SRINAGAR: Valley based tour operators and mountaineers have asked Jammu and Kashmir government to desist from any plans to construct a road in world famous ski resort Gulmarg.
In an emergency joint meeting of Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) and J&K Ski and Mountaineering Association (JKSMA) the office bearers and members of ATOAK and JKSMA took a strong note of governments plan to build 13 Kms long road to Affarwat ridge from Gulmarg, a joint statement issued on Wednesday said.
The members of both organizations were informed about the recent media reports in which the government plans to build a mortorable road to the top of Affarwat ridge in world famous tourist resort of Gulmarg to facilitate Indian air force to construct a base for its radar system.
“While discussing its negative impact on tourism in general and adventure tourism in particular and its disastrous effects on environment of the area which is already overburdened with rampant construction and presence of too many army barracks the construction of this road will further vandalize the entire scenic and natural beauty of this beautiful place and will leave a bad impact on local environment,” the statement said.
It said, the adventure tourism in Kashmir which is already on low and trying hard to make a comeback will get affected if radar system will be installed in the area that will make it sound for adventure sport and recreational tourism lovers that area is somewhat like a war zone and they will not be interested in visiting Gulmarg and its peripheries for their sports and recreational activities.
Speaking on the occasion the president (ATOAK) Rauf Tramboo said adventure tour operators who are trying hard to bring Kashmir back on world adventure tourism map and make Gulmarg a year round destination for adventure lovers will face tremendous hardships in selling it, this move will hamper the adventure activities in summer and for sure winter tourism will get a huge setback as no skier will be able and agree to venture out for heli skiing, ski-mountaineering and ski touring which twill make this area economically more poor.
“The Adventure Tour Operators Association of Kashmir (ATOAK) and J&K Ski and Mountaineering Association (JKSMA) appeals Chief Minister Omar Abdullah who himself is an avid adventure sports lover to issue orders to stop building these unnecessary roads in the tourist resort of Gulmarg and elsewhere to save the environment and tourism of Kashmir,” the statement said.