Bhubaneswar: The Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) Wednesday demanded several exemptions for hoteliers on electricity billing, transformer generator restoration expenditure and subsequent relevant statutory charges to revive the industry in the aftermath of cyclone ‘Fani’.
In an emergency meeting organised by the body to review the damages and take steps for rebuilding and revitalizing the tourism sector of the state, HRAO urged the government to exempt employer’s contribution component for PF & ESI for a period of two years for all hoteliers and give special tax exemption for hotel industry on the heads of GST, holding tax, municipal tax and other relevant statutory taxes.
It further proposed the state government to initiate a series of short term and long term measures for development of the tourism sector of the state in the wake of damages caused by the cyclone.
The workshop suggested the Odisha government to have a long term policy towards getting more domestic and foreign tourist arrivals in the state since Odisha gets the lowest share in the country as far as foreign tourist arrivals are concerned.
The body suggested that all financial Institutions be given instructions by the government to give two year moratorium on existing term loans for repayment of principal and Interest and to provide fresh loans for reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitations to all affected hotels.
Briefing newsmen HRAO Chairman JK Mohanty said fresh loans should be sanctioned without any documentation and on priority basis, within 30 days from the date of submission of loan application.
All insurance companies be asked to disburse 50 per cent of the claim amount by May 30, 2019, he said and requested the government to revive and restore tourist places specially in and around Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack city, damaged by the cyclone Fani which hit the Puri coast on May 3 last.
Mohanty said the damages to hotel industry in the state due to cyclone Fani would be around Rs500 crore and urged the state government to plan relief measures to compensate the loss suffered by the hotel industries.
It suggested to form a high level committee under the Chairmanship of the Tourism Secretary and the professionals from the hotel and tourism industry to resolve issues on priority basis.
The workshop suggested the government to initiate steps for immediate restoration of power especially in the city of Puri along with rest of Odisha, cleaning of sewerage line and restoration of drainage system in the town on a war footing, operationalisation of street lights and all other public area lights.
Immediate promotional activities should be made by the tourism department through video films, print media (road-shows in major cities to get back the tourist flow to Odisha, Mohanty said.