Hospitable Kashmiris always protected Yatris: KHARA

GOI Politicising TOURSIM 

SRINAGAR - Criticizing the recent statement of the Union Home Minister Sushil Kumar Shinde, Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA) said Kashmiri people have always welcomed pilgrims to Amarnath Shrine even during the most testing times.

It said Amarnath Yatra never faced any threat from anyone and instead were given warm welcome by Kashmiris.

 “Kashmiris are known world over for their hospitality. They welcome every tourist to Kashmir as their guests. Never ever has any tourist been harmed here? How can Union Home Minister say that yatris are under threat? We condemn his statement. His statement could jeopardize tourism seson,” said KHARA President Showkat Chowdhary.

KHARA President said the Hindu pilgrimage to Amarnath Shrine have been going on for ages during which Kashmiri people have always helped yatris in their smooth holy journey.

“Kashmiri people organize medical camps and put up other facilities for yatris so they feel at home while performing their religious duty. We ensure protection of yatris and there is no need to issue such statements,” said Chowdhary.

He said the yatri were even welcomed when Kashmir was boiling during the unrest in the year of 2008 and 2010.

“There was a complete disturbance in Kashmir in 2008 and  2010  but when there was a period of Amarnath Yatra, locals facilitated yatris,” said KHARA President.

KHARA also came out heavily on the state government for contemplating to levy water usage charges on commercial establishments especially on hotels, guesthouses and restaurants.

It said government has failed to earn revenue from its natural water resources by allowing NHPC to take over power projects.

“We have natural water resources which are being looted by NHPC. It has failed to exploit these water resources for revenue generation. It can’t crack whip on NHPC but has decided to corner tourism sector,” said Chowdhary.

KHARA said tourism had suffered losses for the last 22 years which needed to be compensated and rebuilt with investor-friendly schemes.

“Instead of encouraging new entrepreneurs to invest in the hospitality sector and building its infrastructure, government is hell-bent on crippling it with taxes,” said KHARA president.

KHARA said it would oppose any move of levying water taxes to hospitality sector.

“How can hoteliers pay taxes when their hotels were closed for many years? They need incentives for upgrading and renovating their existing infrastructure,” said Chowdhary.



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