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Successive regimes neglected Jammu region on tourism front
Chenab valley continues to face official apathy
7/7/2019 11:05:37 PM
Asif Iqbal Naik
Early Times Report
Kishtwar, July 7: Situated at an altitude of 12500 feet above the sea level, Sinthan top located on Kishtwar-Anantnag-Srinagar National Highway was once a militancy hub along with various other areas of Chatroo division. But after peace returned in the area, it has now become a prime tourist destination.
Despite the fact that there is no infrastructure or any other modern day government facility available at these spots, thousands of locals and outsiders are visiting this tourist destination.
As Kashmir valley is facing trouble due to ongoing turmoil, the tourists are looking forward for alternative hill stations and tourism destinations in peaceful areas like Doda and Kishtwar district where places like Padri, Jia valley, Lal Draman, Bimal Nag, Sartangal, Mughal Maidan are worth visiting. But Kishtwar's Chatroo with place likes Sinthan top and Chatroo pond has become a new tourist attraction for not only locals, but to hundreds of non-locals.
As temperature is soaring in other parts of the country, Sinthan top was blessed with fresh spell of snowfall in first week of July itself. Surrounded by small mountains with green pasture, Sinthan top mostly remains covered with snow for more than six months in a year and in summer when the scoring heat wave engulfed the plane areas of the country, the Sinthan top offers a pleasant weather not only to the local people visiting the place for picnic but to many tourist who visited this place, mostly from Kashmir side as the road leading from Srinagar to Sinthan top offers a smooth drive to tourist up to the top due to availability of good blacktopped road while at the same time the road leading up to Sinthan top from Kishtwar is in dilapidated condition, full of humpty and dumpty drive.
While praising the beauty of Sinthan top the tourist said that the place is beautiful like a heaven on earth, but at the same time is lacking far away in terms of infrastructure.
"Some infrastructure issues are there, roads should be more proper-there should be some government officials presence to handle the things properly-beside there is no fuel station on either side of 50 KM road stretch" said the visitors added that the place could be developed as a major tourist destination in Jammu Division and has a potential to outclass world famous tourist resort Gulmarg of Kashmir as they find Sinthan top and its adjoining areas as more beautiful than Gulmarg.
Another tourist said that they feel disappointed while approaching towards top from Kishtwar side as the road is in very poor condition and need immediate attention. They said that through few Kilometers of road was blacktopped last year, but near about 30 KM road is in worst condition and required immediate blacktopping.
While talking to "Early Times" the authorities said that government is working towards improving the road condition this season added that they are hopeful that Kishtwar-Sinthan road will be blacktopped this year. They said that around Rs. 20 Crore has been sanctioned by the government for blacktopping the road for which almost all formalities have been completed.
Many visiting tourist contemplating the plan to revisit the Sinthan top in future in case government could develop good roads and infrastructure like hotels, restaurants, toilets, parks and other important assets required at any tourist destination.
"It is very difficult to survive under present circumstances at Sinthan top--- most of the time the wind blows very fast and uprooted the tents installed by them for business purpose," said a businessman who comes from adjoining Viloo area of Anantnag. He said that government is non-serious towards developing Sinthan top as major tourist destination that can attract thousands of tourists from all over India.
"Tourist word is mostly coincide with Kashmir in Jammu and Kashmir and people as well as political class of Kashmir never allowed tourism to come out of valley as a result of which it mostly remained confined to valley while at the same time major tourist destination of Jammu province fails to develop," said some locals.
They said that successive government in Jammu and Kashmir never allowed tourism to grow in Jammu province, added that there are many places other than Sithan top like Sinthan Maidan, Fambar, Pahalgwari, Mughal Maidan, Burnail, Warwan, Sukhnai, Bimalnag and many other places in Kishtwar District that could develop as major tourist destination.
It was not only Sinthan top, but Chatroo town this summer season becomes a new tourism sensation as with the efforts of local legislator, Tourism Development Authority develop a pond in the middle of the Chatroo town on the bank of Chatroo stream where stream water was tapped into a pond spread over the area of nearly 10000-12000 Sq feet which attracts thousands of people including children who were seen beating the heat inside the pond during peak heat at the day time right from morning to evening.
The area which was once remain under the influence of militancy with several schools and government buildings burnt by the militants who even imposed civil curfew in Chatroo area during 90s and early 2000 is looking forward to offer the place as major tourist destination.
Speaking to the "Early Times" locals said that with the return of peace in the area, the area starts witnessing the development. He said that the area needs more attention in terms of developing infrastructure which is going on at snail pace. They said that Chatroo ground need to be build and developed beside there is need to develop the parks in and around the Chatroo pond added that there is immediate need of construction of proper parking place as well as need for Kishtwar Development Authority to take proper care of existing infrastructure which was left incomplete as well as at the mercy of the God. They said that Chatroo pond is easily available for the people as it located on the road side.
"Every day we witness heavy rush of people with hundreds of school children's coming for picnic since last few weeks-we need proper plan to tape the tourist beside to save the local environment," the locals said and added that the government should immediately release the funds for developing this spot as major tourist destination.
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