After being elected as the new president of Hotel & Restaurant Association of Eastern India (HRAEI), Sudesh Poddar, plans to work with various state governments of the Eastern and North-Eastern states to tap the immense the tourism potential of the region. Poddar is the managing director of Satya Hotels and Natraj Hotels & Resorts.
The newly formed managing committee of HRAEI has Vinay Malhotra of Viramma Resort as senior vice-president, Smita Parikh of Fortune Hotel Centre Point- Jamshedpur as vice-president, Pranav Singh owner of Opium Bar & Restaurant is the secretary and Navin Suchanti of Sinclairs Hotels & Resorts is the treasurer. TS Walia, president, FHRAI is also a member of the managing committee.
According to Poddar, “The eastern and northeastern regions of India and the Andaman & Nicobar Islands have immense potential for growth of tourism. The focus of HRAEI in the current year will be to work with various state governments to realise the tourism potential of the region.”
Elaborating about his priorities to Food & Hospitality World, Poddar said, “One of the major constraints faced by the hospitality industry is the high and complex taxation structure. There are multiple taxes like VAT, service tax, luxury tax and entertainment tax. Our endeavour will be to network with the state governments to work out a uniform tax structure.”
HRAEI is the umbrella organisation of hotels and restaurants of 12 States, namely West Bengal, Bihar, Odisha, Assam, Jharkhand, Meghalaya, Arunachal Pradesh, Nagaland, Manipur, Mizoram, Tripura, Sikkim and the Union Territory of Andaman & Nicobar Islands. Founded in 1961, HRAEI’s diverse membership base ranges from small restaurants to five-star deluxe hotels in the eastern and Northeastern states.
Poddar’s agenda also includes approaching the West Bengal Government to reduce the number of dry days in the state. According to him, “West Bengal has the highest number of dry days in a year as compared to other states in eastern India. This is a major deterrent for the tourism industry as sales take a hit.”
The president, meanwhile has submitted a memorandum to Nirmala Sitharaman, union minister of state (independent charge), ministry of commerce & industry, Govt. of India urging the government to revoke the suspension of North East Industrial and Investment Promotion Policy (NEIIPP) at the earliest and dispel any ambiguity over its continuation.
NEIIPP was introduced by the Central Government in April 2007. The policy provides a special package of fiscal incentives, subsidies and other concessions, with the objective of promoting industrialisation of northeast. The policy covers Arunachal Pradesh, Assam, Manipur, Meghalaya, Mizoram, Nagaland, Tripura and Sikkim. HRAEI also plans to hold management committee meetings in each state of eastern India. This will help the association to understand the difficulties faced by local hoteliers.