Hoteliers in Odisha have urged Prime Minister Narendra Modi to provide a special package of Rs 3,000 crore for reconstruction of tourism infrastructure that was damaged in Cyclone Fani.
The Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) submitted a memorandum to the prime minister last week, HRAO Chairman J K Mohanty said.
Apart from the damage caused to hotel properties worth Rs 500 crore in places such as Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, HRAO has estimated a revenue and business loss of around Rs 3,000 crore due to the cyclone that barreled through coastal Odisha on May 3.
"Sir ... we are quite confident with the support of the central and state government the tourism industry of Odisha will bounce back before rath yatra," HRAO said in its memorandum while inviting Modi to attend Lord Jagannath's rath yatra festival on July 4 at Puri.
Noting that Odisha can expect more tourists only when it has more hotel rooms in different locations, the HRAO sought a special grant of Rs 1,000 crore for building hotel rooms in the state.
The amount will be utilised for giving 30 per cent capital investment subsidy and five per cent interest subsidy for boosting the hotel accommodation sector, it said.
While the Union government is moving ahead with major plans for promoting Buddhist circuits in the country, Odisha is not figuring in the plan, it said.
Odisha being a major Buddhist centre will miss out the elite list of Buddhist circuits of the country due to lack of development and marketing, it said requesting grant of RS 100 crore towards development of Buddhist Circuit of Odisha.
Emphasising that government's plan for starting the World Trade Center (WTC) at Bhubaneswar should be done fast, HRAO said a special grant of Rs 500 crore may be released for building an International Standard Convention Centre in collaboration with the WTC.
To attract high-end domestic and foreign tourists, the HRAO in its memorandum demanded a central grant of Rs 500 crore towards development of Biju Patnaik Park situated at Chilika Lake to create an iternational standard water sports hub, provision of houseboats, cruises & water sports equipment in the lake.
Similarly, Rs 250 crore may be granted towards infrastructure development at Puri-Konark Marine Drive, while a grant of Rs 650 crore is required for infrastructure development at Samuka Beach where 1,000 acre has been identified for Beach Tourism, it said.
The HRAO said hotels with a room tariff of Rs 7,500 and above are facing a severe constraint as they are placed in GST slab of 28 per cent.
The association urged the government to reduce GST on hotels having a tariff of Rs 7,500 and above from 28 per cent to 8 per cent.
In view of devastation caused by cyclone Fani, all financial institutions must be instructed to give two years moratorium on existing term loans for repayment of principal and interest, it said.
Fresh term loans should be disbursed for reconstruction, restoration and rehabilitations to affected hotels with interest free moratorium period of two years and these fresh sanctions should be on priority basis, within 30 days from the date of submission of loan application, it said.
Quick steps should be taken for revival and restoration of surrounding tourist places for tourist attractions, specially, in and around Puri, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack, it said.
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