Amid tourist influx, many public parks remain closed in Pahalgam

Floriculture deptt fails to open Lidder amusement park, visitors disappointed

By: Ahmad Shabir

Anantnag: Amid the huge influx of tourists at the world famous tourist destination Pahalgam, many of the public parks including the known amusement park, which used to generate crores of rupees to the government, continues to remain closed for the visitors, thus simultaneously disappointing the people.

These parks were constructed from time to time at the cost of crores of rupees with the purpose of generating revenue from them. Two other parks that remain closed include Lidder view parks and Hikers park.

Lidder amusement park constructed in 2003 by the then government at the cost of 6 crore rupees emerged as one of most famous and revenue generating park for the state. These parks were being operated by the Jammu and Kashmir bank until June when the administration handed them to floriculture department.

However, all of them continue to remain shut despite thousands of people thronging Pahalgam for last three months since the authorities eased Covid 19 restrictions.

Scores of people who spoke to Precious Kashmir said that the floriculture authorities have failed to throw open these parks even as the tourist spot is witnessing a huge flow of the visitors for last nearly three months.

“It is almost after three years that Pahalgam is witnessing tourists but irony is that authorities have not opened up these parks including the amusement park, the most revenue generating park in the area. Thousands of people visiting Pahalgam on daily basis come to the spot to enjoy swings, paddle board and other fun games but they have to return dejected from here on seeing the park shut,” a local, Zubair Ahmad told Precious Kashmir.

After the park was handed over to the floriculture department nearly two months ago, local Floriculture Officer, Muhammad Asif had said that the amusement park will be made operational in a week’s time.

However, three weeks later the park continues to remain shut, leaving the visitors disappointed.

A local working in the park said that the amusement park during the peak season used to generate at least three lakh rupees every day.

“One wonders why the floriculture authorities are not throwing the park open so that visitors could have a fun and the state in turn generates revenue from it. If floriculture department is unable to operate the park, government should reconsider its decision of changing its administrative control,” he said.

The machinery in the park is all fine and does not need any repairs at all, he said. “But one wonders what the officials are waiting for. The delay in making the amusement park operational makes us believe that the recent rumors about the shifting of machinery from the park to some other place were true,” he said.

The closure of these parks especially amusement park, according to many locals has badly hit their livelihood.

“Closure of park during last three years was understood but why to keep it shut this time when tourist rush is very huge. The closure of the park has badly hit our livelihood as we used to erect stalls outside the park,” said another, local Abdul Rahman, who used to sell ice creams outside park.

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