Pahalgam: In absence of urinals in Aru valley, tourists defecate in open

SHABIR AHMAD
ARU (Pahalgam): With authorities mulling to identify and develop new tourist spots, Aru valley in the famous tourist spot in Pahalgam continues to cry for development.
Situated at a distance of 10 kms from Pahalgam, Aru is known for its enchanting beauty. Thousands of tourists visit the valley every year, but it continues to face official neglect.
The road leading to Aru has is in such a bad condition that many tourists cancel their visit to the spot. “Only a week ago a group of tourists, on seeing the road being so narrow and dotted with potholes, asked me to move back even after covering 5 kms,” said a local driver, Gulzar Ahmad.
He said that most of the drivers registered with local stand too are hesitant to go to Aru as their vehicles suffer damages while plying on the road. “Not only the locals of Aru but the members of taxi operators association also approached the authorities many a time for repair of the road, but to no avail,” said another driver, Bashir Ahmad.
Due to the non-availability of urinal or toilet block at the spot, visitors could be seen defecating in the open behind the green alpines or on the banks of Lidder river. Though two public conveniences have been constructed by the Pahalgam Development Authority, both of them remain locked.
“The tourists visiting the spot every day are left with no option but to defecate in the open fields at the cost of the nature. One wonders over the wisdom of the authorities of keeping the toilet blocks under lock after their construction,” said a local resident Riyaz Ahmad.
Aru valley also remains inaccessible in terms of communication due to which the locals say tourists don’t stay there for nights. “A huge number of tourists fascinated by the beauty of this spot want to stay here for many nights, but the lack of cellular services forces them to change their decision. The government seems to be non-serious in developing this picturesque valley,” the locals said.
Admitting that Aru valley remains devoid of facilities, Chief Executive Officer of the PDA, Mohammad Yousuf Bhat said, “Since I have taken over only a couple of weeks ago, everything cannot be done overnight.”
“As for as Aru is concerned I will make sure that urinal and toilet facility is there,” Bhat said. He said that lot of things need to be done in Pahalgam.

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