The shutter of iconic Brahmaputra Ashok Hotel came down for the final time on Thursday after providing service to the visitors and guests since 1987. Located amidst the scenic beauty on the bank of river Brahmaputra, the hotel was one of the premiere hotels in the region.
The closure resulted after a state government notification. Around 100 employees who set to lose their jobs staged symbolic protest by lighting candles at the hotel premises on their last day of service.
It’s not just another day as the employees head for their work on Thursday. They knew the day was nearing though there was some hope. But on Thursday, everything came to an end.
“There has been an eerie silence since morning in the premises. This is the place where I have been associated for the last seven years. It was more like a home. Friends and colleagues – we used to share a lovely environment. But from today, we will not be together anymore,” said a staff of the hotel.
In the evening, all the staff members lit up candles in the courtyard of the hotel as a mark of their respect to the hotel and also to protest against the government for its decision to close the iconic hotel which would terminate the jobs of around 100 employees.
“We tried our best so that the boys don’t lose their jobs after working for 10 to 15 years with the hotel. But it’s very unfortunate that the state government didn’t pay any heed to our prayers,” said PS Arora, who used to be a manager of the hotel.
Even as the hotel closes down, several government agencies, private parties and individuals among others have not paid their bills over the last several years, which has been calculated as more than Rs 4 crore.
Assam Tourism Development Corporation Limited (ATDCL) had announced that Hotel Brahmaputra, formerly Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok, will close operations permanently with effect from September 1 this year.
Senior ATDC officials held a meeting with the 56 permanent staff and asked them to continue attending work though the hotel would not function from tomorrow. The permanent staffs have been offered a severance package of 33 months’ salary. Nothing has been offered to the contractual staff.
The hotel has 50 rooms altogether and the area of the hotel premises is 15 kathas.
India Tourism Development Corporation (ITDC) had made an exit from Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok early this year along with Hotel Bharatpur Ashok, Bharatpur and Hotel Lake View Ashok, Bhopal.
Hotel Brahmaputra Ashok used to be the premier hotel of the city and the region before the arrival of Radisson Blu and Vivanta by Taj until a couple of years back.
The hotel played the host to many of the guests and visitors in the city including presidents, prime ministers and other dignitaries besides international sportspersons including cricketers.