Uttarakhand plans 5,000 homestays to check migration, experts point loopholes
The Uttarakhand cabinet’s decision to set up homestay facilities to link local economy and checks migration from the hills, has been questioned by environmentalists who stressed on a need of strategic development in the area as it can pose environmental implications in futureUpdated: Mar 14, 2018 21:33 IST
The Uttarakhand cabinet’s decision to set up homestay facilities to link local economy and checks migration from the hills, has been questioned by environmentalists who stressed on a need of strategic development in the area as it can pose environmental implications in future.
The Uttarakhand cabinet on March 12, decided to set up 5,000 home stays by 2020.
For this, the government will be help in getting loan, repayment of loan, subsidy in power and water supply among others, but activists say “it is a hasty decision with no planning”.
“I had proposed to systematize home stay policy by identifying USP (unique selling proposition) of every area in terms of its ecological, cultural or traditional importance, “said Peter Smetacek, a wildlife expert who runs a home stay in Nainital’s Bhimtal.
“This will help tourists in planning a better holiday,” he said.
“If a tourist wishes to visit a wildlife area, he could avail home stay in nearby places in Corbett, Rajaji, Nandhaur among others. This systematic approach will help the government in understanding the potential areas in the state and also will give an opportunity to locals to get the maximum benefit of the business.”
As per the estimates of the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board, there are 309 home stays registered in the state until February.
To run the business, a mandatory non-objection certificate is needed from the tourism department that is given at the district level.
The highest number of home stays are in Tehri (77) followed by Almora (68), Dehradun (67) and Nainital (40). There’s no record of number of tourists visiting these places.
Kedarnath legislator Manoj Rawat, who had been instrumental in promoting home stays in his constituency, supported the stance.
“Why will any person wanting to holiday in Uttarakhand want to reach some remote area in Pithoragarh? He will look for an accessible area. That’s the reason why it is important for the government to identify and acknowledge the areas based on its important factor,” he said.
“Promotion of home stay isn’t enough. We should also look into the aspects that these people aren’t charging too much tourists.”
State tourism department officials said that mainly influential and well to do families are running the business and there is a need for the district level officials to support farmers and villagers in the area.
“The Ecotourism Development Corporation is working on circuits and other ecotourism projects. Home stays will be widely promoted and we will sensitise locals about it,” said Harak Singh Rawat, state forest minister.