We don’t want to see chaos
DR. H. SURYA PRAKASH RAO
We had the pleasure of visiting Gulmarg and Sonmarg located close to Srinagar in the state of Jammu and Kashmir as a part of our annual holiday. These are the places where Nature expressed itself in the most beautiful form. However, their management by the administration is far from being helpful to tourists on whose patronage the local economy rests.
Gulmarg is famous for Gondola ride for taking a look at the snow capped mountains from close proximity. On the day we visited more than three thousand tourists were jostling with each other to get a chance to take the ride. But due to lack of coordination in issuing tickets, timing of the ride and number of cars, there was utter chaos. We waited for four hours and returned without taking the ride. One can book a ticket online, but at the spot one has to get boarding pass for which there is so much hustle. Tickets should be issued at the time of the ride, rest places developed for those who have to wait for the ride, and vehicles should be restricted in their movement around the ticketing area. Trekking paths should be developed for those who love adventure. This way the experience of the tourist would be truly memorable.
Similarly, we experienced utter chaos in Sonmarg. Sonmarg is famous for the glacier which feeds to the river Sindhu. To reach the glacier one stops at a point which is about two kilometers away. From that point one can easily walk to the mountain base. But, touts try their best to exploit innocent tourists by offering horse back ride or drop by a vehicle at exorbitant prices. Black smoke bellowing from diesel vehicles with loud horns disturbs the tranquillity. Exploitative horse rides, glacier melting wooden sledges and unregulated tourists were competing with each other to destroy the Mother Nature and the glacier. There were shops right on the vicinity of the glacier to sell plastic cover packed eatables in addition to ubiquitous tea. Most of the plastic and food waste ends up destroying the tranquil surroundings forever. Best way to enjoy the nature there was to walk in leisure, rest occasionally, and not touch the glacier at all. However, there was no walking path for able bodied tourists. For their part, administrative personnel appear to be happy in collecting toll from every vehicle in the name of development of the area. My Kashmiri friends in fact were highly apologetic of the government and administration. I suggest complete overhaul of the system in both these finest parts of our country for better experience of all concerned and also for preserving nature for generations to come.
(Dr. H. Surya Prakash Rao is Professor, Department of Chemistry and Dean, School of Physical, Chemical and Applied Sciences in
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jun 2012 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Wed, 20 Jun 2012 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Thu, 21 Jun 2012 00:00:00 IST
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