Crescent Kashmir

J-K govt to ‘outsource’ Royal Springs Golf Course

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Jammu and Kashmir administration has proposed to “outsource” the famed Royal Spring Golf Course through public-private-partnership mode, inviting criticism from the Peoples Democratic Party (PDP).

In a letter to the secretary, RSGC, the Managing Director of Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation said some properties of the corporation and Directorate of Tourism Jammu and Kashmir are proposed to be outsourced on a PPP mode.

“Royal Springs Golf Course (RSGC) has also been included in the list of outsourcing,” the letter said.

PDP president Mehbooba Mufti said the assets of Jammu and Kashmir were being put on sale and the locals were being pushed out of every sector.

“The sale of Royal Spring Golf Course is another example of how the government is ‘developing’ this region post the August 5 (2019) decision (of abrogation of Article 370). Everything has been put on ‘sale’. This is yet another step to sell our assets to non-local businesses,” Mufti said in a statement here.

She said Kashmir is the oldest golfing destination not just in South Asia but perhaps east of Suez.

“Gulmarg, Kashmir Golf clubs are the second oldest after Calcutta. Our golf clubs are not merely real estate as GOI (Union government) is treating the state but an essential part of our identity and heritage,” she added.

If the present administration finds its maintenance difficult “because of its inherent inefficiency and agenda”, it should focus on improving the organisation running golf courses and hire experts from anywhere, Mufti said.

The PDP chief said whether in Jammu or in Kashmir, “selling” golf courses is unacceptable “as we have witnessed that this outsourcing generally ends up in ownerships and (is) irreversible”.

She said on one hand, poor people “are being hounded” out of what has been their’s for generations, and on the other, premier assets are up for sale.

“The August 5 decision led to rampant exploitation of land resources, jobs, and rivers in the region, with outsiders being given preference over locals. This has resulted in a rise in unemployment, drug abuse, mafia activities, environmental degradation and above all dispossession and disempowerment of locals,” Mufti said. (PTI)

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