Residents demand restoration of Uri town’s old glory

Call for tapping its tourism potential, dry fruit trade

Uri, Aug 30: The residents of Uri in north Kashmir’s Baramulla district Monday urged the administration to restore the glory of the Uri town, once a main business hub of J&K.

The locals said that Uri has tremendous potential for tourism including religious tourism.

They said that the area could turn into a hub of dry fruit business as well as forest herbs.

“Our area has tremendous potential in so many things, especially in border tourism and religious tourism. Besides, if the administration takes interest in the dry fruit sector, Uri can emerge as a business hub of walnut trade,” said Mushtaq Ahmad, of Uri town.

Muhammad Ashraf, a retired teacher, said that Uri area attracts attention only when there is ceasefire violation and killings.

He said beyond that no one was concerned about how to change the lives of the people of the place which once used to be a hub of economic activity across J&K.

The area has some important shrines including the famous Ziyarat Hazrat Babab Farid, Ziyarat of Peer Masood Shah Ghazi and Peer Gafoor Shah Sahab.

The area also boasts of some ancient monuments of the times of Pandavas like Datta Mandhir and Pandav temple.

“Such important and revered places, if developed, can boost the local economy,” said Riyaz Ahmad of Lagama, Uri.

Feroz Ahmad, a local businessman, while expressing displeasure over the neglect of the area said that it was worth visiting, especially some places close to the Line of Control.

He said that the authorities need to concentrate on border tourism.

“Some of the villages along the LoC are worth seeing. People across J&K have an urge to visit such places but the administration needs to facilitate the visitors and make their visits hassle free,” Ahmad said.

Besides tourism potential, the area is rich in dry fruits, especially walnuts.

If developed on modern lines, the walnut trade could change the fortune of the area.

Mushtaq Ahmad, a walnut trader said that the walnuts grown in Uri are rich in texture but the traditional way of walnut production needs to be replaced by modern one so walnut production increases manifold.

“The officials of the Horticulture department should bring awareness among the locals about the grafted walnut and high-density walnut orchards. If people of the area are encouraged for such a shift backed by some scientific approach, it can really change the fortunes of the people here,” he said.

The Uri area during the pre-partition days used to be of significance in terms of trade and was the only connectivity to the rest of the world.

The pre-partition Uri was spread over 213 sq km.

More than 50 percent population of the area belongs to Pahari tribe while the remaining population comprises Gujjar and Bakerwal tribes while some are Kashmiri speaking people.

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