Is the Kodagu district administration turning a blind eye to the criminal activities, including flesh trade that is going on in unauthorised Coorg homestays?
Though senior Kodagu politician M.C. Nanaiah (in picture) had brought the “immoral activities” that was going on in unauthorised homestays two years ago to the deputy commissioner Anurag Tewari, the latter seems to have not taken the issue seriously.
Even though the district administration claims that they were not in a position to clamp down on unauthorised homestays due to lack of clarity in the rules governing the homestays, there is no reason why no action is taken when criminal activities were taking place in these homestays.
No less than the Kodagu superintendent of police Varthika Katiyar has gone on record to state that illegal activities were going on in some of the homestays.
She recently admitted before a legislature committee that fake policemen robbed two businessmen from Kerala after capturing nude photographs of the two businessmen, with the ladies at the homestay.
There are an estimated 2,500 homestays in Coorg, out which only around 300 homestays are registered with the government. There are hundreds of applications pending for registration. Apart from these, there are those who are operating without any no-objection-certificate from the concerned authorities. These have to be closed down as some of them are reported to be involved in immoral activities.
According to homestay industry sources, organised gangs were operating inter-state prostitution racket in these unauthorised homestays. Worse, some of these have even converted cattle-sheds to accommodate the ‘guests’.
Even betting is also taking place in some of these homestays, which came to light recently following a major incident at an established homestays which had not installed CCTV as this would have exposed their betting racket.
The district administration is duty bound to insist on home stay owners to compulsorily maintain registers and record the address, telephone numbers, vehicle registration numbers, PAN card and driving licence details of their guests and produce them whenever concerned officials visited to check them.
Home stay owners should compulsorily live on the premises and the number of rooms in the home stay should not exceed five. The activities would be considered as commercial.
The Vakila Spandana Vedike in Madikeri has been urging the Kodagu district administration to crack down on the unauthorised homestays which were mushrooming in the district.
The convenor of the Vedike, M.S. Biddappa, accused officials of not taking steps to stop the illegal homestay activities in the district. The homestay business has disrupted peace in the neighbourhood and resulted in pollution, Mr. Biddappa said.
The rule which stipulates that the owners themselves should run the homestays too had been flouted. Mr. Biddappa wondered how could the Madikeri City Municipal Council (CMC) and the police department issue no objection certificates (NOC) to such illegal homestays in the district.
Though the Kodagu DC and SP have a clean image, their reputations could be sullied if they allow the district to become “another Goa in Karnataka”.