Grubby Gulmarg doesn’t attract anymore
Neglect Turns Tourist Resort Into Dumping Ground
Gulmarg, Nov 13: Normally one does not expect a tourist destination, which is thronged by hundreds of domestic and foreign visitors throughout the year, to be dirty. But in Gulmarg, sanitation seems to be a disregarded concern.
A ride along the 16-kms-long Tangmarg-Gulmarg road indicates the level of negligence that the world famous resort is facing at the hands of the Gulmarg ‘Development’ Authority and its Municipality.
Heaps of garbage and polythene are seen all along the road, worrying visitors. “It (sanitation) is not the priority of the Municipality. The visitors, mostly foreigners, often express dismay about the cleanliness of the place, but there is nobody to address the issue,” said Javaid, who runs a restaurant in Tangmarg.
He said the Municipality officials neither assess the sanitation issues nor address the same for betterment of the place. “With regard to sanitation, the place certainly needs a substantial facelift. Something has to be done to ensure that garbage is not left scattered and use of polythene is completely banned in Gulmarg,” Javaid said.
Interestingly, it is the garbage and polythene that greet you as you enter the Gulmarg Bowl. At several places, the garbage hasn’t been lifted for days together, with foul smell emanating from it. At other places, polythene irks you. “Everywhere you will find hoardings mentioning that polythene is banned in Gulmarg. But I can say with surety that there is no ban on its usage here. It is all hoax,” said owner of a prominent hotel here, insisting not to be named. “If you go around, you can observe hoteliers, restaurant owners and people using polythene like anything.”
Another trouble, according to locals, is the absence of a proper sanitation system in Gulmarg. “There are a number of hoteliers who ensure dumping of garbage at the approved places. But there are those who dump the wastes wherever they like,” said Shafiq, a restaurant owner here. “Even in the Gulmarg vehicle stand area, there is no system for drainage and sewerage. This is telling upon the glory of the place. So the hoteliers and restaurant owners have to be asked to ensure proper disposal of wastes.”
There is yet another area of concern: the ponnywalas. “There are scores of horses roaming around Gulmarg every day. Earlier the ponnywalas would use bags for collecting of the waste from horses. But this time no such mechanism is there. This is one of the reasons why tourists have to move around Gulmarg with their nose covered,” Shafiq said. “It would have been better if the GDA or Muncipality provided the ponnywalas with the bags so that the Gulmarg Bowl doesn’t look like a dumping ground.”
There is also a need of putting in place the dust and garbage collection bins. “The GDA must conduct a check of the entire Gulmarg area and see what needs to be done to improve the sanitation of the area. This has to be a prime concern for the officials because it doesn’t go well with a tourist destination to appear shabby. Before going anywhere, people certainly inquire about the cleanliness of that place. This is mostly true with foreign tourists who never compromise on health and hygiene,” Javaid said.
Surprisingly, the minor fire in Gulmarg Bowl is adding to its mess. There seems to be nobody to look into the issue of people burning down wooden pieces amid dense trees. “The camp fire has to be allowed only in the areas where it is permissible. But here everyone burns down wooden pieces or leftover of rotten trees in the evening. This leads to apprehensions of forest fire,” Javaid added.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Nov 2010 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 12 Nov 2010 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 13 Nov 2010 00:00:00 IST
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