Srinagar Out of Rooms, Visitors Sleeping in Vehicles
Mudasir Tariq Lone (Kashmir Monitor)
Srinagar: As the valley is witnessing a huge tourist inflow, the hotels across all the tourist places are said to be booked choc a bloc. As there are literally no rooms available in the valley, many a tourists are now spending the nights in various tourist cabs and lorries.
The Kashmir Monitor spoke to the tourists who have been spending their night in the open air as they could not find any room in Srinagar. “Every hotel and guest house here is having an advance booking for months, while as the tourist inflow is increasing every day, despite all efforts I couldn’t get accommodation in a hotel, so I along with my wife are spending last four nights in a tour bus that we have boarded from Gujarat, now I am deciding to leave Kashmir as soon as possible as we are facing immense inconvenience,” said Vejnath Gupta, a tourist from Gujrat.
Another tourist Vinay Pelgoankar, from Delhi said that he had booked a hotel in advance but was in a waiting list and couldn’t get a room in the hotel.“I was on holidays so I decided to spend them in Kashmir, I booked the hotel in advance from Delhi, on reaching Srinagar, I found that all the rooms in the hotel were already occupied so I couldn’t get a room, though I was able to get my money back but now after day’s sightseeing I am spending my night in a tempo traveller,” said Pelgoanker.
Meanwhile many locals in the Dal gate area and along the Boulevard have started accommodating the tourists in their homes.“Many locals have now turned their houses into hotels and are earning handsomely, while the tourists are bound to take accommodation in these houses, the locals are taking its full advantage,” said Rafiq, a local.
According to sources in the tourism department, the government keeping in view the rush of tourists has also decided to be lenient as far as registration of guest houses is concerned."There is such a rush that we are allowing tourists to stay with locals. For now we will not seek any permission or registration as we want economy to grow", said an official.
The local tour operators in the valley on the other hand are blaming the non -local agents for this phenomenon and recommend on the hoteliers and tourists to go through local agents.“This is true that tourists are going through huge problems in terms of accomodation at the movement, but this is all due to the non- local agents, these agents are paying huge sum to hoteliers and deceiving tourists. Because of this the guest houses and lodges are charging extra , one can see more than five persons in a single room. If this all goes via local agents the tourists will not face such a problem,” said Mumtaz Ahmad Dar, a local tour operator.
Meanwhile the local tour operatots have demanded that government must immediately put up toilets and bathing points at various places so as those who not get rooms in Srinagar can at least have space to wash their faces.