Tuesday, March 13, 2012

Sonamarg Still Inaccessible

 With the improvement in the weather conditions, the picturesque Sonamarg here in district Ganderbal is still inaccessible with authorities doing nothing to clear the snow on the Srinagar-Sonamarg National Highway. Due to the non-clearance of snow, the tourists and hoteliers are miffed at the concerned authorities.

The tourist, residents of Sonamarg area, hoteliers and the businessmen have demanded immediate restoration of Srinagar-Sonamarg road. They said change in weather has increased the number of tourist visiting different tourist resorts in Kashmir, but world famous Sonamarg wears a deserted look and it is still cut-off from rest of the world.

The authorities are trying their level best to clear the snow from the Srinagar Sonamarg highway, which was closed in November last due to heavy snowfall.
According to the businessmen and tourists, the closure of Sonmarg road has made both the tourists and traders disappointed as the tourists are not allowed to go beyond Gagangeer from where Sonamarg is just eight kilometers away.
One of the tourists from Gandhi Nagar, Rajesh Sharma said that he and his family are in Kashmir for the last one week and have visited almost every tourist place except Sonamarg. They said their vehicle was not allowed to go beyond Gagangeer due to snow on the road.

“We are really very disappointed as we could not visit ‘golden meadow’ Sonamarg," said Rajesh.

One of the hotel owners Bashir Ahmad Mir told Jk News over phone that they have build a hotel at Sonamarg after taking the loan from the bank and now they have to pay interest without any earning as the road is still under snow which does not allow visitors to reach Sonamarg.

“I am suffering huge losses and if the road is not cleared within few days, I may approach to the judiciary for compensation and justice," he said.
A shop owner Shabir Ahmad Lone termed it "very unfortunate" on part of government for keeping this world famous tourist spot closed for six months.
“Need of the hour is to take immediate steps for making Sonamarg accessible to the whole world throughout the year," he said.

Meanwhile, a senior official of Border Roads Organisation (BRO) in an interaction with media persons said that they intend to start snow clearance process from two sides in second week of March to make vehicular movement possible up to Sonamarg.

“We have deputed two bulldozers in Sonamarg in November last year for which fuel and drivers will be airlifted to reach there to start snow clearance process from Gagangeer as well as Sonamarg at a time and we are trying our level best to restore Srinagar-Sonamarg road functional as early as possible," he said.

He further added that BRO has decided to construct 6.5 kms long tunnel between Gagangeer and Sonamarg to make Sonamarg motorable for round the year, and the foundation stone of the proposed tunnel will be laid in September this year.

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