Long duration of Amarnath Yatra is anyways creating tourism related disruptions in Pahalgam as many casual toursits shy away from the place during those weeks. Now come the sudden step of Amarnath Shrine Board constructing pre-fabricated huts at Nunwan, on the outskirts of Pahalgam. Long term this could start effecting the center of gravity of toursist economy of Pahalgam to outside of Pahalgam, towards Nunwan. While constructing lavatories could make sense if SASB persists with keeping Amarnath yatris out of Pahalgam in a secluded (and perhaps secure) Yatri Camp at Nunwan, the whole idea really needs to be abandoned so that people coming to Amarnath Yatra from all over the country can visit the hill station as normal tourists and enjoy the beauty of it. Of course with it would come the issues of ecological degradation of Pahalgam valley by activities of Yatris, but thats a different problem, and SASB or other wise men can surely arrive at solutions to it. Anyhow, this is a release from KHAROF, typically harsh in wordings, but nevertheless in the right direction. Its from the Gk News network.
Srinagar, May 19: The Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) on Monday said the construction activities carried out by the Shri Amarnath Shrine Board (SASB) at Pahalgam are bound to damage the environment and ecology of the resort besides hurt the public sentiments.
Acting on the news reports carried by this newspaper about Pahalgam, a KHAROF spokesman said the Federation members unanimously condemned “this anti-environmental, anti-ecological and anti-Pahalgam activities like construction of public lavatories, pre-fabricated huts on concrete plinths at Nunwan” by the SASB.
“The tourism fraternity of Kashmir appeals to the government not to allow such activities which are bound to wipe out Pahalgam from the tourist map of the world,” a spokesman said in a statement. “And if the government fails to act immediately then the notion that the SASB is by itself a power centre—a state within itself—stand confirmed.”
The spokesman said the tourism in Kashmir was bread and butter to a large populace, and Pahalgam being a famed tourist destination needs be preserved at any cost. “If such actions are not stopped, it would force us to go to any extent to save the place from human-inflicted injuries like massive constructions,” he said.
The Federation also demanded that the Yatra period be restricted to 10 days as per the past practice. “Stretching the Yatra to two and a half months is degrading Pahalgam and its neighborhood environmentally and vandalizing it ecologically,” the spokesman added. “We humbly ask the powers that be to get up and save Pahalgam.”
“It is ironical that few days back the Pahalgam Development Authority declared usage of rubber boats for rafting as an environmental hazard but at the same time it allows vandalism of Pahalgam.”