BHUBANESWAR: Days after the Tourism department issued notice to Ajmer-based Sunset Desert Camp for substandard arrangement and hospitality at two sites of Eco Retreat, the agency engaged for managing the glamping festival there has put the blame on the State department.
Delay in the procurement of key materials by the department itself has led to the chaos and mess, the agency has pointed out, exposing the poor state of handling of the luxury camping this year. The two sites in question are Pati-Sonapur (Ganjam) and Putsil-Deomali (Koraput).
Tourism department had blamed the agency for the public ire it has been facing this season due to substandard management leading to cancellation of bookings.
In its response to Tourism Director, the event management firm alleged that the tents could not be completed on time as connecting roads, electricity and water supply were not provided as per the terms and conditions.
“As per terms, Tourism department will provide water supply and power connection at a designated point at each site and extension of such utilities (including fittings and cabling) inside the Eco Retreat sites will be done by operator(s). But none of the sites were having water and electricity connection by December 15 severely affecting the work,” the agency wrote.
In addition, the agency’s reply stressed the issues related to the temporarily constructed morum road which created a major challenge for them to start and finish work in time. The department had committed to supply heavy-duty rubber mats for each of the locations having beachfront, it claimed.
As two new beach locations were added to the list of destinations this time, the department had invited tender for procurement of 1,650 more mats. Surprisingly, of the 670 mats required at Pati-Sonapur, only around 30 per cent mats were supplied till a day before. “As the road was incomplete till December 2, the materials were shifted to the site by tractors. This proved to be a very challenging exercise for us as tractors got stuck in the sand during each trip. Till the time no rubber mats were supplied, drinking water and electricity could not be made available at the site,” the letter added.
Meanwhile, one bidder had alleged severe mismanagement and favoritism in the tender for supplying heavy-duty mats. Earlier, the bidder, one of the few manufacturers of the country, had supplied 800 such mats for Eco Retreat.
In its letter to the department, the bidder alleged despite repeated deliberations by various agencies on the eligibility and other important elements of the tendering process to ensure the quality work gets delivered in time, a particular bidder, who is apparently not a manufacturer and sources low-quality material from China was favoured. Principal Secretary of Tourism department Surendra Kumar could not be contacted for comment.