Houseboat Policy 2021News Kashmir Exclusive
Houseboats have been integral part of Kashmir culture and Tourism .
The origin of the houseboat lies in the chapters of Kashmir’s history. It is said that the native kings had forbidden foreign visitors, especially the British from constructing houses in the region and this gave rise to the concept of a houseboat.But critics have often blamed them for pollution of water bodies , now in a latest the Jammu and Kashmir Government has framed New Houseboat Policy .Recently, the Administrative Council (AC), which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor, Manoj Sinha, approved the roll-out of policy and guidelines for sustainable operation of houseboats in Dal and Nigeen lakes.
Pertinent to mention here that in a bid to preserve the marine eco-system of both the lakes, the new policy aims to regulate the functioning of houseboats moored in Dal and Nigeen lakes by adopting the models of sustainable and responsible tourism.
The policy envisages providing a pleasant experience to tourists and sustainable source of living to stakeholders while preserving the fragile ecosystem.
Keeping in view the carrying capacities, the Tourism Department has capped the number of houseboats in both lakes at 910. Under the new policy, the houseboats are required to be registered online subject to the fulfilment of various conservation parameters; within 30 days from the date notification of the policy.
Yaqub Dunoo, Kashmir Houseboat Owners Association , Chief Spokesperson stated :” We are still examing the policy as Directorate of Tourism is yet to give us final policy document , the previous policy seemed to aimed at crushing the houseboat industry as it had many unfriendly and illogical parameters . We will keenly study the policy and give our opinion on it after studying .We are hopeful that this policy would be friendly and core issue of houseboat reconstruction would be allowed and no adverse guidelines will be there . We fully respect the conservation and preservation of Dal Lake as Houseboats are there only due to lake and houseboats are similarly jewels of lake . We are ready to install bio toilets in the Houseboats .”
We are aware of the reality that the houseboats in Srinagar are usually static as they remain moored at the edges of Dal Lake and Nigeen Lake. Some of the houseboats have been built in early 1900s, and are still being rented out to tourists.One hopes that Houseboat policy 2021 would be acceptable to all the stakeholders and it would usher a new era of sustainable and environmental friendly tourism in the gorgeous valley of Kashmir