Poor cellular services take sheen off Gulmarg
Tourists, locals aghast; Govt assures action
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Oct 28: At a time when the State Government is making efforts to encourage tourists from across the globe to visit famous ski-resort Gulmarg, the poor cellular services in the hill station is taking a heavy toll on its immense tourism potential. Though the State Government has been repeatedly asking the cellular companies particularly the Government of India entity Bharat Sanchar Nigam Ltd (BSNL) which has largest customer base in the Valley to improve services in the ski-resort, however, they have failed to take any measure.
Officials said on an average nearly 3,000 tourists’ presently daily visit Gulmarg which boasts of having World highest and Asia’s longest cable car Gondola. However, the poor cellular service has become a major source of inconvenience for the tourists and locals. Besides BSNL, the locals said the services of private cellular operators including Airtel were not up to the mark.
The subscribers mostly tourists complain that as soon as they reach foothills of Gulmarg near Tangmarg, cellular signal of most of the operators becomes weak. “Even if one is able to connect a call, either the voice breaks or there is cross connection. Cellular signal instantly disappears in Gulmarg. It is ironical that the cellular companies have failed to improve its services in the famed ski-resort which is thronged by foreign tourists and professional skiers in winter,” said an official posted in Gulmarg.
“The erratic cellular services played spoilsport to our holidays in Gulmarg. We have been to many tourist destinations across the country but in Gulmarg the cellular service is too weak. Despite having roaming facility, our mobiles could not receive signal in the resort,” said a group of tourists from Maharashtra.
Pertinently, Gulmarg is scheduled to host national and international global ski events in coming months. “Gulmarg is our State’s show window to the World. However, the cellular services in Gulmarg are totally unreliable as the towers don’t have alternate power facility for providing round the clock service. This has affected our business besides causing inconvenience to the tourists,” said Asif Burza, a hotelier of Gulmarg.
Taking cognizance of the complaints, the Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA) earlier this year had shot a letter to the BSNL asking it to improve its services in the resort.
“A number of visitors visiting Gulmarg have complained of poor unsatisfactory services of BSNL phone at Gulmarg. You are as such requested to kindly direct your staff to upgrade the BSNL service, so that the visitors, visiting Gulmarg do not face any difficulty in contacting their kith and kin at their place,” the Chief Executive Officer of GDA, writes in a letter (GDA.2011/1890-94 dated March 22, 2011 to the General Manager BSNL Srinagar.
“Providing communication facility to the tourists is one of our priorities. We are ready to provide space to the cellular operators if they wish to install more towers in the resort,” the CEO GDA Mehmood Ahmad Shah told Greater Kashmir.
The General Manager BSNL (Kashmir) V K Chopra assured that the Nigam will improve its services in Gulmarg. “We will do network optimizing analysis in Gulmarg and subsequently upgrade our services. We are committed to provide quality cellular services to our valued subscribers,” Chopra told Greater Kashmir.
“Poor cellular services in Gulmarg hampers its image of being one of the best tourist destinations. The State Government on priority should impress upon the cellular providers to improve their services at the earliest so that tourists don’t suffer any inconvenience,” said Nasir Shah, general secretary of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Alliance,
The Minister of Tourism Nawang Rigzin Jora said Government will take up the matter with cellular companies.
“We are leaving no stone unturned to promote Gulmarg as one of our best tourist destinations. We want to ensure that tourists get all the required facilities while their stay in the State. This is a matter of concern that Gulmarg has poor mobile services. I will take up the matter with the concerned cellular service providers and ensure that the problem is rectified at the earliest,” Jora said.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Oct 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 28 Oct 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 29 Oct 2011 00:00:00 IST
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Tourists, locals aghast; Govt assures action
ARIF SHAFI WANI
Srinagar, Oct 28: At a time when the State Government is making efforts to encourage tourists from across the globe to visit famous ski-resort Gulmarg, the poor cellular services in the hill station is More
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