Srinagar, Apr 8: Being a prime tourist destination, Jammu and Kashmir still lacks in proper tourism infrastructure, the poor state of which can be gauged from a recent government order here.
Last week, the government ordered installation of mobile toilet points on the 300 kilometre long Srinagar-Jammu highway and on the approach roads to the key tourist destinations in the valley.
“In order to maintain cleanliness and for providing basic amenities to the tourists/public during the upcoming tourist season in the State, it is hereby ordered that mobile toilets/bio toilets shall be installed to cater to the needs of the tourists/public. The toilets so installed shall be made available for use of tourists/public free of cost,” the order reads.
While the step may sound a positive one, it makes one ask a vital question: Where was the government till now?
The highway is the only all-weather road connectivity between Kashmir and the rest of the world. For decades, commuters – tourists, locals and government forces – have been using it for their journeys in and out of the valley.
The government should have thought of providing the basic facility on this vital road years ago.
While states like Himachal Pradesh, Rajasthan and Goa are far ahead in terms of the tourist infrastructure, J&K is now planning to install the toilet points on a road that works like a gateway for the tourists heading to the valley.
The fresh diktat by the government asks Directors of Tourism, Kashmir and Jammu, to install mobile toilets after every 30 km on the highway.
The roads the Directors have been asked to cover include: Jammu City to Banihal along the highway and from Jammu city to Katra town and Pir Ki Gali via Mughal road. Banihal to Srinagar along the National Highway and from Peer Ki Gali to Srinagar.
Besides, major tourist destinations from Srinagar to Sonamarg, Srinagar to Gulmarg and from Srinagar to Pahalgam too are included in the order.
An official in tourism department said that due to the lack of mobile toilets at various spots, tourists relieve themselves off in open places.
Ask Director Tourism, Kashmir Nisar Wani, he says “better late than never.”
“This is a fact that we don’t have adequate infrastructure but we are adding to the facility and we will add more to it at every point in time,” he told The Kashmir Monitor.
Wani said that till now there were “normal washrooms but now they are going to install bio-digester which is suitable for environment as well”.
He said that the cost will be estimated after doing recce on the area and surveying the number of mobile toilets to be installed.
Mehbooba hits out at PM over nuclear bombs remark
‘Pakistan has not kept their for Eid either’
Srinagar, April 22: PDP president Mehbooba Mufti on Monday hit out at Prime Minister Narendra Modi for bringing nuclear bombs in the political discourse, saying if India has not kept the nuclear bomb for Diwali, Pakistan has not kept its for Eid.
During a rally in Rajasthan’s Barmer Sunday, Modi had said India is no more afraid of nuclear threats of Pakistan.
“Otherwise every other day Pakistan used to give nuclear threats. What do we have? Have we kept it for ‘Diwali’? (Warna aay din nuclear button hai, ye kehte the. Hamare paas kya hai? Ye diwali ke liye rakha hai kya),” he asserted.
Mufti tweeted, “If India hasn’t kept nuclear bomb for Diwali, it’s obvious Pakistan’s not kept theirs for Eid either. Don’t know why PM Modi must stoop so low & reduce political discourse to this.”
PDP demands more NEET centres in Kashmir
Srinagar, April 22: Peoples Democratic Party (PDP) Monday demanded adequate number of exam centres for NEET aspirants in Kashmir so that the hardships they face by traveling outside Valley are avoided.
In a statement issued to media, PDP General Secretary Ghulam Nabi Lone Hanjura said that in view of the highway ban, inclement weather, dilapidated condition of national highway and sky rocketing airfares, the NEET aspirants are made to face immense hardships for appearing in the exams.
Hanjura said that keeping in view the predicament being witnessed by the student community at large in Kashmir Valley; it is high time for the Ministry of Human Resource Development to allot more number of NEET exam centres in Kashmir Valley so that without any hindrance Kashmiri students could appear in the exams.
Two engineers of PDD suspended in B’pora for dereliction of duty
Bandipora, April 22: An Assistant Engineer (AE) and a Junior Engineer (JE) of Power Development Department (PDD) were on Monday suspended for dereliction of duty and putting general public to inconvenience in north Kashmir district of Bandipora, official sources said this afternoon.
They said the engineers were suspended after they failed to adhere to the orders of Deputy Commissioner’s office and put the public to avoidable inconvenience in Ahstengoo village of Bandipora.
They said the inhabitants of village Ashtangoo staged a protest and blocked Bandipora-Sopore Road today against PDD for not replacing the power transformer. However, the Deputy Commissioner (DC), Bandipora Shahbaz Ahmad Mirza directed both the engineers telephonically to reach on spot and sort-out the issue with the agitators who had blocked the road.
However, the engineers did not adhere to the orders of this office and put the public to avoidable inconvenience. Later it was also found that the concerned JE was absent from duties without any leave as confirmed from the Executive Engineer.