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Coronavirus impact: Delhi hotels stare at bankruptcy if establishments not allowed to reopen

Monday, August 3, 2020, 10:02 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

According to The New Indian Express, Hit hard by the coronavirus pandemic, owners of around 3,000 budget hotels and guest houses in the national capital had to let go more than 75 per cent of their staff and are now staring at bankruptcy with unpaid bills running into lakhs, umbrella groups representing them have claimed.

So severe is the situation that the president of Delhi Hotel and Restaurant Owners Association, Sandeep Khandelwal, claims he himself was being unable to pay his house rent. Even though the Centre had allowed hotels across the country to open their doors to customers from June 8, the Delhi government did not do so considering a large number of Covid-19 cases in that month.

With Delhi witnessing a significant improvement in the Covid situation in July end, the Arvind Kejriwal government last Thursday allowed hotels to resume “normal functioning”. 

But that was not to be as L-G Anil Baijal the next day vetoed the decision, saying the situation continues to be “fragile”. He said over four lakh people depend on hotels, guest houses and restaurants for their livelihood directly or indirectly.’’ “The establishments have remained closed since March 15.
Most of the employees have returned to their villages. A few remain to look after the premises. They, too, are not being paid their full salaries,” he said. Khandelwal, who runs a hotel on a lease himself, claimed that he has not been able to pay its rent for the last four months. “I pay INR 7 lakh as rent for the property.

Around 50 families depend on the hotel directly or indirectly... I represent the budget hotels and look at the situation I am in. Others are in a much worse condition,” he said. Khandelwal claimed that hotel and guest house owners are being “forced” to pay hefty water and power bills, even though there has been “zero business” in the last four months. “We demand that the government give us rebate on bills. Many establishments are on the verge of bankruptcy. If they cannot provide any relief, at least renew our fire and police licences and allow us to operate,” he demanded.

Even though the Centre had allowed hotels across the country to open their doors to customers from June 8, the Delhi government did not do so, considering a large number of Covid-19 cases in that month.

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