Srinagar: Jammu and Kashmir government is putting in place a prepaid system for pony rides in the famous ski-resort of Gulmarg, a move that is expected to curb the "annoying" of tourists by ponywallas, which creates an "adverse image" of the state.
"We are putting in place a prepaid system for pony rides in Gulmarg so as to stop the rushing off after the tourists by ponywallas, which scares away the tourists," Director Tourism, Kashmir, Talat Pervez told a news agency.
He said the department has time and again asked the ponywallas not to annoy the tourists by forcing them for horse rides, but there has been no improvement so far.
"They go after tourists and force them to take pony rides. This creates an adverse image of Kashmir. Some tourists like to ride horses and some do not...There is no need to force them. By having a prepaid system, we will ensure that tourists are not scared away," he said.
The official said the ponywallas have sought 10 to 15 days time, after which the department will strictly enforce the mechanism.
"Ponywallas have to own up and honour the system. Some of them are already working under the prepaid system...They have sought time after which we will enforce it strictly," he said.
"There are some elements...Some unregistered ponywallas ...Who are creating trouble, but we are acting against them and we would not let them annoy tourists," he added.
The department is also working on the modalities to launch an online booking system for pony rides, like the one in place for Gondola cable car, so that "tourists do not feel any inconvenience."