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‘Chennai hotels are sitting ducks to attacks’

Chennai, Sep 10 (Calcutta Tube) Days after a luxury hotel located in a prime location here was attacked by a mob, hotel industry players Saturday said they have become a soft target of such attacks.

‘The attack on the Checkers Hotel is condemnable. Hotels are a soft target and we need more protection from the law enforcing authorities,’ Secretary of the South India Hotels & Restaurants Association (SIHRA) T. Natarajan told reporters here.

According to him, a meeting of city hoteliers will be called some time next week to take stock of the security situation.

The outgoing president of SIHRA M.P. Purushothaman told IANS that the association is awaiting a letter from the hotel on the mob attack.

The 85-room hotel was ransacked by a mob numbering over 50 Tuesday night.

‘Property worth around Rs.5 million was damaged. Capsule lift, imported fancy lights, pastry counter, marble table, computers, television sets and many other equipments were destroyed by the mob,’ General Manager Bhumesh Chopra told IANS.

‘We are sitting ducks for mob attacks. Even in the past, hotels in Chennai have been subject to attacks and hotels are really helpless,’ he added.

According to Chopra, the business is normal and the hotel continues to have the same level of occupancy.

He said the hotel is beefing up its security by installing more closed circuit television cameras and posting two managers on night duty in place of one.

When asked about the insurance for the property, he said: ‘United India Insurance Company Limited have completed their survey. They are trying to avoid their liability saying that the damage is due to mob attack and not as a result of ‘riot’ – a risk covered under our fire insurance policy.’

Several years back, the sympathisers of AIADMK had attacked the famous Taj Coromandel hotel here, of the Taj group of hotels, protesting against the then Chief Election Commissioner T.N. Seshan who was staying there.

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