Amid dwindling tourist numbers since 2016, the Governor’s administration has not even convened a single meeting of any Tourism Development Authority (TDA) since June last year when the state was ushered into the Governor’s rule.
Sources in the Tourism department said the government recently issued an SRO to designate Governor and an Advisor to the Governor as the chairmen of various TDAs after the tourism sector players had started to hit out at the Governor’s administration or being indifferent toward the sector.
Sources said scores of development projects and master plan works have been left in cold storage for the want of TDA meetings at various tourist destinations in the State particularly in the picturesque Valley.
Sources said the various development works at numerous tourist destinations are yet to be taken up as they need to be passed by the TDA headed by the Chairman.
The performance check of the TDA's is also to be carried because no meeting has been convened since June last year, sources said.
They said the meetings of Tourism Development Authorities are necessary to assess the progress on the decisions taken in the previous meetings and to resolve the issues creating impediments in raising infrastructure and promotion of tourist spots under their jurisdiction.
Sources said the works awaiting clearance by TDA would now have to be either taken up after the current tourism season is over or be carried out while the tourists are visiting these destinations.
There are over two dozen Tourism Development Authorities in all the three regions of the State to promote tourism destinations and create necessary infrastructure for the convenience of the tourists.
Meanwhile, the new SRO issued by the government this year in March has now designated Governor as the Chairman of Tourism Development Authority Patnitop; Pahalgam Development Authority and Jammu and Kashmir Golf Development and Management Authority.
The SRO has further designated Advisor in-charge Tourism Department as the chairman of the rest of the Development Authorities in Jammu and Kashmir divisions while In Ladakh Division the Chief Executive Councilors of the Leh and Kargil Autonomous Hill Development Councils designated as chairmen of the respective Tourism Development Authorities.
Last year in August, the incumbent Governor Satya Pal Malik had taken over the reins of the State from his predecessor Narinder Nath Vohra who was haed of the administration since June when the PDP-BJP government lost power in the State.
Last year some 8.5 lakh tourists including 50000 foreigners had visited the Valley in 2018 while 11 lakh tourists visited in 2017.
This year in January, 22615 tourists arrived in Kashmir, while in February and March; the figure was 11, 395 and 14,805, respectively.
In April this year, the Valley got 53648 tourist while in first two weeks of May 31888 tourists visited the Valley so far.
Even the foreign tourist footfall has increased with 22, 358 foreigners visiting the Valley since January.
Talking to Rising Kashmir Secretary Tourism Rigzin Samphel said the meetings of numerous TDAs would be convened soon after the Model Code of Conduct is lifted from the State.
He said the developmental works aren't hampered if the TDA meetings aren't convened.
"Earlier also the meetings weren't conducted on time," Samphel said adding that under CAPEX budget funds are already allocated for developmental works of each tourist destination.