Vijayawada: Getting accommodation in Vijayawada and Guntur is being a difficult task for people visiting the city for the Pushkaralu as most hotels are houseful. Taking advantage of this, owners / managements of major and small hotels in the city are milking money from the pilgrims by increasing the room tariffs abnormally. The tariff of a single room which had been around Rs 500 for 24 hours earlier, has now been increased to Rs 1,500 for 12 hours.
Most of the city hotels are allotting rooms in two ‘shifts’ – from 6 am to 6 pm and then from 6 pm to 6 am, while doubling the room tariffs. Pilgrims who plan to spend at least one day in the city are leaving soon after taking their holy bath because of the hiked room tariff and non-availability of the rooms. Meanwhile, the state government has blocked nearly one-third of the available rooms in major hotels and lodges, for VIPs and around 60,000 government officers deputed on Pushkaralu duty. This is contributing to the lack of the rooms.
Another one-third of the rooms are reserved by regular guests, leaving only one third of the total rooms for pilgrims. Sources said that around 1,600 rooms of the 4,500 available in city hotels and lodges have been blocked by the district administration for the government officials in Pushkaralu duty. They also booked guesthouses and paying guest accommodations available in the city.
On the other hand, a majority of the people owning independent houses and 2BHK flats near Gannavaram, Bhavanipuram, Kanur and Ibrahimpatnam areas are making the best of the occasion. Several vacant houses in these areas have been rented out to families who prefer individual houses than hotels and lodges.
These temporary tenants pay around Rs 5,000 to Rs 6,000 for a stay of three to four days, depending upon the facilities. “We thought of spending a day in the city to enjoy the water sports arranged by the tourism department at the river, but all the rooms are fully booked and some hotels with vacant rooms are charging high tariff,” said Ramakrishna, a pilgrim from Nellore.
“I and my family consisting of 10 members took three rooms in a small hotel which charged Rs 4,500 for 12 hours. We booked the room at 10 am in the morning and we were asked to vacate the room at 6 pm in the evening. The room rates are uncontrolled. The district officials must monitor the tariffs,” said Gautam Reddy, a pilgrim from Srikakulam.
City traders blame traffic curbs for lacklustre business:
Business has been dull in Vijayawada city, particularly in the last few days. Many blame the traffic restrictions put in place for the Krishna Pushkaralu due to which customers are keeping away from shopping, except for essential commodities. Almost all shops, malls and other business centres sparely populated, and going by the appearance of the shopkeepers, this has been the case for the last few days.
The owners of business establishments had expected increased business due to the rush of pilgrims from across the state for the river fete, but the situation has been shocking for them. Not only the business establishments, even the city roads are witnessing reduced traffic flow, when compared to normal days. The traffic restrictions had received widespread publicity and people of villages surrounding Vijayawada and Guntur cities have avoided the trip, confining themselves to other towns/cities for shopping. Besides, holidays have been declared for schools and colleges.
As a result, the traffic movement is dull and this has also hit the businesses. Before the pushkaralu began, business establishments did increased trade with the locals purchasing clothes for gifting them to their relatives and purohits. Later, the business came down abnormally. One K. Raja Rao, owner of a general store at Mogulrajapuram, said that totally business is dull in the city. Hotel owner P. Suryanarayana said that the food establishments have had better luck than others in the four days due to the floating population visiting the food stalls and restaurants.