Preparing For Winter Games? by HAROON RESHI (GreaterKashmir)
Gulmarg, Jan 28: At a time when state tourism department is preparing to host the 5th National Winter Games at Gulmarg, its facing acute shortage of water.
“We are not in a position to provide required water to our costumers and we feel guilty when they complain of scarcity of water in bath rooms and lavatories of the hotel,” according to Bashir Ahmad, a hotel manager at Gulmarg. “We get water supply for only eight hour in a day,” he added.
A large number of foreign tourists including about 200 professional skiers from Europe and United States are present in this snow-clad resort. Bashir’s hotel has 24 rooms and all are occupied by foreign skiers. The hotel has water storage capacity of 11000 litres, which Bashir says is not sufficient to fulfil the need of guests.
“The shortage of water really makes it uncomfortable for visitors,” said Bob Halberstam who has come to enjoy Gulmarg’s glory.
While authorities admit that visitors suffer due to shortage of water but feel helpless to improve the situation. “We require more than 3 lakh gallons of water a day to meet the need and instead we get only one lakh gallons from Afarwat nullah, the lone source of drinking water in the area,” said Muhammad Ayub, Assistant Executive Engineer of Public Health Engineering Department.
He sites many reasons for the shortage of water in the area.
“Scanty rains in summer, heavy snowfall, cold nights are reasons that Afarwat nullah does not provide sufficient water in this winter,” he said.
Local hotel owners fear that the failure to provide sufficient water supply to the visitors will bring bad name to this resort. State tourism department is expecting more than 500 participants in the 5th National Winter Games being held from 18th to 22nd February.