SRINAGAR: The government on Tuesday said it will develop Tosmaidan, the erstwhile firing range of Indian army in central Kashmir’s Budgam district, as a golf and skiing destination.
“Holistic development of Tosmaidan area will be taken up to make it a tourism hub. It will be developed as a golf/skiing destination, and a detailed DPR will be prepared in this regard,” the Minister for Agriculture, Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura, said in his reply to a question in the Legislative Council.
About 11,200-hectare Tosmaidan is a high-altitude meadow, which the army has been using for artillery training since 1964.
However, in 2013 the public as well as the pro-freedom parties started demanding an end to the lease agreement that allowed the army to use the land.
The state government subsequently formed a committee to review the lease agreement. While neither the committee nor the government made any final declaration about the fate of the meadow, the army has stayed away from the firing range.
Since earlier this year, the state government has been hinting that the meadow would be development as a tourist spot. In June, Chief Minister Mufti Mohammad Sayeed directed authorities to “integrate Tosmaidan with Dodpathri Development Authority so that the three destinations (Yusmarg, Dodpathri, and Tosmaidan) are promoted as a single circuit to give impetus to the enormous tourism potential of the central Kashmir district.”
Reportedly, the army has got “a couple of place” for carrying out the military activities that have been apparently barred at Tosmaidan.
Speaking in the Legislative Council, Hanjura declared that the government intends to “bring Tosmaidan on the tourist map”.