Chenani-Nashri Tunnel boon for valley, bane for Jammu region

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Vishal Sharma

With the opening of much awaited Chenani-Nashri Tunnel, Jammu is going to lose a circuit of its prime tourist destinations as the tunnel is going to sideline all of them in one go, thus completely obliterating the already paralyzed tourism sector of the region.

The 9.5 kilometer long tunnel connecting Chenani in Udhampur with Nashri in Ramban reducing 31 km distance between Jammu and Srinagar will sideline several major tourist destinations of the Jammu region falling along the National Highway (NH) 1A. These tourist destinations mainly included Kol Kandoli, Nandani, Jhajjarkotli, Patnitop, Kud, Batote, Peeda and many others local spots and sites which are famous among the tourists for their legacy.

Despite their sheer ignorance by the successive governments who ruled out the state these destinations always remained into lime light and in the favorite list of the tourists visiting Jammu and Kashmir. Owing to their natural beauty, climate and legacy these destinations always received heavy foot fall of both local and national tourists owing to which they became the key source of income for thousands of people engaged in tourism related activities besides were contributing a major chunk to the state exchequer also.

But unfortunately with the sidelining of these destinations the huge population dependent on them for their bread and butter has also been forgotten by the state government and no steps are being taken to revive or promote them. Few of these destinations were already been sidelined due to the four laning of NH 1 A from a long time including Kol Kandoli, Nandani and Jhajjar Kotli and their present condition is enough to expose the lackadaisical attitude of state government towards their revival or promotion.

Also the fret of Jammu tourism industry has also multiplied due to the lessening of traveling distance between Jammu and Srinagar as tourist usually prefers to visit and stay in Kashmir owning to its massive publicity and promotion by the tourism department through all the mediums. The tourism sector and its allied industries of the Jammu region which were already on the fringe after the beginning of direct train service to Katra will be unable to even survive with the sidelining of this major tourist circuit of the region as those associated with these industries were already appealing time and again to tourism department for increasing site seen from 4 hours (approx) to minimum of 12 hours in Jammu region.

But contradictory to this, instead of increasing site seen, even the existing major tourist destinations of the region have been sidelined on the name of development. Even the Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, Mehbooba Mufti who always talks of reviving and boosting the tourism in state has not even uttered a single word for the promotion or revival of this tourist circuit of Jammu region.

Harsh Dev Singh Chairman National Panthers Party when contacted said that this is most unfortunate on the part of state government that these spots have been completely ignored. He said that these destinations have huge potential in them and could become individual tourist destinations if connected and promoted appropriately besides adequately addressed in the Prime Minister’s Package announced for tourism.

“It’s the prime responsibility of tourism department to take proper care of the tourist destinations and if these destinations will be suitably promoted and developed the entire belt will surely emerged as major tourist circuit of the state” he added.

 

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