Dr Farooq anguished over gutting of houseboats in Dal Lake
Asks Admin to reach out to affected with relief; calls for comprehensive revival package to Houseboat industry
Srinagar: The Jammu and Kashmir National Conference President and Member of Parliament from Srinagar Dr Farooq Abdullah has expressed profound anguish over the gutting of two deluxe houseboats in a devastating fire in the Dal Lake causing extensive damage to property worth crores of rupees.
Sharing in the grief of owners of two houseboats “Apollo Palace” and “Badyari Palace”, Dr Farooq prayed for their speedy revival and recovery. He also impressed upon the divisional administration to ascertain the amount of losses incurred by the affected at an earliest so that that compensation is worked out and distributed forthwith.
Expressing concern over recurrence of such incidents, Dr Farooq said, “The number of houseboats over the years has come from 3000 to just 1200 today and the reason is ban on construction and repairs of houseboats, besides huge costs a houseboat takes. During the last NC led govt a dockyard had been commissioned with twin dockyards at Abikarpora and Pokhribal with a view to facilitate repair and construction of houseboats. The incumbent administration has completely forgotten about them.”
Calling for having a comprehensive infrastructural, sewage, and revival plan of the houseboat industry, he asserted that if steps are not taken in that direction the world-famous novelty of Kashmir will be remitted to antiquity. “Dockyards should be made functional in all manners. Special incentives in the form of sector-specific bank loans, allocation of subsidized wood, and other merchandise should be provided to this ailing sector,” he added.