Resurrection of tourism
As the Covid-19 has impacted every sphere of life in Kashmir like rest of the world, the developmental process too has come to a halt here. Kashmir’s economy was already shattered following the lockdown post August 2019 and Covid-19 spread added further to the troubles of the masses. Now that the Covid-19 restrictions have been eased, the UT administration needs to move beyond promise making and start delivering on the ground. Winter is coming to an end as during this season very less or no developmental works are executed in Kashmir. The administration needs to focus on the developmental process and start the tendering and other processes immediately so that the works begin by the first week of March. It is noteworthy that Kashmir has a limited work season and by the end of November all developmental works, particularly the construction part, stops. The process of development has remained halted for several months and it needs to be given a push. The roads in all parts of the Valley are in very bad shape and the administration needs to gear up to mend these roads. This is a serious issue because smooth and comfortable surface communication is not only necessary for commuters, medical emergencies and students, it is very vital for the businesses thus for economy. Health sector too needs special attention so does the power sector. On one hand the authorities are keen to invite investors to the Valley, on the other hand if they fail to supply electricity 24×7, how would big businesses be comfortable investing here. The UT administration needs to gear up, prioritize the development and start working efficiently and in a transparent manner. Kashmir needs an economic boost as following August 2019 almost all sectors have suffered heavily. UT administration, in collaboration with union government, needs to devise economic and developmental policies and execute them without wasting any further time.
Good news is that Kashmir is slightly again emerging on the tourism map of the country. From December last year, tourists, who stayed away from this place for nearly one and a half year, have started visiting Kashmir. Gulmarg and Pahalgam have witnessed good flow of tourists during these months and the winter sports initiatives too have attracted the domestic tourists. With most of the international flights still grounded and Covid-19 restrictions in several countries, though there are no foreign tourists but domestic tourists have been visiting in good number. The flow has rekindled the hope of those affiliated with the tourism sector be those houseboat owners, shikara-pullers, hoteliers, pony-wallas, tourist guides or those doing trade in Kashmiri handicrafts. This tempo is to be kept on and the UT administration needs to take all the steps that would attract more and more tourists here.