Corruption, Nepotism Rampant in Tourism Department

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Illegal Constructions Galore in Tourist Resorts 

Srinagar:  A day after State Vigilance Commission busted a fake ticket racket of Gondola Cable Car Project new reports have surfaced showing irregularities in the Tourism Department. 

Well placed sources said that from past five years, at least 500 influential people have obtained registrations from the department after paying Rs 5 lakh each to carry out ‘illegal’ constructions in Gulmarg, Sonamarg, Pahalgam and other tourist spots. 

“This ‘illegal’ registration scam has played its worst part in vandalizing these tourist spots. You pay Rs 5 lakh and you will get registration without any obstacle, these sources say. 

Registration from Tourism Department is a license for any person to resort to illegal construction and violate the norms,” said a group of employees of the department. 

They added that illegal constructions at tourist places especially in Sonamarg have been going on unabated and this is the major fall out of this hassle free registration process.

A top official informed that due to lack of accountability in the department, all but 75 to 100 relatives of bureaucrats and officials were illegally employed in the department. All these appointments were made without following the set procedures. “The irony is that most of the employees appointed illegally in the department draw salaries without attending the offices while as the casual labourers who serve the department day and night are deprived of their regular wages,” the official wishing not to be named said.

The official added that the unearthing of fake ticket scam is the tip of an ice berg as according to him if all the scams will surface if any anti-graft agency will probe the matters seriously. “You will not believe construction works in the department amounting to Rs 20 crore were allotted to blue-eyed contractors without floating the tenders. These contractors greased the palms of the officials and did not follow the set procedures,” he said.

Insiders say the officials at the helm of affairs look for their personal benefits while launching any project or taking any initiative. “Defective components were used in the Makhdoom Sahib (R.A) ropeway that was grounded soon after its launch. “The ropeway is still defunct and due to its closure the state is losing revenue of Rs 1.25 lakh per month,” they said and alleged that some officers after seeking commission from the company allowed it to operate in its own way.

Despite repeated attempts and requests no official at the helm agreed to speak on these issue. CNS

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