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regular-article-logo Saturday, 20 July 2024

Hospitality sector deadlock worsens with lockdown extension

Many hotels close operations with almost zero occupancy

Praduman Choubey Dhanbad Published 23.05.21, 06:04 PM
The closed entrance gate of Hotel Skylark at Bank More in Dhanbad on Sunday.

The closed entrance gate of Hotel Skylark at Bank More in Dhanbad on Sunday. Gautam Dey

The crisis that gripped the hospitality sector since the first wave of the Covid-19 pandemic in March last year has further deepened with the secondwave with almost negligible footfall at most places.

Majority of over 300 hotels and lodges of Dhanbad have had almost zero occupancy of rooms for over a month, while others have temporarily closed operations due to overhead expenses.

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The oldest three star hotel of the district, Skylark situated at Bank More has already closed operations four days ago. The deputy commissioner Uma Shankar and all relevant offices and departments including, Dhanbad Municipal Corporation, Jharkhand Bijli Vitran Nigam Limited, Goods and Services Tax, labour department were informed of the hotel’s decision recently.

Sonotel Hotel, a four star hotel, has stopped taking bookings during the lockdown period and is carrying out maintenance work in the hotel. The hotel’s restaurant is still carrying out delivery services.

The other small hotels, lodges situated near the railway station of Dhanbad besides, Jharia main road, Maithon, Chirkunda are also lying vacant and not taking the occasional one or two booking requests for safety of their staff members.

Anutosh Bagchi, Senior General Manager of Skylark said, “With no corporate guests due to lockdown in different states including our’s, and no permission for dining in restaurants we have closed down operations temporarily due to huge overhead expenses involved in operation of vacant hotels.”

“We will review the situation and take appropriate decisions if there is any improvement to reopen the hotel,” said Bagchi.

Echoing his sentiments, Arka Ghosh, General Manager of Sonotel Hotel, “Due to aggravated Covid situation and resultant lack of guests we have also stopped taking one or two booking offers and rather decided to carry out the complete maintenance of the hotel.”

“Although, online delivery of food from our restaurant is going on and it is getting a comparatively better response from last year’s lockdown,” said Ghosh.

Sandeep Narang, owner of Hotel 17 degree at Bank More said, “Though we have not closed down the hotel completely, occupancy rate is as low as one room per day out of 30 rooms or ours since a month and further extension of lockdown will cause grievous damage to us.”

“Prolonged lockdown besides causing financial loss also leads to wastage of materials in restaurants and bars as we have lost huge quantity of liquor and beer during the last year due as they have short expiry time and this year if the lockdown is extended we are apprehending a similar loss,” Narang said.

Amit Sahu, President of Jharia Chamber of Commerce who is also owner of Sahu lodge in Jharia said, “All 25 lodge and hotels in Jharia are lying closed ever since the announcement of lockdown as we are taking the precautions about the safety of our own staff, although the fact remains that we are facing very difficult time due to no business.”

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