Mamata government allots cash aid for Kalimpong homestays
The Mamata Banerjee government, which has been putting impetus on the tourism sector that provides employment to around 10 lakh people in north Bengal, has sanctioned funds to assist over 300 homestay accommodations in Kalimpong district.
Though the government is offering the aid to all 480 registered homestays in north Bengal, the sanction of funds for Kalimpong is significant as this hilly district alone has 328 such accommodations, the highest in the region.
Most homestays draw tourists on a regular basis, especially since last year’s pandemic outbreak, as many people are choosing standalone properties in isolated locations instead of hotels in crowded places.
R. Vimala, district magistrate of Kalimpong, said the state government is paying Rs 1.5 lakh to each homestay registered with the state tourism department to develop its infrastructure.
“The aid is being paid in three installments. As of now, we have 328 registered homestays in Kalimpong and all will receive the second installment. A sum of Rs 1.64 crore has been sanctioned for this purpose,” she said.
Across north Bengal, 480 homestays are registered with the state tourism department.
Jyoti Ghosh, a joint director of the department in Siliguri, said Darjeeling district had 124 homestays registered with them while the rest were from the Dooars. “We receive fresh applications for registration regularly. Homestays have opened a new avenue of income. To encourage the sector, the state has come up with a policy to provide financial aid to homestays. In Darjeeling and the Dooars, many homestays have received first and second installments,” said Ghosh.