Opposition National Conference today said tourism in Jammu and Kashmir was in “severe distress” and asked Chief Minister Mehbooba Mufti to look beyond “elitism” to revive the sector.
NC spokesperson Junaid Azim Mattu said the tourism sector in the state remained “vision-less and direction-less” while the chief minister “splurges in private galas and tours”.
“Recurring splurges by the chief minister and her government, including private-guest galas and private tours in times of a severe, unprecedented tourism distress in the state is unbecoming, utterly insensitive and shameful, especially in light of a complete lack of vision to resuscitate the tourism sector,” Mattu said in a statement here.
Mattu said the previous NC-led governments focused on asset and infrastructure creation in the tourism sector which was missing under the current PDP-BJP regime.
“..and remains invested in being directed and guided by a few rich, influential and powerful businessmen who decide on everything ranging from high-level transfers, to allocations, permissions,” the NC spokesperson said.
Terming the direct chopper services from Srinagar to Gulmarg and Pahalgam as “elitist”, he said it was a proof of the chief minister’s “disconnect and lack of insight”.
“Overwhelming majority of tourism inflow into Kashmir comes from the middle-class and working-class segments who need to be attracted to the state through comparative-cost-incentives, affordable services, good road connectivity and a wide spectrum of lodging options,” he said.
Mattu asked the state government to involve houseboat owners, small-and-medium level hoteliers, shikara-wallahs and pony-wallahs in such tourism promotion initiatives, which would boost their business “rather than making the rich even richer”.
Mattu said the state stood at the brink of “economic recession” and is in need of drastic measures.
“The government needs to get its act together before it’s too late,” he said.
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