Jammu & Kashmir Lieutenant Governor Manoj Sinha on Friday announced a Rs 3 crore relief package for people associated with the tourism sector that has taken a severe hit due to the wave of the coronavirus pandemic.
Under this package, Rs 2,000 financial assistance will be provided to 4,444 registered Shikara owners, 1,370 tourist guides, 6,663 ponywalas and 2,150 others including those who rent palanquins for yatri. The money will be paid for two months.
Only those registered with the Tourism Department will get benefits
“The relief will be transferred to only those who are registered with the tourism department,” said an official.
Jammu & Kashmir’s tourism sector has been in a bad shape for almost a year and half. Tour operators had hoped that the tourist inflow would improve last year but the Covid pandemic kept most people away. The sector appeared to have been successful to get on its feet early this year and it did improve.
Second wave hit the region and the season is gone
The government also opened Tulip Garden on the banks of Dal Lake from March despite an increase in Kashmir’s Covid-19 figures. But the second wave, which wreaked havoc across the country, led to cancellation of the bookings. “This year we were expecting a bumper tourism season which would break all past records. From December onwards, I think more than 1.5 lakh tourists have visited the valley already. Unfortunately, the second wave hit the region and the season is gone,” said an officer of a tour and trade association in Kashmir.
As the disease started spreading in Jammu & Kashmir the administration last month started imposing curfew in districts. However, this relief package is being seen as a good move by the government.