A year after announcing plans to promote rural tourism in the state, Uttarakhand tourism department has failed to turn the rural tourism projects into a reality.
State tourism minister had promised to start rural tourism activities in 2014 but the department could not go beyond identifying four villages as the destinations for rural tourism where extra facilities would be developed. The tourism department is still awaiting sanction of its project which was sent to the government.
"Rural tourism plan proposal for administrative sanction is pending with the state government. Further processing can be taken up only after it gets a go ahead at the government level,” said AK Dwivedi, additional director state tourism department.
According to department officials, the state government has sanctioned only Rs 50 lakh as against the demand of Rs 13.3 core to develop facilities in the four villages - Bungalow Kandi and Saur in Tehri and Mawda and Ganela villages of Almora.
According to Dwivedi, the department will be responsible for providing infrastructural facilities for the villages while villagers who want to develop lodging and boarding facilities in their respective dwellings will have to seek government support at their own level.
The rural tourism plan of the state government is set to meet another hurdle in the form of central government's decision to pull back aiding from the tourism sector of the states, said sources.
Chief minister Harish Rawat had on Wednesday said the center's decision to not support the tourism development projects in the state will throw several development projects in reverse order.
"In the past, the state government's rural tourism development plans were expected to be developed with the support from the central government but now the entire project will have to be taken care of by the state government. This has cast a shadow on the plan,” said a senior department official.