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Two months on, Gulmarg Gondola closed for want of maintenance

Kashmir News Service

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Srinagar, July 9: Gulmarg Gondola phase 1, a major tourist attraction for visitors has been closed for two months now for want of maintenance. The visitors are alleging that Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation has failed to maintain it during the off season. Official sources maintained that due to closure of the Gondola, the Corporation is losing a lot of revenue every day in what is considered as the peak of tourist season. “The closure of the cable car at Gulmarg is bringing disappointment to the tourists who plan their itineraries well in advance. We provide packages to the tourist and attract them for Gondola rides also. They feel disappointed when we inform them about its closure,” Muneer Ahmad a travel agent here in Rajbagh said. He said that the authorities should have started its maintenance during the lean season. “If its maintenance was due, it should have been done during off season so that tourists would enjoy its ride during peak season of this summer,” he maintained. However, the Phase 2nd from Kungdoori to Apparwath is open for commercial operations. In the absence of cable car facility upto phase 1, tourists are using All Terrain Vehicles and ponies to reach the base of second phase at Kungdoori, from where they take the Gondola ride upto Apparwath peak. There also have been complaints of tourists being overcharged by these operators. “The ponywallas are charging between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 per tourists to take them to Kungdoori, wherefrom they can reach Apparwath by booking tickets for the second phase of the cable car which is operational. All-terrain vehicles are charging between Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per trip for the same route,” said Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar who Sunday visited Gulmarg with his family. Sources said that the official rates fixed for the pony and all-terrain vehicles at Gulmarg are: Pony: Rs. 350 for first hour and Rs. 250 for every subsequent hour; all-terrain vehicle: Rs 300 for 15 minutes, Rs 1200 per hour. To reach Kungdoori by pony, it generally takes about one hour and by vehicle about half an hour. Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, Shamim Ahmad Wani when contacted said that Phase 1 of Gulmarg Gondola will be functional within a week time. “The Phase 1 of Gulmarg Gondola would be made operational within a week as the shipment of the equipment to be replaced is expected to arrive within two days,” Shamim said. The official sources said that Gulmarg Gondola is undergoing maintenance on the advices of the French Company M/S Pomagalski which is responsible for its supply, erection and installation. The company commissioned the cable car in the year 1988 advised against its operation until its maintenance is done. French engineers had visited Gulmarg and sought the replacement of Hub and Shaft of these lifts,” said one of the officials of JK Cable Corporation. It is to mention here that the work on Gulmarg Gondola Project (Phase-I and Phase-II) was taken up for execution by the J&K Government through Department of Tourism in 1987.Kungdoori & Apparwath are 2 major attractions for Gulmarg Gondola riders.


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Non-NC governments in J&K weakened State’s Special Status: Omar

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Beerwah, Jan 16 : Jammu and Kashmir National Conference Vice President Omar Abdullah on Wednesday said that state’s special status was tampered with whenever NC remains away from the power corridors of the state.

While speaking to a gathering of party workers at a one day party convention in Beerwah constituency he said that non-NC governments in J&K have proved detrimental to the special status of state. “The basic structure of the state was entirely obliterated by the opportunistic forces that got a field day because of our absence. From 1953 to 1974, 37 amendments were made to the state constitution making a pale shadow of what it used to be before 1953,” he said.

Omar said the very identity of our state is facing an onslaught from all sides and the severity of the situation demands a strong mandated government of National Conference that will put up a strong front for safeguarding our special position. “Prime Minister Narender Modi insulted Late Mufti Syed in an open public platform. This would have impossible in a scenario if PDP had the numbers to run the government on its own. We have never seen such a thing happening in other states, where a sitting chief minister was publically humiliated,” he said adding that primary reason for that was a fractured mandate compounded with the fact that other alliance partners are always bound by central whip of party, which severely affects the working and maneuverability of government.

 

Omar said, “Coalition governments in J&K has proved detrimental to state’s interests and that the need of the hour is to have a strong nucleus to carry forward the agenda of peace, development and reconciliation.”

Among others Political Adviser to Omar Abdullah Tanvir Sadiq, Prof Abdul Majeed Mattoo, Muhammad Ibrahim Mir, Mirwaiz Central Kashmir Molvi Lateefullah, and Muhammad Amin Banday were also present on the occasion.

Omar asserted that National Conference is the only party with a clear road map to address internal and external dimensions of J&K.

Later Omar Abdullah visited many areas of the constituency amidst heavy snowfall. He made stopovers at various places where people apprised him about the issues concerning the constituency. He gave them a patient hearing and promised all possible help.

