GUWAHATI: Blame it on the panic surrounding Covid-19 that foreign tourists are going through a harrowing time in Assam.
Pablo Fernandez, a cyclist from Spain who is on a world tour, spent hours together at Silchar on Thursday to find a room in a hotel but did not get one. The hotels in the town have shut the doors on foreign tourists in the wake of the scare over the virus.
“There is a widespread panic over coronavirus. I went to at least 24 hotels but none of them was ready to give me a room. At a loss, I went to a police station hoping to get their help. The cops there were kind enough to provide me with a room at a government guest house,” Fernandez told journalists.
He left the town in southern Assam’s Barak Valley on Friday morning.
In Majuli, a tourist from Greece burst into tears when she realized that she was virtually untouchable on the river island.
Upon her arrival on the island in a ferry from Nimati Ghat in Jorhat on Thursday, Eleni Anastasiou Dialeisma sought to hire a car to go to Kamalabari but nobody was willing to extend the service to her. Finding no other way, she began to walk with her 20-kg backpack. On the way, she was rescued by some journalists who gave her a lift on a two-wheeler.
“When I arrived at the riverbank, a doctor approached me saying I shall have to be screened at Kamalabari. And then while some policemen were collecting my personal details, the doctor suddenly disappeared. Later, I sought to hire a car but didn’t get any response,” Eleni said.
She said the snub left her with no option but to walk.
“It’s been 20 days that I have been on the tour in India. The backpack weighs 20 kg. I waved at cars to hitchhike but nobody stopped. I saw an ambulance coming and waved at it but it too did not stop,” she said.
She added: “If foreign tourists are unwelcome in Majuli now, they should be told at Nimati Ghat in Jorhat. This is my third visit to the island. I had the best impression for the people of Majuli but today, I find people don’t want me as I am a foreigner.”