Border tourism picks up in J&K

‘Over 20 lakh tourists visit Kashmir in 8 months’

By: Ishtiyaq Ahmad

Srinagar: As tourism day was celebrated across the world on Tuesday, border tourism has picked up in Jammu and Kashmir since India and Pakistan announced ceasefire along the borders.

At least 20 lakh tourists including 3.65 Amarnath Yatris visited Kashmir in the first eight months of this year.

Similarly, a lot of tourists are visiting bordering areas of Jammu and Kashmir these days.

In 2020, India and Pakistan announced a cease fire along the borders which has brought relief to border residents besides picking up the border tourism.

These days, hundreds of people are visiting bordering areas like Uri, Teethwal of Kashmir valley and Suchetgarh in RS Pora of Jammu region.

“Since announcement of a ceasefire by India and Pakistan, a large number of people have visited Uri. Many go for trekking in various villages of the area,” Bashir Ahmad, a resident of Uri told a local news gathering agency.

“Although, Uri border has been peaceful except for a few incidents of shelling over the years, people were reluctant to visit here fearing there might be shelling from the other side. But now it has become one of attractions for tourists these days after the announcement of ceasefire,” he said

Most people are working in the Army and police here. Others make their earning through farming.

“If Uri is made a tourist spot, it will generate huge employment opportunities for the youth,” he added.

He narrated a few years before when the shelling was taking place; they had to vacate villages and run for safety. “We had to move three kilometers back where we were being accommodated in government buildings including schools till shelling stopped,” he added.

Similarly, scores of people also visit Teethwal in North Kashmir these days. “I spent two nights in Teethwal. This was the first time when I visited any bordering area,” said Asif Ahmad from Sonawar Srinagar.

Sunjit, a 40-year-old man who runs a Dhaba at Suchetgarh in RS Pora of Jammu region would earn around Rs 200 profit. However, for the last over a year, there has been an abrupt increase in his sales with 200 to 300 percent.

“Since announcement of a ceasefire by India and Pakistan, a large number of people have visited the Suchetgarh border. From Rs 200 profit, I now make Rs 400 to 600 profits each day,” he said.

Suchetgarh, the bordering area and comprises several villages, is 27-kilometres away from Jammu city.

Pakistan army could be seen very closely and their posts are located just a throw away distance.

The villagers expressed hope the ceasefire is followed in letter and spirit without any violations.

Earlier in 2003, India and Pakistan had signed a ceasefire pact but they did not continue after the Mumbai attack. (KINS)

Related Articles