While the state government and district administration claim to boost tourism in Jammu region, tourists and locals feel that the lack of basic infrastructure and poor road connectivity to various destinations are no less than a “nightmare”.
A similar situation prevails in Basantgarh area of Ramnagar tehsil in Udhampur district, with the Ramnagar-Basantgarh road in such a poor condition that it takes five hours to cover a 65km stretch, commuters claim. “This distance can be covered in just one-and-a-half hours, if the road is in a better condition,” said Parkash Ram of Majori village.
“After the efforts of the previous sub-divisional magistrate Amit Sharma, the government launched a website to boost tourism in the area, but the poor condition of the roads and the lack of other basic facilities have exposed the tall claims of development,” he alleged.
“The road from Ramnagar to Basantgarh has deep potholes and the top layer of premix is broken. A spray of mud or dirty water greets commuters, and after Majori, the 30km track up to Basantgarh is totally dilapidated. Traversing on these roads is nothing less than a nightmare for people, particularly those driving light motor vehicles, as they run the risk of hitting a pothole or skidding due to mud and slush,” he added.
Advocate Amit Sharma, a social worker, alleged that though the administration had launched a website for the area, it was of no use to the local residents as they did not have proper access to basic facilities like roads, power and medical care.
“The state revenue minister inaugurated the website at Udhampur district headquarters on November, 2011. We wish he had visited Basantgarh so he could see what problems we are facing here,” he added.
Shabir Ahmed of Basantgarh said the area was beautiful and had great potential as a tourist destination, but lacked basic facilities. “Without proper power supply and other basic amenities, what meaning does a website hold for us?” he said.
“If the administration and government sincerely want to boost the economy by boosting tourism, then it should provide basic facilities,” he added.