The Telegraph
Friday , October 5 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Plans for tourists in Puja season
- Help desks, brochures and camps to ensure hassle-free festival

Siliguri, Oct. 4: The state government and tourism stake holders have come up with a plan for holiday makers who will visit the region during the Pujas so that they can have a hassle-free trip.

“We are expecting a huge rush during the Durga Puja season (this time) and we have an array of plans for the tourists,” north Bengal development minister Gautam Deb said.

Help desks would be set up at important transit points like New Jalpaiguri station and Bagdogra airport. “There are tourists who come without making any arrangements beforehand. They can approach the help desks where necessary information on accommodation, transport and suggestions on itineraries would be provided,” said Deb.

The helpdesks would be manned by the Eastern Himalaya Travel and Tour Operators’ Association and government officials.

“This time, we are opening medical camps to cater for tourists in case they fall ill. These camps will be equipped with ambulances and first aid. Paramedics would also be posted there,” said the minister.

Officials said over five lakh tourists had visited the region during the summer season this year and there were allegations that some transporters and hoteliers had overcharged them.

“We want to stop such malpractices. Transport rates and hotel names with tariff would be mentioned in a brochure. If a tourist notices discrepancy, he can call up the helpline. Dedicated officers will attend the calls,” Deb said. He added: “If a taxi driver or hotel owner is found overcharging, steps would be taken. There can be imposition of fines, filing of cases under motor vehicles act and other acts related to hotels, cancellations of driving licences, restriction on running the vehicle or the hotel during tourist season.”

Police stations will act as information centres. “Tourists can go to the police stations if they need guidance on destinations and routes,” said a stakeholder.

“Buses would depart for different tourist destinations in the hills and the plains at regular intervals,” said Deb, who is also the North Bengal State Transport Corporation chairman. “Regarding the hills, we would request the GTA representatives to make similar arrangements for tourists.”