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‘Quarantine Tourism’ and Opening Hotels in Himachal Bad Idea: Hotel Associations

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Himachal Pradesh Opening hotels and quarantine tourism

Shimla– The Shimla Hotel & Restaurant Association on June 2, 2020, held a video conference with the Secretary and Director of the State Tourism Department, DTDOs, and Presidents of all associations concerning the hospitality industry of Himachal Pradesh.

The conference was held following the State Government’s announcement regarding opening of hotels for people visiting the State for non-tourism purposes from June 8.

The Association termed Chief Minister Jairam Thakur’s plan of “quarantine tourism” in Himachal Pradesh as a bad idea that would put the safety of the people at a risk. It’s pertinent to mention that a couple of weeks ago, the Chief Minister had suggested that to boost the industry, hotels can be opened for people, within and from outside the State, who are quarantined. This idea of the CM had drawn flak from not only the oppositions but also from the people.

“As far as quarantine tourism is concerned, we from the Industry do not feel it would be a good step for tourism in Himachal Pradesh. This could be unsafe for the employees, our properties and most important our citizens in towns and villages,”

said Sanjay Sood, President of Shimla Hotel and Restaurant Association. 

This year, because of the coronavirus pandemic, the hotel industry-supported Chief Minister’s decision to close borders of Himachal to tourists, which we felt was the right decision as we all were concerned for our employees and citizens of our state, Sood said.

Since cases are on the rise in Maharashtra, Gujarat, Delhi, Punjab etc. Himachal should not consider opening hotels, at least, till the end of August or September unless a vaccine for the treatment of COVID-19 is available, Sanjay added.  

Now, that most parts of the State are safe and the tourist season – April, May and June- seems to have been lost due to the pandemic, the State should not open its borders for tourism as the cases are going to increase manifold in June and July, he said.

“We should not consider opening tourism in Himachal Pradesh till we have normalcy in domestic and international air traffic and all inter-state borders are opened. We suggest we should try to boost tourism in the State in August or September and start marketing the beautiful state for wellness tourism, adventure tourism, environmental tourism, cultural tourism, health tourism, religious tourism, culinary tourism,”

Sanjay said.

Also Read: Impossible to Pay Salaries & Wages to Staff With Zero Cash Flow, Says Hotel Association, Seeks Relief from CM Jairam Thakur

He said that meanwhile, the hotels would get a time of two to three months to train their staff to deal with guests and at the same time keep themselves safe in these challenging times of a pandemic.  Sanjay suggested that the State Government would need to focus on projecting Himachal as a safe destination and include members of all hotel associations of the State to do so.

The Association gave following suggestions to the State Govt

  1. Advertisements on Netflix and other popular TV channels which are currently popular.
  2. Advertise in theaters like PVR, SRS etc once they open.
  3. Advertise in newspapers and popular magazines concerning domestic and international travels.
  4. The most important step for the State Government should be to take along three to five members of all hotel associations of the State and hold roadshows, exhibitions, dinners with popular travel houses in all metros and cities of India to showcase Himachal as a haven for visitors.
  5. State Government would have to bear all costs including travel and stay of members of the association’s members.
  6. There are bodies like a travel trade fair, both domestic and international, where the State Government needs to coordinate and organise roadshows exhibitions etc.
  7. All fees for exhibitions that take place in various destinations should be waived off for hotels and the Government would have to take care of the expenses.

Earlier, on May 23, a delegation of Himachal’s hotel and tourism industry headed by Vikramaditya Singh, MLA, Shimla (Rural), had met the Chief Minister Jairam Thakur, seeking relief for the dying industry in the State due to the lockdown.

Reliefs Sought from the State Government by the Hospitality Industry

The delegation sought-following relief measures for “survival and revival” of tourism in Himachal  :

  1. Financial package is given to all hotels to cover business losses incurred during lockdown period by way of interest-free loans from State co-operative Bank and other state-owned banks, waiver of interest on existing term loans / CC limits availed from various banks and extension of existing term loans and CC limit with no requirements of fresh/additional collaterals.
  2. No electricity and water charges should be taken from hotels which are presently lying closed since lockdown.
  3. All fixed taxes, cess, license fees, govt. rentals should be waived for lockdown period from April 2020 that are being charged by the government of HP.
  4. The government should pay minimum wages to all Hotel employees during the lockdown . There are about 50,000 employees in tourism units of private & govt. Sector. The total amount will be less than 50 crores per month which should be paid by way of direct transfers to all employees of tourism units.
  5. GST should be reduced to 9% for 2 years after the opening of lockdown to encourage the revival of tourism in Himachal. Hotels should be allowed to charge 9% as ‘ COVID – 19 surcharge’ to the bills of visiting customers in room and food charges to make up for the losses in sales during the lockdown.
  6. Completion of Tourism linked infrastructure should be expedited like helipads, National and State highways, link roads etc.

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Kinnaur: Horrific Tragedy Unfolds as Bodies of 7 Out of 11 Missing Trekkers Recovered, Two Still Missing

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Kinnaur-A horrific tragedy is unfolding as bodies of seven trekkers, who had gone missing while trekking from Uttarkashi to Chitkul, were recovered by the teams of Army and ITPB from Lamkhaga Pass in Kinnaur district. Two of them have been rescued alive and were receiving medical treatment. Two trekkers are still missing and feared to be dead.

Most of these persons belonged to West Bengal. 

