Savings exhausted, loans unpaid: Hoteliers still unpaid for hosting Covid warriors

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Srinagar:  Seven months on, the government has not cleared the payment of hotels which were converted into administrative quarantine to lodge frontline doctors and paramedics.

Several hoteliers Wednesday protested at Srinagar’s Press Enclave demanding release of their payments.  Those protesting include owners and managers of Golden Tulip, Hotel Grand Kashmir, Star of Kashmir, Heritage luxury, and Valley View among others.

“In March when Covid-19 started gripping the valley, the district disaster management approached us for the accommodation of medical staff treating Covid patients. Despite the dangers and challenges, we provided boarding and lodging facilities. Seven months later, we are still awaiting our dues,” said Niyaz Ahmad Buch, a hotel owner of Hyderpora.

Niyaz said that they have exhausted all their savings so far. “We are unable to pay our loans. We cannot cope up with it further,” he added.

Sheikh Zahoor, Manager at Hotel Luxury Heritage in Hyderpora, said they have been approaching the district administration for the last four months but to no avail. “They are just adopting dilly delaying tactics. We have no money to support our family,” he said.

Additional Deputy Commissioner (ADC), Srinagar, Dr. Syed Hanief Balkhi told The Kashmir Monitor that they will soon release the outstanding payments. “We appreciate their (hotel owners) contribution in times of Covid. We are aware of their problems and will resolve them soon,” he said.

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