Ponywallahs stopped from entering Gulmarg
Srinagar: A day after they called for a strike and blocked the road leading to Batapathri demanding that no vehicle be allowed in their territory, ponywallahs were on Saturday stopped by authorities from entering the tourist resort of Gulmarg in North Kashmir, official sources said.
They were not allowed to proceed from Tangmarg, 16 kms downhill, towards Gulmarg, the sources said.
Some ponywallahs and local guides had clashed with the police yesterday while they were trying to clear a road after which tear gas shells were lobbed to chase away the protestors.
They were demanding that no tourist or private vehicle be allowed to enter Gulmarg bowl or proceed to the recently opened Batapathri, 10 kilometers from Gulmarg as this would affect their livelihood.
They also wanted the authorities to stop e-booking of tickets for Gondola cable car rides, the sources said.
While confirming yesterday`s incident, Chief Executive Officer of Gulmarg Development Authority Masood Ahmad Shah said it was impossible to "force" the tourists to travel 20 kilometres on a pony.
"I think there will be very few people visiting Batapathri which has opened after 22 years to tourists," he said.
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