Click cop: Hotel Le Lac in Ranchi. Picture by Hardeep Singh
From January 1, 2014, the state will ask Jharkhand hotels and lodges to submit daily occupancy reports and guest profiles on a specific website, a move that promises to effectively address security concerns in the wake of increasing reports of inter-state terror networks.
Initiated by state commercial taxes department, one of the portfolios of minister Rajendra Prasad Singh, other stakeholders of the ambitious e-roster project are the IT department, hotel associations and police.
Once operational, it will gradually cover the ambit of licenced hotels and lodges to keep tabs on suspicious movements to combat the well-oiled logistics of terrorists and operatives of organised crime.
Currently, hotels and lodges file manual occupancy reports with thanas concerned, but it is a tedious process. Also, reports are irregular and not fail-proof on security or tax collection concerns.
D.R. Das, joint commissioner of state commercial taxes department, told The Telegraph they were eyeing a debut on January 1, 2014, and had started issuing directives to hotels and lodges about it.
The real challenge now is to bring together the fragmented hotel industry in Jharkhand under one umbrella.
“This is an ambitious job, but we are working on a war footing for the online registration scheme to debut on January 1,” Das said.
Under the proposed scheme, which will use a Tata Consultancy Services software, each hotel will get a unique ID and password.
The hotel personnel in charge of maintaining the roster at each hotel, will go to www.jharkhandcomtax.gov.in and click on links “railtel” and “minor acts” and punch its ID and password.
Then, the hotel will give details such as number and type of rooms; rates of each; sharing type (single, double or any other); occupant’s details such as name, permanent address, phone number, type of ID card the guest has shown at the time of check-in and duration of stay, among others.
In due course, online details will be linked with a centralised police control room.
On their part, bigger hotels have CCTV cameras, metal detectors and so on, but smaller ones don’t. Online registration, if it is able to penetrate big and small hotels alike, will become by far the most comprehensive security system for the hospitality industry.
Security apart, it will make it tougher for hoteliers to wriggle out of paying tax.
“We held meetings with representatives of state hoteliers’ associations. We hope this works out well,” Das said.