Himachal Pradesh Congress Committee (HPCC) President Virbhadra Singh in a letter to Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh demanded to resume regular flights to Himachal Pradesh. Air connectivity to state’s all three destinations, i.e. Bhuntar in Kullu-Manali, Gaggal in Kangra and Jubbarhatti in Shimla, is suspended from last few months and that is costing dearly to its tourism sector.
Virbhadra Singh in the letter raised apprehension over the prolonged suspension of the air flights to Himachal Pradesh as it is affecting the business of the hoteliers and resulted in loss of business to the local business community which depends on the tourists for livelihood, besides causing inconvenience to the general public, particularly when medicinal emergencies arise.
Virbhadra Singh said that Shimla, at present, is the only state capital without any air link. This adversely affects public, corporate and government officers travelling on official and business tours. He added that even Manali Hoteliers Association has reportedly written to the union Tourism secretary seeking air connectivity to the state, but their efforts have yielded no results.
He added that in case flights are not restarted, the tourism industry would suffer huge losses. Manali has 620 hotels and these draw crowds during the entire Christmas and New Year celebrations. Some hotel owners complained that they had started getting telephone calls for the cancellation of bookings for Christmas-New Year celebrations due to the absence of flights.
Virbhadra Singh urged the Prime Minister to ask Air India, which used to provide services between Delhi and Kullu, to restart flights immediately to all the three destinations.