Srinagar, August 03 (Kashmir Voice): In occupied Kashmir, it has been four months but the Indian authorities are yet to pay the hotels which were used for quarantine of COVID-19 patients and suspects.
According to media sources, the authorities owe more than 500 million to the hoteliers, who have been under financial distress for a year now. Their hotels were shut last year when India asked all tourists to leave Kashmir days before abrogating Article 370 on August 5, 2019.
Abdul Wahid, president of Kashmir Hotel and Restaurant Owners Federation, told media that the authorities used the services of 144 hotels for about two months to house Covid suspects. None of these hotels, he said, has been paid.
“We offered our hotels at a time when the administration was not sure how to respond to the COVID pandemic. On their word we agreed to provide our services, but they have not kept their word,” he said.
“The last time we were told that we will get it on Eid-ul-Fitr, and now it is Eid-ul-Azha, two and a half months later, and yet there is no word about the payments,” Wahid said.
“From the last week of March to the 25th of May, our hotels were used by the administration until it was decided to charge money from those who wished to be put under quarantine at hotels. Since May 25, we have been charging as per the government rates,” said Wahid.
Another hotelier, who wished not to be named, said that the government’s withholding of payments is cruel at a time when hotels were suffering losses. KASHMIR VOICE