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Azad’s Reshuffle

In Development, Environment, Gulmarg, Kashmir, News, Politics, Tourism on 12 May, 2006 at 7:26 pm

The Chief Minister of Kashmir, Ghulam Nabi Azad, has reshuffled the civil administration just like one reshuffles a pack of cards: without much thought for development and without much concern for Kashmir.

The Lakes and Water Ways is headed by Ms.Tanweer Jehangir and this department has come under a lot of fire recently for its inability to save the Dal Lake. The High Court had to intervene and that made the department move it’s muscles a little bit,  just a little teeny weeny bit. But, in this administrative reshuffle there is no sign of reshuffle in the Lakes and Water Ways Development Authority. One wonders why? The Kashmir’s Lakes and Rivers could benefit very much if an able and capable officer with the guts to do the job was posted, but then it is Kashmir.

Farooq Ahmed Shah has been posted as Director Tourism, Kashmir. This is awesome! He was the Director of Gulmar Cable Car Project and managed Gulmarg Development Authority as well. Gulmarg’s eco-health is nearing it’s end. It is gone.  And one wonders why this person has been elevated to the most crucial position of the Kashmir valley. And now Kashmir will move fast to it’s ecological suicide, thanks to the reshuffle! If you think I am biased, read this official report about gulmarg:

It seems that development is for the elites by the elites and there is not any attempt to enhance the quality of the common man’s life.  The Gulmarg Cable Car Project is yet another example of inappropriate development. In the execution of the project many fully grown trees have already been cut and more are expected to be butchered. Although the estimated cost of the project is placed at more than Rs.40 crore, there is hardly any chance of economic and financial advantage from it. An individual is supposed to pay Rs.100 and a family of five Rs.500 for the gondola trip. But how many families in India can afford this in addition to other expenditure on a trip to the state? I think it would be wiser to follow an independent and creative path, in harmony with the social conditions and the cultural heritage of the state, for its development schemes.

Wonder of wonders is Kashmir.

Gulmarg on sale details can be found here. This post has details about Gulmarg hosting the winter common wealth games of 2010 , a glimpse into the attitudes of our politicians can be found here.

  1. Well, when you are talking about Gulmarg and its development. I only can say is that it DEVELOPED like anything, hats off to Mr Mufti Mohammad Syed who himself took interest in Gulmarg and reconstituted G.D.A and Mr Farooq Ahmad Shah C.E.O (G.D.A) who almost bought glory of Gulmarg back again. I remember those days when people used to drive cars, motorcycles in the Golf course, and people called it GOEHMARG (GOH:animal shit) as all around there was horse shit and tourism department was sleeping. Where were you people that time?. No one was there….and now you guys write these kind of things. Shame on you. Thanx to Govt of Jammu and Kashmir as they posted Mr Farooq Ahmed shah Director tourism kmr. Inshaallah soon the glory of kashmir will be back.

  2. “An enemy generally says and believes what he wishes.”

    Gulmarg almost turned into a garbage dump in mid 90’s. I still remember that scene of Gulmarg, Polythene everywhere, people driving in Gulmarg golf course, horses roaming everywhere and illegal constructions all around. Where was the Mr. Author of the above article that time, who is highly concerned about the ECO-HEALTH of Gulmarg.

    Employees of tourism deptt didn’t do anything except bringing there cattle for grazing to Gulmarg. And the then Director General Tourism Mr Ashraf didn’t try do do anything about it. Ohhh he was busy in developing Ladakh that time, that’s why people called him Mr Ashraf Lama. And now he also talks about the destruction of Gulmarg’s eco-health. Shame on you Mr. Ashraf.

    Now when Gulmarg is developing like anything (thanks to G.D.A) the author says that Gulmarg’s eco-health is nearing it’s end. Gulmarg Development Authority removed 200 Illegal contructions, fenced Gulmarg Golf Course and banned polythene in Gulmarg. If author thinks that this is destruction of eco-health than he is he has no knowledge about eco-health and thus has no right to talk about it.

    When you talk about Gulmarg Cable Car Project, I only can say is that it attracts foreign tourists for skiing and thus brings a lot of foreign exchange to Kashmir. Around 1000(approx) foreign tourists visit Gulmarg every winter. Gulmarg Cable Car Project is the crown of Gulmarg. And for everyone’s information no tree was cut during the construction of second phase of Gulmarg Cable Car Project. Author is just befooling people.

    Below cutting is taken from Times News Network, it clearly states the development of tourism in Gulmarg.

    Tourists return to Gulmarg
    Times News Network, Feb 2 2004
    GULMARG: The famous Kashmir hill station, known for the world’s highest golf course, Alpine slopes and the French technology masterpiece, is once again attracting tourists.

