Opened for public after 4 months, Sonamarg sans electricity, water

Lack of electricity, water and other basic facilities at famed tourist resort Sonamarg, which was opened for the public after four months of winter closure, has irked the visitors and the local business community alike.

“Sonamarg belies government claims about revival of tourism in Kashmir. Though opening of road is good thing but this place lacks all required civic amenities,” said president Hoteliers Association Sonamarg, Farooq Ahmed Hafiz

He said besides electricity and water, the telephone connectivity in the area is also yet to be restored causing inconvenience to the traders as well as the tourists.

The hoteliers based at this famed tourist resort also rued the order of district administration of not allowing any tourist for night stay at Sonamarg till the electricity is restored.

“It is unfortunate that the administration has issued such order. As per the PDD officials it will take more than 10-15 days to restore electricity at Sonamarg. Should there be no tourist stays till then when all most all the hotels at the resort have their own power generators,” Hafiz asked, urging the deputy commissioner Ganderbal to reconsider the decision of not allowing any tourist for night stay at the resort.

The hoteliers have urged authorities to restore basic facilities including electricity, water supply and communication system at Sonamarg immediately on war footing.

” We get few months of business here during summers, adding that the road opening was delayed by near about a month and now the restoration of the basic facilities is taking time that eventually hampers the business,” a local hotelier said.

The road leading to Sonamarg was officially thrown open last week for traffic after remaining closed for winters from early December.

However as per the directions from district administration Ganderbal the traffic movement on the Gagangeer-Sonamrag stretch is allowed from 11AM to 3PM only till further orders and no vehicle would be allowed to move further from Sonamarag besides there are orders about not allowing any tourist for night stay at Sonamarg as of now.

Assistant Executive Engineer (AEE) power development department Kangan, Nissar Ahmed said that due to model code of conduct they couldn’t do the tendering process for line restoration work, adding that the process will be done in few days and hopefully electricity will be restored by first week of May.

Deputy commissioner, Ganderbal, Hashmat Ali khan said that the orders were issued in view of the non availability of basic facilities including medical facilities and electricity.

He said that the restoration of electricity and other facilities will take only few more days, as the concerned departments have been asked to carry out the work on priority.