Built in 2012, three huts in Bandipora’s ‘tourist village’ in ruins

Built in 2012, three huts in Bandipora’s ‘tourist village’ in ruins
GK Photo

Three tourist huts built at a cost of around Rs 1 crore seven years ago in Saderkoot Payeen village of Bandipora district have turned into ruins due to official negligence.

The huts were built after Saderkoot Payeen was declared a tourist village by former chief minister Omar Abdullah during the inauguration of Wular Conservation Project in 2011.

 Residents of thevillage said that these huts have got badly damaged due to the negligence andlack of maintenance by the tourism department as well as the localadministration.

 "The departmentcompleted the construction of three wooden huts in 2012 but they were never putinto use, speaking volumes about the lackadaisical approach of the authorities.They have even failed to maintain these huts worth lakhs of rupees. This isvery unfortunate on part of the tourism department as well as the districtadministration," said Aijaz Ahmad Dar, a local resident.

 According to officialdetails, three wooden huts were constructed at a cost of Rs 34 lakh each whichincluded boat club, Jitty, and a canteen.

 "A total cost ofaround Rs 1 crore has been spent on the construction of three wooden huts amongwhich was a boat club, canteen and a Jetty-a sort of waiting hall-for tourists.The construction work was started in 2009 and was completed in 2012 by theworks division of tourism department but they are yet to hand over this to thetourism department," said an official.

 Locals said the hutshave been abandoned by the department due to the absence of watch and ward andlack of maintenance, and local administration too has failed to keep a check ondevelopmental projects like these in the district. 

"A Jetty, which was constructed alongside canteen and boatclub, got damaged in 2014 floods but the department is yet to repair it.Presently, it is in the same position as it was in 2014 after getting damageddue to floods, speaking volumes about the seriousness of the department towardsdeveloping the tourism potential of the valley," said Abdul Rashid Dar, anotherlocal resident.  

 They said that thedepartment had claimed that after constructing these huts tourist flow to thevillage will increase and water sports activities will be started in Wular Lakebut till date neither the officials of the department nor any tourist hasvisited this place or these huts.

 "These huts are incomplete ruins now. They have been turned into a hub of illegal activitiesowing to lack of watch and ward and proper upkeep by the department. Evenelectric fans and electric fitting were stolen from these huts a few monthsago. These huts are now thronged by junkies and revelers at evening time," hesaid.

 The villagers accusedthe department of draining out the funds in the name of constructing tourismhuts but in reality, the huts were never put into use and the funds spent onthe construction of these huts have literally been wasted.

They said that these huts are of no use as they are locatedinside dense willow nursery along the banks of Wular Lake and away from themain road and the department has not even constructed an approach road forthese huts.

 The villagersappealed the governor and divisional commissioner Kashmir to personally lookinto the matter and see why lakhs of rupees have been wasted as these huts areof no use.

When contacted director tourism Nisar Ahmad Wani said thathe was not aware of these huts and has no idea about it.

 Deputy commissionerBandipora, Shahbaz Ahmad Mirza said that he would look into the matter.

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