After witnessing unprecedented tourist inflow during summers, Bhaderwah Development Authority (BDA) and those associated with tourism were eyeing and expecting similar response in winters and were particularly upbeat after a good snowfall, but alleged pathetic attitude of the concerned authorities to open vital roads of the valley have turned the situation to be a damp squib for the budding tourism industry.
BDA in general and private tour players in particular were upbeat about the winter season and felt that it would bring in some good fortunes for the tourism industry. Though Padri, Guldanda and Jai Ghati received good snowfall last week, but the preparations and efforts of the locals went in vain as inter-state Bhaderwah-Chamba and Bhaderwah-Basholi roads were not cleared by the concerned authorities.
The locals alleged step-motherly treatment to Bhadarwah by the government and concerned authorities, as even after a week of clear weather, the authorities have failed to even initiate the restoration of the roads to these tourist destinations.
Fresh snowfall in the valley, including the tourist resort in Jai Valley and Padri meadow located on the Bhaderwah-Chamba road, came as a blessing and the BDA had planned to host a 'Snow Carnival', but all programmes got canceled due to closure of roads to all tourist destinations.
The locals said, "We are suffering a lot due to the blockage of roads and our hopes have crashed down, as tourists are canceling their advance bookings."
"After a gap of 3 months, the valley recorded snowfall, but it is unfortunate that tourists cannot enjoy the snow in this beautiful valley as all the roads leading to tourist spots are closed for traffic, due to non clearance of snow," said Publicity Officer Bhadarwah Development Authority Sajid Nisar Khan.
"I request the concerned authorities to clear all the approaching roads to various tourist destinations, so that the tourists can visit and enjoy the beauty of this valley in winters as well," Khan added.
Meanwhile hoteliers, guest house owners and tour operators are demanding that all roads should be opened immediately, like in Gulmarg and Pahalgam.
President Travel Trade Association Bhadarwah Tariq Choudhary said that we have ample scope for winter Tourism here. "Jai valley and Padri can be developed as major destinations for skiing, sledging and other snow sports, but unfortunately due to closed roads all our efforts to make Bhadarwah an all weather tourism destination remain to be a distant dream," he said.
It is notable to mention here that during the previous summer, Bhadarwah witnessed 5 lakh tourists.