BUSINESS DESK: Hopeful that Tourism departments move to attract tourists to LoC villages, the residents living close to the border are hopeful that they will not remain cut-off from rest of the world this year.
Places like Gurez, Tanghdar, Karnah, Tulail remain cut-off during winter months. As it is likely to be first time in several decades that places like Sonamarg, Karnah and Gurez would remain open for tourists in the winter months.
The residents of Karnah who have been protesting for the last 30 years to press for their demand for construction of a tunnel at the Sadhna Pass on the Kupwara-Tangdhar road, which has emerged as a ‘death trap’ over the years said that they yearn every year to have a better road connectivity during winter season.
The stretches including Gurez and Karnah gets closed every year in the winters due to the heavy snowfall left the thousands of people in these areas worried with each passing day.
“When the roads are closed here due to snowfall, the first thing that comes to our minds is that if someone gets sick here, what will we do?,” Nazeer Ahmad, local of Karnah said, adding that “this thing is easy to say but the pain we are living through is something else which no one will understand.”
Mubashir Ahmad Khan, another resident of Gurez says that he will not be able to describe the situation when the road is blocked here due to snowfall and how much trouble people are facing. “Sick people and pregnant women are most affected here,” he said.
Khan, expressing hope that the roads will remain open in these areas this year, said that the government has to pay more attention to these areas keeping in mind the difficulties faced by the people here.
Abdul Khaliq, another resident said that as the border residents are longing for the better road connectivity during winter months, the government will have to focus on these areas this year and should open these important roads.
Similarly, Nayeem Khan of Karnah said although the government during winter season is using helicopter service in these cut-off areas but as always the favouritism looms large.. “So far, unfortunately, this facility and government scheme has also been held hostage on the basis of recommendations and highly approach and instead of helping the needy and the common people but here the priority is being given to influential and close ones which became obstacle and barrier between justice and development,” he said.
Nuzhat Amin, a young girl says that the one who is going through pregnancy in winter months is most affected here. “Because if at that time a patient has to be transferred to Bandipora, there is no choice but to use the army helicopter to reach there,” she said.
An official said that the proposal has been moved to make helicopter service available to the snow-bound areas that can become hot spots of winter tourism which will give also people much benefit and ease their sufferings which they were facing in absence of road connectivity during winter months.
He said that the government is planning to include adventure sports and other activities in these areas to attract visitors.
As already reported it will be for the first time in several decades that places like Sonmarg, Karnah and Gurez will remain open for tourists in the winter months this year. (KNO)