The Tribune Interview

‘Hotel industry needs relief package for revival soon’

‘Hotel industry needs relief package for revival soon’

Amarvir Singh, president, Hotels and Restaurants' Association of Punjab

Industry & Lockdown

Harshraj Singh

Tribune News Service

Ludhiana, May 26

Amarvir Singh is president of the Hotels and Restaurants’ Association of Punjab. He said the hotel industry had been badly hit due to Covid crisis. He is the owner of Natraj Hotel in Ludhiana. He has sought from the government to release a special relief package for the hotel industry at the earliest.

What is the impact of lockdown on the hotel industry?

It is toughest time for the hotel industry which was the first one to shut down amid the Covid outbreak. Around 20-22 lakh people are directly or indirectly employed with the hotel industry in Punjab. These persons have badly affected as the hotel industry is lying closed. The hotels have not been yet allowed to restart routine operations while many other units are being allowed to restart operations. We are facing huge losses and bearing expenditure of all fixed charges.

We want that the Punjab Government should waive fixed charges on electricity bills for six months. Besides, we also request the government to waive excise fee for bars at hotels for three months as the hotels had remained closed due to the lockdown. — Amarvir Singh, President, Hotels and Restaurants' Association of Punjab

How are you tackling issues related to staff?

As the hotels are lying closed, there is no source of income. But, we are paying salaries to the staff. Rooms in several hotels have been reserved for quarantine purpose due to which the staff at these hotels are performing their jobs.

What are the plans to restart operations?

We are waiting for the government nod for restarting all routine operations. We expect that the hotels will be allowed to open for routine operations soon. We will follow all guidelines issued by the government. The travel history and medical screening of guests will be ensured once the hotels are allowed to restart normal operations. At present, around 800 rooms in 22 hotels in the city have been reserved for only quarantine purpose. However, only 20 rooms in one hotel have been booked so far for quarantine persons. The hoteliers have spent lakhs of rupees on making required arrangements for quarantined persons. The hotels are being disinfected.

What do you expect from the government?

We want from the government is to release a special relief package for the hotel industry. We don’t want loans as hoteliers have already taken loans of crores of rupees. As the hotel industry is still lying closed, the government should pay salaries to at least 50 per cent workers in the hotel industry. We want that the Punjab Government should waive fixed charges on electricity bills for six months. Besides, we also request the government to waive of excise fee for bar at hotels for three months as the hotel remained closed due to lockdown.

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