Karnataka’s Jammu and Kashmir luxury hotel plan hits hitch

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Wahid Bhat | Srinagar

Karnataka government’s ambitious proposal to run a luxury hotel in newly union territory Jammu & Kashmir failed to take off due to technical reasons that include the absence of internet and mobile services in J&K and the change in the status of J&K from a state to Union Territory.

Karnataka government had proposed a luxury hotel in J&K soon after the abrogation of special status article 370 and 35A to the state in September last year. Tourism minister CT Ravi had written to then J&K governor Satyapal Malik and outlined the state government’s intent.

Karnataka State Tourism Development Corporation (KSTDC) was to run the hotel.
KSTDC MD Kumar Pushkar said the government plans to buy 10 to 15 acres of land in J&K.

We want to facilitate Karnataka tourists who frequent J&K for religious events like the Amarnath Yatra. More than commercial viability, we are looking at a property to serve citizens. However, we are yet to hear from the J&K administration.

KSTDC MD Kumar Pushkar

Officials said the communication blockade had hampered efforts.

“We were unable to reach officials to know the status of our proposal. This included the governor’s office,” said a senior official.

However, Pushkar said he managed to get in touch with the director of tourism for J&K a few days ago and there has been some development on the proposal. “If required, a team from Karnataka will visit J&K for further negotiation.”

The other major problem was the change in the status of J&K. “The minister’s first letter was addressed to the state government of J&K. Now, they are changing it to a UT and they have asked for a fresh process.”

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“The J&K governor had in fact given me an appointment in this regard on December 20, but due to anti-CAA protests, the meet was cancelled,” Ravi said.