DEHRADUN: The Uttarakhand government has embarked on a significant endeavour aimed at rehabilitating border villages through the Vibrant Village Programme, with Jadung in Uttarkashi district being selected as the pioneering location for this initiative. Since 1962, Jadung village has remained uninhabited, following the evacuation of its residents during the India-China dispute.
Speaking to TNIE, Sachin Kurve, Secretary of Tourism for the state, said, "In the initial phase, the Tourism Department will undertake the restoration and enhancement of six homes that are in a dilapidated state, with a plan of promoting them as homestays."
"The unique feature of this project is that the tourism department will oversee the redevelopment of traditional houses into homestays, which will be managed by the villagers themselves," Secretary Kurve said, adding, "The houses will be refurbished according to local architectural styles; locally sourced materials will be used."
Situated at an elevation of approximately 3,800 metres above sea level, Jadung is a picturesque village that has gradually become desolate. However, it is poised to be revitalised through new initiatives.
Secretary Kurve also emphasised that the villagers will be required to manage the homestays for a minimum of 10 years. "The selection of homestay operators will be overseen by the District Administration of Uttarakashi, which will invite applications from the village's original inhabitants through a dedicated committee," added Kurve.
Speaking to TINE, Uttrakhand Minister of Tourism, Satpal Maharaj, said, "The participation of the Uttarakhand Tourism Development Board (UTDB) in this venture will not only promote sustainable tourism practices in the area but also contribute to the preservation of the local environment, culture, and community."
"The recent cabinet decision regarding the rehabilitation of border villages through a unique tourism intervention in Jadung as well as the tourism department's innovative approach to reverse migration has raised expectations about the government's efforts to revive these areas," said Maharaj.
A spokesperson from the tourism department stated, "The operational guidelines for the homestays have been officially approved. Additionally, the tourism department is actively strategizing to offer comprehensive skills and soft skills training to homestay operators. These training sessions will be conducted periodically by the department, and we are committed to providing essential support for the marketing and promotion of these homestays."