Thousands of foreign tourists and expatriates who visit Kandy to observe the Esala Perahera are being exploited by certain unscrupulous vendors, Ceylon Today learns.
According to several websites and advertisements, to view the perahera, some unscrupulous vendors are charging an exorbitant sum in US Dollars from expatriates and foreigners who are now thronging in Kandy to view the historical parade where nearly 90 elephants are to participate, it is learnt.
When contacted Diyawadana Nilame Pradeep Nilanga Dela, and the Ministry of Cultural Affairs to inquire whether they are aware of the exploitation carried out by vendors. However, both the parties noted that they are not accountable for this business.
A spokesperson from the Kandy Municipal Council told Ceylon Today that the Kandy Municipal Council is only responsible for tendering the Queens Corridor and that all the money of the seats in Queens Corridor view gallery is for the Queens Hotel, Kandy.
They added that they cannot control the rest of the matter. “Revenue from all the seat values is only for the 9 relevant building owners who tender view galleries”, added the spokesperson from the Kandy Municipal Council.
The 9 view galleries are located in Queens Hotel corridor, Pizza Hut corridor, Sithumina Book Shop building, Seetha Book Shop building, MPCS building, Francis Perera building, Paivas Hotel corridor, Devon Hotel corridor, and Francis Perera building.
To view from the gallery of shops and hotels, these unscrupulous vendors are charging in $100 and above, Ceylon Today learns. The seat rates start from $92 and increase up to $150 based on the view of the Perahera. Also, the seat bookings are to be instantly confirmed through secure online payment processing, without proper regulations.
“A lot of seats are already booked by both local and foreign viewers, and only a very few seats are left”, a spokesperson from the website who had advertised seats told.