Shimla, October 1
The inordinate delay in renewal of licences of Bed & Breakfast (BnB) and homestays in the state has been affecting their work adversely. According to the Bed and Breakfast Association of Shimla, the licence renewals have been pending for the past over two years. The renewal and issuance of new licences is undertaken by the Union Ministry of Tourism.
Members of the Bed and Breakfast Association have expressed resentment over the inordinate delay in the renewal of licences. There are over 800 BnB and homestays in Shimla district alone.
Vikash Sharma, a senior executive member of the Bed and Breakfast Association, said, “After 2021, licence renewals of the BnB and homestays have been pending and as a result our work is getting affected adversely. Some of the owners have stopped doing work for fear of being harassed or penalised. There are legal formalities that we need to fulfil before allowing tourists coming from abroad to stay but without a licence, we cannot do so. Moreover, of late there have been instances when penalty was imposed on few homestay owners without the renewed licence.”
“We have sent several representations to the Central tourism department but to no avail. We have met Chief Minister Sukhvinder Singh Sukhu also and brought the matter to his notice. He has assured that the issue would be resolved soon. Our business is getting affected adversely, but we are helpless,” he said.
On the one hand, governments make tall claims of tourism promotions, on the other hand, the ground reality tells a different tale altogether, said members of the association.
GM Wani, president, Bed & Breakfast and Homestays Association, Shimla, said, “Apart from resolving the issue of renewal of licences, the state government should not charge commercial rates for basic utilities such as water, electricity and garbage fee from homestays and BnB units.”
“There is an urgent need for streamlining the licence renewal process to ensure minimal disruption to BnB operations. Our association has decided to actively engage with relevant authorities to expedite the renewal procedures and visit Delhi if need arises to meet the authorities concerned. It has been observed that the commercial rates had a significant impact on the financial viability of BnB establishments. The association decided to work closely with the authorities to ensure the interests of BnB owners are duly considered,” Wani said.
Don’t charge commercial rates
Apart from resolving the issue of renewal of licences, the state government should not charge commercial rates for basic utilities such as water, electricity and garbage fee from homestays and BnB units. — GM Wani, president, bed & breakfast and homestays association, Shimla
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