Homestay becomes a mainstay of Saud villagers in Uttarakhand

Officials from the state tourism department claim that various schemes have been launched by the state government to promote homestays in the hilly areas.

Published: 27th March 2022 08:55 PM  |   Last Updated: 27th March 2022 09:13 PM   |  A+A-

A view of Saud village in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand.

Express News Service

DEHRADUN: Saud village in Uttarkashi district of Uttarakhand has become an example of entrepreneurship and self-employment with 60 out of 85 families in the village converting their homes into eco-friendly, sustainable homestays checking migration, generating employment and revenue to sustain themselves. 

The location of the scenic village at around 10000 feet altitude adjacent to Govind Wildlife Sanctuary and famous Kedar Kantha trek is conducive to homestays with thousands of tourists arriving every year. 

Officials from the state tourism department claim that various schemes have been launched by the state government to promote homestays in the hilly areas.

Rahul Chaube, district tourism officer, Uttarakashi district said, "The village has become a model for homestay which has been possible by the enterprising people as well as government help and financial assistance under schemes like Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Yojana. We are working towards encouraging many other village pockets to emulate this model."

The state government had launched 'Veer Chandra Singh Garhwali Yojana' in 2002 to support people who want to start any kind of tourism business under which a subsidy of up to Rs 15 lakh is provided. 

The scheme proved beneficial and checked migration of at least 10,000 people in the hill state since its inception in the year 2002. 

Chain Singh Rawat, a resident of the village who is amongst pioneers of homestay in the area said, "Homestays can become the spine of the village tourism in Uttarakhand. Our state is blessed with an abundance of natural treasure- mountains, rivers, forests and wildlife. Ghost villages can become hotspots of tourism eco-friendly and sustainable tourism activity."

Kedarkantha area is one of the most beautiful areas of Uttarakhand near Kedarkantha mountain peak. 

"We all know Auli but this place was not well known. I thought this can a good destination for those like adventure tourism, trekking and related activities. The number of tourists touched 95000 last year," added Rawat.

The income of the families has also registered an increase in manifolds and migration is almost nil said the local residents.

Jagmohan Pokhriyal, a local resident said, "Due to consistent efforts and help from the government, the income has gone up 2-3 times in last few years generating employment and bringing down the migration from the area."

Migration has been an issue in the hill state which has enormous potential for adventure and other kinds of tourism.

An RTI reply in January 2021 revealed that 73072 people migrated from the district in the last 10 years.  The query filed by Hemant Gaunia, an activist based in Haldwani of Nainital district also revealed that from 6338 village panchayats total 1,18, 961 have migrated out of Uttarakhand permanently which means not to return ever while 3,83,726 have migrated in search of work and better life who keep visiting their native places in the hill state. 

According to the Uttarakhand State Migration Commission, set up by former Chief Minister Trivendra Singh Rawat in the year 2017, which released its survey report in the year 2018, stated that between 2007-2017 a total of 1,18,981 people from 3,946-gram panchayats in the state migrated permanently, and 3,83,726 people from 6,338-gram panchayats shifted temporarily in search of work and to find a better life for themselves and their families. An estimated 1702 villages in the state have become totally depopulated becoming 'Ghost Villages'. A total of 565 villages have lost more than half of their population to migration. However, a trend of coming back home was also registered in over 850 villages across the state.

India Matters


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