12 tourism properties to be outsourced in J&K

Srinagar, Dec 2: Twelve assets in Jammu and Kahsmir have been identified for outsourcing, including the Pahalgam Club, Ashoka Hotel in Jammu, and the huts of the J&K Tourism Development Corporation (JKTDC) at Patnitop.

Sources said that the entire exercise would be finished by the middle of next year, and more properties like these would be identified in Phase II.

The Tourism Department gave this information to Joint Secretary in the Union Ministry of Home Affairs, Ashutosh Agnihotri before he presided over a meeting at the Golf Course Jammu last month to examine the status of the plan to outsource J&K’s tourism assets.

The CEOs of the Pahalgam Development Authority, Gulmarg Development Authority, and Patnitop Development Authority, as well as the Director of Tourism from Jammu and the Director of Tourism from Kashmir attended the meeting.

In accordance with the decision made by the J&K government last year, the Union Joint Secretary was informed that a total of 12 assets – nine in Jammu and three in Kashmir – had been designated for outsourcing.

Official sources said that Pahalgam Club and a hotel in Gulmarg are among the three properties in Kashmir that are administered by different organisations.

Similar to this, among the nine assets in Jammu is the J&K TDC cottages at Patnitop, Kud, and the Ashoka Hotel.

The Transaction Advisor’s suggestion that a single offer was issued for all 12 properties was taken into consideration, and the Joint Secretary was subsequently informed.

The sources said that the Joint Secretary expressed a different viewpoint to the officers and requested the Transaction Advisor’s report in response.

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They said that the Joint Secretary was of the opinion that there may not be much interest in a single tender for all of these assets and that floating different tenders would be the most practical option.

The Transaction Advisor report would be examined before a final decision is made, though.

The Joint Secretary, MHA, was informed by the officers of the Tourism Department that the J&K government planned to finish the exercise of outsourcing these assets by the middle of next year and thereafter steps would be initiated to identify more such properties.

The sources said that the majority of the properties owned by the Tourism Department and the J&K Tourism Development Corporation were not producing the anticipated income for a number of reasons.

“Additionally, neither the Tourism Department nor the J&K Tourism Development Corporation has sufficient manpower for proper upkeep and maintenance of their assets as a result of which their current revenue being generated by the assets of these organisations is not sufficient even for their routine maintenance,” they said.

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