Kodagu homestays’ wait for licence gets longer over ‘vague’ papers


Those getting online bookings come under scanner; respective GPs and police may be alerted to act if they fail to respond to notices served by Tourism Dept.

Nearly 200 homestays that had registered with the Tourism Department along with about 750 other homestays in Kodagu may have to wait for getting the licence to run business legally as their documents were apparently lacking clarity and they had been told to put papers in order.

Also, the homestays having no clearances from the local panchayats and the police besides the Tourism Department but running business and getting clients through online bookings from various marketing platforms have come under the scanner.

The details of such homestays are being collected by the department and notices would be served to them soon, seeking an explanation and submission of documents. If they fail to respond, the local panchayats and the police would be alerted on acting against them, according to the department.

The process of legalising homestays already registered with the department was expedited with Deputy Commissioner Annies Kanmani Joy asking the Deputy Tahsildars in the three taluks to submit factual reports on the conditions of homestays for giving final approval after a detailed inspection.

The homestays had been awaiting inspection after registering with the department but the COVID-19 pandemic delayed the process. Also, the homestays had shut down their operations following lockdown and thereafter due to poor footfall.

Despite fast tracking of the process, the verification could not be completed by Dasara as expected since about 200 homestays lacked certain clearances/papers and such properties had been asked to bring legally valid papers.

Assistant Director of Tourism Raghavendra told The Hindu that some homestays had been given time for getting the documents since certain clearances were “missing”. Out of 935 registered with the department so far, about 50 had been approved while the verification of others was underway. Nearly 200 homestays lacked some papers during verification and such properties will get approval only when they bring authorised documents, including the NoCs.

“Some unauthorised ones are coming forward to register after a warning by the district administration. We hope all homestays will fall in line by the end of this year and the district will be free of unauthorised homestays. Using some online booking platforms, some homestays were getting clients. Such homestays have not registered with us. We are soon issuing notices to them for reply within seven days. In case of no response, the respective panchayats and the police will be told to act,” Mr. Raghavendra said.

The Deputy Commissioner asked the deputy tahsildars to complete the pending verification tasks in gram panchayat and hobli limits as the process of legalising the already-registered homestays took time over manpower shortage in the Tourism Department. The district administration resolved to get them evaluated by the revenue authorities.

The list of approved homestays was made available on the website of Kodagu district administration https://kodagu.nic.in

Homestays should have a maximum of five rooms and a minimum of two rooms with attached bathroom, ample parking, CCTV surveillance,and ample space for the guests to move around and the property owner should reside on the same premises . The NoC from the jurisdictional GP and the police are a must for approval. The licence has to be renewed once in five years.

“I rejected permission to a homestay as it lacked parking space. The district administration wants to ensure safety of guests and put details of all legally permitted homestays online for visitors’ information,” the assistant director said.

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