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13 Feb 2017

Homestay plan takes wing - Bengal Govt to give Rs 5-lakh loan

ANSHUMAN PHADIKAR, TT, Tamluk, Feb. 12: The Bengal government has decided to introduce homestays for tourists in the beach towns of Digha, Mandarmani and Tajpur.
The East Midnapore rural development cell has identified 30 families in Mandarmani who would host tourists in the first phase.
Officials said each of the 30 families had been given a month's training in hospitality management and taught a variety of cuisines.
"The 30 families have been given a soft loan of Rs 5 lakh each. The money would be used to refurbish portions of the houses to make them suitable for tourists from the cities. Modern day amenities will be installed too," said Moloy Roy, the project director of district rural development cell.
Of the Rs 5 lakh being given as loan, the government will subsidise Rs 1.5 lakh.
Prasanta Adhikari, the additional district magistrate in charge of tourism, said the decision to introduce the homestays was part of a plan to develop Digha, Mandarmani and Tajpur as modern tourist destinations.
Sources said the administration planned to develop around 100 homestays along the 30km stretch between Mandarmani and Digha.
"We will construct good roads for easy access to the homestays. We will also help the homestay owners buy vehicles under the Gatidhara scheme. The homestays will generate employment for the local people," an official said.
The government is yet to decide on the tariff and other expenses tourists will have to incur. The money earned will go entirely to the homestay owners.
Anita Das, who is transforming her house into a homestay, said: "My husband's income from fishing in the sea was meagre. I worked in a self-help group that makes puffed rice. But with the administration's help, I have decided to turn a portion of my house into a homestay. This will help me earn more."
Tania Basu, a Calcutta resident who often visits the beach resorts in weekends, said: "The homestays will give us a new experience of living in a rural atmosphere."

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