By P.T. Bopanna
In India’s homestays capital of Kodagu (Coorg) in Karnataka, the district administration’s periodic threats to close down illegal homestays have become a joke.
The latest warning has come from Kodagu deputy commissioner Annies Joy (in picture), who has threatened to lock up illegal homestays if they fail to register online before March 20.
Last month Kodagu assistant commissioner T Javaregowda had threatened to impose spot fine of Rs 25,000 on illegal homestays.
It is learnt only a couple of hundred homestays in the district are registered with the tourist department out of an estimated 5,000 homestays in the district.
The district administration is not serious about tackling the menace because there is resistance from the official and police machinery who get a slice of the huge tourism pie.
And most of the homestays are housed in rented premises, whereas it is compulsory for the owner family to live in the premises to claim tax and other concessions from the government.
It is no secret that drug and prostitution racket thrive in the homestays and provide huge illegal revenue for the corrupt official machinery.
Deputy Commissioner Annies Joy said that lot of opportunities had been provided for unauthorised homestays to register themselves. “However, some have registered and some have not. Therefore, a month’s time has been granted for registration failing which action will be initiated against them.”
According to assistant director of Tourism department, Raghavendra, as per the guidelines of the tourism department, the owners of the home stay should register themselves on http://karnatakatourism.org or https://kodagu.nic.in. He noted that some homestays are being operated by just obtaining no objection certificate from gram panchayats and do not possess any statutory clearances.
Raghavendra has appealed to the public to provide information
about unauthorised homestays to the office of assistant director, tourism
department, Stuart Hill Road, Madikeri, Kodagu district or on 08272 221580 or
on [email protected]