Stakeholders of the tourism sector have welcomed the move of the Central Government to lift the restrictions in the valley. The Governor of Jammu and Kashmir, Satya Pal Malik on Monday directed lifting an over two-month-old advisory. The region had evacuated all tourists and pilgrims, including those who were visiting the Amarnath shrine in the days leading up to August 5.
"The business was massively affected due to the restrictions imposed by the government. 90 per cent of the hotels here run on tourism. The hotel industry was in bad shape but now we are hopeful," said a hotel manager, Mohamad Arafat. The decision to evacuate all tourists and students from other states was taken before the Central government announced that Article 370, which gave special status to the state will be revoked. There were severe restrictions on movement of any kind in the valley. However, over the last few weeks, normalcy is returning to the state and with the governor's order, the process of normalcy will be fastened.
Jammu and Kashmir is one of the few states which is heavily dependent on tourists to run its economy and the security restrictions have impacted a major source of income for all stakeholders - hotels, taxi unions, restaurants, etc. The apple farmers were also impacted, however, the government decided to increase the price of apples under the Market Intervention Scheme (MIS) for apple growers in Kashmir. The government has also reportedly decided to buy around 13 lakh metric tonnes of apples from apple growers.
On Monday, October 7, the government declared that tourists will be allowed in the region once again from Wednesday, October 10. The government has been taking active efforts to improve the situation in the state, and has also opened schools. Earlier, there were no phone or internet connections in the state, but gradually, landlines have been re-activated. "During the past six weeks, all security restrictions were lifted in most parts of Jammu and Kashmir and the governor has been focusing on bringing life back to normal. Some of the major decisions taken in the past in the situation-cum-security review meetings include reopening of higher secondary schools, colleges and universities, restarting public transport and opening of additional travel counters at Srinagar's Tourist Reception Centre," a government spokesman said.
(Inputs from ANI)