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Gujjar agitation hits tourists in Rajasthan
June 01, 2007 13:30 IST
The Gujjar agitation entering the fourth day today has left thousands of tourists stranded in Rajasthan, with road and rail services still crippled.
At least 20,000 devotees from various parts of the country were stuck at the famous Mehendipur Balaji Temple with no provisions for basic facilities. The enraged tourists have urged the administration to take immediate steps to get them out of the place, say eyewitnesses.
Rajasthan Tourism Development Corporation managing director, Rakesh Saini, told UNI the unrest in Rajasthan would have a fallout as tourists preferred to stay away from chaos. ''But since it is off-season in Rajasthan, we have had no major cancellations as mostly walk-in tourists come in during this season.''
He added:' 'Since Palace on Wheels and Heritage on Wheels start from September onwards, there has been practically no effect on the bookings and cancellations.''
Hoping for an early return to peace, Saini said local issues could not mar Rajasthan's image as a peaceful and tourist-friendly state, as travel agents would adequately detail these to foreign tourists while offering them a package.
Sanjay Kaushik of Rajputana Holiday Makers said the agitation has had little effect on foreign tourists as their arrival was almost negligible during the off-season. ''We have had no arrivals since the past week and for the next few days,'' he said.
However, he admitted that domestic tourists had been hit hard as they travelled during summer vacation.
Tour operators say tourists were fearing to venture out as the state highways were the targets of Gujjar protestors, with the police often looking on as mute spectators. Rajasthan Roadways buses were still off the road today and many people stuck in Delhi and other places could not return home.
Rajasthan's economy has also taken a beating as truck operators were suffering losses running into crores because of the agitation. With 6,000 trucks, which enter the state everyday, off the roads, a rise in prices of basic commodities including vegetables was expected.
Students, sitting for various competitive exams like AIIMS and others, were in jeopardy with many of them not able to reach the exam centres because of the violence.