Wednesday, January 13, 2010

No licence yet for city’s guesthouses

The Commonwealth Games are a little over eight months away but guesthouses meant to accommodate tourists are far from ready. The Capital is already short of 30,000 rooms.

Of the 1,400 guesthouse owners who applied for licences, 80 per cent have not been issued one, as admitted by the civic body on Wednesday in its standing committee meeting.

Guesthouses that came up in the city after February 2007 were not being issued licences. But the government had recently given directions to issue ad-hoc licences to them on yearly basis, keeping in mind the upcoming Commonwealth Games.

Despite this matter being taken up numerous times in the MCD's standing committee, nothing has been done so far.

“The Games are just round the corner and if licences are not issued in time, how will these owners renovate their places and make necessary arrangements? The executive wing needs to speed up the matter as licences are mandatory to run guesthouses,” said Ram Kishan Singhal, chairman of the MCD’s standing committee.

The MCD commissioner has admitted to the delay and assured that the “matter will be looked into”.

“We are going to boycott the Games as none of our demands have been met. We wanted regular licences but the civic agency is bent upon giving ad-hoc ones. This is not fair as once the Games are over, they can cancel the licence,” said Arun Gupta, general secretary of Delhi Hotel Sangh.

The guesthouse owners had also requested the government to release funds to upgrade their guesthouses.

“Not a single rupee has been given to us till date. Without financial help, how will we entertain the guests,” added Gupta.

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