اب نہ چہرہ رہا چاند , نہ ہے ہر زرہ ستارہ
ہر شخص نظر آتا ہے دکھ درد کا مارا
Spokesperson of Kashmir Houseboat owners Association, Muhammad Yakub Dunoo said that apart from European countries, tourists from UK, USA, Thailand, Malaysia, Indonesia, Vietnam, Singapore, Canada and Australia used to enjoy the beauty of Kashmir but now the situation has been completely changed. Hotel rooms are empty and there are no tourists in Houseboats in the famous Dal Lake. Kashmir has been completely devastated since August 2019. The tourism industry especially Houseboats which is lucrative part has been facing a great decline in Kashmir Province due to Aborgation of Article 370 and 35A. J & K state which is now union territory is a land where many astounding location exists. Its diversified weather, magnificent meadows and stupendous valleys have always been a great attraction for tourists around the globe especially the most lucrative tourist resort houseboats which attracts the enchantment of tourists all over the world and plays weighty role in reviving economic activties which fills the economic needs of the people.
Once Kashmir tourism industry was at its peak and both Domestic and foreigners used to visit serene places in Kashmir . But due to routine strikes , Abrogation of article and pandemic has hit the tourism industry badly . Tourists do not want to visit lush valleys at the cost of their lives. They had stopped visiting Kashmir . The Government must pay heed to the severity of issue and deal the matter with iron hands. A safe environment must be ensured in order to attract globetrotters again. This can once again help flourish the economy of Kashmir.
It was very unfortunate that fifth houseboat has been sunk causing mayhem among possesers of Houseboats. It was the salutary luck that natives near by it saved their precious lives and possessions. No doubt, Government of India sanctioned Rs 1000 per Houseboat possessers which is a mere slap on their faces .They denied to take such small financial relief which is just like to put petrol on burning fire and due to decline of toursists these victims are not in a position to afford expenditure required for caulking which costs Rs. 50,000 per Houseboat. The owners of houseboats are facing great trouble and there seems no ray of hope who will help them at this need of an hour. The spokesperson of the Houseboat association thanked former Directors of toursim Mr Farooq Ahmed shah and Mr Mahmood shah who contributed their best for the upliftment of Houseboats. During their tenure the tourism especially Houseboat sector has touched the heights of sky . But today the situation of toursim sector is running in backward direction which has put the tourism sector in dark . Celebrating world Toursim day and organising Shikara racing on Dal lake is not a solution to promote tourism in Kashmir. It is just like beating drums to propgate false propganda on social media to gain publicity. It is the houseboat owners who kept promoting Tourism in Kashmir when the uncertainty was at the top rank during 90’s. The Houseboat owners keep the candle burning during the dark times but unfortunately the government of India has ignored them completly. On one hand Government is not serious to solve the grivences of houseboat owners and the other hand Director Tourism, Mr. Nisar Ahmed Wani said in an interview which broke the backbone of owners of the houseboats that the water level in Jhelum and lake are too low and there is least chance of sinking of houseboats and the said episode of the story was that the present Director of tourism was unaware about the actual figure of victims whose Houseboats had been sunk due to invigorating waves . This sector has been ignored and need of an hour is to sanction separate package for the rehabilitation of this sector. Majority of houseboat owners are suffering due to Aborgation of articles and pandemic lockdown. We have bell the cat too many times before the former Governments but disappointed completly. We request LG Government to initate the steps for financial package for the revival of the housboat sector and urge the union government to come with complete and comprehensive financial assistance package for the upliftment of houseboat sector of the UT to restart the lucrative industry which attracts the enchantment of tourists all over the world. We hope LG government will take speedy action to solve the burning issue of Houseboat Assocation to save the most lucrative part of Kashmir tourism othewise our future generation will see Houseboats only by the text, photos and seeking videos on YouTube
شاید کی اتر جائے تیرے دل میں میری یہ بات
Muhammad Yakub Dunoo
Spokesperson, Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association