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Governor’s statement on Operation All Out far from reality: Joint Hurriyat

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Srinagar, Jan 16:Joint Hurriyat  comprising Syed Ali Geelani, Mirwaiz Umar Farooq and Muhammad Yasin Malik has termed the recent assertions of Governor Satya Pal Malik that “there was nothing like Operation All-Out” as far from reality and truth and stated that Home Minister Rajnath Singh and Indian army chief General Bipin Rawat have time and again claimed that anti-militancy operations in Jammu and Kashmir were being carried out under “Operation All-Out.”

The leadership in a statement issued  asked, “If it isn’t Operation All Out then what term would Governor like to give to daily cordon and search operations (CASO) conducted in South, North and Central Kashmir even in such harsh winter when youth are chased and killed while homes are blown up, booking any Kashmiri including youth activists leaders under draconian PSAs and shifting them to jails in and outside the state, confining resistance leaders to homes or jails arbitrarily at will and curbing their space and to connect with people especially those that are killed. Even Kashmiri students studying outside are harassed and targeted”.

Joint Hurriyat said that there are footprints of Indian army and other forces in every nook and corner of the Valley and genuine dissent and people’s voice regarding their sentiment is muzzled forcibly while every peaceful political space and activity is barred or foiled by the state through its military might.

 

They said that resistance leadership is confined to their homes for months and years together and that the “ultimate repression” is on full display across Kashmir, especially since past three years. “In fact, an all-out assault has been launched on all fronts including the judiciary to quell people’s aspirations and challenge our very existence as a nation,” they said.

“Militarization of the valley and unbridled powers given to forces under black laws especially AFSPA is the main reason behind the worst form of state aggression in Kashmir,” the leaders said.

The leadership said that Rajnath Singh and General Bipin Rawats claim that 200 armed youth are active in Kashmir; seven lakh Indian soldiers are present here. “What justification is there to keep over seven lakh forces in Kashmir to fight this minuscule number, except exert control over people by force?”

Joint Hurriyat said as per the figures available with the resistance camp, 2018 witnessed worst ever rights violations in Kashmir in recent past as 355 armed youth and 161 civilians were killed. “If this isn’t that operation all-out, then what is it?” they asked.

The leadership said that in last year, 4524 civilians especially youth were injured with lethal pellets while as the eyesight of 724 youth was snatched as pellets ruptured their eyes. “How can GoI justify this all?” the leadership questioned.

It said that the GoI’s targeting of the state subject law and article 35-A in a series of petitions lodged in Supreme Court in a bid to change the disputed status of the State is another form of this operation.

Meanwhile, the leadership said that as the hearing in 35-A is slated for January in the Supreme Court, the JRL is in constant touch with various sections of society that includes civil society, traders, academics religious groups, political parties, employees and other sections and a joint program will be announced as the date for hearing is announced.

The leadership said that entire Kashmir in unison will fight every single bid aimed at changing the disputed nature and the demography of the Muslim majority state

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To protect JK’s identity, we have to remain united: Farooq Abdullah

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Srinagar, Jan 16: Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President Dr. Farooq Abdullah on Wednesday asserted that the choice of the people in the forth coming elections will decide their future.

While addressing a meet of party functionaries, workers at Barthana, Batamallo he said, “The state is faced with a critical situation. We are caught between devil and deep sea. And at this time the choice of the people will act as a pointer towards their future,” adding, “We have to show unity amongst ourselves to illustrate how passionate we are about our identity,” he said.

Asserting that there is no substitute to democracy and that in a democracy each life matters, he said, “People are yearning for development and peace. I am sure that with Omar in the forefront of the government, the state will be bequeathed with much needed peace and stability,” adding that safeguarding the interests of the state and its people forms the core of National Conference.

 

Dr Farooq also paid obeisance at the shrine of Shah Wali Sahab (RA). He prayed for peace and prosperity of the state.

General Secretary Haji Ali Muhammad Sagar, senior leader Choudhary Muhammad Ramzan, Central Secretary Irfan Ahmad Shah, District president Peer Afaq, Provincial Secretary Showkat Mir and Advisor to Dr Farooq Mushtaq Guroo were also present on the occasion.

Dr Farooq while addressing the workers, who had gathered there braving the chill and incessant snowfall said, “Sher-e-Kashmir always wanted India and Pakistan to live in bonhomie, and that they always wanted all the traditional road connections to be resumed for the benefit of divided families,” adding that National Conference has always been the votary of peace between India and Pakistan.

Dr Farooq sought support of people for ex MLA Batamaloo Irfan Shah. “Service and sacrifice has been the motto of our party and I believe the Irfan shah including our other party functionaries will continue to work for the people keeping in view with the legacy of the party and its founding members,” he said.

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