To attract more and more tourists and to offer them different facilities, Sonamarg Development Authority has decided to refurbish the existing facilities at the Sonamarg tourist destination.
Reliable sources said that the newly appointed Chief Executive Officer, Sonamarg Development Authority, Ilyas Ahmed has sought help from the Tourism Department to renovate parks and washrooms, create more parking slots, overhaul the drainage system, and install defunct street lights at Sonamarg tourist resort.
Sources added that during a meeting with heads of different Associations including hoteliers, shopkeepers, transporters, and pony wallas, Mr Ilyas Ahmed expressed his disappointment and asserted that the contribution of existing Associations to make Sonamarg a coveted tourist place over the years has been below par.
A hotelier on condition of anonymity told the news agency Kashmir News Trust that CEO Sonamarg Development Authority virtually grilled those present in the meeting. “Mr Ilyas asked hoteliers to pinpoint their single contribution towards the development of Sonamarg. He posed the same question to transporters asking them to show what they are doing to make Sonamarg a better destination,” the hotelier said.
Sonmarg badly needs infrastructure upgradation. Locals as well as foreign tourists have been facing numerous problems during their visit to the destination.
A local shopkeeper said that various street lights are defunct and toilets constructed by authorities spending lakhs in old truck yard and taxi stand are unusable. “Parks are deserted as these lack recreational activities. The drainage system is virtually defunct and needs overhauling,” he said adding that there is a need for having a track for pony wallas.
When contacted, CEO Sonamarg Development Authority, Mr Ilyas Ahmed said that there is a lot to do to attract more and more tourists and offer them better facilities. “In fact I have written to the Directorate of Tourism, requesting him to upgrade the facilities. Very soon there will be a meeting in this regard. We are mulling to outsource parks so that these are equipped with recreational facilities for people, especially children,” he said adding that people will see a change in coming months.
Mr Ilyas said that he is waiting for the budget approval. “Whatever the budget will be, every penny will be spent on the development of Sonamarg,” he said and sought cooperation from stakeholders to help the SDA to make Sonamarg a better and clean destination. [KNT]