Odisha Bhawan in Mumbai lying idle for years

Mumbai: Odisha Bhawan, the State government’s guest house at Vashi near Navi Mumbai here, which remains closed for the last two or three years due to the alleged negligence of the Maharashtra government, has failed to provide services to Odisha bound tourists and others.

Established in 2010, the government guest house had aimed at catering to the needs of patients coming from Odisha for better treatment, tourists and students. But officials are doing little except maintenance work for the last two to three years, sources alleged.

Tourists from the metropolis, who come to the office of Odisha Bhawan seeking information about important places in Odisha, have to return empty handed as the office remains locked.

“I found some tourist places like Konark, Sri Jagannath temple from the website of Odisha Tourism. I planned to visit these places and came here to get detailed information. But I found the office locked,” said a tourist.

“If a government office is closed then where would we go for information. If we go to a private agent, he may cheat us,” she rued.

The Odia people who are coming to the metro city to attend some cultural events, also find it difficult to get an accommodation at affordable price.

“Many people, both Odias and non-Odias, are enquiring about Odisha Bhawan and the tourism office. We usually show them the office. But they have to return as the office remains closed always”, Jyoti Mohapatra, owner of a Sambalpuri handloom shop adjacent to the guest house, said.

“I do not know why the office has remained closed for so long,” he added.

However, the State tourism department, which is aware of the problem, is planning to reopen the office at the earliest.

“Yes, we are aware of it. We are planning to give it out in PPP mode so that it remains open every day and carters to the needs of tourists,” said State Tourism minister Ashok Panda.

Built over 2,761 square metres, the guest house is a G+4 (ground plus four storeys) structure, having 24 air-conditioners fitted to the entire building, double bedroom rooms, three dormitories of six beds each, four suites, apart from an air-conditioned multi-purpose hall, a library, four shops and other facilities.

The Odisha tourism department is paying Rs 40,000 per month as rent to Maharastra government for the facility.

Interestingly, at a time when the old one remains unutilised, the Odisha chief minister had in January this year approached his Maharashtra counterpart to provide one acre of land to construct a second Odisha Bhawan in the metropolitan city.