GANDERBAL: Kashmir Divisional Commissioner Pandurang K Pole visited Sonamarg today, where he chaired a meeting of high-level officials to review winter readiness and keep Sonamarg open during the winter.
At first, a cursory discussion was held about the necessary preparations and arrangements, including water, electricity, health, road, fire service, snow removal operation, mobile communications, traffic management , firewood and other related facilities that will be put in place to keep Sonamarg open during the winters.
To promote Sonamarg as a winter tourist destination, Div Com said that it is imperative to have all the facilities available for tourists, especially heating arrangements in hotels, water and electricity as well as a proper plan for its promotion at all levels as a winter destination. . so that tourists can have the best experience here.
He instructed the Director of Tourism of Kashmir and the Executive Director of SDA to devise a suitable mechanism for its wide publicity as a winter tourist destination.
The CEO SDA has also been directed to finalize the hotel rates that accept hoteliers on board, which will be different compared to other winter destinations and will notify the same before November 15.
While reviewing the fixes, the Div Com directed all officers to ensure that all fixes related to their departments are implemented by the first week of November, plus that manpower must be delegated on a rotating basis by all departments that they will be stationed at Sonamarg for the winter.
The chief engineer of Jal Shakti Kashmir department has been ordered to complete the work on the water supply scheme in the Thajiwas area, plus any issues hampering progress will be taken up with the relevant department so that the laying of pipes groundwater is completed in the first week of November and all establishments are provided with water supply during the winter.
Regarding electricity, the chief engineer of KPDCL (Distribution) said that in order to provide electricity to the facility in Sonamarg during the winters, a bidding process has been started for the underground wiring to be laid through the Z-morh tunnel tube.
He was instructed by Div Com to ensure electricity is supplied to Sonamarg through the coming winter without interruption and to keep generator sets discharged at Sonamarg that can be used during emergency situations.
Regarding mobile connectivity, officials from service providers Jio, Airtel and BSNL have been ordered to prepare an action plan to ensure that all mobile towers in the area remain operational through the winter.
Similarly, the Department of Health has been ordered to ensure that all health facilities, including heating arrangements at PHC Sonamarg, are available, including sufficient medical and paramedical staff, medicine and ambulance service also during winters.
He also asked them to organize a first aid training session for all stakeholders and people involved in the tourist trade in Sonamarg. In addition, the SDA CEO was asked to organize a workshop with hoteliers on the precautions to be taken during the winter.
A threadbare discussion about the snow removal plan also took place. The Div Com sought details on the availability of machinery and directed all departments involved, including BRO, MED and NHIDCL, to ensure that sufficient machinery and manpower were deployed to remove snow during the winter based on the cleanup operation. of snow on the identified routes during the winter.
Earlier the Div Com also inspected the progress of work on the Z-morh tunnel and was briefed on preparations to allow traffic through the escape tunnel for the winter.
On the occasion, the Div. Com directed the Executive Director, NHIDCL (projects) to ensure that all necessary work, including drainage and lighting inside the tunnel, is completed by the second week of November in order to allow the traffic through the tunnel before November 15.
Meanwhile, the Sonamarg Hoteliers Association and other interested parties also raised several issues for which the Div Com said that the purpose of holding the meeting was to correct the problems that were faced during the winter in Sonamarg, and in this regard they would establish all the necessary facilities and arrangements. all departments receive the necessary instructions in this regard.
He urged hoteliers/traders to improve their infrastructure according to the climatic conditions in the area so that tourists who visit Sonamarg during the winter have better facilities and do not face any inconvenience. He suggested that they offer special packages that are exclusively for tourists visiting Sonamarg to attract more tourists.
The meeting was attended by Deputy Commissioner Ganderbal; Director of Kashmir Tourism; Managing Director, JKTDC; Chief Engineer, KPDCL; Chief Engineer, Mechanical; Chief Engineer, R&B; executive director SDA; President Association of Hoteliers Sonamarg, President Beopar Mandal Sonamarg, various Officials/Officials of the District Administration and other interested parties.