No headway on CM’s directions to JKTDC despite lapse of one year

Several officers aware of decisions taken in BoDs meeting

Mohinder Verma
JAMMU, May 31: In a glaring instance of slack approach, the authorities of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) have failed to make headway on the directions passed by the Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti regarding optimal utilization of assets of the Corporation by evolving new modules of tourist business despite lapse of one year. Shockingly several concerned officers of the Corporation are unaware of the instructions what to talk of acting upon the same.
Official sources told EXCELSIOR that Chief Minister while chairing the Board of Directors meeting of the Tourism Development Corporation, which functions under the close supervision of Tourism Department, on May 30, 2017 had directed those at the helm of affairs in the Corporation to devise strategies for full utilization of its assets and even prepare successful modules of occupancy for providing varied attraction to tourists.
The Chief Minister, who is also the Chairperson of the Corporation, had explicitly asked the JKTDC management to develop wayside facilities along National Highway and Mughal Road, which directly connects twin border districts of Rajouri and Poonch with the Kashmir valley and is slowly becoming preferred route for the tourists, and strengthen wherever these facilities already exist. In this regard, she had asked the Corporation officers to tie up with National Highway Authority of India (NHAI) to develop some joint modules.
However, despite lapse of one year no major headway has been made on these directions of the Chief Minister and no new major wayside facility along the National Highway or Mughal Road has come up, sources regretted, adding “there are several stretches along Jammu-Srinagar National Highway which lack wayside facilities much to the disappointment of tourists. There is hardly any stretch of Mughal Road where wayside amenities have been made available during the past one year”.
“What to talk of development of wayside amenities for the convenience of the tourists, even no formal tie-up has been made between Tourism Development Corporation and NHAI”, they further said while regretting that in the current cut throat competition scenario, the Corporation has not initiated major steps for instilling confidence among the people with its reliable services and excellent marketing etc.
It is pertinent to mention here that development of wayside amenities along the National Highway particularly Mughal Road has also been recommended by committees of State Legislature a number of times but these recommendations have also not been taken seriously by the concerned authorities.
They further informed that during the Board of Directors meeting the Chief Minister had also issued directions to the management of the Corporation to undertake valuation of its assets and also categorize the units in terms of revenue generations so that the loss making units could be outsourced after proper bidding. “However, this direction has also met with uncertain fate”, sources said.
“Valuation of only certain assets of the Corporation has been conducted so far and nobody knows when this exercise will be completed in respect of all the assets to meet the objective behind the direction of the Chief Minister”, sources said while disclosing that during the past one year even no progress has been made on outsourcing of the loss making assets and the plan has only been confined to the papers only.
When contacted, Secretary to Government, Department of Tourism Rigzian Samphel said, “I have recently taken over as Secretary of the department as such it is difficult for me to comment on the progress made on the decisions taken in Board of Directors meeting of Tourism Development Corporation”.
A number of officers of the Tourism Development Corporation, when contacted, fanned ignorance about either decisions taken in the Board of Directors meeting or progress made on the same thereby establishing height of slackness and casual approach.