Demonetisation and industrial woes

No cash, no tourists in Uttarakhand hill stations

Dipping numbers: Very few tourists have turned up at places such as Dehradun this season. — File Photo: Virender Singh Negi  

The streets of Mussoorie and Nainital remained less crowded on Saturday as fewer cash-starved tourists took to the hill towns for the weekend.

Prateek Karnwal, owner of Hotel Nand Residency in Mussoorie, said: “On weekends Mussoorie is generally packed with tourists but many bookings were cancelled due to the current cash crisis. Some bookings were postponed.”

In a tourism-based economy like Uttarakhand, people whose lives depend on their daily income are among the worst hit by the demonetisation.

Jeevan Lal, a boatman from Nainital, has been able to earn only up to Rs. 100 a day since Wednesday morning. “The number of tourists has reduced drastically in the past four days. Tourists have Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes for which we do not have any change. Therefore they are not opting for boat rides.”

M.S. Khurana, a tourist from New Delhi, said: “We arrived in Nainital on Friday that too because the bookings were done months ago. However, when we arrived here the taxi driver refused to accept the old Rs. 500 note. The bank we went to had set its own limit of Rs. 500 beyond which we could not exchange our cash. The ATMs have not been working here. We need change for travelling around the town but we don’t have any.”

Clement Nicholas from France, who, along with Griet Wils from Belgium, was travelling from Nepal to Uttarakhand, said: “The hotel in Haldwani that we were putting up at said it wouldn’t accept the old Rs. 500 and Rs. 1,000 notes. After much persuasion the hotel staff did agree to accept the old currency notes but only if we paid them a higher amount. They stopped asking for more money only after we warned them that we would call the police.”

On Thursday, two days after Prime Minister Narendra Modi’s announcement regarding demonetisation, Chief Minister Harish Rawat said that the decision had badly hit the State.

Secretary (Tourism) Shailesh Bagauli told The Hindu, “The people who are travelling are being affected by the [demonetisation] move. However, the discomfort is temporary…. We would get a study done on whether this could have a long term effect [on the state’s earnings from tourism].”

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Printable version | Nov 30, 2021 2:13:15 PM |

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