Look beyond elitism, collusion in name of tourism promotion: NC to CM

Look beyond elitism, collusion in name of tourism promotion: NC to CM
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SRINAGAR: National Conference on Sunday asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti and her government to look beyond “elitism and collusion” with crony capitalists and her family friends in the name of tourism promotion in the state. In a party statement issued here, NC state spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said that recurring splurges by the Chief Minister and her Government including private guest galas and private tours in times of a severe, unprecedented tourism distress in the state was unbecoming, utterly insensitive and shameful especially in light of a complete lack of vision to resuscitate the tourism sector. “Having dinners in five star hotels with her family friends and business associates of her crony cartel should not be passed off as tourism promotion. Between the Chief Minister and her brother now, the tourism Sector remains vision-less and directionless,” he said. He added: “The PDP-BJP government has failed to create any new infrastructure in the sector and remains invested in being directed and guided by a few rich, influential and powerful businessmen who decide on everything ranging from high-level transfers, to allocations, permissions and these unproductive, wasteful tours in the name of tourism promotion.” The NC State Spokesperson said that successive NC-led governments in the state had focused on asset and infrastructure creation in the tourism sector, both in the public and the private domains, and had worked with local stakeholders to create a bottomup capacity augmentation that eventually resulted in record tourist inflows. “Contrary to that, the PDP-BJP Government remains obsessed with a few rich businessmen close to the Chief Minister and her family who run the Tourism policy for the state government to exclusively benefit themselves at great costs to the sector at large,” he said, adding, this government considers it below its dignity to work with small and medium range hoteliers, houseboat owners, travel agents and shikara-waalas in first understanding what needs to be done and then using their vast experience, established networks and expertise to revive the tourism sector. Mattu said that the government has allowed itself to be hijacked for pecuniary benefits through collusion, corruption and nepotism while our hotels remain vacant and thousands of families are deprived of livelihood. “The concept of exclusive elitist tourism promotion that entails direct chopper services to Gulmarg and Pahalgam from Srinagar is yet again an indication of both the Chief Minister’s disconnect and her lack of insight,” Mattu said. “The overwhelming majority of tourism inflow into Kashmir comes from the middle-class and working- class segments who need to be attracted to the state through comparativecost- incentives, affordable services, goad road connectivity and a wide spectrum of lodging options. “The CM splurging the taxpayer’s money along with her brother and their private guests in lavish hotels within the state and outside the state will not help in achieving these prerequisites,” the NC spokesperson said. He said that the state government should also realise that it is accountable for every single penny it spends in the name of tourism promotion in the state in view of a complete and total lack of results since the past three years. “The government should also involve houseboat owners, small and medium level hoteliers, shikarawallahs and pony-wallahs in such tourism promotion initiatives, which would provide them some aid rather than making the rich even richer,” he said.

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