Mandi: Manali Meadows HomeStay has been handed a five star green rating under a Himachal scheme for promoting eco-friendly tourism.
Presiding over the function, chief minister Jai Ram Thakur said, the objective of the green rating scheme was to encourage hotels to adopt environment-friendly and energy-conservation methods.
Hotels were rated on the basis of low water usage through measures such as the use of rainwater harvesting, low-flow toilets, and showers. It also took into account energy conservation measures such as the use of LED lights and renewable energy sources like solar power.
Though voluntary and not binding on the hotel industry, the idea is a brainchild of the Himachal Pradesh Pollution Control Board (HPPCB). It is expected to go a long way in inspiring hoteliers to go in for energy and water conservation in the ecologically sensitive state.
Prevalent worldwide, the HPPCB has prepared a draft plan to introduce the concept in a big way.
Speaking on occasion Prabodh Saxena, Additional Chief Secretary, Environment said that an outlay would be prepared wherein measures would be listed to create greater awareness towards protecting the environment with steps such as conserving energy and having more greenery on hotel premises.
Saxena added that green rating of friendly hotels would be undertaken after assessing whether a hotel is integrated into the environment without damaging it. Besides, the weightage will be given to the hotels, which help in the sustainable growth of tourism and contribute to the progress of the local community.
Himachal has more than 10,000 hotels, HomeStays and guesthouses, though the count of properties registered with the state Tourism Department stands is only 6,063. It is mandatory for hotels to seek consent from the state Environment Department before they start operations.
Himachal being a hill state, the introduction of the green concept will go a long way in creating sensitivity towards the environment.
Sanjay Dutta, an engineer by qualification but is a journalist by choice.
He has worked for the premier new agency Press Trust of India and leading English daily Indian Express.
With more than a decade of experience, he has been highlighting issues related to environment, tourism and other aspects affecting mountain ecology.
Sanjay Dutta lives in a village close to Manali in Kullu valley of Himachal.