Monthly Archives: January 2008

Water shortage in Gulmarg

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.

Gulmarg gears up for Vth National Winter Games

(from a write up by Mukesh Thapliyal -newstrackindia)

The picturesque surroundings of Gulmarg is alluring the snow dare-devils of the country in one of the heavenly places of this earth which is gearing up to the hilt for the fifth edition of the National Winter Games that is scheduled to be held at Gulmarg from February 18 to 22.

According to Winter Games Fedetion of India (WGFI) Secretary RK Gupta, a total of 11 States and union territories have confirmed their entries for the upcoming Games to be hosted by the Tourism Department of Jammu and Kashmir under the aegis of Indian Olympic Association (IOA).

The five-day event will also witness the participation of the teams, of armed forces who had played a pivotal role in taking this sport to new horizons, Indian Army, Indian Air Force, Indian Navy, Border Security Force and Indo-Tibetan Border Police.

The event will also give a fair idea to WGFI to review the strengths and weakness of their athletes for the next Olympic Winter Games, which is to be held in Vancouver (Canada) in 2010.

The Indian skiers will also get the much-needed practice for the 2010 Vancouver Games since they will be having one more competition lining up for them prior to the mega-event as India is organising the South Asian Federation (SAF) Games in 2009 that is be going to held at Auli in Uttarakhand.

WGFI President, SS Pangtey, exudes huge confidence over his players as far as SAF Games are concerned. “India will brush away all the medals that will be at stake since we are much ahead form the other countries of the South Asian region,” acclaimed Pangtey.

The various states and union territories, which will be taking part in the event, include Andhra Pradesh, Chandigarh, Delhi, Haryana, Himachal Pradesh, Karnataka, Maharashtra, Rajasthan, Tamil Nadu, Uttarakhand and host Jammu and Kashmir. The technical aspect of the games will be handled by WGFI itself.

The participants will be competing in six disciplines including alpine ski, cross country ski, ice-skating, ice hockey, snowboarding and biathlon, which involves two disciplines first a one kilometer round from the athletes in the snow with their skis on immediately followed by a target shooting competition, at the Games.

Govt issues advisory to hotels in Gulmarg

News from GreaterKashmir – by ARIF SHAFI WANI Srinagar, Jan 7: In a bid to ensure hassle-free stay of tourists at the world famous hill station and ski resort Gulmarg, authorities on Monday issued an advisory to the hotels asking them to provide requisite services and desist from overcharging, even as cautioning category downgrading in case of complaint.
 “Kashmiris are known for their honesty and hospitality. We want the tradition to be maintained. That is why we issued an advisory to all the hotels at Gulmarg to charge prescribed rates and provide all the facilities to the tourists,” Sarmad Hafeez, Joint Director Tourism told Greater Kashmir.
 Sarmad however maintained that the advisory should not be looked as “warning” but a step towards promotion of tourism.
 “The hotels owners of Gulmarg have to understand that it is after our hectic efforts that tourists visit the ski resort. It is the responsibility of the hotel owners to charge and provide services according to their category. If they attract the tourists with facilities like central heating, they should provide it,” Sarmad who is also incharge of the Advisory Committee for Gulmarg, said.
 However he maintained that if any complaint was received against a hotel, its category would be downgraded. “For that, the particular hotel owners will be themselves responsible. As tourists are moving to new tourist destinations, we have to rise to the occasion and sustain our tourism industry which forms backbone of state’s economy. We have to deal fairly with them so that they not only visit the Valley again but recommends other too,” Sarmad said.
 Sarmad said a large number of tourists are expected at Gulmarg in coming days. “We are flooded with inquiries from potential tourists and hundreds are on way to the Valley. The fresh snowfall and ski-championships will definitely attract tourists,” he said.   Â
  “It is a good step and we extend our cooperation to the authorities. We have always been charging the prescribed rates and even on our provide discounts to tourists to earn their goodwill and promote tourism” said Altaf Ahmad proprietor of Hotel Poshwan at Gulmarg.
 Meanwhile as Gulmarg wears a festive look after snowfall these days, some skiers said they face inconvenience due to late start of the Gondola. “The Gondola should start at 8.30 am so that we can make maximum trips up to the mountain for downhill skiing,” said Stuart a skier from Australia.
 When contacted Managing Director Cable Car Corporation assured to look into the matter. “Hostile weather conditions don’t permit us to start Gondola early morning. However, we have decided to start as early as possible in the wake of arrival of large number of skiers. We are geared up to meet the rush,” the MD said.