital projects for Patnitop-Sanasar areas so that following opening of Chenani-Nashri road tunnel the flow of tourists to these places doesn’t get affected. The tunnel has now been opened and the fears that tourist flow to these sites will face the downslide are imminent. However, this could have been stopped if the Government and especially the Department of Tourism had expeditiously undertaken development of Patnitop-Sanasar tourist axis. That has not been done and hence the inevitable must happen.
Patnitop – Sanasar tourist projects are likely to be put in cold store for some time owing to paucity of funds. This has come as a rude shock to the people of Jammu region. A number of questions arise. Why should Jammu region and particularly the prime tourist destination be singled out for discriminatory treatment and subjected to denial of funds? Secondly, these are not new projects that can be dealt with casually and at the sweet will of some recalcitrant authority. These projects have been thoroughly discussed at various levels and a lot of spade work had to be done to finalize them. It is unjust and unfair to put them on the backburner.
The much touted Patnitop Ropeway Project for the clearance of which a lot of time and labour were invested, is also in doldrums and uncertainty has gripped it tight. Nobody in Tourism Department is prepared to say if there is any time frame for the ropeway project. Skyview Company of Kashmir valley, which was given the contract for construction of this project, last year, has yet not mobilized men and machinery. The only step which it has taken so far pertains to some work on road leading to the project sites. It trickles down that for the accompanying projects the State Government is pinning hope to 2nd phase of PMDP as State has expressed inability to provide full funding for the same. Therefore not only the concerned quarters in the Government but also the elected representatives of Jammu to the Council of Ministers or the houses of the legislature are answerable to the people on this count. We hope they will not disappoint the people at the end of the day.


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