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The government’s move to revoke Article 370 that gave special status (read: autonomy) to the state of Jammu & Kashmir has had some grave consequences within a short span of its withdrawal. While some are in favour of the move, some are against it and others are still on the fence. Article 370 of the constitution gave Jammu & Kashmir the power to have separate set of laws and prohibited citizens from other states from owning property in Jammu & Kashmir.This provision has now been revoked and a new legislation has been passed to make Jammu & Kashmir and Ladakh into two union territories. While the former will have its own legislature, the latter will become a union territory without a legislature.
As a result of this drastic step by the government, the tourism industry in this region is expected to witness a major setback. The disturbances in Kashmir have also affected the tourism sector of Himachal Pradesh, specifically in Manali. Most of the tourism in Manali is dependent on the tourism in Ladakh, but keeping the recent events in view, most tourists to Manali have cancelled their plans. Since it’s the peak season in Ladakh and Lahaul valley, many tourists do a round trip covering the cities of Srinagar, Manali and Ladakh in the same visit. But in light of the political situation in Kashmir, a majority of tourists have cancelled their bookings and have demanded for the advance money back. Apart from Manali, there are several tourist camps in Keylong, Jispa, Sissu and Sarchu that have also received major setback in terms of tourist bookings. The hoteliers in the region are now subject to heavy losses as the tourism rate hits an all time low of almost 50%.
According to reports, despite several assurances from tour operators, tourists are still worried for their safety. Some stability is expected to return in the next few days.
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