By Surya Narayan Pradhan

Bhubaneswar: Like other businessmen, he too wants to make profits. But what distinguishes Manmohan Panda, a 31-year-old entrepreneur from Nabarangpur district, from others of his ilk is his desire is to contribute to the economic development and progress of the society.  He seeks to do this by making  the youth of the State, especially women form none-too-sound financial backgrounds, employable. For him, business and social commitment can go together.

Son of a retired police officer, Panda has set up Glaze Hotels and Resorts Pvt Ltd at Nabarangpur town, the first luxury hotel in the whole of the undivided districts of Kalahandi, Balangir and Koraput (KBK) region, known as one of the poorest areas in the country. Besides, he has also set up a training institute on hospitality management and air hostess training in Bhubaneswar to help youths get jobs in the hotel and aviation sectors for a meagre fee.

Asked about the motive behind establishing his first hotel at Nabarangpur town of all places, Panda replied, “Outsiders coming to the KBK areas either stay in Jeypore or go to Jagdalpur in Chhattisgarh for lodging. The idea behind Glaze, a luxury hotel with all modern amenities, was to address this inconvenience. My efforts have been amply rewarded, as the hotel has had 100% booking ever since it was launched some three months ago."

Mentioning that the hotel has applied for a three-star status to the concerned authorities, Panda said, “We are getting visitors from abroad as well.”

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Showing his business acumen, Panda said, “The hotel is the foundation for my future business interest in maize and sugar industry in Nabarangpur district, which is known for production of high quality varieties of sugarcane, maize, cashew and paddy.”

“Above all, the luxury hotel would host entrepreneurs and different company officials coming to Nabarangpur to explore business scopes and thereby help local farmers to get better price for their agricultural produce,” Panda elaborated.

Panda started his business career at an age of 18 years with an initial investment of Rs 1 lakh given to him by his father.

“After his retirement as a police officer, my father distributed Rs 6 lakh gratuity money equally among his six children including me. This was the capital amount with which I started infrastructure development business at Nabarangpur,” Panda recalled.