Every Houseboat need caulking every year. What is Caulking? Caulking means to make watertight of bottom portion between the planks of houseboat. The materials used are two different local grasses.
The Houseboat owners in Kashmir were caulking their Houseboats every year. The cost of caulking per Houseboat is Rs. 50,000 and more. However after Covid19 the Tourism Industry has effected throughout globe in general and Houseboat business in particular. The Houseboat Industry has hit hard since 5th August 2019 after the Abrogation of Articke 370 and 35A. The Government of India had issued a Travel Advisory on 2nd August 2019 resulted Zero Tourism in valley.
Since last 500 days (17 Months) tourists had not visited in valley because of lockdown from August 2019 which increased the hardships among the people relying on tourism in Kashmir especially Houseboat owners. P Houseboat is their only source of their livelihood. From last 17 months they have not earned a single penny so they have not enough funds to make caulking their houseboats resulting more than 10 Houseboats sunk within 4 months and more will sunk during heavy snowfall.
I muhammad Yakub Dunoo, Spokesperson, Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association urge JK Administration as well Government of India to provide financial assistance to all houseboat owners registered with Department of Tourism, Jammu and Kashmir. If Government of India will not come forward to save this icon of Kashmir then this Houseboat Industry will disappear soon and the next generation will come to know about this Heritage of Kashmir ( Houseboat) through photographs and text.