Himachal Pradesh: Hotels empty, silence in the markets… Heavy rains broke the back of the tourism industry, lockdown-like conditions in the mountains

Himachal Pradesh Governor Shiv Pratap Shukla said that the Ministry of Home Affairs is monitoring the disaster and is also providing immediate relief. He also urged the general public to contribute towards the disaster relief fund.

Several incidents of ladder slides have been reported in Himachal Pradesh due to rain. Tourism in Kasauli has come to a halt due to heavy rains in the state. The absence of tourists and empty hotels has created an atmosphere of lockdown in the Kasauli tourism industry. Many shopkeepers of the famous heritage market have closed their business.

Poor condition of tourism industry

Kasauli, one of the favorite tourist destinations, has been cut off from the mainstream cities for the past several days. Although the situation is slowly returning to normal, many shops in the heritage market are closed due to the absence of tourists. Atul Chandel, manager of Hotel Majestic Cedar, said that the hotel has suffered huge losses due to zero bookings, early check outs, no future bookings. He said that in the last 18 years of working here, this is the first time that monsoon rains have caused such havoc.

Atul Chandel said that this is Kasauli’s tourist season and his business has never been affected so much in the past years. He said that being a small hill station, most of the business comes from tourism which has completely collapsed.

situations like lockdown

The recent tourism scenario has reminded Sanjeev Kumar, the manager of Hotel The Chateau, of the lockdown period. He said that last time during the lockdown due to COVID-19 our hotels were completely empty due to zero bookings and absence of tourists. All hotel bookings have been cancelled. The hotel industry survives throughout the year only on the basis of the business of these three months of May, June and July. He said that with zero income, it would be difficult to pay salaries to our employees.

It is not safe to go to the mountains at this time

Meanwhile, several shopkeepers in the heritage market have closed their shops claiming that it is almost impossible to run shops due to tourists and no electricity for the last five days. Kasauli SDM Gauram Mahajan said that the mountains are not very safe at present and it is expected that better times will come in the coming times. After Kovid, the tourism industry of this hill station flourished manifold. SDM said that we hope that even after this disaster, the industry will definitely move forward. The administration is making all out efforts and we wish the tourism industry good luck that soon things will get better and it will rise again.

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Heavy rain in Himachal Pradesh

Due to heavy rains in Himachal Pradesh, several incidents of landslides have been reported in the state. The Mandi-Pandoh road was blocked again around seven miles due to a rock falling on the machine. There has been no casualty in this incident. Officials said that the Sanjauli-Lakkar Bazar road in Shimla was also blocked due to the landslide. 720 roads are closed in the state where repair work is going on. The local meteorological office has issued a ‘yellow alert’ for heavy rain at some places in the state till July 21 and forecast more rain till July 23.

According to the State Emergency Response Centre, 122 people have died in rain-related incidents and road accidents in Himachal Pradesh since the onset of monsoon on June 24, while 12 people are reported missing. The state has suffered a total loss of Rs 4,636 crore due to the rains. Kataula in Mandi district received the highest rainfall of 89 millimeters (mm) in the state on Monday. Baggi received 41.5 mm of rain. Seobagh received 41 mm of rain, Nahan 36.5 mm, Sundernagar 32 mm.

(Story by Nainu Rohtaki)

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