Kerala

Luxury hotel forsakes Loka Kerala Sabha food bill

Owner says he will not charge his ‘family members’

The political controversy over the government’s recent acknowledgement that it had afforded ₹2,000-a-plate lunches to the delegates of the Loka Kerala Sabha (LKS) held here in January took a new turn on Wednesday with the caterer forsaking the ₹60-lakh bill owed by the organisers.

Piqued by news reports that the 5-star luxury hotel Raviz Kovalam had charged extortionate rates for meals served to delegates, its owner Ravi Pillai said the management had never insisted that the government pay for the service.

‘Avoidable’

Terming the controversy surrounding the issue “avoidable and unfortunate,” he said the hotel had not asked the organisers to pay up so far.

He said the non-resident Keralites (NoRKs) who attended the conference in January were his brothers and sisters.

Mr. Pillai said he did not charge family members for the food they ate when they came home visiting.

Opposition charge

The Congress-led Opposition had highlighted the public money spent on organising the NoRKs meet as a classic example of the LDF government’s profligacy.

A question posed by the Opposition in the Assembly had revealed that the government had spent more than ₹1 crore for food and accommodation.

The hotel had charged five-star rates for breakfast, lunch, and dinner.

Meet boycotted

The Opposition had boycotted the LKS 2020 on the ground that the flagship programme of the government to harness the wealth and expertise of NoRKs for the State’s development was a futile spectacle.

It had alleged that the LKS was a white elephant. The cash-strapped government had already splurged crores to refurbish the Sankara Narayanan Thampi Hall in the Assembly Complex to host the second meeting of the nominated body, the Opposition said.

The LKS participants were mostly wealthy persons and had no ordinary NoRK as an invitee, the Congress had alleged.

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Printable version | May 28, 2020 11:13:00 AM | https://www.thehindu.com/news/national/kerala/luxury-hotel-forsakes-loka-kerala-sabha-food-bill/article30864231.ece

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