Millennium Post

Film industry looking at Himachal but we are not in hurry: CM Jai Ram Thakur

Shimla: The Coronavirus lockdown has brought Mumbai's multi-crore Bollywood industry to a grinding halt, first time in the history.

As a result, the film companies have decided to turn to Himachal Pradesh, a state comparatively safer to begin their shooting. Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur confirmed that he has received some proposals, few also through Ministry of Home Affairs, to permit shooting of the films at selected locations.

"I have been getting repeated calls. Some proposals have also come through MHA.The film industry people says they will strictly follow all mandatory protocols and take fullest precautions," he said here on on Thursday.

The film industry people will travel in their own charted planes, bring own resources, equipment, even ready to undergo 14-day quarantine rules and thereafter resume shootings. " But, we are not in a hurry.All pros and cons will be studied before any decision is taken," he said.

Only sometime back, Chief Minister had faced strong opposition from the tourism stake holders, locals and political parties for his remarks to promote "quarantine destinations".

The Film industry ia facing a complete shutdown and conditions in Mumbai don't permit resumption of the work. Thus, they are looking up to Himachal, he claimed.

Sanjay Sood, President, Shimla Hotels and Restaurants Association when asked for response said, "the issue is really sensitive. I feel, the villagers and locals will not permit this. Only three days back state's agriculture minister Dr Ram Lal Markandy –MLA from Lahaul-Spiti, was not allowed by 200 to 250 local women to enter Spiti."

"There is always a fear of spread of Coronavirus to the rural areas. The villagers are themselves alert and don't allow outsiders," he explained.

Meanwhile, Tourism Industry stake holders association on Thursday decided that they will not open the hotels before mid-September.

"The SOP has been issued by the government, all the members have gone through it and decided to make arrangements required under the SOP. The training of staff will be organised from next week," said Mohinder Seth, President of the Association.

The state government has decided that while inter-state borders will remain sealed for the tourists, the hoteliers can begin their operations for non -commercial guests, mainly locals visiting the town for official purposes or business.

"It's our general decision that till the conditions change, the inter-state borders (entry points) opens and air traffic begins, the hoteliers will not start the operations.We will stick to decision not to fix any date for beginning the operations," said Anup Thakur, President Manali Hoteliers Association.

He underlined the need for a "healthy and safe tourism".

Thakur says "We can't put the lives of the people in danger for our own sake or just to resume the business. The local panchayats in and around Manali have appreciated our stand to stay out of business till it's completely safe. we hear reports about peak-time in July."

Seth agrees "the decision to keep hotels closed for the time being is taken because as per the medical experts the COVID 19 cases will go at its peak during July and August."

Deputy Commissioner Shimla Amit Kashyap also announced that hotels and restaurants can begin their business by observing SOP and social distancing norms. The restaurants can serve the customers at 60 percent

capacity only.

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