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B&B workshop draws a crowd

If numbers are anything to go by, bed-and-breakfast accommodations may become a reality at Jharkhand’s picturesque locations someday soon.

The maiden workshop on the Centre’s ambitious lodging scheme, conducted by the state in partnership with India Tourism under the Union ministry in Ranchi, saw roughly over 60 representatives from the travel and hospitality sectors on Wednesday.

Chairing the programme, state tourism secretary Vishnu Kumar said the B&B scheme was the need of the hour to promote Jharkhand, which is currently battling with myriad infrastructure issues.

“Almost every district has something to offer from the tourism point of view, but they lack facilities, connectivity and resources. Launching the bed-and-breakfast initiative will not just offer tourists a home away from home, but provide employment to local residents. Better tourism will lead to better economy,” he added.

According to J.P. Shaw, the regional director (east) of India Tourism, the reason they are stressing on B&B in this part of the country is the need to bridge gaps. “Compared to the north, east India isn’t fully aware of the convenient bed-and-breakfast system, which was launched by the Government of India a few years ago. For instance, we have 331 B&B registrations from Delhi, 83 from Uttar Pradesh and 57 from Himachal Pradesh. In contrast, only five have enrolled for the scheme from the whole of east India,” Shaw pointed out.

Conceptualised on the lines of PG accommodations, the bed and breakfast offer more professional lodging along with food and privacy.

According to the Union government circular, B&B accommodations are categorised as silver and gold depending on facilities offered. The owner/promoter of any establishment can enrol for the scheme by paying a paltry annual fee of Rs 3,000 and Rs 5,000, respectively.

Criteria for enrolment include residential proof for the said property. One can let out a minimum of one room and a maximum of six rooms (12 beds). They will be free to fix their own tariff for tourists.

Participants at Wednesday’s programme welcomed the scheme, but sought sincere promotion help from the tourism department.

“People want to come to Jharkhand because of its beautiful locations, hills and valleys, river and waterfalls, dams and national parks. But, they worry where to stay. For instance, visitors to Maithon dam from Bengal prefer to stay in Asansol instead of Dhanbad for want of good accommodation, tourist guides etc. In such scenarios, a B&B can be of immense use provided there is government support,” said a representative of Skylark Hotel, Hazaribagh.