Govt keen to open Sonamarg for winters

Govt keen to open Sonamarg for winters
Sonamarg usually remains closed for tourists for nearly 4 to 5 months of the winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.File: Mubashir Khan for Greater Kashmir

Ganderbal: The government is mulling to keep the famous health resort Sonamarg open throughout the winters.

Sonamarg usually remains closed for tourists for nearly 4 to 5 months of the winter due to heavy snowfall and avalanches.

“Owing to progress on the Z-Morh tunnel project near Sonamarg, the destination can remain open this winter,” the officials said. They said that Divisional Commissioner Kashmir P K Pole Wednesday chaired a meeting of the officers to take stock of the arrangements being made to keep Sonamarg open during the winter.

Senior officials of Jal Shakti (PHE), Power Development Department (PDD), Health, Tourism and Sonamarg Development Authority (SDA) attended the meeting. Pole instructed all the departments to make proper arrangements with regard to electricity, water, firewood, health and security so that the tourists and local visitors don't feel any inconvenience.

President of the Sonamarg Hoteliers’ Association, Farooq Ahmed Hafiz said that they raised the issue of electricity, water and communication with the divisional commissioner who assured that all arrangements would be put in place.

“We are ready to run our businesses during the winter but the government should make requisite arrangements so that we don't suffer there,” he said. President Beopar Mandal, Sonamarg, Shabir Ahmed Lone said, “We demanded that besides electricity and water there should be a fire tender and an ATM at the place.”

Chief Executive Officer SDA, Mushtaq Ahmed Rather told Greater Kashmir that the government was keen to keep Sonamarg open during the winter for tourism activities. “The escape tunnel of Z-Morh Tunnel project will be used for vehicular traffic movement during any emergency. The Tourism department has been asked to make arrangements so that some winter games are held in Sonamarg,” the CEO said.

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