4 years on, no business activity at Apple Valley resort in Chini Wedder

By: Ahmad Shabir

Anantnag: The Apple Valley resort constructed by the tourism department in Chini Wedder continued to remain deserted even after the passage of four years as the people who have been allotted the space are yet to start any business activity there.

Chini Wedder is a biggest and famous apple producing Karewa on Bijbehara-Pahalgam road. Since most of the tourists chose to visit Pahalgam via this road dotted by beautiful apple orchards, the tourism department almost six years ago decided to construct a resort amid the apple orchards to enhance the tourism activity in the area.

The resort consisting of a cafeteria, shops and other facilities was completed in 2017.

A year later in 2018, the department decided to outsource both cafeteria and shops at the resort.

Scores of locals from different villages of the area applied for the space at the resort; however, people from the nearby villages demanded that they be preferred in the allotment of space.

The authorities succumbed to their demand and preferred them over others hailing from other villages.

However, more than three years passed after the department outsourced the resort, the same continues to remain deserted as the people who were allotted the space have failed to start any business activity there.

Sources said that the department spent crores of rupees on the construction of the facility for tourists but have failed to make it functional.

“In 2019, people having the rented space at the resort cited the uncertain situation for not starting any activity there when the fact tourist activity came to a halt only after the abrogation of 370 on August 4 that year,” sources in the tourism department said.

Later in 2020, they said, Covid halted every activity and the resort not opening up for tourism activity was justified.

It was in July last year; the cafeteria inside the closed resort was completely destroyed in fire. What caused the fire continues to remain a mystery.

After the cafeteria at the resort gutted, the tourism authorities had asked all the people having rented the space to start their activities by next year but despite the huge tourist influx this year the resort continued to present a deserted look as none of them heeded to the instructions of the former.

Sources also questioned as to why the authorities spent crores on the construction of the facility for tourists when the same remains shut since its completion.

“It was meant to enhance the tourism activity in the area, which in turn would have generated revenue for the state but it has failed to serve that purpose. Private cafeterias and other food points along the scenic road are doing good business but ironically this government facility for tourists continues to be locked,” an official of the department said.

Assistant Director Tourism, Bilal Ahmad said that 2020 was consumed by Covid and the same year the beautiful wooden cafeteria at the spot was destroyed in fire.

“Now DPR has been prepared for the reconstruction of the cafeteria and the tendering process for the same will soon be done. Once the cafeteria is constructed again, we will ask all those having rented space there to make the facility functional,” he said.

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