Expedite Home Stay sanctions

Tourism has been mainstay of revenues of our UT ever since independence. Most unfortunately absolutely no focus has been there to develop tourism beyond Srinagar, Gulmarg, Pahalgam for decades and it’s even more surprising that despite one and half crore pilgrims coming to Katra there has been no effort to divert these pilgrims to some other tourist places being full of religious and cultural diversity. Each and every district is unique, rich in local culture, each having more than one religiously/tourists places, some of which are in fact at par with any tourist place of world in scenic beauty, practically good enough to create lifetime memories for the tourists. Living experience at a place surrounded by apple and cherry orchids in Kashmir or saffron fields of Kashmir, Kishtwar with local cuisines and enjoying the evening noon tea or makki ki roti are never to forget moments, itched permanently in the minds of tourists. Why we have not been able to create a buzz for Mela Patt of Doda, Guari Tritaya of Kishtwar, Machail Yatra, Budda Amarnath Yatra , Jhiri Mela to name a few on the pattern of Kullu Dushera of Himachal or Pushkar Mela of Rajashthan.
GoI and our LG know the importance of tourism as such time to time they clearly lay stress on developing independent tourist circuits in each and every district. no one should expect administration to build infra for tourism at every place especially where one day or one week festivals are celebrated but all these places have to be marketed properly on Indian Tourism Map.
Gone are the days of Government controlling everything including tourism, in reality LG administration has instructed the Tourism Department to identity and outsource it’s assets, restaurants and huts, to get the things moving in a professional way. Another fact is that we don’t have Master Plans approved for many of these tourists places of Jammu and Kashmir as such no major tourism project can be undertaken technically. Administration’s approach is absolutely clear and right to get the people on ground be involved in tourism sector directly and home stay offerings are the best option for everyone. Government don’t have to develop infra and locals can utilise their present resources to generate employment and money and of course tourists can enjoy the uniqueness of the region that too in home comfort situation. In June 2022 the guidelines with clear cut detailed instructions were issued but despite lapse of more than five months files to get permission for home stay are stuck mainly in the office of DCs with no specific reason for the delay which itself creates a situation. Chief Secretary has rightly instructed the concerned officers to do the needful on priority. Another aspect is first Home Stay Village Panchari was launched with much fanfare in October 2021 but despite more than one year approach road to Panchari is in dilapidated condition. Coordination between departments is missing, with no effort to improve the infra like approach roads. Administration should plan a time bound training programme for home stay volunteers. With Patnitop, Gulmarg, Pahalgam not able to build infra due to SC guidelines for environmental protection, these home stays are the only viable option for developing new tourists circuits in Jammu and Kashmir. There are no shortcuts but only consistent efforts of all can deliver the desired results.