With current tourist inflow, Dal Lake houseboat owners expect to recuperate earlier losses

 Monday, November 8, 2021 


In Srinagar, the houseboat business which was experiencing many impediments in the last few years has been additionally impacted by the issues like sewage discharge into Dal Lake and COVID effects.

In Jammu and Kashmir, tourism is a crucial source of livelihood and when the pandemic hit the sector last year, the owners of the houseboats were affected even more. However, at present, one positive thing is that tourists have started coming to this place. The owners of the houseboat or Shikara are trying their best to offer the superlative services in order to recuperate the losses incurred earlier.

Yet another issue is that in Srinagar, several houseboats got destroyed due to massive floods and fires. Few of them sank as well. There are only 928 houseboats available at this moment in the Dal Lake and the Nigeen Lake. Therefore, J&K government, of late has declared about a policy to preserve these houseboats.

To quote Shikara owner Mohamad Rafiq, “Owing to Covid, the situation had worsened, but now tourists are coming and we are also getting the houseboat repaired. The government has provided some help.”

Dr Bhagyashree, a tourist from Mumbai, on the issue of hygiene has said, “Hygiene is important on the boat. It has become even more important after the pandemic.”

Into the lake, sewage of neighboring areas is getting discharged which is aggravating the problem even more.
Yet another houseboat owner Tariq Ahmad said, “1,200 boats were registered here. But slowly the condition started deteriorating in 1989. We are still suffering.”

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