Special tourism awards for Taj, Oberoi for role in Mumbai attack

February 24th, 2009 - 7:55 pm ICT by IANS  

Ambika SoniNew Delhi, Feb 24 (IANS) Employees and managements of the Taj Mahal and Oberoi Trident Tuesday were honoured with a special award for displaying exemplary courage in helping the guests who were trapped during the terrorist strikes on the two hotels in Mumbai Nov 26-29 last year.
“Since November, there has been a cloud over the tourism sector. The dastardly act at the Taj Mahal Palace and Tower and the Oberoi Trident has left scars, which will take many years to heal. But both the hotels’ employees and management showed remarkable spirit,” Home Minister P. Chidambaram said here.

He was speaking at the annual National Tourism Awards function in which 52 individuals, institutes and states were honoured in recognition of their performances in their fields of travel and tourism.

The home minister said the two hotels “in less than 30 days were partly in business.” “I salute them. They have risen to the occasion.”

He gave the special “Atithi Devo Bhava - Pride of India Awards” - instituted for the first time this year - to Raymond Bickson, the managing director of the Taj, and Vikram Oberoi, joint managing director of the Oberoi group.

Chidamabaram said since the 26/11 Mumbai attacks, in which 170 people including 26 foreigners were killed, a number of measures have been taken by the government.

Under the Central Industrial Security Force Amendment Bill, the government will be able to provide security to the private sectors, including the hotel industry, he said.

“Even the iconic and important establishments would be able to take the CISF security” under this bill, he said.

Tourism Minister Ambika Soni also praised the two hotels’ employees and their managements for their role during the terrorist strikes and the crisis these caused.

She said the employees and the management worked “beyond their call of duty” which even “cost them their lives and their families”.

Soni was referring to the death of the wife and two children of general manager of Taj Hotel Karambir Kang, who were killed in the terrorist attack.

“They worked beyond the realm of their duty. We are proud of them,” she said.

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