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New Year’s Eve: Pondicherry in a rhythmic mood despite the Omicron threat – the New Indian Express

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Express news service

PUDUCHERRY: The quaint coastal town of Pondicherry with its French heritage charm is gearing up for New Year’s Eve celebrations after the government allowed the celebrations by relaxing lockdown standards but adhering to covid security guidelines.

The beach road is again expected to welcome a large congregation as in previous years to usher in the new year. The number of New Year’s parties is going to be higher this year as several hotels that have not hosted parties in the past three years are once again planning to hold the parties as well as other outdoor events, according to Anand. , event advertising. organizer.

The tourism department is renting five venues to host open events, including the premises of the Old Port, Paradise Island, Chunamber Boat House, Murungapakkam Arts and Craft Village, and the Sea Gulls restaurant to celebrate the New Year, told TNIE the Minister of Tourism of Puducherry, K Lakshminarayanan. . Besides some seaside resorts like Hotel Ashok and others, Beach Marina in Dubrayanpet is also preparing to host such parties.

“We are getting ready to have outdoor parties with a lot of amenities,” said Kamaraj of Beach Marina. Several private spaces are also rented to host New Year’s celebrations, said G Thanigachalam, secretary general of the Chamber of Commerce. The Chamber of Commerce has rented his property to a private party to host New Year’s events, he said.

There is great enthusiasm as the hospitality industry has paid the price for Covid-19 and is looking for ways to make money. The government, which is facing a severe financial crisis, is also hoping to earn good income, as revenue receipts are highest at the time of year (December-January). With restrictions on outdoor and beach gatherings on New Years Eve in neighboring states, people are expected to stay in Pondicherry, a hotelier said. Reservations have started since the government in Pondicherry announced easing of the lockdown for Christmas and New Years, he said.

At the same time, the hotel industry wants the government to lower the taxes levied on the organization of such events. Municipalities levy an entertainment tax (ET) of 25 percent on entrance fees (which is 25 percent of the ticket price). In addition, the organizers must pay a security deposit which corresponds to 25 percent of the registration fee, municipal license fee of 5,000 rupees, special excise license fee of 10,000 rupees to serve as the alcohol. Then there is 28 percent GST on the entrance fee and excise duty and additional excise duty on alcohol sales charged by the government. After spending on organizing entertainment, food, alcohol, lighting, stage, transportation and labor programs, the high taxes put a strain on the business and the government. should therefore consider reducing them, said G Anandraj, treasurer of the Pondicherry Hotel Association.

However, with the threat of the Omicron variant, there is apprehension, especially among the locals. The government plans to issue SOPs for strict compliance during the celebrations and orders will be issued in this regard, sources said.


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