First, we heard the tragic news of former Minister and former Governor Jagmohan, possibly one of the best tourism ministers we had in the country. His contribution to building tourism related infrastructure will remain unequalled for a long time to come. As Governor of J &K state, he revamped the entire Vaishnodevi yatra. If you consider ease in travel, a contemporary idiom we are so fond of, his revolutionary turn around of the route, the facilities and the services, will be remembered for generations to come.

The same is what he did to the Aurangabad experience where he went ahead and dramatized the entire visitor engagement. The same with the Purana Quila in Delhi, and also with the entire Yamuna embankment which included the present Buddha Park area – he did all this, himself overseeing every little aspect of it. Not by ordering on files and seeking progress reports but being on the ground himself.

I have had the privilege of watching his simplicity, creativity, integrity and compassion. His was selfless service, a keen desire to help, never having any expectations, from whomsoever he bestowed any favours. In fact, his favours were often what he simply thought was his job.

As Governor, I had the opportunity to sit with him and get him to brief me on what was happening inside the Kashmir Valley at that time (mid 80s). To my mind, the present government is carrying out some of his intended reforms that he visualised were necessary at that time.

Two great hoteliers and thorough gentlemen passed away to the scourge of Covid – Rajindera Kumar, MD of the owing company of Taj Vivanta in Sujan Singh Park, New Delhi and Anil Bhandari, former MD of ITDC and leading light of the Indian Culinary Forum.

Rajindera Kumar was a former president of FHRAI; his late father Ram Pershad was the legendary old school hotelier and also a former FHRAI president. Rajindera followed his footsteps – passionate hoteliers first, and keen on India’s tourism potential as key to the growth of the economy.

Bhandari rose from the top, professional to the core, in between stints at ITDC; on retirement, joined ITC, where he was also heading Travel House for a few years.

Our industry will miss their warmth, professionalism and humane touch. We shall miss them for years to come.