Tourists with­out phones? Hote­liers mock govt plan

The Times of India (New Delhi edition) - - Times Nation - Saleem.Pan­dit @times­group.com

Sri­na­gar: Top hote­liers and tourist bod­ies across the Val­ley have ridiculed the di­rec­tive of state gov­er­nor, SP Ma­lik, who asked the state ad­min­is­tra­tion to take down the ad­vi­sory against vis­it­ing the Val­ley even as the com­mu­ni­ca­tion block­ade re­mains in place — with no mo­bile phone and in­ter­net fa­cil­ity avail­able — since the re­vo­ca­tion of Ar­ti­cle 370 on Au­gust 5, 2019.

Ma­lik di­rected that state home de­part­ment on Mon­day to with­draw the ad­vi­sory is­sued in Au­gust ask­ing tourists to leave the Val­ley, and that tourists are wel­come from Oc­to­ber 10.

Ab­dul Rah­man Malla, a house­boat owner, scoffed at the gov­er­nor’s de­ci­sion, lift­ing the ad­vi­sory against travel to the state, say­ing: “How can they (tourists) visit Kash­mir when mo­bile phones and in­ter­net fa­cil­i­ties are shut?”

Mo­ham­mad Yaqoob, an­other shikara owner, pointed to the de­serted Dal Lake and said the tourism in­dus­try of Kash­mir has suf­fered a dent and that it may take up to 3-4 years to heal.

“We are caged with­out mo­bile phones, as our trade is now largely de­pen­dent on the in­ter­net fa­cil­ity for in­quiries and book­ings from peo­ple who in­tend to visit the Val­ley,” Mus­taq Ah­mad Dar, a travel agent, says.

Ase­nior po­lice of­fi­cer also ad­mit­ted that it is ridicu­lous to in­vite tourists to the Val­ley with­out open­ing up fa­cil­i­ties like mo­bile tele­phony and in­ter­net. Mo­ham­mad Ashraf, a travel agent, said the cur­rent tourist sea­son in Kash­mir is over for now and that tourists, do­mes­tic and for­eign, who love to visit the Val­ley in the win­ters would have to be­gin book­ings but, with com­mu­ni­ca­tion block­ade still in place, even this was not pos­si­ble.

TOI

Va­cant house­boats moored in mid­dle of Dal lake on Tues­day

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