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Highway uncertainty must end once for all, make air-travel convenient; improve transport system: Stakeholders to Parliamentary delegation

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KCCI chief demands accountability, punishment for officials who fail to meet deadlines, Houseboat owners seek end to skyrocketing air fares, better road connectivity, transport system; United Tourism Forum advocates financial package for revival of tourism

Abid Bashir

Srinagar, Jan 21: Various stakeholders of Kashmir’s tourism sector Thursday urged the visiting Parliamentary delegation to put a word across at New Delhi to ensure highway uncertainty ends in the Valley once for all and that the air-travel is made more convenient with genuine fares so that tourism picks up in the region.

The stakeholders also demanded better roads and road connectivity if Government of India wants to give Kashmir tourism a boost stating that frequent closure of Srinagar-Jammu highway is the main reason for “mess” in Valley at a time when tourism needs a push.

Talking to news agency-KNO, after meeting the delegation, Kashmir Chamber of Commerce, Industries (KKCI) President Sheikh Ashiq Hussain said: “We put across our view point before the committee and we are hopeful that they will take our pleas forward. We demanded end to the Srinagar-Jammu highway closure once for all. The highway closure triggers mess across the Valley. 

As soon as the highway gets closed, the Air fares goes high. We urged the MPs to ensure that air travel is made convenient so that it will become easier for everyone to travel. See despite repeated promises by the previous regimes and officials on improving the highway condition, we see closure of this only road link again and again. We demand there should be an accountability and punishment to the agencies and officials who fail to meet the deadlines.”

Among the visiting parliamentary delegation, MoS in PMO Dr Jitendera Singh and NC chief and sitting MP Dr Farooq were also present.

Speaking after meeting the delegation, president Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association Hameed Wangnoo said: “We explained the series of issues confronting the houseboat owners. We also presented a memorandum. Every year such delegations come, but so far noting except assurance is what we get.

Lets hope this time, our demands are met. We demanded a direct rail link between Srinagar and Jammu and raised the air-fare. We told them that Srinagar-Delhi airfare is so high that a tourist would think twice about visiting Kashmir. When highway gets closed, air-fares go sky-rocket, which is injustice.”

All J&K Shikara Union President Ghulam Ahmed Kolu said that they explain the ill plight of Shikara owners to the MPs stating that all the promises made to them turned out to be hollow. “We have now demanded soft loans to revive our business so that tourists enjoy Shikara rides in Dal and Nigeen lakes,” he said.

Chairman United Tourism Forum Manzoor Ahmed Pakhtoon, who also met visiting delegation, told KNO said that they briefed the MPs about the issues confronting tourism, culture and transport. “We told the MPs that tourism has suffered since past 30 years. We have been frequently telling the GoI about the series of problems the tourism sector is facing.

We told the delegation that people associated with tourism are on the verge of starvation and grant-in aid or a financial package was what we demanded strongly for tourism revival in Kashmir,” he said. “We also raised the houseboat extinction issue as from 2500 houseboats, the present number is just 950.”

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Two tipper drivers crushed to death in Baramulla

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Srinagar, Aug 09: Two tipper drivers were crushed to death after coming under falling stones at a stone quarry in Drangbal area of north Kashmir’s Baramulla district this afternoon, official sources told GNS.

Also Read: MeT forecasts mainly dry weather in J&K for 24 hrs

They said that the duo was near the stone quarry when several stones fell over them, resulting in their on-spot death.

The deceased duo has been identified as Hilal Ahmad and Zaffar Ahmad Gojri.

Confirming the incident, a police official told GNS that a police team was on spot to collect more details.

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MeT forecasts mainly dry weather in J&K for 24 hrs

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Srinagar, Aug 09: Weatherman has forecasted mainly dry weather with possibility of isolated light rain and thunderstorm over Jammu and Kashmir in next 24 hours.

Also Read: Youm-e-Ashura | Restrictions will be on some traffic routes of Sgr due to huge gathering in rallies: Sgr Police

A meteorological department official here said that in the last 24 hours till 0830 hours, Bhaderwah received 8.1 mm of rain followed Pahalgam with 5.6 mm, Gulmarg 2.8 mm while Srinagar had traces of it.

Regarding minimum temperature, he said, there was increase in mercury at most places in Kashmir and Jammu division.

Srinagar, he said, recorded a low of 20.3°C against 19.8°C on the previous night. The temperature was 1.7°C above normal during this time of the year for the summer capital.

Qazigund recorded a low of 17.7°C against 19.0°C on the previous night. The temperature was 1.2°C above normal there, he told GNS.

Also Read: LG remembers sacrifice of the martyrs of Karbala on the eve of Ashura

In Pahalgam, the mercury settled at 16.0°C against 15.8°C on the previous night and it was 3.0°C above normal for the south Kashmir resort.

Kokernag recorded a low of 17.6°C against 17.3°C on the previous night and it was 1.8°C above normal for the place, he said.

World famous Gulmarg resort recorded a low of 11.0°C against 10.2°C on the previous night. However it was 1.1°C ‘below’ normal for the north Kashmir place.

Kupwara town saw a low of 17.6°C same as recorded on previous night and it was 0.3°C above normal for the place during this time of the season, the official told Global News Service.

Jammu recorded a low of 27.0°C against 26.4°C on the previous night. It was 1.9°C above normal for J&K’s winter capital, he said.

Banihal recorded a low of 19.0°C, Batote 19.5°C, Katra 24.6°C, Bhadarwah 18.8°C and Kathua 24.4°C.

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LG remembers sacrifice of the martyrs of Karbala on the eve of Ashura

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Srinagar, Aug 08: Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha remembered the sacrifice of the martyrs of Karbala on the eve of Ashura, the 10th day of Muharram.

Also Read: Youm-e-Ashura | Restrictions will be on some traffic routes of Sgr due to huge gathering in rallies: Sgr Police

In his message, the Lt Governor said, martyrdom of Hazrat Imam Hussain (AS) and his companions has guided the humanity to strive for justice, values and righteousness.

The Lt Governor prayed for peace and prosperity in J&K, and urged the people to be kind, compassionate and work for the needy and underprivileged.

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