Valley hoteliers discuss STP issue with CM

SRINAGAR: Valley hoteliers Saturday called on Chief Minister Omar Abdullah at his Gupkar residence and discussed with him the various issues especially the problem hoteliers are facing due to absence of Common Sewerage Treatment Plants (STPs).
A joint delegation of Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Association (KHARA), Kashmir Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (KHAROF) and Pahalgam Hotels and Restaurant Owners Federation (PHAROF) visited Omar’s residence and apprised him about the various issues hospitality sector is facing, a joint statement issued by the hotelier said.
In the statement, the hoteliers said they raised issue of STP with chief minister who assured them of all help for the promotion of tourism sector.
“We informed CM about the importance of common STPs not only for tourism sector but for Kashmir’s fragile environment. We informed him that there was no point in setting up individual STPs by hoteliers which is just wastage of money and also land. Hoteliers will pay the user charges to the government for taking the facility of the common STP,” it said quoting president KHARA Showkat Chowdhary and President KHAROF G M Dug.
Hoteliers have demanded moratorium period and suspension of the ban on the operation of the hotels having more than 19 rooms and running without a STP, it said. The hoteliers said hoteliers should be asked to pay only user charges and not the demand charges besides supply regular electricity to the tourist places.
“For the smooth functioning of the hotels, regular and uninterrupted power supply is very important. We have to provide best services to the tourists which are only possible when we have good facilities from government,” they said.
President KHAROF, Dug the delegation also demanded granting of extension of the lease to the hotels under Roshni scheme.
“The genuine hoteliers who have applied for extension of the lease of their hotels should be given so. They have already invested into the hospitality sector they should be encouraged by good policies,” said Dug.
President KHARA Showkat Chowdhary said the delegation also apprised CM about the expiry of the Leave Travel Concession (LTC) packages for J&K and requested him to take up this matter with center for its further extension.
“The LTC package for central government employees visiting J&K is expiring in July and it has benefited Kashmir. We want the LTC package be extended so that tourists flow to Kashmir continues to rise,” said Chowdhary.
The hoteliers have also demanded drafting of comprehensive tourism package for the promotion of tourism industry and increase in the tariffs of estate-run hotels in the State.
“Omar Abdullah also agreed that there was no point in having separate STPs and regular charges will be collected from the hoteliers for the maintenance to the STP,” said Showkat Chowdhary.
Earlier, the delegation had also called on National Conference President Farooq Abdullah.