Published on : Friday, April 16, 2021
With the economy of Himachal Pradesh getting affected once again due to a surge in Covid-19 cases, the state government has announced a set of relief measures for the affected sectors including tourism, transport and education.
An ex-gratia of Rs. 3,000 each was also announced for all government Class III and IV employees who are directly serving Covid patients.
Himachal Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur said that all private schools, hotels, lodges and other tourism units would be let off from paying demand charges for two months, which can be paid later in installments with no late charges. For the transport sector, an interest subvention proposal was announced along with 50 per cent concession on stage carriage special road tax (SRT) for three months from April. Taxis and contract carriage will also receive 50 per cent concession on passenger tax.
The Himachal Tourism Industry Stakeholders Association has urged the state government to rule out mandatory Covid testing for tourists coming to Himachal from seven states with high number of cases.
The recent decision by the government making it compulsory for tourists from seven states (Punjab, Delhi, Maharashtra, Gujarat, Karnataka, Rajasthan and Uttar Pradesh) to carry an RT-PCR Covid negative test report done within 72 hours has almost completely stopped tourist arrival into the state.
“All advance bookings have been cancelled. Tourists from Maharashtra and Gujarat account for maximum hotel occupancy in the months of March and April, but this has slipped from the hands of hoteliers. The tourism industry is again coming to a grinding halt, and is losing the summer peak season for the second consecutive year due to Covid. It has become difficult for hotel and guest-house owners to keep their units running,” said association president Mohinder Seth.
Seth demanded a subsidized tariff for water, property tax and garbage fee for the next two years, and asked the state government to seek a special financial package from the Center.
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