First phase non-operational for nearly 2 months
Srinagar, Jul 9: Gulmarg Gandola phase 1, a major tourist attraction for visitors has been closed since 2 months for want of its maintenance. The visitors are alleging that Jammu and Kashmir Cable Car Corporation has failed to maintain it during off season.
The official sources maintained that due to closure of the Gandola, the corporation is losing lakhs of rupees every day in peak of this tourist season.
“The closure of the cable car at Gulmarg is bringing disappointment to the tourists who plan their itineraries well in advance. We provide packages to the tourist and attract them for Gondola rides also. They feel disappointed when we inform them about its closure,” Muneer Ahmad a travel agent here in Rajbagh said.
He said that the authorities should have started its maintenance during lean season.
“If its maintenance was due, it should have been done during off season so that tourists would enjoy its ride during peak season of this summer,” he maintained.
However, the Phase 2nd from Kungdoori to Apparwath is open for commercial operations.
In the absence of cable car facility upto phase 1, tourists are using All Terrain Vehicles and ponies to reach the base of second phase at Kungdoori where from they take gondola ride upto Apparwath peak.
There have been complaints of tourists being overcharged by these operators.
“The ponywallas are charging between Rs 1,500 and Rs 2,000 per tourists to take them to Kungdoori, wherefrom they can reach Apparwath by booking tickets for the second phase of the cable car which is operational. All-terrain vehicles are charging between Rs 3,500 and Rs 4,000 per trip for the same route,” said Shabir Ahmad, a resident of Srinagar who Sunday visited Gulmarg with his family.
However sources said that the official rates fixed for the pony and all-terrain vehicles at Gulmarg are: Pony: Rs. 350 for first hour and Rs. 250 for every subsequent hour; all terrain vehicle: Rs 300 for 15 minutes, Rs 1200/- per hour.
To reach Kungdoori by pony, it generally takes about one hour and by vehicle about half an hour.
Managing Director, J&K Cable Car Corporation, Shamim Ahmad Wani when contacted claimed that the Phase 1 of Gulmarg Gandola will be functional within a week time. “The Phase 1 of Gulmarg Gondola would be made operational within a week as the shipment of the equipment to be replaced is expected to arrive within two days,” Shamin said over phone.
The official sources said that Gulmarg Gandola is undergoing maintenance on the advices of the French Company M/S Pomagalski which is responsible for its supply, erection and installation.
The company commissioned the cable car in the year 1988 advised against its operation until its maintenance is done. French engineers had visited Gulmarg and sought the replacement of Hub and Shaft of these lifts,” said one of the officials of JK Cable Corporation.
It is to mention here that the work on Gulmarg Gondola Project (Phase-I and Phase-II) was taken up for execution by the J&K Government through Department of Tourism in 1987.Kungdoori & Apparwath are 2 major attractions for Gulmarg Gondola riders. (KNS)