Whither Kargil, Zanskar tourism?

We know things done by halves are never done right. That verily holds good of promoting tourism in Kargil and Zanskar, both falling in Ladakh division of Jammu and Kashmir, holding  in its deep lap a rich treasure of tourism opportunities including adventure tourism. The valley of Zanskar falling in Kargil District is a gift from the nature in the shape of bestowing it with precipitous peaks, plunging gorges, wild rivers and snow capped grounds for more than half of the year. The Gompas, the forts and series of enchanting sightseeing spots must motivate the state administration to walk an extra mile in promoting tourism in this region but the ground realities depict quite on the contrary.
At the outset, the posts of Chief Executive Officers of both the developmental authorities are continuously lying vacant for the last many years. How it can be stomached that the Government cannot find suitable officers to man the Departments and ad- hoc basis approach is adopted to manage the responsibilities of the concerned Development Authorities. Giving “charge” of these responsible posts to SDMs or DCs is tantamount to allowing no push or impetus to the assigned jobs which a full time incumbent would otherwise do. The Tourism market thus can feel the void of Kargil and Zanskar promoted under “separate packages” category.
On the other hand, half baked efforts are being put in towards clearance of major projects which were announced last year. Necessary follow – up is seen wanting in, which results in the projects continuing to be on papers only. Who takes, in the absence of a permanent responsible Authority, pains in clearing project reports, cost analysis, viability, feasibility and the time frame and hanker after the files till getting approval and starting the project? This fact of running of Departments with responsibility and accountability must stir in the face of the Government which is not providing permanent incumbents in the vacant posts.
We appreciate the efforts and the intentions towards promoting tourism in this region by Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti, as last year in August, she had stressed upon connecting some of the world’s tallest Buddhist icons in Kargil District with the Buddhist Tourist Circuit so as to increase the tourist turnout eloquently. In this regard, a detailed project report is said to have been duly prepared but is lost in the wilderness of uncertainty and official quandary.
Coming to the issue of development of Bimbut, Hundurman and other adjoining places under border Tourism , again, detailed project Report is prepared which by its dormancy, has assumed the shape of a poet’s imagination , usually far from the reality. It is unfortunately so, because technical papers like Project Detailed Reports are meant to be made functional in starting and running of projects on the ground.
Development of memorials of Kargil war and promoting of adventure sports like river rafting to attract tourists in numbers too have remained confined to papers due to non serious approach of the authorities. Likewise, annual funds allocation for Kargil and Zanskar Tourism Development Authorities is too meager to create tourism related infrastructure. It is one of the main reasons keeping this region from becoming a well known tourist destination for domestic as well as foreign tourists.
Last but not the least, referring again to temporary arrangements of posting on the vacant posts, superannuation of the officers on ad-hoc arrangements even shall mean aggravating of the personnel issues, the casualty ultimately being the tourism of these two regions which the state can ill afford and the need of the hour is to act as redeeming entities which we hope the Government will cogently do without any ado.