In Valley, houseboats struggle to stay afloat

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raftsperson staring at joblessness

Jahangeer Ganaie

 Ninety percent of the houseboats need immediate repairing but owners are struggling to get permission even for carrying out repairs.

With the result, the houseboat builders are staring at joblessness in the face of High Court guidelines prohibiting any further increase in number of houseboats in Dal and Nigeen lakes.

Abdul Khaliq Najar, a well-known craftsman told news agency—Kashmir News Observer (KNO), that he has made over 50 houseboats but for the last few years, he is facing almost no or little work. He cited non-availability of timber for constructing new houseboats and lack of permission for repairs for dwindling of his livelihood.

Najar said his forefathers have been doing the woodwork but it is for the first time he is facing such situation.

“There will be no houseboats in coming years if repairs are not being carried out in the existing boats. Ninety person of houseboats are in dire need of repairs,” he said.

According to Najar, timber required for making houseboats is not easily available and is expensive.

“I have built at least 50 houseboats so far. Currently, I am repairing a few houseboats which were damaged in fire last year,” he said.

A houseboat stay is a major attraction of Kashmir tourism but due to losses in last one decade most of the houseboat craftsmen have moved to other means of livelihood.

Houseboat owners said that drastic measures are needed to preserve the rich heritage of houseboats

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