The Telegraph
Thursday , December 20 , 2012
Since 1st March, 1999
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Eatery facelift plan falls flat

- Owners blame red tape for flop show

Patna, Dec. 19: The tourism department’s wish to give roadside dhabas a “decent makeover” by giving them Rs 5 lakh has taken a beating with owners of few eateries showing interest for the grant, citing red tape.

The project was floated in May. In the past eight months, only 13 dhaba owners have expressed interest in the plan.

The tourism department had promised Rs 5 lakh grant to each dhaba owner upon signing an agreement. The project was aimed at improving the tourist inflow to the state.

Following a lukewarm response to the plan, the department officials, along with an architect, are doing the rounds of the dhabas on the Patna-Gaya and Hajipur-Muzaffarpur stretches to make their owners aware of the scheme.

Tourism minister Sunil Kumar said the 13 approvals, too, took a lot of perusal before the owners understood what the plan was.

“When the department announced the plan, most of them (dhaba owners) didn’t understand the scheme. Hence, there were very few takers. Now, to make them understand the advantages of the proposal, we are sending two department officials and an architect at each of the eateries located on the Patna-Gaya and Hajipur-Muzaffarpur stretches. The officials would knock the door of every eatery and convince its owners. We are expecting more people to accept the proposal,” the minister told The Telegraph.

Once an agreement is sealed, the department would ask the owner to make certain changes in the ambience of the dhaba.

The dhaba owners, meanwhile, are looking at the government scheme with disbelief.

“We doubt the government’s plan of providing grants. Grants take a lot of time to get cleared because most of the time they are caught in red tape. I am also not completely aware of the scheme,” said Dhananjay Kumar, the owner of a dhaba at Hajipur.