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JK govt to appoint consultant to review infrastructure in Gulmarg

By Staff
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New Delhi, Apr 18 (UNI) The Jammu and Kashmir government will soon appoint a ''consultant'' for reviewing the modernisation and upgradation of infrastructure in the world famous ski resort of Gulmarg before inviting international tenders for the same.

''We want to provide world class facilities to tourists who visit Gulmarg... the process of mordernisation will be done in the most transparent way. We will appoint a consultant for that purpose,'' Gulmarg Development Authority Chief Executive Officer (CEO) Farooq A Shah told UNI here.

He denied that the state government has already decided to hand over the resort completely to private operators, who have been making offers.

''Joint ventures will be set up with the participation of the local community keeping in mind their interest,'' he said.

Mr Shah asserted the Government will invite international tenders for the works as recommended by the consultant.

''The infrastructure development work will be undertaken as per the recommendation of the consultant. Factors like ecology, land use, available infrastructure and interests of the local population will be considered before any decision of privatisation,'' he added.

The CEO said privatisation will be undertaken to develop the resort and not to commercialise it.

''The resort will not lose its natural beauty or its resources they will be preserved. Privatisation will only improve upon the facilities,'' he added.

Gulmarg, a premier tourist destination in India, has tremendous potential but the existing infrastructure and facilities are not adequate, Mr Shah said.

''We require some 3,000 to 4,000 hotel beds whereas we only have around 1,000 beds available at the moment. We have the best slopes, weather conditions and quality of snow for skiers from around the world but the infrastructure needs to supplement that,'' he added.

''If we succeed in that Gulmarg will attract lakhs and lakhs of tourists domestic as well as foreign,'' he reiterated.

Meanwhile, the Ice Skating Association of India yesterday conferred the Award of Excellence in Winter Sports Administration on Mr Shah.

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