Baramulla, May 02: The Kaman Post, once a bustling location due to the Karwan-e-Aman bus service connecting Muzaffarabad and Srinagar, is set to regain its popularity as a tourist destination.
The move to promote Kaman Post as a tourist destination has raised expectations among locals that it will lead to the development of border tourism in adjacent areas of the Uri sector.
The Kaman Aman Setu bridge was closed in 2018 leading to the suspension of the Karwan e Aman bus service. The Kaman Post has undergone a transformation, with new features including a 60-feet-high national flag, viewpoints equipped with binoculars, a kiosk offering local items, and a new resting place.
However, authorities are now working to reopen the spot and welcome the visitors once again.
A top army official wishing anonymity said that due to the absence of any ceasefire violations in the area for an extended period of time, they are now opening the spot for tourists.
The Kaman Post, also referred to as the Bridge of Peace, was previously only accessible to high-ranking security officials, police, and army personnel, as well as government bureaucrats.
"With no recent reports of terror-related activity, officials are optimistic that this is an opportune time to open up the area to the public," the army official told Rising Kashmir.
Local residents said that the general public were not permitted to visit the Kaman Post without undergoing a complicated process to obtain permission from the relevant authorities
However the officials reiterated that the people can now visit the Kaman Post by providing their Aadhaar card to the authorities in advance of their trip to the Line of Control.
"Visitors are only permitted to tour the area during daylight hours in order to maintain the sensitivity of the region," the officials added.
The local administration is also considering arranging school trips to the Kaman Post as a means of instilling a sense of patriotism in young students.
"When students learn about the history of the Kaman Post and its significance, it will instill a feeling of patriotism within them," said an official.
Additionally, billboards have been erected to depict the history of the region since 1947, showcasing images of local heroes and soldiers who lost their lives during Indo-Pak wars and cross-Line of Control shelling.
A new cafe has also been opened near the Kaman Aman Setu bridge, which was previously utilized for cross-Line of Control trade and travel until 2018.
Locals told Rising Kashmir that after closure of trade and bus service in the area, people of entire subdivision Uri have witnessed a steep decline in their business; however , the move to promote tourism in the area will definitely bring a cheer on the face of people living on this side of the border.
Faisal Khan, SarpanchDardkot Uri believes that the opening of Kaman Post to tourists will have a positive impact on the local economy and generate employment opportunities in Uri subdivision of Baramulla.
"The tourist spots like Chotali, Limber, Bosnian, Rustum, and other areas in the Uri subdivision should also be included in the tourist map. People will forget about Pahalgam and Gulmarg, once they visit the Rustum or other areas of Uri," Faisal added.
He said that special focus should be given to building tourism-related infrastructure.
Faisal Khan, expressed gratitude towards the Indian army for creating employment opportunities for the locals.
"The initiative has resulted in the employment of three locals as guides to educate visitors about Kaman Post and its history, as well as one local working at the canteen," he added.
Faisal stated that since Eid, Kaman Post has received approximately 7,000 visitors, with 300 vehicles arriving on May 01.
He appealed to the administration to open more tourist places to enable visitors to explore other areas
Local residents however said that while tourists may visit the area after the opening of Kaman Post, the lack of home stays, hotels, and eateries may hinder their experience.They urged the government to take these factors into consideration in order to ensure the success of the tourism initiative.