No action on majority of decisions about more facilities in Patnitop, Sanasar

R&B fails to improve road condition despite numerous directives
Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, Apr 20: Creation of more facilities at Patnitop and Sanasar to sustain tourists’ interest in these places especially after operationalization of Chenani-Nashri Tunnel seems to be least priority for all the concerned authorities as there is absolutely no action on majority of the decisions taken in this regard by the Chief Minister nearly one year back.
While chairing 19th meeting of Patnitop Development Authority on May 8, 2017, the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti had emphasized on creation of more facilities for the tourists to make up for the supposed dip in tourists arrival to Patnitop and Sanasar especially after construction of Chenani-Nashri tunnel on Jammu-Srinagar National Highway.
Laying stress on making efforts to make Patnitop a complete tourist destination, she had asked for further developing Sanasar, Mantalai, Nathatop and other areas in the catchment of Patnitop. The Chief Minister had particularly stressed on the need to immediately upgrade road to Sanasar besides increasing the number of tented accommodations and starting a souvenir market there.
“However, there is absolutely no focus on these directives of the Chief Minister till date as neither any major development has taken place in the catchment areas of Patnitop nor serious attention has been paid towards improving the condition of Nathatop-Sanasar road”, official sources told EXCELSIOR.
Though Border Roads Organization (BRO) has maintained Patnitop-Nathatop road up to large extent yet Roads and Buildings Department of the State has not bothered to improve the condition of Nathatop-Sanasar road, sources said, adding “the pitiable condition of this stretch of road is discouraging tourists from visiting Sanasar even after the establishment of Tulip Garden in the recent past”.
They informed that directions for improving the condition of Nathatop-Sanasar road were also issued to the concerned authorities of the R&B Department in a series of meetings convened by Deputy Commissioner Ramban following 19th meeting of Patnitop Development Authority. Even Minister of State for Tourism Priya Sethi during her visit to Sanasar in the recent past stressed the need to upgrade the road but till date work has not been started by the R&B Department.
Similarly, no efforts have been made to increase the number of tented accommodations and establishing a souvenir market at Sanasar, which otherwise are imperative to generate interest of the tourists in this place, sources further said.
In the meeting, the Chief Minister was assured by the representatives of the Power Development Department that underground cabling of power transmission wires in Patnitop will be completed by December 2017. However, the PDD has failed to meet the timeline and even nearly one year after the 19th meeting of the Patnitop Development Authority nobody knows when this task will be completed.
Keeping in view the difficulties being faced in timely clearance of snow from Patnitop area during the winter months, the Chief Minister had directed for procurement of a snow cutter exclusively for the Patnitop Development Authority. However, neither funds were placed at the disposal of Patnitop Development Authority for procurement of machine nor any other agency of the Government evinced interest in making purchase for the Authority.
“Similar is the fate of the direction regarding setting up of a fire station at Patnitop. Astonishingly, the Fire and Emergency Department comes under the administrative control of the Home Department headed by the Chief Minister”, sources said.
For developing wayside amenities on Chenani-Patnitop road, the Chief Minister had issued directions for release of Rs 50 lakh by the Finance Department in consultation with the Planning Department but till date not even single penny has been released for the much-needed activity, sources informed, adding “in the absence of any additional financial assistance as was announced by the Chief Minister the Patnitop Development Authority is finding it difficult to lay focus on creation of wayside amenities as its annual plan is not sufficient even to maintain existing facilities”.
“All this clearly reveals that all the concerned authorities are soft-paddling on the directions issued during the PDA meeting thereby creating impediments in increasing footfall of tourists at Patnitop and Sanasar”, sources regretted.