Online edition of India's National Newspaper
Tuesday, Oct 19, 2010
ePaper | Mobile/PDA Version
Front Page |
Tamil Nadu |
Andhra Pradesh |
New Delhi |
Other States |
Advts: Retail Plus | Classifieds | Jobs | Obituary |
A view of Bhaderwah town developed as new tourist destination.
BHADERWAH: From being a hot-bed of militancy, Bhaderwah town in the Doda district of Jammu and Kashmir and the adjoining regions don a new look with rapid development changing the lives of the people. The exclusive attention it has received has enabled it to become a potential tourist spot, having many things in common with Kashmir.
Until 2005, Bhaderwah was like any other backward area of the State. But with Ghulam Nabi Azad taking over as the Chief Minister, its fate began to change. As Mr. Azad, who hails from the area, was elected for the first time to the Assembly from this segment with a record margin, a new path of development was opened.
Since then, the region has also witnessed easing of communal tension. With the population equally divided between Muslims and the Hindus, Bhaderwah has always remained on the edge.
“Azad Sahib's coming to power gave a new direction to the town. As he consolidated politics and put it on development map, people's attention was diverted” said Bashir Bhaderwahi, noted writer from the region.
The biggest boon to development has been in form of network of roads. Being a sub-division of the erstwhile Doda district, Bhaderwah too got a small share. Road connectivity was a dream of the people who live atop the hillocks in this picturesque area, also known as “Chota Kashmir” (little Kashmir), owing to its beauty.
“But that seems to be a thing of the past now,” said young IAS officer Yasha Mudgal, who functions as Sub-Divisional Magistrate. Compared to just 6 per cent growth in road connectivity earlier, it is has touched 28 per cent, with many projects in the pipeline. Giving credit to Mr. Azad, she said, “When a personality hails from a place it certainly attracts attention. He was the Chief Minister and he had a soft corner for this place and genuinely so. The good thing is that the pace of development has not slackened after his exit.”
During his tenure, Mr. Azad managed an allocation of over Rs. 30 crore for the area. “The biggest achievement is that a Rs. 72 crore road project from Bhaderwah to Chamba has been sanctioned. It will connect Jammu and Kashmir with Himachal Pradesh” Ms. Mudgal said.
Bhaderwah is also getting a facelift as a tourist destination. A fabulous Tourist Reception Centre, along with other facilities, has added to its advantages. The government has also announced special packages for those investing in tourism by way of granting tax rebate for constructing hotels and guest houses. “There are many takers for it,” Raashid Ahmad, a local businessman, said.
The Bhaderwah Tourism Development Authority (BTDA) is a new entity created during Mr. Azad's tenure. It received Rs. 6 crore for creating tourism infrastructure. “We tried to create infrastructure to make it a place of tourism,” recalls its former CEO, Talat Parvez. He is hailed in Bhaderwah as its modern architect.
The BTDA has revived the Bhaderwah Fort, built by erstwhile Dogra Ruler. It later converted into a sub-jail, besides developing the Ghata Fish Pond. On Mr. Azad's direction the sub-jail was closed and the fort is being developed as a heritage site.
With a population of nearly 75,000, law and order has always been a challenge as the place was communally divided. However, over the past few years, there have been signs of improvement. “They have shown maturity and even during the recent unrest in the Valley and after the Ayodhya verdict, everything went off well,” said Ms. Mudgal.
The Anjuman-e-Islam and the Sanathan Dharam Sabha are two important bodies. This time, both showed restraint. There were only occasional demonstrations and shutdowns in support of the Valley's “azadi” movement. “Situation on that front is different now. Communities have developed a greater understanding,” said 83-year-old Abdul Hai Khateeb, head of the Anjuman-e-Islam.
That is perhaps the secret behind the success of a “new Bhaderwah.”
The Hindu Group: Home | About Us | Copyright | Archives | Contacts | Subscription
Group Sites: The Hindu | The Hindu ePaper | Business Line | Business Line ePaper | Sportstar | Frontline | Publications | eBooks | Images | Ergo | Home |
Copyright © 2010, The
Hindu. Republication or redissemination of the contents of
this screen are expressly prohibited without the written consent of