Not authorised to carry any repair work: Shopkeepers
Though the Gulmarg is called “Switzerland of Asia”, the market of the world-famous destination is craving for an up-gradation.
Set up in 2004, the only market in Gulmarg comprises around 160 shops are mainly owned by Gulmarg Development Authority (GDA).
The shopkeeper Association said that despite repeated deputations and submission of memorandums to the concerned authorities for the beautification and infrastructural development of their shops and business establishments, “the authorities have failed to act.”
“Successive governments have failed to address our concerns. We have been only exploited all these years,” said a shopkeeper.
President of Trade Association Ghulam Nabi highlighted the plights of the shopkeepers in the area.
Nabi said the Government in its beautification programme shifted the earlier market from Gondola area to present location on a trial basis, after which they were assured that the market will be made permanent with concrete structures, “but from 2004 till now nothing has happened and our shops are completely in shambles.”
“Though the Gulmarg is known for its natural beauty and beautiful meadows and tourists from all over the world visit this beautiful place, but when visitors see the market there is a complete paradigm shift,” Nabi said.
“The shop is both working as well as a habitat for us, in the harsh winters it becomes more difficult for us to spend nights in our shops,” said Nabi. “We are not authorised to carry any repair work to their shops.”
Abdul Aziz, another shopkeeper in the market said, the place is perfect to be called Switzerland of Asia for its natural beauty, “but with the market we have gives a bad impression”.
“Other than the Children’s Park which is around 1.5 Km away from this market, there should have been a park in the market where tourists can sit, eat and enjoy,” he said.
With summers ahead and the Kashmir Tourism department busy with different tourism activities and programs to attract more and more tourism in the valley, Nabi said they have pinned hope on the LG led administration Manoj Sinha, for early infrastructural up-gradation of their business establishments in the area.