Small Tea Garden Owners Seeking Alternative Income in Homestay – Uttarbanga Sambad
Sunny Govt, Siliguri : The plain wants to walk on the mountain path. Now the Bund Terai-Doors dream of becoming self-reliant in new business through tourism. Small tea estate owners are becoming increasingly interested in developing homestays. More than 30 applications have already been submitted to the tourism department.
Small tea farmers claim that they have to look for alternative business to prevent the price of raw tea leaves from going down. Many people say that due to the increase in the price of fertilizers, the price of tea leaves is not available in proportion to the increase in the cost of production. As a result, tea plantations have to be used to find other ways of earning. But the factual basis says that the loss is just an excuse. Since the government wants to open homestay doors to everyone, almost everyone wants to take advantage. What is the harm if the garden immediately has an alternative income! And the question arises in their interest, then is tourism becoming an alternative to the tea industry? However, an official of the tourism department is reluctant to enter into this question. According to him, many people in plains like mountains want to build homestays using tea gardens. Permission is given only after scrutinizing the necessary land and infrastructure.
The state government has emphasized on tea tourism to create new employment by utilizing the unused land of tea plantations. Large resorts have already been built in several tea gardens. Small tea garden owners want to make their debut in tourism through homestay. Two homestays have already been set up in small tea gardens at Raninagar and Kranti in Jalpaiguri district. Two homestays have also received permission from the tourism department. Due to which several small tea garden owners have become interested in developing homestays in their tea gardens.
According to tourism department sources, 31 applications have been submitted for homestay permission so far. 29 of them belong to Duars. It may be noted that the state government gives one and a half lakh rupees per recognized homestay for the development of infrastructure. There are also concessions on electricity and cooking gas. But recognition is given only to those who have their own land.
By submitting such documents, a section of small tea garden owners want to start a new way of earning by building a homestay in their tea garden. According to Rajat Roy of Mainaguri, now the price of raw tea leaves is Rs 17 to 18 per kg. But in making good leaves, the production cost is about 20 rupees. If the price rises during the first flush, the loss is covered. In such a situation, alternative means of income must be found. So apply for homestay. Krishna Gupta of Malbazar says that the state government wants to spread tourism in various ways. We also want to use the unused land of our tea garden for tourism business.
Jalpaiguri small tea garden owner Vijayagopal Chakraborty has already received government permission to set up a homestay in a small tea garden. According to him, a large part of the tourists want to spend time in the tea garden. But staying at the resort is not possible for everyone due to financial reasons. A small tea garden homestay can become an ideal place for them.