The rescue team could not lift the bodies due to the bad weather on Thursday as it had to suspend the search and rescue operation. The operation was resumed on Friday. The search operation for the remaining missing persons would be carried out on Saturday. The search and rescue teams found the bodies at an altitude of 5,000 metres.

According to the available information, a total of 17 persons – 11 trekkers and six porters- had left Uttarkashi on October 11 on a trekking expedition that was supposed to conclude in Chikul of Kinnaur district on October 19. However, the weather took a drastic turn and the region witnessed heavy snowfall on October 17 and 18.

While six Nepalese porters were said to have reached Chitkul, the trekkers had decided to stay in temporary tents at Lamkhaga Pass. The porters had informed the police about the stranded trekkers on reaching Chitkul on October 20.

The Deputy Commissioner, Kinnaur, Abid Hussain, confirmed that nine of these trekkers have been found. While two were alive, seven had died. The exact reason for deaths would be ascertained only after the post-mortem. Two trekkers still remain missing. More information is awaited.

It’s pertinent to mention that the Meteorological Department had issued warning of heavy rain and snow on October 18 alonwith an orange alert. 

Following are the details of the bodies recovered and persons rescued alive:

Deceased Persons

  1. Anita Rawat (38) D/o Sh. Jyoti Singh R/o M 95 Harinagar, West Bengal
  2. Tanmay Tiwari (30), S/o Sh R.C. Tiwari, R/o Kishan Nagar, Kolkata 3
  3. Vikas Makal(33) son of Swapan Maikal, Raghabpur Nepalganj, South 24 Parganas, West Bengal
  4. Saurabh Gosh (34) S/o Sushil Ghosh, R/o Nepalganj, South 24 West Bengal
  5. Subhayan Das (28) S/o Kajal Das, R/o 10/1A Nepal Bhatacharia G Streak Kalighat, West Bengal
  6. Richard Mandal (31) From West Bengal
  7. Upender (22) from Uttarkashi

Detail of Missing persons:

  1. Sukenh Manjhi(43) From West Bengal
  2. Gyan Chand (33) from Uttarkashi

Details of Injured Person

  1. Devendra Chauhan, S/o Hariram, R/o Village Gangad, Thana Mary, Uttarkashi. (company guide)
  2. Mithun Dari, S/o Swar Badal Ch Dari, R/o Prasadpur, PostAndhar Manik, South 24 Pargans, West Bengal

 

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HP By-Polls 2021: Silence Period Extended to Three Days

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hp by polls 2021 silence period

Shimla-The campaigning period during Himachal Pradesh by-elections has been fixed from 10 am to 7 pm every day. The silence period has been extended from two days to three days before the closing date of voting, which will start after 6 pm on 27th October 2021.

During the no active campaigning by the candidates or political parties is allowed, and television or any digital media cannot carry any election-related matter.

This information was released by Chief Electoral Officer, Himachal Pradesh, C. Paulrasu. He said that the Election Commission of India has limited the period of campaigning during by-election 2021 in view of the guidelines issued for the prevention of the COVID-19 pandemic.

He has urged all the candidates and political parties participating in the by-elections of Mandi Parliamentary Constituency and Fatehpur, Jubbal-Kotkhai and Arki Assembly Constituencies to comply with these guidelines related to the election campaign.

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Campus Watch

Nauni Varsity Scholar Naincy Bags Scholarship to Pursue PhD in France

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Naincy Sagar uhf nauni scholar

Solan: Naincy Sagar, an alumna of Dr. YS Parmar University of Horticulture and Forestry, Nauni has bagged a fellowship for pursuing PhD from France. Nancy has reached France and will be pursuing PhD in Forest Genetics from the University of Orléans under INRAE fellowship. INRAE is France’s National Research Institute for Agriculture, Food and Environment.

Naincy has completed her BSc Forestry from College of Horticulture and Forestry (COH&F), Neri in 2018 and MSc Forest Biology and Tree Improvement and Genetic Resources from UAS, Dharwad, under ICAR’s National Talent Scheme. Before leaving for France last week, Naincy was working as a Junior Research Fellow in a research project at COH&F, Neri.

She had applied for a PhD with a scholarship in Forest Genetics which was advertised by INRAE. Naincy was successful in the interview and was awarded a fellowship for three years for pursuing PhD at the University of Orléans. During the course of the PhD, she will receive a total scholarship of around Rs 70 lakh along with medical reimbursement. Naincy will be working on forest tree larch species in the Project titled ‘Vigour at what cost? ‘Trade-off’ of hybrid vigour in Larch-Phenological, morphological and physiological determinants of hybrid superiority in Larix X eurolepis’ with a team of 20 scientists of Joint Integrated Biology Research Unit having expertise in genetics, genomics and physiology for the enhancement of tree and forest diversity

Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Vice-Chancellor of the university spoke to Naincy via web conferencing and congratulated her. Dr. Kaushal, who has also done his doctorate from France, shared some tips and suggestions. He asked Naincy to explore this opportunity to learn about new cultures along with doing research that could help to enhance and conserve forest wealth in the future.

Naincy expressed gratitude towards her father Satya Prakash Sagar (Retd. SDO BSNL) and mother Monika Sagar, who is working as SDO in BSNL for their continuous support for higher studies. She also thanked Vice-Chancellor Dr. Parvinder Kaushal, Dean Dr. Kamal Sharma and Dr. Dushyant Sharma, Project Investigator and all the university staff for their support and guidance. The university administration, Dean of COH&F Neri congratulated Naincy and wished her success.  

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