Odisha tourism body seeks special schemes for revival | Bhubaneswar News

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BHUBANESWAR: The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) on Wednesday appealed to the state government for relief and restoration schemes for the revival of the cyclone-hit hospitality industry in Puri, Bhubaneswar, Cuttack and other places.
Hoteliers from the Fani-affected areas, including worst-hit Puri, convened a meeting here under the aegis of HRAO and sent a series of proposals to the state government for assistance. The HRAO claims that the estimated damage to the hotel industry is around Rs 500 crore.
Hundreds of hotels in Puri and Bhubaneswar were badly damaged when Cyclone Fani made landfall with a wind speed of nearly 250 kmph on May 3. Over 300 hotels in Puri, mostly near the sea beach, were destroyed and are since closed, affecting the livelihood of those dependent on tourism. In view of the massive damage to hotels and other infrastructure, the tourism department advised tourists to defer their travel plans to Puri and Konark till the first week of June. “The government should plan relief and restoration measures to compensate the colossal loss. We propose that the government exempt employers contribution component for PF and ESI for a period of two years for all hoteliers,” HRAO chairperson J K Mohanty told TOI.
HRAO also proposed special tax exemption for hotel industry on the heads of GST, holding tax, municipal tax and other relevant statutory taxes. “All financial institutions should be given two years moratorium on existing term loans for repayment of principal and interest,” said Debasis Kumar, HRAO member and vice-president of Hotel Association of Puri.
The hotel body said fresh term loans should be disbursed for reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitations to all affected hotels with interest-free moratorium period of two years. The HRAO said the fresh sanctions should be made within 30 days from the date of submission of loan application. “We also urge that the government should direct all insurance companies to disburse 50% of the claim amount by May 30,” said another HRAO member.

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