After drawing flak, the authorities in Kashmir have withdrawn an order directing the hotels in Gulmarg to cancel bookings to accommodate participants of Khelo India National Winter Games.
The week-long games are scheduled to start from February 25.
Quoting the Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, news agency KNO reported that no new order has been issued to cancel the bookings in Gulmarg. "We have not issued any order, and earlier order has been cancelled, however, it is a big event for which rooms are required for athletes and officials," he said.
The authorities in Baramulla district had earlier ordered cancellation of hotel bookings in the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg to accommodate participants of Khelo India National Winter Games.
The order issued by the additional deputy commissioner, Baramulla, drew sharp reaction from the National Conference (NC) which termed it as a mindless application of government writ".
The authorities have asked hoteliers to accommodate athletes and officials and cancel pre-bookings of tourists for the February 25-March 3 period.
In a letter to the sub-divisional magistrate, Gulmarg, the additional deputy commissioner asked him to ensure that boarding and lodging facilities are provided to the athletes and officials during the event.
"Further, all pre-bookings, if any, on this account may be cancelled," the letter read.
"The games are a welcome addition to our calendar but its mindless application of government writ when the games become a reason to cancel hotel bookings & inconvenience tourists who have booked flights & made their plans well in advance," tweeted NC Vice-President Omar Abdullah.
Another NC leader Tanvir Sadiq wondered what sort of tourism policy was it to force cancellation of hotel bookings.
"Khelo India games are all well & good but why at the cost of our regular tourists? What sort of tourism promotion policy is this where the government forces bookings to be cancelled? Spare a thought for those people who booked rooms weeks ago only to be told they aren't welcome, Sadiq said in a tweet.