TIRUCHY: Over five months have passed since the State government ended the hotel quarantine facility for all healthcare personnel but such establishment owners claim their dues for extending such services during the second wave of Covid-19 are yet to be cleared.
The facility extended to all healthcare staff, including doctors and nurses, posted in Covid-19 isolation wards since March 2020 allowed them stay at private hotels, with food provided from restaurants. Hotel owners, who already were subject to several hardships from the Covid-19 lockdowns, rue that the dues from providing accommodation and food supply to such health staff during the spread of the deadly delta variant, have added to their woes.
Hoteliers in Tiruchy said their pending bills amount to more than Rs 36 lakh, while informed sources said the figure runs into crores for providing such services across the State. While a few bills have been settled, a majority are still pending.
The situation is the same across the State, sources with the Tamil Nadu Hotels Association said. "Most of our bills are still pending. We have been following it regularly. We hope that we are paid soon," said R Srinivasan, secretary of the Tamil Nadu Hotels Association (TNHA).
A hotel owner from Ariyalur said that the State government owes him dues running to more than Rs 7 lakh. We provided food and accommodation for the health staff from Ariyalur medical college and Covid-19 Care Centres in other parts of the district. We have received payment on behalf of the medical college, while Rs 7 lakh for Covid-19 Care Centres is pending, the owner said.
Hotel owners in Tiruchy, too, mentioned of facing a similar situation. While they have received partial payments, a bulk of it is remaining, they said. "We've suffered a lot. We are slowly recovering from the effects of the pandemic and are reeling under loans. We can use the amount we receive to pay our
debts," said a hotel owner in Tiruchy.
When enquired, a senior health official said that they have sent all the bills to the government for approval. "We have sent the proposal to the government. Once we receive an allotment from the government, we will clear the bills," the official added.