Winter Games in Gulmarg: J-K govt withdraws pre-bookings’ cancellation order

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A day after directing the cancellation of pre-booking of hotels in north Kashmir’s meadow resort of Gulmarg, the administration withdrew the order as it faced criticism over the move.

The office of Deputy Commissioner Baramulla withdrew the order today after it faced backlash on social media. “The communication issued by the Additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla vide no. DCB/SQ/6597-6604 dated: 11.02.2021 regarding the subject matter to the extent of ‘….cancellation of pre-bookings if any….’ stands withdrawn with immediate effect,” read the order.

Earlier, the order was passed in which the Additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla had provided detailed instructions regarding ensuring the boarding and lodging facility to the athletes and officials visiting Kashmir for Khelo India National Winter Games.

The order further read: “Further all pre-bookings if any on this account may be cancelled.”

Gulmarg – the meadow resort which is covered with several feet of snow – is to host the Khelo India National Winter Games from 26 February to 2 March.

Omar Abdullah, a former Chief Minister of Jammu and Kashmir, had criticised the order that had demanded the cancellation of pre-bookings in Gulmarg.

“The games are a welcome addition to our calendar but its mindless application of government writ when the games become a reason to cancel hotel bookings and inconvenience tourists who have booked flights and made their plans well in advance,” Omar had tweeted.

Ahsaan Mir, Additional Deputy Commissioner Baramulla, said the earlier order was issued as the administration needed 700 rooms to host the athletes who coming to participate in the winter games.

“The order was passed because we need around 700 rooms to accommodate the guests who are going to participate in the Khelo India Programme. That is why we had told the hoteliers to cancel any pre-bookings that would impact the accommodation. But now there is enough space for the guests,” Mir said.

“All types of winter games including skiing, skating, rolling etc are being conducted. About 2000 participants are participating from different parts of India and from different parts of the world. The accommodation process has been completed,” said Mir.

Mir said that there has been a huge rush of tourists in Gulmarg over the past one year and the Khelo India Programme will further boost the tourism sector.

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