Tuesday, 18 June 2013

Indefinite bandh by taxi operators cripples tourism industry

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Indefinite bandh by taxi operators of Manali has left thousands of tourists confined to their hotels as all taxi drivers and taxi unions have decided to agitate against the government for its decision to stop movement of all vehicles older than for years on Manali-Rohtang road following orders from Himachal High Court.
Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union, the largest taxi union of the state, has locked its office situated in Manali on Tuesday. The union which claims to have support from all other taxi unions of the state has decided not to give their services to tourists until restriction of four years is not lifted from all the vehicles. Now tourists visiting Manali would have to return back without seeing Rohtang pass (snow point), Manikaran and all other tourist spots of Kullu. Also, service on Manali-Leh, Manali-Delhi and all small and long routes would be paralyzed from Wednesday.
Him-Aanchal Taxi Operators Union president Puran Chand Thakur said most of the taxis in Manali and other parts of the state are older than four years and stopping them from offering their service on Rohtang Pass road would affect the livelihood of thousands of families. “Thousands of youths are generating self-employment by running taxis. We have learnt that the ban would not be imposed on government vehicles. Why this bias decision? We are left with no other way than to protest for our rights,” he said.
An emergency meeting between taxi operators, hoteliers, beopar mandal and over 25 torism organizations and representatives of panchayats. The decision to shut down taxi service was taken after long discussion between them. Taxi operators are concerned about the bank loans and its repayment as Rohtang is the main tourist spot of Manali. Thakur said if their demands are not fulfilled till June 21, the peaceful agitation may turn furious. “We don’t want to ruin the tourism and irritate the tourists. But we are tired of requesting government and this is the only way to secure our future,” he added.
Meanwhile, thousands of tourists who are staying in Manali and who would be arriving Manali in next few days may have to disappoint if the bandh will not come to an end. The tourists will have to stay in the hotels and those coming to Manali or leaving Manali will have to carry their luggage themselves to reach the bus stands.


Associations warns of boycott in Lok Sabha by-election
Manali: Taxi operators, hoteliers, beopar mandals, panchayat representatives and other organizations linked to tourism industry have warned that if their demands are not heard till June 21, they would boycott the Lok Sabh byelections on June 23.  Kullu-Manali Paryatan Vikas Manch president Anup Thakur, under whose chairmanship another meeting was called here, said  a memorandum has been forwarded to chief minister to approach Supreme Court in fovor of the locals. “If government fails to take an appropriate step till June 21, we shall boycott the Lok Sabha elections,” he said.

Early monsoon and rumors of landslides hit tourism industry

Himachal Vacation Travel News
MANALI: Early arrival of monsoon and news about stranding of tourists after landslides in various parts of north India is set to take toll on tourism industry of Himachal, with tourists concerned about the present condition in hill state. Tourists are contacting hoteliers and travel agents to know if it is safe to visit Himachal in this season or should they postpone their tour.
A long queue of tourists outside Hadimba Temple of Manali
The speed of hotel booking in Manali, the topmost tourist destination of Himachal, has decreased suddenly after heavy rainfall in north India. Hotels have very few booking after June 30 and those who have booked their tours in advance are concerned about their safety. Hoteliers have ended up with giving explanations that everything is safe in Kullu-Manali but it doesn’t seem working for the industry.
“Tourists are relating cloudbursts and landslides of Uttarakhand and Kinnaur with Manali and they don’t want to be in trouble,” Rakesh Kumar from Himanshu Resorts said. He added that rumors have spread that cloudbursts have hit the Manali and many tourists have stranded here. Ludar Thakur, general manager of Hotel Snow Peak Retreat, said, “We have snow at Rohtang and all roads are clear. Not even a minor landslide has been reported on Delhi-Manali highway. Tourists have no reason to fear and avoid Manali.”
April 15 to July 15 is the peak summer season in Himachal. Arrival of monsoon in mid June may hit the industry to the tune of crores of rupees. Now the clouds of danger are hovering over the tourist season of Manali-Ladakh bike tours and jeep safari tours. “Tourists who have already booked their tours are enquiring whether they should cancel their booking or is it safe to visit Himalayan regions in rainy season,” Kaushal Bhardwaj, owner of Discover Leh Ladakh, said.
There are some reports that tourists were also stranded in Lahaul-Spiti districts but district magistrate refused of any such incidence. Lahaul-Spiti deputy commissioner Vir Singh Thakur said, “All tourists are having fun in the valley and all are safe. Highway to Lahaul valley is operational and as Kunzum pass is closed, there are very few tourists in Spiti valley.”
Kullu deputy commissioner Sharab Chhopal Negi said entire Kullu district is enjoying pleasant weather and administration is keeping an eye on the situations.

Saturday, 15 June 2013

South-west monsoon reaches Himachal, heavy rain lashes entire state

Himachal Vacation Travel News
SHIMLA: Most parts of Himachal have lashed by heavy rain as south-west monsoon entered Himachal Pradesh on Saturday. The monsoon has arrived around 10 days in advance.

Monsoon also entered West Bengal & Sikkim, Jharkhand, entire Bihar, Uttarakhand,  and Jammu & Kashmir; some more parts of east Madhya Pradesh and some parts of east Uttar Pradesh.
Advance of Southwest monsoon

The Northern Limit of Monsoon (NLM) passes through Lat. 25° N / Long. 60° E, Lat. 25° N / Long. 65° E, Udaipur, Guna, Satna, Varanasi, Bahraich, Pantnagar, Dehradun, Una and Jammu.

Himachal as whole received 87.4mm of rainfall in last 15 days, which is 155% more than its normal value. All the districts except Lahaul-Spiti and Kinnaur received excess rainfall during this period.

Last year, monsoon in HP arrived on 5 July and the amount of rainfall in HP from 1June 2012 to 5th July 2012 was 54mm, which was 58% less than the normal rainfall. District wise highest rainfall i.e.191.6mm received in the district of Kangra, which is 365% more than its normal rainfall during the period.

Percentage wise, district Una received 411% more than its normal rainfall. Station wise, highest rainfall was recorded as 415mm at Joginder Nagar in district of Mandi and Dharmshala 335mm in district Kangra. Detail of rainfall is given in Table below.

  Rainfall in HP from June 1, 2013 to June 15, 2013
Name of the District
Actual R/f in mm
Normal r/f in mm
% departure from the normal
BILASPUR
104.4
36.7
184
CHAMBA
88
39.5
123
HAMIRPUR
105
38.9
170
KANGRA
191.6
41.2
365
KINNAUR
14.2
18.5
-23
KULLU
69.8
32.4
115
LAHAUL & SPITI
15.9
25.4
-38
MANDI
176.5
53.3
231
SHIMLA
92.9
40.4
130
SIRMAUR
158.4
37.8
319
SOLAN
141.8
43.9
223
UNA
116.9
22.9
411
SUBDIVISION RAINFALL
87.4
34.2
155