ASIF MUHAMMAD BILAL
SRINAGAR: Perched atop the Kohi-i-Maraan hill overlooking Srinagar is the Hari Parbat fort. It is one of the best tourist places in J&K. People from far off places visit this historical place, thereby providing great boost to tourism in Kashmir. But government’s claim of making Hari Parbat fort cynosure of Srinagar city has fallen flat as there ineptness comes to limelight when visitors show resentment due to lack of many facilities like refreshment point, drinking water, medical facilities and other basic needs.
Not only that, a major embarrassment comes to government when tourists complain about lack of toilets. The government has launched a India wide campaign “Swach Bharat Mission”, unfortunately, it has completely failed at Hari Parbat Fort.
The place has legacy to attract many tourists from different places of the world, especially during summer season.
However, visitors are anguished over lack of basic facilities at the fort and urge the authorities to make the necessary arrangements.
“There should be a refreshment point and toilets in the fort. Visitors have to travel up on the top of the hill, making them feel exhausted, but there is no availability of drinking water here,” said a tourist A K Das form Calcutta.
“There is no medical facility available for the visitors. God forbid, if any mishap happens what will a visitor do at that time?” he added.
A security personnel stationed on the fort said that many visitors demand drinking water from them as there is no availability up on the fort. “There were many instances where visitors complained about lack of toilet facility but I was not able to answer them. Although some toilets are present but they are defunct this time,” he said.
“The government should take notice of the issue and make necessary arrangements for the convenience of the tourists,” he demanded.
A local visitor, Rouf Ahmad said, “There must be some sort of improvement, although cleanliness and sanitation is good but washrooms must be constructed so that visitors won’t face inconvenience.”
“There should be women police at the check post. When a soldier checked our personal belongings we felt embarrassed at that time. It becomes great incontinence for us,” rued a female vistor Gulfam.
Although a sign board has been installed inside the fort that reads ‘refreshment’ but when we went there, it was all hoax,” she further added.
A group of visitors urged Ministor of Tourism to take notice of these issues and sort them out at priority so that more tourists will come and relish the beauty of this divine place.
When contacted Deputy Director, Tourism Department, Sarfaraz Ahmad said “we have already built cafeteria up there which is dysfunctional so far. We have convened a meeting regarding that and assure you that it will work soon.” Regarding the toilets, he said, “We will sort all issues on priority.”
“We can’t build anything inside the fort as it is an archeological site, and we will try to make all facilities available without harming the monument,” he added.