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Himachal Govt to crack whip on illegal homestays

Cabinet sub-committee constituted to suggest ways to regulate these units

Himachal Govt to crack whip on illegal homestays

Photo for representational purpose only. iStock



Tribune News Service

Pratibha Chauhan

Shimla, June 21

The Himachal Government has decided to crack the whip on unregistered and illegal homestays, especially those being run by influential persons in residential units and built on land purchased for self use by non-Himachalis in relaxation of norms.

The seriousness of the government in checking illegal homestays in the state is evident from the fact that a Cabinet sub-committee has been constituted to look into all aspects of the issue. The illegal homestays, which could be over 3,000 in number, are not only depriving the government of revenue but are also harming the hotel industry.

Making profits, not paying taxes, allege hoteliers

  • Hoteliers associations in Shimla, Kullu, Manali and other popular hill places have repeatedly urged the government to rein in the errant homestays, as they are making huge profits through without paying any taxes.
  • The state government encourages people to start homestays with four rooms in their own residential houses but people invariably violate the guidelines.
  • The state government constituted a Cabinet sub-committee headed by Industries Minister Harshwardhan and 3 other ministers as its members to make recommendations on how to regulate homestays and ensure that no such units function illegally.

There are 4,289 homestays having 17,222 rooms and 26,727 beds registered with the state Tourism Department. The highest number of 1,040 homestays are in Kullu district, followed by 805 in Shimla district and 718 in Lahaul and Spiti. Besides, there are 4,735 hotels and guesthouses in Himachal having 59,793 rooms and 1,31,014 bed capacity.

The hoteliers associations in Shimla, Kullu, Manali, Dharamsala and other popular hill places have repeatedly urged the government to rein in the errant and unregistered homestays.

The state government encourages people to start homestays with four rooms in their own residential houses but people invariably violate the guidelines and have even up to 20 rooms in their units. “Many influential persons, who are not bona fide Himachalis and were granted permission to purchase land for personal residential use in relaxation of Section 118 of the Tenancy and Land Reform Act, are violating the norms,” said an official.

He said, “In most cases, the owners of these properties being run as homestays are not staying there. The state government has framed the Himachal Pradesh Homestay Scheme to take the economic benefits of tourism to interior and rural areas while exempting all such units from Sales and Luxury Taxes, besides charging domestic rates of power and water from them.

The Vidhan Sabha had in December 2023 passed the Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development and Registration (Amendment) Bill 2023. The main objective of the Bill was to ensure that every homestay, functioning either under the state or Central government schemes, was registered and had obtained a licence from the Tourism Department.

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