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Small units, hotels hit by heavy rains in U'khand

Shishir Prashant  |  Dehradun 

Alps Pharmaceuticals Limited, a small unit in Almora, was hit hard by the fury of torrential rains that battered Uttarakhand last month.

Production activity had to be shut for seven days after landslides damaged the factory. Six factory workers had a close shave, miraculously emerging alive from the debris.

Alps was not the only unit in the district to have suffered from the devastation caused by landslides, cloudbursts and floods.

Several other companies, like Sujata Jewel Industries at Baitalghat (Nainital district), Goldi Food Products in Jaspur (Udham Singh Nagar) and Om Metal Powder Industries in Chiliyanaula (Almora), have reported losses to the government.

The supply of water and electricity has still not been fully restored in several parts of the state, following which nearly 200 other small units have been losing money heavily. This is true of factories in all 13 districts of the state.

“Since vehicular traffic has not been restored in several districts, industries dependent on raw material coming from outside are badly affected,” said additional director, industries, Sudhir Nautiyal.

The department of industries is currently in the process of assessing the losses suffered by factories due to the devastation.

According to initial reports, state-run industrial estates like Baitalghat in Nainital district, Chiliyanaula in Almora and Punethi in Champawat have suffered damage to roads, electricity poles and transformers.

“Roads in the hills have suffered the brunt of the catastrophe,” said Chief Minister Ramesh Pokhriyal Nishank. Nearly 1,500 roads have been damaged and the transport system has come to a grinding halt in the hill state, said Nishank.

However, factories in industrial estates like Pantnagar and Kotdwar remained largely unaffected by the floods.

Though, floods in the Ganga at Haridwar caused a loss of Rs 14 crore in the industrial estate located in the town, where such companies as Sterlite and Hero Honda have set up shop.

Meanwhile, the government has launched efforts on a war-footing to restore water and electricity supplies and rebuild roads.

The hotel industry has also suffered. S P Kochar, president of the Uttarakhand Hotel Association, said that the occupancy rate has come down to 20-30 per cent this month, from 80 per cent earlier. Fresh bookings have also been cancelled in most private hotels and tourist resorts, said A K Dwivedi, joint director, tourism.

The situation is equally bad in tourist and forest rest houses being run by the state government, Dwivedi said. “The tourism sector as a whole has suffered in Uttarakhand due to the rains.”

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First Published: Tue, October 05 2010. 00:04 IST