In a surprise move, the UT administration has started the process to revive the 'infamous' bed and breakfast scheme, which was stopped a year after it was launched as it was misused by the operators.
The process to revive the scheme has been started on the request of certain operators after they had given a representation to the authorities concerned.
To take the case forward, the UT tourism department has written twice to the UT estate office asking for its comments. According to sources, the estate office is not in favour of revival of the scheme. In its reply, it had stated that the scheme was repealed through a well-meaning order of then UT home secretary.
The estate office is of the view that the resumption of the scheme will lead to misuse of residential property for commercial purposes, which is against the building byelaws. After getting a negative response, the tourism department again wrote to the estate office seeking its view on resumption of the scheme.
Despite repeated attempts, UT home secretary Anil Kumar and Chandigarh Industrial and Tourism Development Corporation (CITCO) director and secretary (tourism) DK Tewari were not available for comments.
Residents against the move
The residents of the city are against the decision of the administration of restarting the scheme, which they term as a "nuisance". Criticising the administration for initiating the process of reviving the scheme, Balwinder Singh Bittu, president of Sector 21 Resident Welfare Association, said the scheme proved to be a menace when started in 2008. "The residents are facing various problems caused by the paying guest accommodations and the administration has failed to address the issue. By starting the bed and breakfast scheme, the authorities will add to the woes of residents," said Bittu. He added that they will meet senior officials to request them not to revive the scheme.
Why the scheme failed?
The bed and breakfast scheme was launched in 2008 in 25 houses across the city, including Sectors 18, 21, 22 and 35, were registered under it.
Following several complaints against the operators, an inquiry was ordered and a three-member committee was formed to inquire into the matter. In the inquiry, it was found that the operators had converted their homes into guest houses and were violating various byelaws. They were accommodating more than 20 guests in their homes and were charging exorbitant amount from tourists. Some operators had also developed websites for promoting their accommodations.
On the recommendations of the committee, the scheme was scrapped. The owners challenged the decision in the Punjab and Haryana high court, which disposed the petition against the owners.
What is it about?
The scheme was started to give a boost to tourism and provide a home-like and affordable accommodation to tourists. It was intended at providing foreigners an opportunity to experience the customs and traditions of India while staying with the Indian family.