By: Ahmed Shabir
Pahalgam: Even after elapsing seven years, the Pahalgam Development Authority (PDA) has miserably failed to allow the construction of the Tourist Reception Centre at famous tourist destination, Pahalgam, which was gutted in a massive blaze in 2014.
The old TRC in the main market Pahalgam was destroyed in a blaze in 2014 along with some hotels. After the building was gutted in a blaze, the then chief minister, late Mufti Muhammad Sayeed, directed the officials to identify the land for the construction of new TRC with all the facilities.
However, seven years have elapsed; the tourism authorities are still awaiting the permission for construction of TRC at the site of the old building.
Besides, the authorities at the Revenue department have also bitterly failed to identify the land at some other place for the purpose.
The TRC for the last six years is now functioning from a hut at Nunwan owned by the Tourism department.
Sources in the Tourism department expressed surprise over the PDA not allowing the construction of TRC at the world famous Tourist destination.
“Pahalgam is all about tourism. It is ironic that the tourist destination has no TRC for over six years. The saddest part is that PDA authorities implement the master plan and high court ban on the important government projects and prefer silence when influential people go for illegal constructions of commercial structures,” said a tourist official.
Though the TRC is functioning from its hut at Nunwan, far from the main town Pahalgam, the tourism officials say ‘this is not what you can call TRC’.
The TRC, according to a Tourism official, should have the facilities like a waiting hall, food plaza, guide counters, ATM, money changer.
“Since the tourist on arrival is always exhausted and TRC is the place where he or she can rest for some time and get all the necessary information. The hut where we are functioning from presently is a joke in the name of TRC,” the official said.
Locals associated with Tourism also expressed anguish over the absence of the TRC in Pahalgam.
“This is highly ironic that a tourist spot like Pahalgam does not have a proper TRC for over seven years. Governor led administration must intervene into the matter so that TRC with modern facilities comes up at Pahalgam,” said a local social activist, Mushtaq Pahalgami.
Assistant Director Tourism for Pahalgam, Bilal Ahmad said that the absence of TRC is creating a bad impression among the tourists visiting the place.
“We have been pleading our case strongly but we are yet to get clearance from building operations controlling authority (BOCA) of PDA for construction of TRC at the old site which is an ideal location for the same. Revenue officials too have not identified the land at some other place for TRC,” the AD Tourism said.