    In the end I only want to say is that Mr. Farooq Ahmad Shah Ex Managing Director Cable Car Carporation and C.E.O Gulmarg Development Authority took pains and did marvelous work in developing Gulmarg. And I hope he will do the same in developing Tourism of Kashmir as he is posted as Director Tourism Kashmir now. Keep it up Mr. Farooq Ahmed Shah, people are with you.

  3. Thank you for your responses Mr. Mir and Mr. Ali.

    I ask you: Since when is fencing a Golf Course, preventing horses/cattle from roaming, banning polythene development or as you put it eco development?

    I would prefer Gulmarg to be Goehmarg any day than what it is now and what it will be in just around three decades.

    Of course how could trees be cut for the second phase, it falls above the tree line. But you did not talk about the massive felling of trees for the first phase and the consequent ignoring of that patch of land.

    Did you know that there is Zero regeneration of forests in Gulmarg! This is thanks to the fencing of the golf course as the human pressure that the golf course sustained is now being borne by the forests.

    If each foreign tourist shells out a 100$ for the cable car, that translates to a 100,000$ in a year. I am still not convinced because the worth of Gulmarg is a lot more than 45,00,000RS.

    You may want to read the comment by ‘timethief’ here.

  4. Dear Editor,

    Gulmarg Golf course is worlds highest golf course and the second oldest in India, it was built in 1890. So, dont you think that it should be protected.

    U say banning of polythene is not eco-development then what is it ?

    When you talk about the cutting of trees for the first phase of cable car the only thing i want to say is that it was constructed in early 90’s n the site was choosen by the then Director General tourism Mr. Ashraf. And for your kind information Mr Farooq Ahmad Shah was given charge of M.D cable car carporation somewhere around 2002. So, how can you blame him instead of Mr. Ashraf.

    “Regeneration of forests” i think this is the duty of forest department and not of G.D.A and Cable car carporation, what do you think about it Mr. Editor. But still G.D.A planted trees in Gulmarg forests.
    I wonder why you guys write without doing any surveys.

    At last i want to say that You guys Befool people by writing such articles. You call kashmir as your home and dont want it to get devloped and i m sure that that there are many reasons behind it except ECO-HEALTH.

  5. Dear Editor,

    It is very sad that without surveying you write articles about Gulmarg losing its Eco-health.I still remember that when i used to go to gulmarg 5-6 years back it was really a garbage dump. There were hundreds of illegal dirty Kiosks which the tourism department and other authorities had failed to remove.The golf course was destroyed.I saw people driving cars freely in it and also eating their food on the so-called greens.Yet tourism department failed to save it .But thanks to the Government as they posted Mr Farooq.A.Shah as the Managing director JKSCCC and C.E.O G.D.A .With his recruitment the Glory of Gulmarg seemed to get restored.He was the person who removed about 200 illegal structures in gulmarg near Gondola which were an eyesore.The Gulmarg golf course was revived and many major Golf tournaments were played there which one never imagined before 5 years ago.Not Only about the Golf course but whole gulmarg was changed into a beautiful place.The Gulmarg Dev.authority stopped all illegal constructions and gave Gulmarg a new Look which it had lost a decade ago.I praise Mr Mufti Mohd Syed who posted Mr F.A.Shah a talented and a hardworking officer to Head the Gulmarg Dev.Authority under whom Gulmarg restored its Glory.And Know with the Posting of Mr F.A.Shah as Director Tourism i believe that kashmir tourism will get a boost in coming years.WELL DONE Mr Shah and KEEP IT UP!Our best wishes are with you

  6. One only needs a brain to understand what is happening to Gulmarg. Surveys are required only by government departments and government officials to justify their ill deeds. I am not trying to thrust my opinion on anyone, I have a right to voice my opinion given the fact that what is being done is being done to my valley. I have not just written about GDA, I have also written about LWWDA and my claims and opinions are being collaborated by newspapers like Greater Kashmir. The time will come, and soon maybe, when the ills of GDA will fill up the front cover of Greater Kashmir just as the ills of LWWDA have been.

  7. […] The department’s gradual but visible uselessness and metamorphosis into an ecological destruction agency were briefly discussed in an earlier post, wherein it was pointed out, taking the present condition of Gulmarg’s ecology as an indicator, that elevating the Director of GDA or Gulmarg Destruction (or Development) Authority as the head of the tourism department was a sure way of putting Kashmir’s fragile ecological health onto a path of total destruction. This post got the attention of quite a few gentlemen whose singular objective of commenting on the post was praising the former head of GDA. […]

  8. […] Gondola Shutdown. Not satisfied with their failures so far, the Gulmarg Destruction Agency (wrongly called as Gulmarg Development Agency) and the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Department have […]

  9. Need pictures of gulmarg!

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