Kashmir hotel industry in dire straits

J&K Hoteliers Club (JKHC) has expressed its concern over the lack of approach on part of government to provide much needed relief to the hospitality sector in J&K which is in dire straits for last so many years.

While appealing the government for emergency assistance for tourism sector of J&K, chairman JKHC Mushtaq Ahmad Chaya said that the sector needs immediate assistance to prevent major job losses in tourism sector.

“It appears unlikely that the government will announce anything specific and tangible for us, although they could have done deep restructuring of finances provided to entrepreneurs of tourism sector,” said Chaya in a statement.

“We are left with only option of approaching the Supreme Court and seek intervention to direct government to provide packages to J&K hospitality industry,” Chaya said.

According to him, the Hoteliers Club has started an exercise for filing of a petition and in this regard a baseline survey of all tourism establishments will be conducted online which will be shared with all stakeholders.

“As our hotels are without customers from last more than a year, thereby we are taking a difficult but necessary step in form of such action and are also laying off staff and paying them less.”

“If the administration was concerned about tourism sector, they could consider complete waiver of all fixed electricity, water usage and other utility charges from August 2019 along with refund of GST of the F.Y 2019-20 and 2020-21 collected from all hoteliers, guest houses, travel agents, tour operators, restaurants,” said Chaya.

He said the government should extend all licenses/construction and building permissions for a period of further one year in view of the complete freeze of the operating environment.

The statement said J&K Hoteliers Club has condemned what it termed “forcible occupation of hotels for quarantine purposes”.

“It was unfortunate that several hotels have been forcibly taken over without the consent and availability of operational staff of hotels. We should not be harassed,” said the members of Club in the statement.

According to J&K Hoteliers Club, Under section 65 of Power of Requisition of Resources of Disaster Management Act, the government has to go for requisition order in writing.

“No such requisition was made and our hotels have been taken forcibly,” alleged the J&K Hoteliers Club in the statement.

“The hoteliers are already under extreme stress for past one year and in addition if any damage will occur to our properties then who will compensate,” the Club members said.