Tourists can now visit Jammu and Kashmir from Thursday, more than two months after a security advisory was issued asking tourists to leave the Valley immediately due to a “terror threat”.
But no decision has yet been taken on restoring the mobile phone and internet services.
Governor Satya Pal Malik on Monday announced the lifting of the restriction on entry of tourists after holding a security review meeting with the advisers and the chief secretary.
On August 2, the central government cancelled the Amarnath Yatra and asked the tourists to curtail their stay in the valley citing “intelligence inputs of terror threats”.
Jammu and Kashmir was put under virtual curfew on 5 August when the Modi government scrapped the Article 370 and split the state into two union territories.
Those connected with tourism trade were however apprehensive that the government’s decision might not solve any purpose because of the communication lockdown.
Captain Anil Gour (Retired), former chairman of the Indian Tour Operators Association said that lifting the advisory for tourists does not have any meaning without restoring the communication system.
The tourism industry has suffered losses during the Puja holidays as no booking was made and the bookings done in advance were cancelled because of uncertainty in Kashmir.
The summer tourism was badly hit as tourists were abruptly asked to leave the Kashmir valley before abrogation of the special status of the state in August.
Tourism in the Jammu division, where several new destinations have opened up, has also been hit. Arrival of tourists in the Bhaderwah circuit has been reduced to a trickle although the situation in Jammu was not bad.
Transportation of apple from Kashmir has also been hit and 850 tonnes of fruit worth Rs 3.25 crore has been procured so far.
The government is taking some steps to normalize the situation in Jammu and Kashmir. The state administration has also re-opened schools and colleges as well as universities on Wednesday.
After over two months of detention of local political leaders in the valley, the state administration will release three politicians detained since August 5. Yawar Mir, Noor Mohammed and Shoiab Lone will be released on various grounds which includes signing of a bond, explaining the grounds for their release, reported news agency Press Trust of India.
Last Thursday, Farooq Khan, advisor to Jammu and Kashmir Governor Satya Pal Malik had said that the political leaders in Kashmir will be released in a phased manner.
Meanwhile, almost all political leaders of Jammu have been freed from house arrest nearly after two months of detention as the Jammu and Kashmir government announced BDC polls. However, their counterparts in the Kashmir Valley still remain under preventive detention.
The Block Development Council elections are to be held in the state on October 24, the first electoral process in Jammu and Kashmir since August 5.
The Congress on Wednesday, however, announced that the party will boycott the upcoming BDC elections. The Congress has decided to stay away from the elections in protest against the continued detention of senior political leaders in the Kashmir valley.