Tourists look for vehicles in Darjeeling. File picture
Siliguri, Oct. 8: The state government will issue commercial permits to small vehicles owned by government- registered tour operators and hoteliers especially for ferrying tourists in an attempt to provide increased number of cars for visitors.
“The permits would be provided for the whole state, excepting the municipal areas of Siliguri and Asansol,” a government source said.
According to a notification issued by the state government on August 29, the vehicles with All Bengal Contract Carriage Permits would be white in colour with a blue band on either side.
“The state tourism department would issue a hologram for the vehicles. The hologram will have to be displayed on the top left corner of the windscreen,” the notification said.
“Each vehicle will display the words “Tourist Vehicle” on the windscreen in white on a blue band. There has to be illumination so that the letters can be read at night. “For Tourists Only” will be written in a circle of white within blue bands on both sides of the vehicle,” states the notification.
The drivers should wear white uniforms, it adds.
The notification mentions that stakeholders of tourism industry had stressed the need for more vehicles for visitors. “Based on the demand, the state government decided to allow tourism units and tour operators to obtain permits for vehicles owned by them. These vehicles would be provided with all Bengal permits and would be used for only carrying tourists,” a senior government official said over the phone from Calcutta.
“Tour operators and tourism houses applying for permits would have to obtain an approval from the tourism department. Tourism units owning vehicles will have to submit registration certificates,” said an official.
Tour operators who want permits for existing vehicles will have to furnish the date of its registration. “Vehicles registered two years back would be allowed to obtain the permit,” a government source said. “If the vehicle has completed nine years (for motor cabs) and eight years (other than motor cabs). The owner will have to replace it,” the source added.”
In Sikkim such vehicles have a different series of number.
“The decision to issue state-wide permits would help improve facilities,” said Sadhan Roy, general secretary of Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association.
“We regularly hire vehicles from transporters. The permits would be of immense help as we can train the drivers of these vehicles for better services,” said Samrat Sanyal of East Wind Holidays. “The vehicles would be well-maintained as we have to satisfy our clients with quality services.”