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Tourists shunning Shimla for Srinagar

RNI, Shimla/Srinagar: Dubbed as the Heaven on Earth at least for past 5 centuries, Kashmir has taken much of tourists who throng to Shimla till a few years back. Kashmirs loss was Shimlas gain during the period when the region remained infested with terrorism, but now with things coming to normal in J&K, Kashmir has once again returned as number destination for the people from the plains, who are looking for cooler climes atop the hills. Whereas hotels and houseboats in Kashmir are thronging with tourists during this time of the year, Himachal Pradesh is yet to see the multitude that came to its hills in summers during the period when Kashmir remain affected. Experts point out to the apathetic approach of policy makers responsible for developing tourist infrastructure in the State. They also point at the callous approach of the authorities who merely reaped the benefits when the tourists were coming in hordes but did little to develop the infrastructure that is prerequisite for sustaining the tourist inflow. Resultantly Himachal Pradesh, a state which is endowed with countless natural bounties, continues to suffer due to having wrong people at the helm of affairs and these people making the plans that didnt work. Our reporter at Himachal Pradesh visited to several places in Himachal to see the condition. The famous palace of the Maharaja of Patiala at Chail, that never used to have an empty room during this time of the year, has large portions still awaiting the tourists. The condition is such that the restaurant in the lawns of the Palace that was opened when the restaurant inside was unable to cater to the tourist inflow was still showing the sign of close when our reporter visited the place. The pathway to the cottages outside palace too was locked, thereby revealing the pitiful state of affairs in Himachal. Visit to Kufri, merely 18 kms from Shimla, reflected the plight of Shimla itself. If the rides and adventure facilities in Kufri, so close to Shimla, were empty or barely occupied, it was enough to show what would be the condition of the State Capital. The place is extremely filthy, thereby revealing the callous approach of the authorities. The condition of Kufri and rest of Himachal was aptly summed up by a tourist who visited the zoo close by: naturally endowed but badly maintained by inefficient people. Ironically, the zoo has a great variety of trees which are there not due to any human effort, but is largely empty of animals. Shimla, Kullu or Manali are no better in amenities. On the contrary, as if the tourists were only awaiting the terrorism to subside, not just the State Capital Srinagar but also other places in the State have witnessed an increasingly large number of domestic tourists during the last few years. This year is destined to be the best that Kashmiris have seen since a long time. Real News Intl. News Bureau

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