Lacks of public toilet facilities in Kashmir a critical issue

Vijay K. Sazawal

The Director of Tourism in Kashmir, has time and again emphasised the crucial need for promoting Kashmir as an alluring tourist destination. In fact, the tourist sector in terms of Indian and foreign tourists, has taken off on a scale never seen in the past. Last year nearly 2 crore tourists came to the valley, including about 50,000 foreign tourists. The size and scale of hosting such large number of tourists is not without its own set of logistic problems, including the inadequacy of the present infrastructure.

Then there is the feedback from the tourists themselves – what they liked and what they didn’t. In the like column are the usual things that I need not go over again as these are well known. In the “didn’t like” column, you get feedback in a number areas ranging from overcrowding to uneven hotel quality, etc. But when asked an interesting question as what they found most lacking in the valley, the answer is uniformly the same – lack of public toilets in public parks, hill stations, and other tourist hot-spots like the Gulmarg Gondola, where a few toilets exist, but these are in a terrible shape and lack of good hygiene is everywhere. For the J&K Cable Car Company, that earns in lakhs per day, to ensure clean toilets with adequate soap, paper, and even adding more toilet facilities should not be a challenge.Click Here To Follow Our WhatsApp ChannelIt just needs a vision and determination to make Kashmir a world class tourist destination.

I know personally that the lack of proper sanitation in the valley is the single biggest complaint by the foreign tourists. I am sure the domestic tourists feel no different. Time has come to bring this issue to light and discuss it publicly and for the authorities to take it seriously.
I like the recent article by Dr. Fiaz Fazili saheb posted on the Greater Kashmir titled, “Public Toilet Facilities: A Critical Issue.” He has provided a detailed assessment of the problem, covering medical aspects of the issue as well. What if there is a mass infectious outbreak among visitors using Kashmir’s dirty public toilets? The challenges facing the Kashmir Government in General, and the Kashmir Tourism Department in particular, are discussed in Dr. Faizili’s timely commentary as well as what needs are necessary to accomplish this mission. I hope Jenab Yaqoob saheb has read the article and is seriously working on the issue.

The author is associated with and opinion expressed by author doens't necessarily reflect the views of KNS. 

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