Gulmarg: At a time when the government’s onerous task is to promote Kashmir as a tourist destination and skier’s paradise, Gulmarg is dotted with discarded waste and plastic. Piles of discarded waste, plastic bottles, grocery bags, chips packets have turned the idyllic meadow into a dumping ground triggering angry reaction from visitors.
With the rise in mercury, reeking stink has started emanating from accumulated waste forcing the tourists to leave the resort on a bad note.
An official of Gulmarg development authority, which is responsible for upkeep of the resort, said land for garbage dumping site was identified at Kawnar but it would take some time to make it functional so that the waste is disposed there.
“Due to some issue, GDA hasn’t developed garbage dumping site yet. It prompts hoteliers to dispose waste around forest area. Now, sanitation drive will be launched to remove the waste lying scattered in Gulmarg,” said the official while replying on official phone without revealing his name.
It was learnt the oldest tourist resort doesn’t have a drainage system, which forces commercial establishments to dump waste in the pine dotted slopes of Gulmarg.
“Once the Sewerage treatment plant will be installed, Gulmarg will be free of waste” the official said.
Kashmir Chamber of Commerce and Industry (KCCI), an amalgam of business houses blamed GDA for not taking appropriate measures in developing garbage disposal site.
“We have already taken up the matter with government. GDA should be held responsible for not developing the garbage disposal site. It leaves bad impression on visitors.
“They (GDA) should take steps to construct STP and have solid waste disposal arrangement there. Of course they can charge commercial establishments, which GDA is already doing,” said KCCI joint secretary Fiaz Bakshi.
Conveyor pilgrim and leisure tour operators’ forum said they wouldn’t blame government for everything but stakeholders too have a responsibility to maintain sanitation of the place.
“GDA should adopt stringent norms so that hotels dispose waste in a systematic manner. There are certain areas which are clean and GDA should not allow disposal of waste there,” said conveyor pilgrim and leisure tour operators’ forum Nasir Shah.
Director Tourism Farooq Shah said the he would ask the GDA to remove the waste and maintain the tourist resort.
“Chief Minister has directed the CEO’s of development authorities to lay emphasis on sanitation. There should be no garbage and resorts should be neat and clean. I will ask CEO Gulmarg to take immediate steps to remove waste there,” Shah told Kashmir Reader.
GDA Chief Executive Officer Nazir Ahmad Mir wasn’t available for comment.