Emotional commitment brought us here: Dr Suri
GK BUSINESS REPORTER
Srinagar, June 17: In the 13th year of its operations in the Valley, she recalls that it was the “emotional commitment to the nation” that actually brought her here in 1998.
CMD, The Lalit Suri Hospitalality Group, Dr Jyotsna Suri says it was more of an emotional commitment than the commercial viability that had convinced her to invest in the troubled Valley.
“When we took over this property in 1998, it was all in a shambles. This picturesque spot that you see today was all dingy with unwanted gross grown widely around. The place was ravaged after it had been abandoned,” she says.
“After take over, we never let this hotel to stop even for a single day irrespective of the conditions that prevailed in the Valley and unmindful of the fact whether it was commercially viable,” she says.
Had the decision ultimately proved commercially viable? She responds: “It has never been commercially viable. However, during last three years we did not suffer operational losses.”
“We were doing good last year till unrest gripped Kashmir,” she says, adding that the impact of the last year turbulence has cast its shadows on this year too. “As per our estimates Kashmir would get 1.5 lakh less tourists this year than actually it could have got, due to the impact of the last year abnormal situations,” she says.
On the need for investment in Kashmir, she says while as chairperson of FICCI she invites outside business houses to come to the Valley, “I feel myself in a better position to do it since I have myself invested here.”
However, she acknowledges that no reputable business house in India has invested in Kashmir. “I wonder a segment of local media here had earlier reported that Taj opens first five-star hotel in Kashmir. Actually, Taj has only entered into a management contract, it has not invested a single penny in Kashmir,” she says.
She says the Lalit Grand Palace Srinagar has no competition in the state and no comparison all over India. “This is a super luxury brand. This property is a heritage and has historical significance. I cannot compare it with any hotels in India particularly given its rich locales.”
“There is a dire need to have an investment policy on hand. When I invested I found family connections here smoothened my way and made it possible. But everyone cannot have such a route available. So there is a dire need to have investment policy which would attract the investors,” she says.
She says that FICCI would use its offices to prevent “negative imaging of Kashmir” by some media groups in India.
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Jun 2011 21:30:00 Makkah time
Lastupdate on : Fri, 17 Jun 2011 18:30:00 GMT
Lastupdate on : Sat, 18 Jun 2011 00:00:00 IST
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