Identity Proof Mandatory for Visitors to Hotels in Odisha
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A day after the Odisha police confirmed visit of two IM operatives to Bhubaneswar and Puri in January, the state government today made identity proof of visitors seeking accommodation to hotels mandatory.

A direction in this regard was issued by Commissioner, Tourism department, Arabinda Kumar Padhy.

In a letter to the Director, Tourism, Padhy said the tourist officers must meticulously check whether hotels and guest houses kept identity proof of visitors while giving them accommodation.

"The action is taken in view of recent media reports of terror threats on Jagannath temple and Car Festival," Padhy said, adding, if hotels and guest houses violate the mandatory norms, approval issued for such tourism related projects would be suspended and cancelled.

Hotel owners or staff should be sensitised on such security related matters as well as on safe and honourable tourism, Padhy said.

Experts from the local India Tourism Office, Indian Institute of Tourism and Travel Management, Institute of Hotel Management and others may be involved in the process, he said.

"Besides Bhubaneswar and Puri, the direction must be followed in other places of the state as well," Padhy said.

He also asked the director tourism that officials concerned and stake holders may be informed about Odisha's policy of mandatory identity proof for the visitors.

Meanwhile, Padhy, who is also the chief administrator of Sri Jagannath Temple Administration, said he was planning to issue identity cards to priests of the 12th century shrine.

Odisha police chief Prakash Mishra, yesterday, after attending a high-level meeting on the security of Jagannath Temple at Puri, had said, "Two IM operatives had visited Bhubaneswar and Puri. A team of Delhi police had brought the two (Tehsin Akhtar and Waqas) to Bhubaneswar and Puri to trail their possible links in the state."

Mishra also said the motive of their (Indian Mujahideen operatives) visit was not clear. Interrogation of the two IM operatives by the Delhi police also did not reveal about their plan of a possible attack on Puri as reported in the local media, Mishra had said.

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