|Tourism Deptt leaves hoteliers in lurch |
|‘Gap between Govt and stakeholders widens, officials act mute spectator’|
Early Times Report
Jammu, July 5: Contrary to neighboring Himachal Pradesh, where hotels and allied businesses have been opened and every possible effort is being made to revive the economy in the aftermath of COVID-19 pandemic, the Tourism Department seems least bothered about taking any steps to revive this vital sector in Jammu region.
Ailing tourism industry in Jammu division awaits department’s attention, as the lone tourist hub of the division, Patnitop during the peak season, has nothing to offer to the tourists except the accommodation.
“We don’t regular electricity supply even in the peak season.
Unscheduled power cuts adversely affect the hotels. Tourists visit this destination during summer or in December and January to witness snowfall,” said a hotelier.
“Our industry has suffered a lot during the 3-month lockdown period. We have generators for electricity, but it creates air pollution and noise pollution. We are also concerned about the environment area, but the department has seemingly disowned its duties towards the industry,” he added. He said that the hoteliers were recently allowed to reopened hotels with some restrictions. “We can provide accommodation to our customers, but permission to provide meals is not allowed. Not only, at hotels, even the Dhabas are not allowed to cook and serve the food”, he said, adding that if there is no facility of food, why should somebody visit here.
“Himachal Pradesh, has made its tourism industry fully functional with some restrictions, but here you will find something else”, said another hotelier from Patnitop, adding that incase of tourism industry in Jammu there is a huge gap between the government and the industry. “We are not able to take up our issues at a higher level. It should be the duty of the Tourism Department to bridge the gap between the Government and the tourism industry, but unfortunately, this department lacks a professional approach towards the industry”, he added.
“We are following the time to time orders being issued by the government on our own, but it is the duty of the Tourism Department to lead the industry. Excise Commissioner, J&K leading his department has made wine stores functional, generates revenue for the government, but unfortunately our industry has no such leader in the Tourism Department”, he said, adding that if you openly speak against the failure of the tourism department, one has to go through repeated harassment.
Director Tourism Jammu, Raj Kumar Katoch said, “There is no problem, everything is allowed as per the government order.”