Hotels seek relief package

Corona virus pandemic has not only globally endangered human lives but severely hit their means of livelihood too . Such a dread, devastation, destruction and disruption is deep and in open in its bag that it bewilders a human being to precisely calculate it in its enormity. One cannot travel, employees cannot attend offices, shops and malls cannot be opened, students cannot attend schools, colleges and any other educational institutions, games and sports cannot be played and watched by crowds, pilgrimages cannot be undertaken , hotels cannot be visited for eating, staying, conferencing and celebrating of social events , looks all as if hell is broken loose . How much can be explained and said about the extent, this virus has crippled almost all activities related to the normal living of human beings. In fact, this virus is dictating and subjugating humans to its mercy. Is there any industry which is not adversely affected as it becomes difficult to point out which industry is more hard hit, less affected and which one totally wrecked and imperilled. The fallout of this pandemic is cruel and outrageous, imminent loss of jobs in millions is something very extraordinary while on the other hand, there usually remains a scramble for creating more avenues of employment and most of the political opportunism unfortunately thrives on the issue of “solving” unemployment problem in our country.
If there is any evident catastrophe in addition to the death toll due to this virus, and visible to naked eye and getting tossed in the official papers and proposals of economic policy planners, it is the casualty of job losses or means of livelihood blocked. Our Hotel and Hospitality industry across the country engages millions of people directly and indirectly in earning their livelihood and, now, for more than two months since everything has virtually come to a screeching halt, the Hotels, lodges, dhabas, eating shops, highway cafeterias, clubs, restaurants, bars, coffee outlets etc are closed as human ‘togetherness’ is cardinal to their functioning which corona virus does never ever “allow”. Coming to the plight of Jammu Hotels and lodges, they are facing numerous problems as their earnings are virtually nil while their recurring expenses like salary bill, power bill, maintenance and upkeep expenses, taxes and Government dues, bank interest and repayment of term loan instalments, keeping working capital cash credit and overdraft limit accounts running and servicing, up-keeping of their premises and fixtures, payment of insurance premiums etc. All these expenses, we are given to understand, are being found to be managed with great difficulties. Lockdown, otherwise, an unavoidable precautionary measure against the virus spread has dealt a severe blow to these Hotels etc . Most of them, however, are not lagging behind in offering social services like offering accommodation to Corona warriors or people in quarantine but since these hotels are not meant for services other than serving commercial purposes, they are in dire need of being bailed out. That has obviously to be done by the Government otherwise under a train of strains of announcing for reviving various sectors of the economy.
It is not that, the Government both at the Centre as well as in the UT must not be seized of the problems faced by this vital industry directly related to tourism and its promotion and giving employment to thousands directly and many more indirectly but there are certain demands put forth by their Associations. Members of All Jammu Hotels and Lodges Association want the Government come to their rescue and bring it out from the morass of near “starvation”. In this connection, a package was announced in the year 2003 and on the same pattern, a package is demanded to be announced by the Government whereby an effective policy was needed to be formulated to ‘revive’ this industry. Although a train service direct up to Katra otherwise much in the interests of the millions of pilgrims and one of the glimpses of the development of the area, has the other face of it as it has to a large extent, impaired the pilgrim occupancy turnover of the Jammu hotels and lodges and hence their revenues. The Hoteliers want an instant and long term relief package from the Government. It is left to the discretion of the Government to provide some succour and cushion to these hotels commensurate with the extent of their sufferings. The Government, agreeably is hard pressed as it is attending to different affected segments and helping them out with relief packages. We feel Hotels and lodges too deserve a compassionate and just treatment to help them stand on the rails of sustenance and functioning.