fbpx mmnews

Murree hotels jacked up rent, food prices: tourists

22 tourists freeze to death in cars

MURREE: Several tourists have accused the hotel owners in Murree of jacking up rent and food prices amid a heavy snowstorm, which killed 22 people, including women and children, stranded in their vehicles.

Rescue 1122 Divisional Emergency Officer Dr Rehman, who is heading the rescue operation, said 22 bodies had been recovered so far including 10 men, two women, four boys and six girls.

Video shared on social media showed cars packed bumper-to-bumper, with one-metre-high (three-foot) piles of snow on their roofs. They also showed entire families, including children, lying dead in their snow-covered vehicles.

According to tourists, the hotel owners in Murree jacked up the rent to Rs70,000 per room from Rs6,000 that forced tourists to spend the night in their cars. The tourists held Murree hotel owners responsible for the death of 22 people.

Some tourists have claimed that food prices were also sky-rocketed in the area, specifically amid the severe weather conditions. A cup of team worth Rs60 was sold at Rs500, while a boiled egg was sold at as high as Rs250, tourists alleged.

“Due to such high prices and profiteering of the hotel owners, people had no choice but to sleep in their cars, which led to the death of more than 20 people”, they added.

A private media outlet reported that some of the families spent two to three nights in their cars after snowfall closed the roads and they were unable to afford a hotel stay. Hotel owners, on the other hand, have rejected the claims.

Snowfall, which began on Tuesday night, continued at regular intervals, attracting thousands of tourists. Due to the huge numbers of visitors, many families ended up being stranded on roads.

Authorities had warned last weekend that too many vehicles were trying to enter Murree, but that failed to discourage hordes of daytrippers from the capital.  

Interior Minister Sheikh Rashid said the military had mobilised to clear roads and rescue thousands still trapped near Murree. “For the first time in 15 to 20 years such large number of tourists flocked to Murree, which created a big crisis,” the minister said in a video message.

National Highways and Motorway Police (NHMP) IG Inam Ghani urged tourists not to travel to Murree as snowfall had started again. President Dr Arif Alvi, Senate Chairman Sadiq Sanjrani as well as other high-ups have expressed their sorrow over the loss of precious lives in the tragic incident.

Comments: 0

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked with *