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Organic veggies boom in Himachal
Shimla, Mar 22 (IANS):
Published on 23 Mar. 2010 12:07 AM IST
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Guests at two top hotels run by Himachal Pradesh Tourism can soon savour fresh, organically-cultivated vegetables on the menu. What’s more, these will be grown in kitchen gardens on the premises, making for good business.
“We are developing kitchen gardens at Chail Palace hotel at Chail and Hotel Pinewood at Barog to grow vegetables and other off-seasonal crops. For this, special polyhouses would be constructed there,” Himachal Pradesh Tourism Development Corporation (HPTDC) managing director Subhashish Panda told IANS. “Our aim in setting up the kitchen gardens is to serve fresh vegetables on the platter. These would be raised through organic methods. This is the new mantra among the health conscious.
“Of course, there is also economics behind this. The in-house cultivation would enable more profits,” he said. The HPTDC has 57 economy and high-end hotels across the state with 1,070 rooms having a 2,320 bed capacity. It is also running 60 restaurants and cafes. Panda said if the experiment is successful in these hotels, it would be replicated in other complexes too.
Chief Minister Prem Kumar Dhumal, who also holds the tourism portfolio, said the setting up of polyhouses in the hotels would also help popularise the concept of modern greenhouses among the tourists.
The National Bank for Agriculture and Rural Development (NABARD) has sanctioned a loan of Rs.353 crore to the state under which polyhouses would be set up at subsidised rates to promote off-season farming.
“Since the launch of the polyhouse scheme, a large number of farmers have adopted it. When a tourist sees its functioning during the visit to the hotel, he or she would try to replicate this practice in his or her area too and even motivate others to follow it,” Dhumal said.
“The concept of developing polyhouses would be implemented in other state-run hotels and restaurants too where there is provision for surplus land. This would not only help judicious use of natural resources like land and water but also generate employment opportunities,” he added.
He said even the cultivation of flowers could be promoted in the polyhouses being developed in the hotels.
“The cultivation of flowers in the polyhouses would also meet the requirement of the hotels, especially during wedding and other festive seasons,” he said, adding that “even the surplus flowers could be marketed. It can be a good source of income generation”. The HPTDC has earned a net profit of Rs.4 crore up to February this year and it aims to target its net profit at Rs.8.5 crore in the next fiscal.
The state, whose economy is highly dependent on tourism, attracted 11,437,155 tourists, including 400,583 foreigners, last year. This year, 917,807 people have visited Himachal Pradesh till Feb 28.

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