Everyone in Jammu and Kashmir is ready to welcome tourists/pilgrims ahead of the long summer season.
The state tourism minister is visiting different cities/countries with an aim to promote ‘exotic’ destinations across the state through different mediums and ad-campaigns.
The state Chief Minister Omar Abdullah is also keeping his fingers crossed in the wake of unsavory developments in Kashmir valley and is hoping for a better tourist season ahead.
Despite all this some of the key departments are playing spoil sport and painting ‘dirty picture’ of the state in front of the fresh arrivals in the state.
The tourists/pilgrims may come via rail, road or by air but they all get a taste of things immediately after landing in the ‘city of temples’.
Stepping out of the railway station these ‘ambassadors of peace’ get a big jolt.
Instead of receiving warm welcome amid clean surroundings they are greeted by heaps of garbage, poor roads and foul smell. In the absence of any inquiry counters for general inquiries the majority of first timers struggle to find directions and gather basic information related to their travel plan.Absence of food court or a decent eatery which serves hygienic food discourage them to share a snack.
Raghubir Singh, a first timer from Uttar Pradesh said, “i am shocked to see the surroundings here at the Jammu railway station.It is messy everywhere. We had a completely different picture in mind about the state of J&k but this is a real bad experience.What is state government doing here if they cannot provide basic civic amenities and clean environs to tourists”, he added
Saroj Verma, visiting J&K for the first time said,” there is no proper resting place here at the railway station. My children are not feeling nice.There is so much of garbage here and there.We are not feeling comfortable here but have no choice either but to wait for our train.
In the absence of any resting place,adequate number of public toilets large number of them can be seen resting on the pavements and relieving themselves in open spaces.The women face hardship as they have to stand in long queue to use scanty public conveniences.
In the absence of adequate number of porters the tourists can be seen struggling with their luggage while negotiating their way out of the station premises. An elderly Surinder Sharma said, i am coming after a long time with my wife.Earlier the place was not so dirty but it appears the state govt is not focusing on pilgrim traffic.They must be worried about high end tourists,Kumar said sharing his pain after going through hellish experience of dragging his luggage on bad road outside the station building.
Due to security restrictions the public transport vehicles are parked far away from the portico compounding miseries of tourists.The situation at the Jammu bus stand is equally pathetic.
The air travelers are marginally better off but they too face many hardships while stepping out of the airport premises.