JK admin rolls out policy for houseboats in Dal and Nigeen lakes

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Jammu, Mar 29 (PTI) The Jammu and Kashmir administration on Monday rolled out a policy aimed at regulating the functioning of the houseboats moored in the world famous Dal and Nigeen lakes by adopting the models of sustainable and responsible tourism.

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 of notification of the policy, an official spokesperson said here.

Keeping in view the carrying capacities, the tourism department has capped the number of houseboats in both lakes at 910.

The spokesperson said the Administrative Council, which met under the chairmanship of Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha, approved the rollout of the policy and guidelines for a sustainable operation of houseboats in the twin lakes, star attraction for the tourists visiting Srinagar.

'In a bid to preserve the marine ecosystem of the lakes, the new policy aims to regulate the functioning of the houseboats moored in the Dal and Nigeen lakes by adopting the models of sustainable and responsible tourism,' he said.

The spokesperson said the policy envisages providing a pleasant experience to tourists and a sustainable source of living to the stakeholders while preserving the fragile ecosystem.

He said the houseboats and the associated structures are required to be fitted with bio-digesters for a scientific treatment of solid or liquid waste in accordance with the approved design of the Lakes and Waterways Development Authority, besides ensuring the availability of adequate fire safety equipment, along with trained staff to be verified by the fire and emergency services department.

The policy lays down regulations for ancillary facilities such as kitchens, lodging, furniture, first-aid, electricity, power back-up, sanitary fittings and shikara for navigation, the spokesperson said.

He said the policy also ensures availability of minimum basic facilities to the tourists to be categorised on the basis of the different classes of the houseboats.

The policy includes provisions for undertaking repairs on damaged, dilapidated and abandoned houseboats, and revival of cruise boats and donga cruise, the spokesperson said.

Moreover, he said the policy provides for the constitution of an advisory committee under the chairmanship of the Director, Tourism, Kashmir to look into the conservation of the lakes in relation to the functioning of the houseboats while recommending measures to increase the tourist influx in a sustainable manner.

Additionally, a regulatory committee headed by the Deputy Director, Tourism will also be constituted for ensuring compliance with the norms and procedures laid down in the policy, the spokesperson added.

He said the policy bridges the aspirations of all the stakeholders while complying with the directions of the high court in the matter. PTI TAS RC