Decision by owners to shut hotels in Darj from July draws flak
Darjeeling: The Gorkha National Liberation Front (GNLF) has threatened to take legal recourse against the Darjeeling Hotel Owners' Association for their decision to close down hotels in Darjeeling from July 1, thereby jeopardising the livelihood of more than 10,000 employees.
"There are thousands who have dedicated their lives in the service of these hotels, don't the hotels have any responsibility towards them? At a time when thousands of migrant workers are returning to the Hills and are jobless, the hotels are putting more livelihoods on the line. Not only this, but they are also compromising the future of the entire tourism industry. This will adversely affect each and everyone connected to the industry including taxi drivers, pony wallas, and restaurant owners," said Ajoy Edwards, president of the GNLF Darjeeling Branch Committee.
He alleged that some of the hotels had stopped paying salary to their employees since April. "Talks were on between hotel owners, employees, Assistant Labour Commissioner, Additional District Magistrate. The owners had assured to pay 35 per cent salary to the employees. Suddenly, on Tuesday, the Hotel Owners unilaterally declared that they will close down from July 1 indefinitely. There are around 330 odd hotels in Darjeeling," stated Edwards.
He maintained that if talks do not resume, then they will seek legal recourse.
Anit Thapa, chairman of the Gorkhaland Territorial Administration, commenting on this issue stated: "The Hotel Owners' Association representatives met me on Thursday. Soon, there will be a meeting between the hotel owners, trade union, district administration and the GTA and the issue will be resolved."