Tourism no doubt is one of the mainstay of the state’s economy. No wonder then that the industry carries a lot of weight in terms of being on the priority list of the government all the time.
However, any bad media which the tourism Industry attracts not only affects the industry’s performance but also tells upon the people who are associated with this Industry especially in Kashmir Valley.
Tourism Industry got a bad name last week when people across Kashmir were preparing for the festivities of Eid. An incident happened in Gulmarg wherein four members of a family and three tourist guides lost their life in a tragic incident involving the cable car project Gandola.
The incident meant that the government not only announced an exgratia relief for the victims but also a committee was formed to probe the incident.
The Committee headed by Dheeraj Gupta Commissioner Secretary Power Development Department and two other members S K Zutshi Chief Engineer System and Operations Jammu and Vijay Raina Superintending Engineer (Mechanical) SKIMS Srinagar have also visited the spot to access the situation that led to the tragedy leaving seven people dead.
The Committee which has been tasked to submit its report to the Government within 15 days shall also make recommendations regarding up-gradation of existing maintenance arrangements and additional safety measures required for the safe operation of cable car to prevent any such untoward incidents in the future.
However, one needs to raise some questions which the committee members should also ponder over.
Gulmarg Gandola project is one of the prime attractions of this scenic spot. The project must have been given a go ahead when there was a clearance from various agencies including the Forest Department.
Therefore, the question is that why did the Forest Department not draw the attention of the Gulmarg Development authorities or the Tourism Department authorities to the danger which some standing trees were posing for the ropeway if it was to operate during bad weather conditions.
Why did the local administration, including the technical team operating the Gondola car on daily basis still run the ropeway when the weather conditions were so bad and strong winds were blowing in the Gulmarg Valley.
And thirdly why were no surveys, which otherwise should be a regular feature for the gondola staff , conducted to get to know about the dangers that might arise while operating the cable car project.
All these questions should be answered and whatever be the outcome, the committee should try to fix responsibility and get things implemented on ground. The governments and the tourism departments mere assertion that experts have been called in to access the safety concerns of the project will not suffice. After all a family of four people has been wiped off, beside three bread earners of three families too have been killed.
Let the committee be fair and objective and propose all those measures that will at least try to set things right and make the cable car project a fun ride for the tourists who otherwise will now feel scared to step in the gandola car.