Bhanu P Lohumi
Tribune News Service
Shimla, November 20
While the government is targeting Rs 15,000 crore investment in the tourism sector, a number of hotels run by the HP Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) have been incurring losses for years.
The situation is so bad that employees of several hotels are not getting the salaries in time and even the employees operating the lift in Shimla, the money spinner for the corporation, have to wait for the salary. The condition of the retired employees is more pathetic as they are not paid gratuity, leave encashment and the enhanced pension from the Employees Provident Fund Organisation.
Of the total 54 units, 36 are running in losses. Neither the corporation is taking any effective step to bring these out of the red, nor selling/leasing these out. There are 17 employees engaged in operating the lift and the monthly salary bill is about Rs 5 lakh while the average income from three lifts with the capacity of 42 passengers is over Rs 25 lakh per month as about 7,000-8,000 use these everyday but still the salary is delayed by two to three weeks
Interestingly, there is no toilet or drinking water facility for the lift users and rather than facilitating the users with better amenities, the HPTDC chose to open Pota Cabin for selling bakery products, which is not earning much.
The low-paid employees are feeling the pinch as their monthly expenses like purchase of groceries, clothes, fee of school and college-going children and transport start from the first of every month. Managing director, HPTDC, Kumud Singh said some units were in a critical condition. The income fluctuated as per the flow of tourists due to which salaries were delayed at times but they ensured that the Class III and V employees got their salary on time.
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