Craters (left) abound on a stretch of NH-33 between Jamshedpur and Ghatshila; and (above) a dusty trail left behind by a heavy vehicle on Thursday. Pictures by Bhola Prasad
This December, the hospitality sector in the steel city is on a bumpy ride, thanks to potholes and yawning craters on National Highway 33 that links Ranchi with Jamshedpur.
Jamshedpur hoteliers feel that poor road connectivity and economic slump have turned the season of boom into that of gloom for them. Of the 60-plus hotels in the city, most are reporting less or around 50 per cent occupancy in the last week of December — a period when tourist flow is at its peak.
Last three years, these same addresses recorded around 80 to 90 per cent occupancy during this time.
“The dilapidated condition of NH-33, especially between Chandil and Jamshedpur and between Jamshedpur and Ghatshila, has dealt a severe blow to our hopes of raking in profit during what is known in hospitality parlance as a season of boom. Making matters worse is the economic slump. We are already incurring losses,” said owner of Bistupur-based Hotel South Park Prabhakar Singh, also the president of Jamshedpur Hoteliers’ Association.
The series of block closures at Tata Motors have also affected the number of visitors. This is because usual business visits to the 500-odd ancillary units in Adityapur have stopped.
Hot spots nestled amid nature’s charm in Ghatshila subdivision, around 42km from the city, and Chandil, about 29km away, attract tourists from Bengal, Odisha, Uttar Pradesh, Maharashtra, Bihar and other districts of Jharkhand.
However, this year, even attractive tour packages offered by city hoteliers to such destinations have failed to boost the footfall.
However, Jamshedpur’s loss is Ghatshila’s gain.
“We are getting bookings from Calcutta, Durgapur, Bhubaneswar and Cuttack. As of now, it is next to impossible to find even a single non-AC room vacant anywhere in Ghatshila between December 25 to January 3,” said Mohammed Sajid, manager of Hotel Oasis in Ghatshila subdivision.
They admitted that poor condition of NH-33 had turned the tables in their favour.
“Earlier, tourists used to stay at big hotels in Jamshedpur and avail their tour packages to visit hot spots in Ghatshila. Now, they do not want to travel on the pothole-riddled stretch of NH-33 and prefer to come to Ghatshila directly,” Sajid added.
27jamhighway-1/2: Dust coming out from slags laid by locals to fill the potholes on NH-33 stretch between Jamshedpur-Ghatshila on Thursday. Pic by Bhola Prasad
27jamhighway-3: Vehicles negotiate potholes on NH-33 stretch between Jamshedpur and Ghatshila on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad
27jamhighway-4/5: Yawning craters on NH-33 stretch between Jamshedpur and Ghatshila on Thursday. Picture by Bhola Prasad