State-of-the-art facilities at Sonamarg lack maintenance, proper utilisation

Comprising of a modern health club, recreation halls, an auditorium, dormitories, cafeteria, living rooms, conference halls etc., these three facilities on Sonamarg would have been main attraction for the visitors and could have generated lot of revenue but the authority has failed to utilise these facilities so far.

IRFAN RAINA
Sonamarg, Publish Date: Dec 9 2018 11:12PM | Updated Date: Dec 9 2018 11:12PM
State-of-the-art facilities at Sonamarg lack maintenance, proper utilisationFile Photo

Sonamarg Development Authority has failed to maintain and properly utilise the three state-of-the-art facilities at this famous tourist resort of Kashmir.

International Youth Hostel-cum-Adventure Centre constructed at a cost of 3.58 crore, Yatri Niwas constructed at a cost of 3.28 crore and Sonamarg Club constructed at a cost of 3.14 crore were inaugurated in 2011 by then chief minister Omar Abdullah.

Comprising of a modern health club, recreation halls, an auditorium, dormitories, cafeteria, living rooms, conference halls etc., these three facilities on Sonamarg would have been main attraction for the visitors and could have generated lot of revenue but the authority has failed to utilise these facilities so far. 

One of the assets, the International Youth Hostel, which could have been hub of adventure tourism activities at Sonamarg, lacks even the proper maintenance. Hostel, which is being occasionally outsourced to some private agency, is in shabby condition with water leaking out on its walls.

Sonamarg Club also faces the neglect. Thanks to Sonamarg Development Authority’s failure to manage it internally or lease it out to some ‘well meaning’ businessman, the once popular club at the tourist spot has turned into an abandoned building with rusted windows and tables inside the restaurant gathering dust. 

The facility has been now almost closed, used occasionally during some VIP visit. This property has been constructed on the Sonamarg-Thajiwas Glacier Road stretch and the High Court has already banned vehicular movement on this stretch in view of the threat of melt to the famous glacier at the resort. 

Similarly one of the largest and oldest dormitories in Sonamarg, which belongs to the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Developmental Corporation (JKTDC) is in shambles awaiting proper renovation and maintenance.

This dormitory was the most preferred accommodation for schools that throng Sonamarg on picnics and summer camps however over the past few years the non-maintenance of this important asset has made visitors to stay away from it. Officials, who do not want to be named, said that due to the lackadaisical approach towards maintenance and proper utilisation of these resources, the income of these prized resources has drastically.

An official of JKTDC told Greater Kashmir that they don’t get any budgetary funds from the government, however, the corporation uses the amount of income generated from its own resources for the maintenance and other works. He said that in the recent past some maintenance work was carried out in the Thajiwas dormitory.

When contacted by Greater Kashmir, the chief executive officer (CEO), Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) Shabir Ahmed Raina said that they outsource international youth hostel , Yatri Niwas and then it is the responsibility of the agency to maintain and look after the facilities.

CEO said that this year an amount of Rs 90 lakh were generated from these outsourced properties. 

Sonamarg Development Authority has recently issued a notice seeking tenders for outsourcing of its several assets as well as parks, including international youth hostel,  restaurant near SDA office besides various parks and commercial establishments. 

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