Anantnag: A ski lift in Pahalgam, aimed at promoting winter tourism in the area, has been left defunct by the authorities for around three years now despite incurring crores in its construction.
The lift located around Circuit Road in main town Pahalgam, which takes skiers up to the spot where they ski down from, was constructed in the initial years of the last decade and was inaugurated amid much fanfare in 2016.
“Crores of Rupees were spent on the making of the lift and the irony is that it remained functional for only one or two seasons before being abandoned by the officials of the Cable Car Corporation,” sources in the Tourism department said.
They said that the sole purpose of the lift was to attract more tourists to Pahalgam during winters and promote the place as a winter sports destination.
“It’s not that the tourists and winter sport enthusiasts do not come to Pahalgam. They do but are left dejected by the sorry state of affairs here,” the sources said,” And as a result the aim of developing Pahalgam as a winter tourist destination remains unfulfilled for now with no progress in sight,”
Kashmir Reader talked to some sports enthusiasts in south Kashmir who said that they have to travel all the way to Gulmarg to get their fix on winter sports.
“We have such a place here, locally and it is sad that the authorities do not care to take care of it. Pahalgam has the potential to be developed into a winter sports destination, but such apathy by the government officials is what is keeping it from realising its full potential,” Burhan Ahmad, a skiing enthusiast told Kashmir Reader.
This reporter talked to Mushtaq Simnani, the Chief Executive Officer of Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) who acknowledged that the ski lift has been lying defunct since three years now.
“I have written to the concerned officials but there has been no headway into it,” he said, adding that the snow was enough for skiing activities to be resumed in Pahalgam this year.
General Manager of the Cable Car Corporation Malik Reyaz could not be contacted as his phone was switched off.
Sarmad Hafeez, Special Secretary Tourism to the government said that he has passed on instructions to make the ski lift functional. “But I was told that there is not much snow in Pahalgam. The ski lifts in Gulmarg are also closed in case there is less snow, for the fact that the lifts used here are drag lifts and need more snow than this,” he said.
Hafeez, however, maintained that he will look further into the matter. “Now that you have brought this into my notice. I will definitely inquire further and see what can be done,” he added.