Sikkim chief minister P. S. Tamang (Golay) on Monday announced a slew of projects to boost tourism in the state, including a mega project for homestays that is currently being drawn up.
Speaking at the concluding day of the three-day Temi Autumn Carnival in the Temi tea garden in South Sikkim, Golay said the thrust of the homestay project would be totally local so that tourists got the feel of the Himalayan state.
“The mega project could be of Rs 100 crore, maybe Rs 200 crore or even Rs 500 crore,” he said, while hastening to add that the project had not been prepared yet.
Sharing the salient features of the proposed mega project, the chief minister said the homestays would be financed by the state government, but they would be designed according to the traditional houses of the three major communities of the state: Nepali, Bhutia and Lepcha. Besides, the materials used for construction would be sourced locally, and there will be no more than five rooms in each homestay.
Golay said the government henceforth would only register those units with less than five rooms as homestays to discourage hoteliers from towns like Gangtok from usurping the business of village folks by constructing big hotels and promoting them as homestays.
“When staying in homestays, one should get the feel of Sikkim and the Sikkimese people,” he said.
The chief minister said he would be laying the foundation stone of the Rs 150-crore project modelled on the Vrindavan Temple at Dodak village in West Sikkim on November 30.
“We will also be constructing a meditation centre at Nandugaon (South Sikkim) in consultation with Guru Hazur of Heavenly Path organisation (read a religious sect) at an initial cost of Rs 35 crore,” he said.
The two projects are a continuation of the previous Sikkim Democratic Front (SDF) government’s policy of promoting religious tourism by constructing temples and statues of religious figures.
Apart from the Hindu temple Char Dham at Namchi in South Sikkim, the Pawan Chamling-headed government had also constructed giant statues of Buddhist deities, including Buddha at Ravangla and Guru Padmasambhava at Namchi, both in South Sikkim, and Chenrezig at Pelling in West Sikkim.
Golay did not forget to leave out Temi, which is the state’s only tea estate, from the loop of his tourism plan and announced that a leisure resort would be constructed at Sector 17 of the government-owned garden at a cost of Rs 3 crore.
“What will come up here are two swimming pools with jaccuzi pool bar, 10 chalet cottages with viewing decks, integrated restaurant and bar with viewing decks, casino, spa, café and kitchen. Similarly, four tree houses with kid play area with swings, slide and merry-go-round,” he said, reading out from the detailed project report of the project.