Chandigarh scraps its bed and breakfast scheme


Chandigarh : The bed and breakfast (B&B) scheme that was launched here last year for tourists has beem scrapped after its operators allegedly misused it and violated rules.

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The contracts of all the 25 homes registered under this scheme have been cancelled. The Chandigarh administration is now looking for a overhaul of the scheme and is aiming to re-launch the scheme next year.

Chandigarh Home-cum-Tourism Secretary Ram Niwas told IANS: “The B&B scheme was launched to facilitate tourism in the city but it lost its true purpose mid-way, as people took it as a money-making business. They converted their premises into mini-hotels, started advertising on the internet and were charging exorbitant amounts.

“Now we have got a nod from the higher authorities to scrap the scheme and we have intimated all the 25 operators about it. We had launched this scheme on the lines of European countries but it failed to deliver the desired results,” Niwas added.

The B&B scheme was initiated here with much fanfare in September last year to give a boost to tourism, but it ran into rough weather in August this year. Following complaints, an nquiry was ordered Aug 5 to probe anomalies in the scheme. The inquiry report alleged gross violation of rules by landlords registered under the project.

“Operators had violated various bylaws as they were accommodating 25-30 guests in their homes. They were also accommodating them in basements and cars would be parked in the streets that had become a regular nuisance for neighbours,” Niwas said.

Twenty-five families were registered under the scheme which aimed to offer a home-like ambience to tourists at a reasonable cost.

The landlords had been allowed to offer a maximum of five rooms and charge Rs.700 a day for a room designated ‘silver’ and Rs.900 for a room designated ‘gold’, including breakfast.

“We will hold a meeting with officials of the estate office and review everything that went wrong. We are not in a mood to rush and will make stringent laws after analysing every aspect of the matter and soon relaunch it,” Niwas added.

However, the landlords complained that the administration had taken this step under the influence of hotel owners. To protest the administration’s move of conducting an inquiry, nearly 10 property owners had willingly separated themselves from this scheme.

Gulshan Lal Bhatia, one of the landlords registered under the B&B scheme, told IANS: “The administration has acted in very irresponsible and unprofessional manner. They have succumbed to the pressure of a few hoteliers of Chandigarh.

“We all are well-established and belong to reputed families. We do not need to follow any unscrupulous ways to earn money. It is really discouraging that the administration has treated us like hardcore criminals in this case.”