Govt imposes entry fee on Dal cruises

SRINAGAR: The state government has decided to charge entry free from tourists taking boat rides on the Dal Lake. 

The Jammu and Kashmir Lakes and Waterways Development Authority (LAWDA), a government agency responsible for conservation of Dal Lake will be collecting an entry fee of Rs 10 per visitor  from Febraury 1. 

“We are not going to charge the local people but only visitors have to pay this entry fee. This amount will help us to maintain this precious water body,” Vice Chairman LAWDA, Irfan Yasin told a local new agency, adding that LAWDA was spending huge amount on the maintenance of the lake.

The move has evoked criticism from tourism play who say it will send a wrong signal. 

LAWDA is mulling to depute waterways officers at 16 Entry Points (Ghats) of Dal Lake who will issue tickets to the visitors before taking a ride in the water body.

Former Chairman House Boat Owners Association, Azim Tuman said that nowhere in India or world, visitors are charged for cruising through water bodies. “It is not the question of Rs 10 but we have to analyze the development properly. Most of the time visitors comprising of families cruise through Dal and they always will not prefer to pay for 6 to 7 members of the family. Ultimately it will affect the business of Shikara owners,” Tuman said adding that it was better for the government to charge Rs 100 for season from Shikara owners than taxing individual visitors directly.

President of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, G.M Dag said that this step will send a wrong signal across globe. 

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