Known for being the pioneers of skiing training in Kashmir, Department of Youth Services and Sports (DYSS) has stopped organizing training courses at Gulmarg from past three years.
DYSS that leaves no opportunity to claim that it has got famed skiers in its ranks and they are training students at Gulmarg for past 30 years, according to the sources, have stopped organizing the Skiing coaching courses at Gulmarg, three years ago.
DYSS used to select students from different institutes of the State for the skiing courses at Gulmarg. Each year they used to organize around five courses in which they used to train students in the basic, inter-mediate and advance level of skiing. Over the past three decades it is estimated that DYSS has trained around 10,000 skiers many among them went on to represent country at various levels.
Apart from training thousands of students, DYSS is the only department in the state that has got top level skiing instructors in abundance.
It has instructors like Olympian Gul Mustafa Dev, international skier Shabir Ahmad Wani and also top instructors like Muzamil Dar, Niyaz Wani, Ghulam Nabi Reshi and others. It is the only institute that keeps on training new recruits and also deputes its officials for the services of other departments, colleges, institutes and universities for the training.
However, the department all of a sudden stopped organizing the courses at Gulmarg in 2013 and there is no word from the department about the exact reasons for calling it a day.
Initially DYSS officials said coaching courses have been called off due to reconstruction of huts at Gulmarg then next year they said they no funds and this year they have maintained silence over the issue.
"DYSS courses used to be meant for the poor students who couldn't afford to get trained at private institute or Indian Institute of Skiing and Mountaineering which charge a hefty fee. It was the only thing that we were proud of as we used to train around 300 students, mostly poor for the nominal sum Rs 500. The training, equipment, food and accommodations used to be provided by DYSS," said one of the DYSS officials who have been associated with training students over the years.
"It was due to the courses organized by DYSS that Gulmarg remained abuzz with activities even during the turmoil. Since last three years there has been no course organized by DYSS, and the buzz has also gone away from the ski resort. We used to have 60 or more students training from morning to evening in each courses and the five courses used to start in December and end in late March," he said.
Though there are other departmental courses being held each year at Gulmarg by J&K State Sports Council, Kashmir University and IISM for the general trainees but none can match the intake capacity of the DYSS.
"JKSSC, Kashmir University and IISM have got limited capacity. While IISM mostly train outsiders, JKSSC and Kashmir University take only 30 students in each of their two courses. It was DYSS only that used to have from 60 to 80 students per group and used to train around 400 students during season. With stoppage of the courses by DYSS we have put break on producing skiers in the State who could have gone on to win laurels for state at national and International level," said another DYSS official.
When contacted DYSS District Officer, Srinagar, Muzzafer Ahmad Tramboo said that they have prepared the file and have sent it to the Directorate for approval. "There is no clear cut reason for not organizing the courses. We have already forwarded the file to Directorate. We have proposed organizing courses at Gulmarg but we are waiting for the reply from the Directorate," he said.
He said that in 2013 department stopped courses for the season only to construct its own facility but there is no reason left now.
"We for one year tried to give a break to organize courses in Gulmarg. We wanted to use that money to renovate and reconstruct our own huts. In absence of our huts we used to spend huge money on rent. However, the facility is now ready and we should have been organizing courses," he said.
The DYSS Joint Director, Bashir Ahmad confirmed that the department has made proposal of organizing skiing courses this season. "After taking charge I was apprised by the officials of my department about skiing courses. We made the proposals and forwarded those to Directorate. We are waiting for the nod from Directorate," he said.