Ishfaq-ul-Hassan, dnaindia.com Feb 16, 2006
Tourisn should get a major fillip as the government is investing heavily in infrastructure development at major resorts in Kashmir. From fashionable golf courses to modern hotels, the government is pumping huge amounts of money into infrastructure development.
The two golf courses in Pahalgam and Gulmarg resorts are being made 18 hole turf with all modern amenities. Another golf course with 18-hole capacity is also being planned at the Sonamarg resort.
“We have got Rs 2 crore for Gulmarg Golf course which will be one of the modern turfs in the country. This will give a big boost to our tourism sector,” said Nazir Ahmad Bhat, Director of Tourism, Kashmir.
Around one million non-pilgrim tourists are expected to visit Kashmir this year. Last year around six lakh tourists visited Kashmir. This excludes four lakh pilgrim tourists who visited the holy Amarnath cave in the past two months.
The government has also approved a proposal of setting up 25 new hotels and restaurants at the famed resort in Gulmarg. “We have identified 25 land plots which will be leased to the people for setting up modern hotels, restaurants and shopping complex. This will give Gulmarg an edge and it will become an international destination which can attract tourists who are concerned about the facilities”, Bhat said.
To have a better connectivity on the upper reaches, the government has decided to have a chairlift in Gulmarg. Already Gulmarg houses the world highest cable car situated at 13,400 feet. But the chairlift proposal has been mooted to connect the mountain ridges so that tourists have no problem in moving on the higher reaches to enjoy nature.
The government has earmarked Rs 4.5 crore for the project which is likely to kick off in summer. “We have got the money and we will definitely start work in summer,” said Bhat. Deputy Chief Minister Muzaffar Hussian Beig said the government is trying to give a major push to infrastructure development to put Kashmir on the international tourism map.