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Hygiene and sanitation rating system for the hospitality sector yet to take off

Tourists at the snow-covered Mall Road after a fresh snowfall, in Manali. Representational
| Photo Credit: PTI

A government-initiated rating system for the hospitality sector which aims to ensure world-class hygiene and sanitation in hotels, resorts and homestays has become a non-starter with no State opting for it as of now.

Barring a pilot project in Jammu and Kashmir, there has been no response from States despite the Union Tourism Ministry sending three communiques so far, the last one being in the first week of February, sources said.

The ranking scheme–Swachhata Green Leaf Rating–was launched in November last year by the Union Tourism Ministry in collaboration with the Department of Drinking Water and Sanitation.

As part of the initiative, the State teams of Swachh Bharat Mission-Gramin (rural) and the tourism department will organise workshops on the concept, process and desired outcomes for the stakeholders.

‘Adopt good practices’

Owners and operators of the lodging services are encouraged to adopt good practices for improved and safe sanitation facilities, faecal sludge management, segregation of solid waste at sources and promotion of alternatives to single-use plastic.

According to the concept paper of the scheme, it is proposed to launch the ‘Swacchta Green Leaf Rating’ system in all hospitality facilities of the country with or without restaurants. The target groups are hotels, lodges, homestays, ‘Dharamshalas’ and camps which have portable toilets. The rating will be based on compliance with the safe sanitation practices outlined in the guidelines.

The objective is to prevent pollution in water bodies and keep the environment clean.

“We envision this rating system which is sought to be achieved through public participation to voluntarily engage the hospitality sector and contribute to cleaner and more sustainable tourism practices in India,” according to the vision statement of the document.

A senior official of the Tourism Ministry told The Hindu that the government was exploring possibilities of incentivising the scheme at some point to encourage participation.

The official said that efforts would be made to focus on rural areas, where hospitality units such as homestays, bed and breakfasts, small restaurants, and tea shops are made aware and they are helped with low-cost technologies, which get the needful done.

A three-tiered committee system has been proposed for implementation, beginning with a Verification Sub-Committee formed by the Sub-Divisional Magistrate (SDM) for the on-ground verification, followed by a District Committee, which the District Collector will chair and then a State-level committee, headed by the Chief Secretary of the State.

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