Rath Yatra: Uncertainty looms large over tourist accommodation in Puri

Puri: While devotees from across the country and abroad have started to arrive in Puri to witness Rath Yatra, uncertainty looms large over the accommodation of tourists as the cyclone-hit hotel industry is yet to recover completely.

It is being apprehended that tourists may face problems as the restoration work at many hotels is yet to be finished.

“The state government has not done anything for hotels and Dharmashalas which can provide shelter to thousands of tourists during the Rath Yatra. The restoration works are yet to be completed. The hotels near the sea beach are also reeling under similar condition,” said Biswanath Behera, a local resident.

As per reports, around 800 hotels and lodges in the city were damaged by the cyclone.

“Hotels are available in the city but the facilities are not good like before. Only a few restaurants have re-opened after the cyclone,” said a tourist, Debesh Deepak.

On the other hand, the state hotel owners’ association has said that the hotels are ready to welcome the tourists during the Rath Yatra and assured that tourists will face no problems. It has also assured to provide good hospitality to the tourists during the annual sojourn of Lord Jagannath and his siblings.

“The restoration work has been completed at around 40 percent hotels in Puri. There will be no problem in providing accommodations to the tourists. As many restaurants are also running in the city now, there will be no problem in providing food during the annual event,” informed Raj Kishore Das, Secretary of state hotel owners’ association.

“Though the restoration work at some hotels is yet to be completed, around 85 percent hotels in the city are ready to welcome the tourists during the Rath Yatra,” said Rabi Narayan Mishra, a hotel owner.

While the central government had announced to provide financial assistance to the cyclone-hit hoteliers in the town, the owners allege that they have not received any help so far.

The pilgrim town is all set to witness the annual Rath Yatra event on July 4.