Tourism hit as uncertainty looms large in post-370 Kashmir - GulfToday

Tourism hit as uncertainty looms large in post-370 Kashmir

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A Kashmiri fisherman throws a net in the Dal Lake in Srinagar.

Forty-seven-year-old Mohammad Sultan is a worried man. The Srinagar taxi owner bought a brand new Toyota Crysta car for Rs 19 lakh, exclusively for tourists right at the start of the Amarnath Yatra in July.

He hoped to do some brisk business at the tourist taxi stand on the boulevard road. He paid Rs 10 lakh from his pocket and took a bank loan of another nine lakh. Little did he know that all his hopes would be dashed to the ground right in the middle of a thriving tourism season.

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Kashmiri children paddle a boat in the Nigeen Lake in Srinagar.

For just when Amarnath yatra had peaked, the news of scrapping of Article 370 came as a bolt from the blue bringing Kashmir to a halt and its economy.

"I have failed to pay the EMI of Rs 18,000 for the last two months. It is a major loss for me. I have been a transporter for the last 25 years but have never seen such a bad situation.

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A vessel of Kashmir's Lakes and Waterways Authority is seen on Dal Lake.

On any normal day I would earn more than Rs 3,000, but since the abrogation of Article 370, I haven't earned a single rupee," Mohammad Sultan said.

In the months before the abrogation of Article 370 the Dal Lake was bustling with tourists flocking for shikara rides. But all that has changed. Houseboats and hotels are empty.

There are no tourists and there is no business.

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A Kashmiri man walks on a bridge in Srinagar.

The one most hit though by the exodus of tourists and atmosphere of uncertainty is Kashmir's hotel industry.

Tourism is the backbone of Kashmir's economy. Lakhs of people associated with the hospitality and the tourism industry have been affected by the ongoing situation in Kashmir.

Indo-Asian News Service