Bhubaneswar, Oct. 30: Cyclone Phailin dealt a severe blow to tourism in Puri. However, people in the hospitality industry say that things are limping back to normal with district and local authorities stepping up efforts to clean the town.
“Normally, we have 90 to 100 per cent occupancy in October. But this time, we were hit hard by the cyclone. Most tourists cancelled or postponed their bookings. When we tried to recover, it began raining and then the floods came,” said Raj Kishore Patra, executive member of Hotel and Restaurant Association of Orissa in Puri.
Continuous rain that lasted for about a week caused severe waterlogging in various areas of the town, including Ramachandi Balikuda, Gorakabar Lane, Water Works Road, Sarbodaya Nagar, Shreekhetra Colony, Medical Chhak and Grand Road.
“With branches and leaves choking drains, the rainwater could not flow out. We used 16 pumps to remove water from different places. They are still being used at eight places,” said Rajendra Kumar Pattnaik, executive officer of Puri Municipality. The civic body will start cleaning up solid waste once all the water was pumped out.
“We are hopeful that things will be back to normal in the next 10 days,” said president of the hotel and restaurant association K.K. Rao.
On an average, 75,000 people visit Puri every day.