19 January, 2021

And Quiet Flows The Ganges... No Divine Blessing For Devbhoomi As Tourism Suffers

It's Catch-22 situation for cab drivers -- either they stay safe and their children go hungry, or they risk their lives to feed the kids

Har ki Pauri
Haridwar, during the lockdown
And Quiet Flows The Ganges... No Divine Blessing For Devbhoomi As Tourism Suffers

My money or my life? Can I have both? Gopal Bhatt’s old Alto was uncool. Tourists wanted a bigger, more comfortable taxi. He took a loan in January and his Wagon-R arrived with the lockdown. It’s been parked since. The three-month EMI moratorium didn’t help. The tourists haven’t returned.  Whether be homestays, resorts or roadside dhabas, most such operators depend upon tourists for survival. At least 80 per cent tourism revenue comes in May and June. This year it was zero. The unlock hasn’t changed anything. The lockdown put tourism in a coma. An unlock doesn’t mandate it’s revival. There are two main problems—tourists are afraid to travel, and locals are scared of the few who do. Two carloads of tourists arrived at a local resort and moved around visibly instead of staying in quarantine. The village pradhan made them leave. All tourists are banned from that resort and nearby villages. Bad news for everyone.




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