Sonamarg to be a prime destination during this winter: Secretary Tourism

Sonamarg, Dec 12: Secretary Tourism, Syed Abid Rasheed Shah, today convened a virtual meeting of officers and stakeholders to review winter preparedness and allied facilities for keeping Sonamarg open during the winter season.

The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal, Shyambir, Director Tourism Kashmir, Raja Yakoob, ASP Ganderbal, SE, Mechanic; CEO, SDA, SDM Kangan, Executive Engineers, representative of Hotelier Association Sonamarg, President Beopar Mandal Sonamarg, officers and officials of district administration besides other stakeholders.

Secretary had a detailed review regarding the necessary preparations and arrangements including water, electricity, health, road, snow clearing operation, traffic management, operationalization of Z-Morh Tunnel, firewood and other related facilities to be put in place for keeping Sonamarg open during winter.

Deputy Commissioner briefed the Secretary about the action plan for keeping Sonamarg open during winter besides the arrangements being put in place for ensuring sufficient facilities to the tourists.

He elaborated on the snow clearance plan and informed that sufficient machinery along with manpower has been kept available for snow clearance besides Z-Morh Tunnel will be used during emergency situations. He informed that the water supply has been augmented besides insulation of water pipelines has been done to protect them from freezing during harsh winter.

He further informed that the power supply has also been upgraded and this winter power supply will be ensured through underground cabling to all establishments in Sonamarg. Besides, a Control Room has been established in the office of CEO, SDA where representatives of all departments will be deputed from Dec 15.

Interacting with the officers and other stakeholders, Secretary said that collaborative efforts and coordination among all stakeholders is necessary to provide seamless facilities to the tourists during the winter. He maintained that the role of the engineering wing is crucial during the winter season.

He exhorted all stakeholders to redouble their efforts to ensure sufficient facilities are made available to the tourists. He said that the administration has taken all efforts to promote Sonamarg as an all-weather tourist destination.

Dr Abid asked the DC and CEO SDA to share “Do’s and Don’ts” document regarding the winter with all stakeholders particularly hoteliers and sensitise them regarding the precautions needed to be taken.

He was informed that ‘Basic life-supporting training’ has been imparted to all hoteliers by the health department.

The meeting also discussed the winter activities to be conducted during the winter. It was informed that Jawahar Institute of Mountaineering has scheduled 6 courses of skiing starting from January 10, 2024, besides modalities for organising other winter activities were also discussed.

Secretary was informed that district administration in collaboration with other stakeholders is organising the mega new-year festival on December 31 for which action plan has been chalked out.

While reviewing the upgradation of facilities by hoteliers, Vice-President Hotelier Association Sonamarg informed that most of the hoteliers have upgraded basic facilities required for winter.

Secretary said that only those hoteliers will be allowed to operate during winters who fulfil all required facilities so that no untoward incident occurs on this account.


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