Bhubaneswar: Union Tourism Minister Prahlad Singh Patel has asked the State Government to send an action-taken report (ATR) on the relief and support provided to hotel and hospital industries to boost the tourism sector.
Patel has written to his State counterpart Jyoti Prakash Panigrahi in this regard. The letter asking for ATR from State Government assumes significance in view of the Hotel and Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO), FHRAI, FICCI and CII frequently placing demands for assistance to the hotel sector for sustenance and growth when the sector is facing tough time due to the coronavirus pandemic.
The hospitality sector requested for relief from penal provisions for delay in dues. They had asked that no penalty or interest to be levied on payment of any dues owed to the State Government or the public sector undertakings (PSUs) and urban local bodies (ULBs).
Secondly, these associations have urged for relief from regulatory compliances under the State and Central laws by extending the validity of various licenses and approvals without levy of any fees for a suitable period.
Relief was requested from excise fees for hotel and restaurants for a suitable period of the financial year.
Relaxations on electricity charges and duties as well as fixed cost of electricity tariff for hotels and hospitality establishments for a time period was requested.
Relief was sought from property tax by reducing the current rates by half for hotels and hospitality sector for a suitable period during current financial year.
While hotels have been allowed for operation with utilising a 30-per cent capacity, tourism sector has not yet opened as tourists are not coming to the State.
Meanwhile, the HRAO expressed happiness over the Minister Patel’s move to know about any supports if given by the State to the hotel industry.
In a letter, HRAO chairman JK Mohanty, however, expressed regret informing that the hotel industry in Odisha has not yet received any relief either from the Center or from the State Government.
“We once again appeal to you to think of a long term benefit that the tourism industry can contribute to the country in terms of employment, both Indian and foreign exchange earnings, image building of the country, and providing service to guests both Indian and foreigners,” wrote Mohanty.