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Blast triggers fear in home of the Taj

The blast that shook a private hospital in Agra city on Saturday evening also sent ripples of fear across the tourism industry. Hemendra Chaturvedi reports.

india Updated: Sep 18, 2011 00:22 IST
Hemendra Chaturvedi

The blast that shook a private hospital in Agra city on Saturday evening also sent ripples of fear across the tourism industry.

“The blast could not have come at a worse time. The tourist season begins in September and goes on till end of March,” said Rakesh Chauhan, president of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Agra.

“Such activities linked with terrorism affects the industry.”

At least six people were injured in a low-intensity explosion at the hospital, 6 km from the Taj Mahal that is frequented by thousands of Indian and international tourists.

Security at the monument and other places has been beefed up in the city after the explosion. But hotels have already started receiving calls from people inquiring about security.

“We fear these calls might soon be followed by cancellations of reservations,” said Arun Dang, secretary of the UP Hotel and Restaurant Association.

“With international channels also broadcasting news of the blast in the city of the Taj Mahal, foreign visitors might think twice before visiting the city,” Dang said.

Rajiv Tiwari, president of the Federation of Travel Association in Agra, agrees with Dang.

He feels that with news channels reporting the blast as a “major incident”, cancellations are bound to happen.

Tour operators and hotel owners feel they will have to resort to some confidence- building measures to make people safe in the city.

“We need a proper damage control exercise to neutralise the negative impact of such violent acts,” Dang said.