Chief Minister Jai Ram Thakur on Friday said the tourism sector in Himachal Pradesh has collapsed due to the coronavirus crisis and for its revival, his government is considering the film industry's request to reopen the state for shootings.
With 475 cases so far, he said, the coronavirus situation in the state is "not alarming" and the recovery rate of patients is very high.
"The film industry is requesting us to open the state for shooting purposes and they have agreed to abide by all the norms put in place by the centre and the state government. We are looking at it," Mr Thakur said at a virtual press conference.
Himachal Pradesh is one of the world's favourite tourist destinations but the tourism industry in the state has collapsed due to the coronavirus outbreak and the resultant lockdown, he said.
Around 55,000 people associated with the industry have been directly affected by the pandemic and the lockdown. Hotels have been virtually locked since March 20, he added.
The chief minister said though the state government has given a relaxation of six months to the tourism industry for payment of water and power bills, it is not enough.
"The loss is so huge that no one can repair it, we have to bear it collectively," he said.
Till date only 475 coronavirus cases and six deaths have been registered in Himachal Pradesh. The recovery rate is very high, Mr Thakur said.
"In March, Himachal Pradesh had around 40 cases. With our hard work... we reduced the tally to just one in the first week of May. But as we brought back around two lakh Himachalis stranded in different parts of India due to the lockdown, there was a sudden increase in positive cases in the state," he said.
"Those who came to HP from other states are under strict surveillance. As a lot of them are recovering, the situation is not alarming," he added.
Mr Thakur said his government has launched an online portal to provide jobs to people who have returned to the state over the past three months.
So far, 10,000 people have registered on the portal, he said.
Earlier in the day, addressing a virtual rally of BJP workers, Mr Thakur said, "We should be proud of our PM Narender Modi ji, under whose leadership we are going ahead even in this pandemic."
"The way the Indian public supported him from ''Janta Curfew'' to lockdown 4.0 shows the greatness of his leadership," he said.
Mr Thakur said despite a large population, the number of deaths due to coronavirus in India has remained low.
India has a population of 135 crore and 8,000 deaths. It is because Indians are fighting against coronavirus with great zeal under the dynamic leadership of PM Modi, he said.