Department fails to woo tourists
BUDGAM: A tourist hut built at a project cost of Rs 57 lakh in Poshker village in central Kashmir’s Budgam district four years ago has turned into a “decrepit” structure, due to official negligence and lack of maintenance by the Tourist Department.
“The hut was built in year 2016 by the Tourist Department of Jammu and Kashmir, aiming to promote rural tourism in the valley,” locals said.
Although the department completed the construction of the wooden hut in 2017, the irony is that the hut was never put to use till date.
Besides this, local resident Beigh Tawseef said, the department has miserably failed to promote tourism with their lackadaisical approach to making the hut functional.
He added that the Tourism Department has not only failed to operate the hut over the last four years, but has also failed to maintain the structure.
Another local resident, Syed Firdous, while blaming the Tourism Department and the local administration for their shoddy approach towards maintaining the hut, said, “It was the responsibility of the department to maintain the hut, but they never did. Instead, they left it for drug peddlers.”
“The hut has been abandoned by the department due to the absence of watch and ward and lack of maintenance,” Syed said, adding, “This has raised a question mark over the department’s sincerity towards developing the tourism potential of the rural areas of Kashmir.”
The lawn of the hut is completely submerged under a few inches of mud and water, and presents a decrepit picture with its foul smell. The doors and windowpanes of the wooden structure have literally “disappeared” and have either been stolen by the people in the neighbourhood or have been broken.
Besides this, a portion of the building has also collapsed due to snowfall during the winters but has not been repaired yet. Apart from this, the ceilings and furniture have been damaged to a large extent and are awaiting official attention.
Meanwhile, locals said that the department had previously claimed that after the building’s completion, tourists from across the world will throng to the village and the economy of the surrounding area will subsequently get a boost. But till date, neither the officials of the department nor any tourists have visited this place.
“The hut that was meant to accommodate tourists is in complete ruins now and is craving the officials’ attention,” locals added.
“It has been turned into a hub of illegal activities owing to lack of watch and ward and proper upkeep by the department,” Ghulam Nabi Reshi, a senior citizen, said, adding that “the place is now thronged by drug dealers and addicts at odd times”.
He alleged that the department, instead of promoting tourism, is looking to draw a huge amount in the name of constructing tourist huts. The truth, he said, is that, this hut was never put to use and the funds spent on its construction have literally been wasted.
The villagers of Poshker have appealed to Governor Satya Paul Malik to personally look into the matter and see why the hut has not been put to use despite drawing lakhs of rupees on its name.
Meanwhile, Director Tourism Kashmir Nisar Ahmad Wane could not be contacted for his comments, despite repeated calls.