Kartarpur Sahib corridor fails to bring financial gains, Gurdaspur hoteliers upset : The Tribune India

Kartarpur Sahib corridor fails to bring financial gains, Gurdaspur hoteliers upset

Kartarpur Sahib corridor fails to bring financial gains, Gurdaspur hoteliers upset

Tribune News Service

Ravi Dhaliwal

Gurdaspur, July 7

Gurdaspur hoteliers, who once wore opulence on their sleeves when business was booming, are now left clutching at a straw as the Kartarpur corridor is not turning out to be an economically viable proposition.

The 100-odd hoteliers jumped with joy when the corridor was announced in November 2018. These businessmen had viewed the project as their El-Dorado. They expected to make a killing and rake in the profits following increased sales.

Bypasses built at several places on the Gurdaspur-Pathankot national highway, the government’s obstinacy at treating the hotel industry at par with other industrial units for the purpose of levying electricity charges and the influx of online food ordering platforms had these businessmen on the mat. That’s the reason why these eateries were heavily dependent on the success of the corridor. The consensus was that once devotees started using the project to pay obeisance at the Kartarpur shrine, their cash registers would automatically start ringing.

Right from the mid-70s stretching till 2012, pilgrims’ en-route to Vaishno Devi and Amarnath Yatra would make a stopover in the city. The hoteliers were happy when the Punjab Government declared that electricity would be charged at the cheaper industrial rates and not at the costlier commercial rates. In 2012, the bypasses came up and these took the rush away from the town. The state government reneged on its promise of providing subsidised power. The Excise Department’s policy of letting hotel owners to pick up liquor only from designated “circle-contractors” proved to be the last straw in the camel’s back as these contractors started harassing hoteliers knowing well that they cannot go to other vends. The industry was indeed on a ventilator.

In the corridor, these businessmen saw hope. Romesh Mahajan, chief, Gurdaspur Hoteliers Association, said, “The passage attracts barely 150-200 pilgrims every day, a far cry from the intended target of 5,000 per day. We had planned to open offices near the Integrated Check Post (ICP). Our dreams lay shattered as not many are willing to cross over for an assortment of reasons.”

With corridor turning out to be a damp squib, harried hoteliers are now back to the drawing board.

#Gurdaspur #kartarpur sahib

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