Govt failed to keep Sonamarg open during winter: Mian Altaf

‘People dependent on tourism disappointed’
File Photo of Main Altaf
File Photo of Main Altaf

Srinagar, Jan 7: Senior National Conference (NC) leader Mian Altaf Thursday expressed his dissent about the closure of the Sonamarg health resort and said that the government despite its claims and assurances had failed to keep Sonamarg open during winter.

A statement of NC issued here quoted Altaf as saying that had the government been able to keep Sonamarg open for tourism it could have not only promoted tourism at the health resort but also helped locals of Kangan to Sarbal, who were dependent on the tourism sector, earn their livelihood.

He said that the government including the administration, tourism, and other departments had assured that Sonamarg would be kept open during the winter months so that the visitors coming from different parts of the country could visit the place.

Altaf said that after the snowfall on Wednesday, Sonamarg was cut off with no road access and any basic facilities like electricity and water supply.

He said many tourists who had come to visit Sonamarg had to return disappointed and that it had also affected the livelihood of hundreds of locals dependent on the tourism sector and those working as labourers, sledge riders, ponywalas besides the shopkeepers and the hoteliers.

Altaf said that the government had also assured and announced that the escape tunnel of Z-Morh Tunnel at Shitkari Sonamarg would be used during winter to keep Sonamarg open during the winter and heavy snowfall however that too had not been done.

He urged the government to gear up and ensure connectivity to Sonamarg and make arrangements for providing all the required facilities for the people there.

Altaf urged the Secretary Tourism, Director Tourism, Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, and Sonamarg Development Authority to take necessary steps in this regard.

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