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‘Ignored’ Char-Chinari worries tourism players

Srinagar, Feb 23: Char-Chinari, which used to be a major tourist attraction in the centre of Dal Lake, is losing its glory, much to the annoyance of tourism players.
Located in ‘Boed Dal’, the constructed island, also called ‘Roape Laenk’, is characterised by its majestic Chinars trees at the corners.
Vice President, Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Association (KHRA), Mushtaq Ahmad, said that it was quite unfortunate to see Char-Chinari in “the sorry state”.
“At present, the island is having two dead Chinars, two old, and two new ones, which are quite small. The base has been badly affected by the water,” he said.
Suggesting renovation, Ahmad said Char-Chinari should be restored to its original form.
President Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF), Dr Abdul Majeed, said that Char-Chinari has become a “deadwood”.
“In our childhood, we used to take Shikara to the island, have tea there, and then go to Hazratbal shrine for prayers,” he recollected.
Terming it as an important part of heritage, he said that tourists in good number used to visit it.
“When it was in a good condition, a number of tourists used to visit it. But now, hardly any tourists go there. It is one of the major tourist attractions in the Srinagar city and needs to be preserved,” he said.
Hotelier, Javeed Burza said the authorities have failed to preserve it.
“The authorities shall replace the dead trees, and give Char-Chinari a facelift. They shall bring it to its past glory,” he said.
He asked for promotion of tourism at highest level.
“Recently, we had a meeting of tour operators at Mumbai. The state was represented by a Deputy Director. Instead of him, a higher official or tourism minister shall have made it to the meeting,” he said.
Director Tourism, Mehmood Shah said they have been maintaining Char-Chinari.
“Char-Chinari comes under Floriculture department. Bio-toilets and outer walls are managed by us. Two Chinars are damaged and two are in a good condition. We recently constructed decks, landing point and take off points,” he said.
Director Floricuture, Mathura Masoom, said they have been planting the saplings.
“The department would plant more saplings. More needs to be done. We will be doing earth filling, and make turf. This summer, people will feel the difference,” she said.