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Tourists once again flock to the scenic spots of the Kashmir Valley after months of turmoil in the region. Locals are happy as the state government has put in massive development efforts to revive the image of the valley after decades of war.
More tourists are flocking into the Kashmir Valley after months of turmoil. And Kokarnag, a scenic spot, has become one of the popular weekend getaways in the area.
Kokarnag was lacking basic lodging facilities for visitors. But in order to boost tourism, the state government gave it a makeover.
[Ishfaq Ahmad Zargar, Exec. Engineer, Kokarnag Development Authority]:
"We have completed two inspection huts here. It's a two-bedroom hut with an attached toilet, lobby, kitchen and a garden. It's fully furnished accommodation."
Local residents are happy with the new developments.
[Eijaz Dar, Local]:
"Earlier this place had no accommodation, and tourists had to suffer. They used to come to Kokarnag Garden and after being entertained during the day, had to rush back in the evening. Now the Jammu and Kashmir government is constructing tourist huts, gardens and resorts. Now our guests won't face discomfort any more. With this investment, the locals are also benefiting as we are getting jobs."
The tourism sector was badly hit last year when the Kashmir Valley witnessed street protests, after the deaths of two women in Kashmir's Shopian district.
A nearly three-month-long spate of strikes, curfews and security lockdowns had kept the Kashmir Valley on the boil, shutting down much of the region.
The violence and unrest saw many areas being cordoned off, leading to a decline in tourism.