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Hit by Covid restrictions, 50 hotels in Dharamsala up for sale

Monday, May 24, 2021, 11:47 Hrs  [IST]
HBI Staff | Hyderabad

According Tribune India, With Covid-induced lockdown spelling doom for the tourism industry and no relief coming from the government, a number of hoteliers in Dharamsala have been resorting to distress sale of their properties.

Of the over 1,000 hotels in Dharamsala, about 50 had been put on sale, said Ashwani Bamba, the local hotel association President. Even the property prices were 25 to 30 per cent down compared to five years ago, he said. “Hoteliers are being forced to sell their properties as they don’t have money to repay bank loans,” he said.

Ruing the lack of support from the government, Bamba said no financial assistance had been offered despite the hotel industry contributing about 18 per cent to the state’s GDP.

“The hotels are shut, but the government continues to charge taxes. Even the annual licence renewal fee of pollution and tourism departments has not been waived. A demand to set aside the electricity load charges, since the hotels lie closed and aren’t consuming power, has not been met,” he said. Also, a large number of legal disputes have arisen as a majority of the hotel lessees have been unable to pay lease money to the property owners. A leading hotelier told The Tribune that her lessee had been defaulting on payments for more than a year. “I couldn’t pay loan installments and the bank turned my account into NPA. The lessee isn’t even vacating the property. The matter is in court. I’m caught in a debt trap,” said the hotelier, not wishing to be identified.

Sources said about 50,000 people had lost their jobs in Kangra alone, a district that has over 3,000 hotels, due to the Covid pandemic.

Minister of Forests and Youth Affairs Rakesh Pathania, a legislator from Nurpur in Kangra, said he would talk to the Chief Minister and devise ways to provide relief to the hoteliers. “I will also meet the members of the hotel association of Dharamsala and discuss how the government can help them beat the recession,” he said.

Dharamsala BJP MLA Vishal Nehria said the hotel industry’s grievances were genuine. “I will urge the government to at least waive the annual pollution licence and tourism registration fee,” he said.

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