Govt vows to transform Sonamarg into year-round tourist destination – greaterkashmir

Ganderbal, Nov 3: Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Shyambir and Director Tourism Kashmir, Raja Yakoob today visited Sonamarg where they co-chaired a joint meeting of officers and stake holders to review winter preparedness and allied facilities for keeping Sonamarg open during the winter.

At the outset, threadbare discussion was held regarding the necessary preparations and arrangements including water, electricity, health, road, fire service, snow clearing operation, traffic management, operationalization of Z-Morh Tunnel, firewood and other related facilities to be put in place for keeping Sonamarg open during the winters.

At the outset, Director Tourism said that the role of various stakeholders associated with tourism at Sonamarg is imperative for better regulation of tourism trade and all facilities need to be available to the tourists especially heating arrangements in hotels, water and electricity, maintenance of roads during winters besides proper plan for its promotion at all levels as a twelve month tourist destination so that tourists can have the best experience here.

The DC asked the Director of Tourism that the pamphlets and other printing material regarding the promotion of Sonamarg as all-weather tourist destination may be pasted on airport roads at prominent places and tourist vehicles.

The Director Tourism said that the government is committed to promote Sonamarg as all-weather tourist destination with all requisite facilities and recreational activities. In this regard proper promotion will be done during the trade fairs organized in various parts of the country and other appropriate platforms including Social Media handles of the department, he said.

While reviewing the snow clearance operation, Beacon was directed to keep sufficient men and machinery stationed on identified location from Gagangeer to Youth Hostel Sonamarg so that snow is cleared timely from the main road besides joint control room should be established at CEO office SDA for better coordination.

Regarding water supply, the Executive Engineer informed that new water scheme is coming up that would be commissioned very soon and sufficient water will be available to all establishments during winter.

Similarly, Executive Engineer, PDD division Ganderbal was directed to ensure electricity is supplied to Sonamarg without any interference and a proper curtailed schedule should be notified for Sonamarg so that hoteliers make alternative arrangements during the curtailment.

The meeting also discussed the operationalization of Z-morh tunnel for allowing traffic during winter. The DC directed the Executive Director, NHIDCL (projects) to ensure 24*7 operationalization of one tube for emergency traffic movement as and when required from 10th December.

To overcome the parking issue during winter, the DC asked the SDM Kangan to identify the parking areas in consultation with SDA for winters and necessary repairing works shall be carried at the earliest taking help of NHIDCL. He was directed to hold regular meetings with all stake holders during the winter so that if any issue persists may be resolved on time. It was also decided that Chains shall be made mandatory for all types of vehicles after 15 December from Gagangeer onwards.

Meanwhile, the Hotelier Association Sonamarg and other stakeholders also raised several issues for keeping Sonamarg open during winter. The duo said that the purpose of holding the meeting was to redress the issues faced during winter in Sonamarg and in this regard, all facilities and arrangements would be put in place and all the departments would be given the necessary instructions in this regard.

Regarding health facilities at PHC Sonamarg, the DC informed that the up-gradation plan has been approved for PHC Sonamarg and all necessary facilities will be available at PHC once upgraded.

The meeting also discussed the schedule of winter activities and all stakeholders were directed to submit the activity plan by 2nd week of November so that proper planning is done for the winter festival at Sonamarg.

While discussing the preparations for winter, the Director Tourism exhorted that all stakeholders need to redouble their efforts to ensure sufficient facilities during winter are available to the tourists and assured that all efforts will be taken by the tourism department for proper promotion of Sonamarg as an all-weather tourist destination. He also advised all the stakeholders that services shall be provided to the tourist as per the notified rates.

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