J&K: Hoteliers, Tour Operators welcome Covid relief package, express disappointment on being left out

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Srinagar: After the government on Friday announced a relief package to the tune of Rs 2.94 crore for the selected tourism players in Jammu and Kashmir in view of the ongoing pandemic, Houseboat Association said they have been left out despite of apprising the LG administration of their plight.

Mushtaq Ahmad Chahiya Chairman Hoteliers Club while welcoming the initiative for the Shikarawalas and other selected tourism players said the hotel industry from the last two years have received no bailout package.

“This is a welcome initiative by the government, and we hope the government may come with a comprehensive bailout package for hoteliers as well,” he said.

Manzoor Pakhtoon, associated with the Tourism industry and a senior member of the United Forum of Tour Operators echoed the same disappointment after being left out of the relief package.

“It is a welcome step for the people who have been selected under this relief category but at the same time tour operators’ forum has been left out. We have pinned our hopes the government may announce a bigger package which will include all stakeholders associated with the tourism industry,” Pakhtoon said.

General Secretary Houseboat Association Abdul Rasheed told KNO that they are disappointed after they were being left out of the relief package.

“There is nothing for houseboat owners in this Covid relief package, our industry has been neglected, though we have approached all for the relief assistance but nothing has happened on ground,” he said.

He further said, there are around 950 houseboat owners and manpower associated with it, but it is unfortunate, the industry has been left out.

Pertinently LG Administration of Jammu and Kashmir led by Lt. Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday approved the release of Rs 2,94,22,000 (Rupees two crore ninety four lakh and twenty-two thousand only) for 14,711 tourism players including shikarawalas, ponywalas, tourist guides, dandiwalas/sledgewalas/palkiwalas.

In a survey conducted by the Tourism department Kashmir, it has asked for the relief of amount of Rs 2,92,54,000 for 4444 shikarawalas, 1370 tourist guides, 6663 ponywalas, 2150 dandiwalas/sledgewalas, while as Jammu Tourism department has asked for relief amount of Rs 1,68,000 only for 13 tourist guides and 71 ponywalas. (KNO)

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