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Mazdoor Union strike on cards in Gulmarg

Waheed Yaseen
Agence India Press

Srinagar: With Summer and autumn seasons washed out due to the unrest, tourism fraternity is pinning hopes on winter to make up for the lost ground. But on-cards strike Mazdoor Union Gulmarg-Tangmarg could well turn out to be dampener to the hopes.

Gulmarg and Tangmarg besides Pahalgam play host to a big number of tourists in the winter as its snow capped mountains and slopes provide the second to none turfs for winter sports.
Mazdoor Union is mulling to go on strike from 24th this month if demands it has put before the authorities aren’t met before the deadline.
“We called off the strike after assurance by the authorities that our demands will be met before the Christmas. We are waiting till the deadline and if there is no progress from the other side,” president of the Union, Abdul Hamid Mir told Agence India Press adding that family members of all the 2000 ‘mazdoors’ will join them as well during the strike.
“Strike would be much intensified as wives, children and other family members of laborers will be part of the strike,” he said.
Gondola service, Mir felt, had rendered majority of laborers in Gulmarg jobless and authorities weren’t keen to listen to their demands.
“We have put our representation before the Chief Minister Omar Abdullah and Ghulam Hassan Mir. We want authorities to listen to our demands as soon as possible,” he said.
Mir and his colleagues want authorities to close first phase of Gondola Service during the summer or provide share some of the earnings from the service to the license holders, most of them are pony-wallas.
“When Gondola service was started in 1998, the then Chief Minister Farooq Abdullah told us that service is only meant for the tourists. But with the time, it was thrown open for general public that has hit our business very hard,” Mir lamented adding problems tussle could be averted if government employees laborers as fourth class employees under Central government’s employment schemes.
Union has given government another option as well. “Give us Auto rickshaws, we will have no problem,” he said.
Tourism fraternity fears that strike could well turn out to be a spoilsport. Mushtaq Ahmad Burza, President Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association said that the tourism fraternity has already started panicking about the strike.
“We are expecting tourists to make their way back to valley after five months of no tourism. But strike by the Union at a time when winter sports is a major attraction in Gulmarg is a cause of worry,” he said.
Fraternity, he said, was keeping its fingers crossed and hoping that feud between the authorities and Union comes to an end at an earliest.

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