By P.T. Bopanna
Will the proactive deputy commissioner of Kodagu P.I. Sreevidya (in picture) bite the bullet this time and clamp down on the illegal homestays operating in Coorg?
The Karnataka government which has given several deadlines in the past, has once again asked homestay owners to register before August 2, 2018.
Tourism Minister S.R. Mahesh has given a deadline of August 2 for all homestays in Kodagu to register, failing which he has warned of action.
It is said only around 400 out of the 4,000 homestays operating in the district are found to be legal, with the rest being illegal.
The minister noted that some homestays are operating resorts in the name of homestays to avoid payment of taxes. “Many of these owners run a chain of such properties, in clear violation of the guidelines,” he added.
Two years ago, the government had brought guidelines to regulate homestays in the state. The guidelines include the owner of the homestay must own the land where the business is being operated. And a maximum of five rooms in the homestay only can be provided for tourist accommodation.
It is no secret that nefarious activities thrive in the illegal homestays, including flesh trade and gambling. In the recent years, touts have become real nuisance for tourists visiting Kodagu as they pressure the visitors to stay at a particular homestay.
Even the district SP was not spared and his car was stopped in the night by the homestay brokers.
The image of Kodagu has taken a beating in the recent years because of the goings on in the illegal homestays. Will the district administration act before Kodagu goes the way of Goa?