Mysuru: When Mysuru’s iconic Southern Star hotel decided to shut down this due to losses induced by the coronavirus lockdown, it follows almost inevitably that several others will fall like nine pins in this heritage city.
Hotel trade insiders say some 22 other hotels are likely to follow suit.
Mysuru Hotel Owners Association president C Narayana Gowda told Deccan Chronicle that Southern Star’s decision to cease operations is just the beginning; other iconic hotels like Roost on Hunsur road, Raj Bhavan in Vontikoppal are headed in the same direction.
Narayana Gowda has decided to close his own hotel Vishnu Bhavan in Kuvempunagar.
The distress in the hotel industry warns of a disaster for the city itself. Around 30 per cent of the people in Mysuru depend on tourism. The city has 405 hotels with a total of 9500 rooms. There are 1500 hotel owners and 25,000 employees. Sixty-five percent of the hotels operate out of rented buildings. In a town of less than a million, that’s a pretty comprehensive value chain.
Narayana Gowda is not sure how many hotels will take the hit but some will. “We will have clarity on how many exactly will close down once hotels are permitted to reopen in the first place.
Even after the lockdown is finally lifted, there is likely to be a 25 per cent drop in business.
It will take at least six months for the hotel business to resume normalcy, let alone recovering the losses we have incurred during this period,” he added.
The lockdown due to the coronavirus pandemic inflicted on hotels a loss of Rs 10 crore per day.
Narayana Gowda complains that so far the state government has not extended any direct help or immediate relief to hoteliers. “We buy the highest amout of farmers’ produce like fruits, vegetables and milk,” Gowda points out.
The district’s other economic props are threatening to collapse as well. Alarm bells started ringing on that front with the closure of RTIL Limited, formerly known as Reid and Taylor (India) Limited, which shut its plant at Tandavapura, Nanjanagud.
Anxieties run high in the city’s industry. Though they have permission to reopen, hardly 40 percent of the factories in Mysuru have begun work. The fear of Covid runs among the workers and owners alike but a major reason for the hesitation is the possibility of revenue loss.
There are 26,000 industries in Mysuru with 3 lakh employees. Some 50,000 of the workers are out-of-towners, and 40,000 of them have gone home, perhaps permanently.
The lockdown cost Mysuru industry something like Rs 82 crore per day in cash flow and Rs 18 crore loss on fixed expenses including electricity, rent etc.
Mysuru District Industries Association president Suresh Kumar said that as of now, no industry has decided to down shutters. ''There is a lot of uncertainties but assurances are being made. Once the situation is clear, many may decide either to shut or sell their industries,'' he said.
Among the curious cases in Mysuru industry is that of the pharma company Jubilant Generics. The company at Nanjangud has approached the state government seeking permission to reopen and the Mysuru Industries Association has backed them.
The factory was host to a virulent cluster of cases that broke out on its premises in April. It took a monumental effort by the district admin to bring it under control.
Among 92 Covid-19 positive cases in Mysuru, 74 were from the Jubilant Generics cluster including 15 in Mysuru and 59 in Nanjangud (34 in 14 villages in Nanjangud rural and 25 in Nanjangud town).
This gave rise to stigma against the company. "They might have imported raw materials from China, but it was not with the deliberate intension to import virus right? And hence they cannot be made responsible," Suresh Kumar defended.
Home Minister Basavaraj Bommai said in Mysuru on Friday that chief minister would decide to whether to alow Jubilant company to reopem Nanjangud....