Tourist huts constructed in the year 2013 at Saderkoot Payeen-a tourist village of Bandipora district have turned into ruins owing to official negligence and lack of maintenance by the tourism department of Jammu and Kashmir.
Local residents told Greater Kashmir that tourism constructed three wooden huts for tourists within Wular Catchment area but they have never been put into use.
Documents available with Greater Kashmir reveal that 3 wooden huts were constructed at a cost of 34 lakh each after Saderkoot Payeen was declared as tourist village by former Chief Minister Omar Abdullah during the inauguration of Wular Conservation Project in the year 2011.
"A total of around one crore has been spent on the construction of three wooden huts among which was a boat club, canteen and guest house for tourists. Now the three huts have been abandoned by the department due to the absence of watch and ward and lack of maintenance," said a local resident, Farooq Ahmad Dar.
"The department had claimed that after constructing these huts tourist flow to the village will increase and water sports activities will be started in Wular Lake but till date neither the officials of the department nor any tourist has visited this place or these huts," locals said.
"These huts have been turned into a hub of illegal activities owing to lack of watch and ward and proper upkeep by the department. Last month electric fans and electric fitting were stolen from these huts. These huts are now thronged by junkies and revellers at evening time," said Ghulam Muhammad Dar, another local resident.
Locals said that these huts are of no use as they are located inside dense willow nursery along the banks of Wular Lake and away from the main road. "The department not even constructed any approach road for these huts. The huts have been constructed only to drain funds from the state exchequer. We appeal the authorities to look into the matter and see where lakhs of rupees have been spent as these huts are of no use," they said.
When contacted Director Tourism Kashmir, Mahmood Ahmad Shah said that they have a permanent officer for the watch and ward of these huts in Saderkoot Payeen village and he hails from the same locality. "One of the huts has been damaged during 2014 floods and we have to rectify the damage," he added.
Regarding the approach road, Mahmood acknowledged that the huts have been constructed at a wrong place.