‘Delays to defeat objective of decentralization of tourism benefits’
Stress laid on coordination between distt admn, Tourism Deptt
JAMMU, Dec 3: To ensure that benefits of Home Stay Scheme reach to as maximum as possible people, the Government of Union Territory of Jammu and Kashmir has directed all the Deputy Commissioners to expedite clearance of applications for registration and ensure proper coordination with the Tourism Department.
The Government vide Order No.89-JK(TSM) dated June 30, 2022 issued procedural guidelines for registration under Home Stay Scheme in order to decentralize the benefits of tourism and it was mentioned that the scheme will be operative in the entire rural and urban tourist areas of the Union Territory.
It was further mentioned that prescribed authority of the concerned district shall be the Chairman of the committee to clear applications under the scheme and JE of the Tourism Development Authority concerned will be member of the committee for the areas under the Authority and if area falls outside then JE of the M&W Wing of the Tourism Department will be the member of the committee besides the representative from the Jammu and Kashmir Tourism Development Corporation not below the rank of Manager.
It was specifically mentioned that prescribed authority shall in a time bound manner dispose of the applications for registration on merit.
However, during the visit of senior officers to the districts and interaction with the people it came to the fore that there was delay in clearance of applications at the level of Deputy Commissioners, official sources told EXCELSIOR. Accordingly, the issue was brought to the notice of the Chief Secretary Dr Arun Kumar Mehta.
In a recent high level meeting, the Chief Secretary, as per the sources, observed, “under the Home Stay Scheme of the Tourism Department applications for registration are facing delay at the level of the Deputy Commissioners”. Accordingly, he has directed all the Deputy Commissioners to have such applications expedited so as to provide benefits of the scheme to as maximum as possible people that too in a time bound manner.
“The Government has also laid stress on proper coordination between the Tourism Department and Deputy Commissioners as delay in clearance of applications will defeat the objective behind the scheme”, sources said while disclosing that soon after the directions of the Chief Secretary the Deputy Commissioners have started disposing of the applications on the merits.
Through the Home Stay Scheme initiative, tourists will be able to learn and intermingle with the local culture, lifestyle and nature of the destination and this is mutually beneficial not only for the tourists who get a first-hand experience with the locals but also for the proprietor/owner, who will benefit economically from this activity.
The objective behind the scheme is to achieve de-centralization of benefits of tourism to large number of people who have properties available for use and such property requires little investment to offer it as tourist accommodation, sources said, adding the scheme will have multiplier effect on the economy and offer several benefits like employment generation, increased sale in traditional craft/ skills etc.
Further, the scheme will familiarize the visitors with the local lifestyle experience and common practices such as floriculture, harvesting, bee-keeping, dairying etc or any local unique practices of tourist interest carried out in the area. “The scheme will also realize the potential of cultural landscape and promote tourism through environmental conservation, socio-cultural preservation and economic development by promoting rural tourism and encouraging best practices”, sources said.
As per the Government document, the scheme will enable community participation by engaging village folk in the tourism business and facilitating interaction with local people for cross-cultural exchange and appreciating the local practices by exposure to local community like through treks, dance forms, art and craft and local cuisine etc. Further, Home Stay Scheme will act as a buffer during the peak tourist season when there is a very high demand of accommodation.