Its becoming a classic case of the tussle between the progress that man has to make with machines, and its effect on those whose livelihood the machines replace.
The two sides of the story from GreaterKashmir
The Mazdoor Union Gulmarg-Tangmarg—an amalgam comprising nearly 3600 ponywalls, laborers and guides maintain that the construction of Gondola will hit their livelihood and accused the Government of failing to compensate them for the losses due to running of the first two phases of the world highest ropeway for past over one decade.
When the first phase of Gondola was commissioned upto Kongdoori in 1998, it was strongly opposed by the ponywalls and guides. “We had reached an agreement with the authorities that the Gondola will be operated only during winter and only used to ferry skiers to the Kongdoori slopes. Ironically, the Gondola was used for round the year and opened for tourists as well drastically hitting our livelihood,” Bashir Ahmad Mir, the president of Mazdoor Union Gulmarg-Tangmarg told Greater Kashmir.
Mir said following an agitation, the authorities had promised to pay the Union a share of 15 percent of the Gondola’s earnings. “However, the successive regimes resorted to dilly-dallying tactics and constructed second phase of Gondola up to Apharwath adding insult to our injury. We had launched an agitation but it was muzzled by use for force,” Mir said. The ponywallas and guides maintain that they somehow managed to meet their two ends by ferrying and guiding tourists to the Mary Shoulder hills and its adjoining areas. “The construction of a lift from Kongdoori to Mary Shoulder will push us on the verge of starvation. It seems the Government is bent upon to render us jobless.”
The Minister of Tourism, Nawang Ringzin Jora, said the Government will not succumb to the “blackmailing tactics” of the ponywallas and guides. “Government has been supporting all sections of people including ponywallas and guides in Gulmarg. After construction of Gondola, the affected ponywallas and guides were provided shops and kiosks in Kongdoori. If they have some problem they can’t take whole Gulmarg hostage. We want to make it clear that the Gondola will continue to function and nobody will be allowed to dictate terms to the Government,” Jora told Greater Kashmir.
However, he maintained that Government is committed to resolve the reasonable demands of people.
The Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation (JKCCC), Talat Pervez, said the demands of the Union have been forwarded to the Government.
EFFECT ON FUTURE OF GULMARG
A former tourism official who has served in Gulmarg said the row between the Government and the ponywallas will affect the tourism inflow to the Gulmarg. “It will send harm the image of the Valley as foreign and professional skiers throng the ski-resort during the winter.” he said.
“After the recent unrest in the Valley, Winter is the only hope for making up for our losses. The tourists have made advance bookings with us on the eve of Christmas and New Year. The matter should be resolved at the earliest in the best interest of tourism in the Valley,” said a hotelier at Gulmarg.
The fact remains that a world class Gondola is the need in Gulmarg. Its long overdue. Gulmarg needs to be able to leverage its slopes to legitimately come on the ski map of the world (If Ford was so focussed on what would happen to the livelihood of the horse cart owners, model T would have never seen the light of the day). The ponywallas should rather focus on developing more local destinations where they can ferry an even increasing rush of visitors who would come to Gulmarg, attracted by the its world class slopes, and a promise of being hauled up the heights in a gondola that works. In all probability, more tourists on new day treks would eventually more than make up for the loss in revenue from the Gondola route.
Work on the Rs 9 crore chair-lift project at Gulmarg would begin soon. The chair-lift would go from Kongdori to Marry Shoulder (a peak for Beginners and Intermidiate skiers). The Gondola first phase is up to Kongdori at 3045 meters, where a sledge or ski can be hired even in Summers.
The State Cable Car Corporation has realized revenue of Rs. 11.17 crore till December, 2009 from sale of Gandola tickets, against the fixed target for the current fiscal of Rs. 10.97 crore. The operations of Gandola have increased from 40 to 96 and this number was expected to go further up to 102 by end of March this year.
A 1010 KVA DG Set for Gandola Section-II is to be bought, and there are prospects of conversion of basement of G4 Station at Apharwat and Shelter Hall. Restaurants are going to come up at Apharwat and Kongdori.
All rates are as of Dec 2009
|RATE LIST OF GULMARG GONDOLA RIDE
|SECTION – I
(Gulmarg to Kongdori)
|SECTION – II
(Kongdori to Apherwat)
|Children below 10 years
|Students on Picnic with Schools
|GONDOLA RATES FOR SKIERS
|SECTION – I
(Gulmarg to Kongdori)
|SECTION – II
(Kongdori to Apherwat)
|Day Pass: # Foreign Skiers
|Day Pass: # Domestic Skiers
|Weekly Pass: # Foreign Skiers
|Weekly Pass: # Domestic Skiers
|Combined Pass for both Phases (Only for Foreigners)
|# Day Pass
|# Weekly Pass
NOTE : – Tickets for 2nd Phase is sold upto 3 PM only during winter months. Ensure to purchase the ticket for 2nd phase before 3 PM.
Tickets for GCC are also available at Srinagar International Airport (SIA) and Tourist Reception Centre (TRC)
This information is from J and K State Cable Car Corporation at jkccc.com
Contact Information is (’91’ is the India Country Code) Ph: 91-194-2435837, 91-194-2436405, 91-194-2441742
Email : firstname.lastname@example.org
Courtesy GreaterKashmir: Gulmarg, Apr 23: The world’s highest and Asia’s longest cable car, Gondola, at Gulmarg has been damaged by lightning that struck it on Monday evening.
A major tourist attraction, the ropeway has been closed for an indefinite period, the officials said.
“The lightning has extensively damaged sensitive electric parts and control system of the Gondola’s first phase at Kangdoori. Fortunately there were no passengers in its cabins when the lightning struck it,” managing director, Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation, Javid Iqbal Panzoo told Greater Kashmir.
The MD said a team of engineers from Mumbai has started work to restore Gondola. “There is no physical damage to the Gondola but it is very difficult to repair its electric parts. We are also in touch with the foreign engineers and are working on their instructions. We can’t compromise on safety of the passengers, but we will leave no stone unturned to restore it,” he said.
The ropeway was set up by the internationally acclaimed French cable car company, Pomoglaski, in collaboration with state government and its first phase up to Kongdoori was commissioned in 1998.
The second phase of 2.5 km up to Apharwat peak situated at a height of 4390 metres is considered important for it is mostly used by foreign skiers to reach on the peak top for downhill skiing and snow boarding.
“We can’t operate the second phase until the first phase is restored. It will hamper our restoration work,” the MD maintained.
The Gondola has been facing frequent breakdowns since its construction. Last year, many foreign skiers were trapped inside the cabins on way to Apharwat due to technical snag in the ropeway. They were rescued after hectic efforts.
The hoteliers of Gulmarg are concerned about breakdown of the Gondola. “Due to it many of our bookings have been already cancelled. If the Gondola is not restored immediately, it will cause us huge financial loss. Tourists visit Gulmarg mainly for Gondola. The State government and management of the Gondola must be equipped to keep it functioning in all conditions,” they said.
But the MD said machines can anytime develop technical snags. “We can’t prevent lightning as it is a natural phenomenon. In the wake of the huge tourist rush, we are hopeful to restore the Gondola as soon as possible,” he added.
In the recent years, many people from other countries – avid skiers themselves – who have chance ‘discovered’ Gulmarg slopes have sensed an opportunity to organize tours for others who may be interested. Owing to their efforts and the exposure they are giving to this hidden pearl in the Himalayas, Gulmarg is coming to be talked about in the ski circles. of course, they have some economic opportunity there as well, but its a huge gain for Gulmarg overall.
You should feel encouraged to visit their tour packages and see if any fits your needs: