JK Mohanty, Co-chairman of Ficci tourism council & Chairman, HRAO
At a time when the outbreak of deadly Coronavirus has left the travel and hotel industry battered and bruised, JK Mohanty(COVID-19, Hotels battered in the grip of a pandemic), veteran hotelier and CMD of Swosti Group has rallied to the cause of his fellow business owners. Once again, Mohanty has demonstrated his exemplary leadership in a moment of dire crisis.
Standing firm like the Rock of Gibraltar, Mohanty has shot off a missive to Prime Minister on the plight of hotel owners in Odisha who are profoundly impacted by Covid-19.
“Covid-19 is impacting the global economy and global hospitality and travel. The whole world is suffering through a heavy financial crisis due to Covid-19. The travel trade and hotel industry of Odisha is also going to bear a huge financial burden as many inbound tourists are cancelling their bookings, large conferences, banquet bookings, marriage bookings have already been cancelled in most of the hotels”, Mohanty, Co-Chairman of Ficci National Tourism Council wrote in an impassioned tone to Prime Minister Narendra Modi.
Reaffirming his role as the saviour of the distressed hotel industry, Mohanty, also the Chairman of Hotel & Restaurant Association of Odisha (HRAO) has put forth a slew of demands to save the industry from the clutches of the global pandemic.
Since most of the hotel owners have availed credit from banks and are in a difficult position to repay loans, Mohanty suggested that banks may defer both EMIs (equated monthly instalments) and interest till the situation is normalised.
Moreover, the financial authorities should ensure that CIBIL (Credit Information Bureau Ltd) score is not affected. Similar relief packages have already been announced in the affected countries of USA and China.
Mohanty has a plea to the central government for deferment of all statutory dues such as Goods & Services Tax (GST), advance tax payments and dues pertaining to Employees Provident Fund (EPF) and Employees State Insurance Corporation (ESIC).
Any decision on postponement of dues will exude positivity from the central government for the besieged hotel industry, reasoned he.
That apart, he has advocated waiver of fees at the state government level for upcoming licenses and permits renewal such as municipality holding tax, bar license fee, groundwater fee, electricity fee etc for the travel and hospitality industries.
There is a demand for GST holiday for the next 12 months for tourism, travel and hospitality industries till they recoup from the crisis.
To support the employees in this hour of unprecedented crisis, Mohanty has called for immediate sanction of funds on the lines of Mahatma Gandhi National Rural Employment Guarantee Act (MGNREGA) with direct transfer to the bank accounts of the affected employees.
“We all know that this is a global situation and no one knows when this situation will become normal. This is the right time for the government and the business community to act together so that positivity is there and everyone is ready to fight the situation and plan for a better business environment in future”, Mohanty said.