Uttarakhand government to convert abandoned school buildings in homestays to boost tourism

The proposal aims to utilise abandoned schools on way to the revered shrines and the trek routes as homestay facilities. 

Published: 24th January 2020 09:43 PM  |   Last Updated: 24th January 2020 09:43 PM   |  A+A-

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat

Uttarakhand CM Trivendra Singh Rawat (File Photo | PTI)

By Express News Service

DEHRADUN: In an attempt to boost tourism, the Uttarakhand government has proposed to develop abandoned school buildings on the Char Dham Yatra and trekking routes into homestay facilities. 

The proposal aims to utilise abandoned schools on way to the revered shrines and the trek routes as homestay facilities. 

Satpal Maharaj, the state tourism minister said, "Schools which are not in use can be converted into homestays which are affordable as well as comfortable. Plans are being drafted to implement the project." 

The minister said that plans are being laid out to equip the roofs of buildings to be gutter with solar panels.

The department will also be providing a total of 662 computers, two each at 331 schools of the state government on Char Dham route. 

In 2017, Uttarakhand High Court recommended to “provide basic infrastructure in the existing schools instead of promoting/ mushrooming of new schools without adequate infrastructure/wherewithal”. 

In the same year, observing that bad infrastructure and a dearth of good quality education in schools were the primary reasons for migration from the hills, the Uttarakhand High Court refused to relax the restraint it imposed on the state government a day before on the purchase of luxury goods like air conditioners and cars for officials. 

“Due to inadequate infrastructure in government-run schools, parents in interior parts of the state have a tendency to send their children in public schools in cities and towns. Inadequate educational facilities have also led to migration. In case we are able to provide required infrastructure at the grass-root level, the issue of migration can be adequately addressed,” the court said.

Peeved over non-implementation of its order to provide basic facilities in all government schools of the state, the court on Thursday had barred the hill state’s government from buying things like vehicles, air conditioners and furniture "till further order".

On a petition by the government, the court has now, however, said “need-based” products such as water purifiers, "taking into consideration the summer season", could be considered.

But that, too, came with a rider.

"Officials will have to take permission from the chief secretary of the state before purchasing the necessary items," the court said. 

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