Amritsar, May 6
With Amritsar’s pride Golden Temple located here, there is a heavy influx of tourists from all over the globe.
In addition to this, various added attractions such as the Beating the Retreat ceremony at the Attari-Wagah Joint Check Post, Durgiana Mandir, Jallianwala Bagh, the War Museum, the Heritage Village Sada Pind, Gobindgarh Fort and the Heritage Street have failed to catch the fancy of tourists who would be reluctant to prolong their stay in the city.
The situation is so grim that even low-budget hotels are unable to survive under the existing scenario, what to talk of big hotels. The government has not provided any relief in taxes and electricity bills. Finding no labour and facing cumbersome official formalities have further added to their woes. — Piyush Sharma, General Secretary, AHARA
This was revealed by Amritsar’s hotel and restaurant owners during an exclusive interaction, under the umbrella of the Amritsar Hotel and Restaurant Association (AHARA), Civil Lines, with former Inspector General of Punjab Police-turned-politician Kunwar Vijay Partap Singh, representing Amritsar’s North constituency as a lawmaker from the AAP government.
Concerned about the deteriorating law and order situation, they apprised Kunwar of the rising incidents of loot and snatching in key areas of the city which discourage visitors from roaming about freely, especially during evening hours.
AHARA president APS Chatha said unchecked incidents of theft and fleecing of tourists were a blot.
“Even hotel employees, who leave for their homes after finishing their duties late in the evenings, were targeted on many occasions and the police were unmindful of this menace,” he said.
The hospitality industry is on ventilator. The Covid-induced lockdown has resulted in a crippling blow with most of the losses being caused due to the curbs on international and domestic travel since 2020. Now the situation has started improving with all curbs lifted.
“But it still has been far from encouraging. The fact is that very few devotees opt to stay here. They offer prayers and leave the same day due to lack of atmosphere of safety, parking lots, traffic snarls due to illegal roadside encroachments. These hassles have to be addressed as a part of liability of the government,” said Chatha.
Ironically, the hotel trade was declared as an ‘industry’ and a notification to this effect was framed under ‘Industrial policy 2009, but it could not be implemented till date. Consequently, they were being charged tariffs on the commercial rates. This was further burdening the already crippled hotel industry.
The hoteliers also apprised Kunwar of corruption and cumbersome official formalities to get clearance from civic authorities. After listening to them patiently, Kunwar noted the feedback and assured them of solving their problems. “I am a representative of people and I take it as call of my duty to take up their issues at the appropriate platform of the government. I will try to resolve the issues in coordination with the departments concerned,” he said.
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