Mysuru: For tourists who have to travel in buses to visit historic places tucked away in the hinterland of the state, it is often a nightmarish experience with the food stale and unhygienic to say the least and the toilets, if there are any, too dirty for anyone to dare to venture into them. There is finally some hope for these tourists with Tourism Minister Mr Sa Ra Mahesh telling Deccan Chronicle that the government is planning to come up with toilets on every 50 km of highway and are also identifying an agency to maintain them, besides setting up hotels to be run by the KSTDC to provide hygienic food to tourists.
That this step has not come a day too early is evident from the plight of a 35-year-old female tourist who suffered a stomach upset while travelling in a bus at around 1 am. She had to bear with the pain as there was not a single toilet on the highway. Finally the bus reached a bus station but the toilet there was locked much to her dismay. She had to go through another agonising wait of one more hour until the driver found a hotel and obtained the key of the toilet which was locked.
There are many like her who find it extremely difficult to find good food and clean toilets on highways besides safe drinking water.. “We have heard a lot about the government’s intent o provide basic infrastructure like 3-star hotel standard toilets at tourism spots but it is yet to become a reality. Atleast 25 percent of hotels do not maintain hygiene despite awareness programmes,” Mysore hotel owners association head Mr Narayangowda admits. “In the past, we never carried any water on trips, now we have to carry it or have to completely rely on bottled water,” complains another tourist.
“Water provided in some hotels for mass consumption is not sterilised. Also in some hotels, due to mass washing and inadequate cleaning of cooking utensils, undried plates can lead to bacterial infections. Not all food can be boiled like chutneys and salads. So these issues are likely to cause bacterial, viral and parasitic infections which might lead to abdominal cramps, nausea, diarrhoea and even typhoid and jaundice,” says noted gastroenterologist, Dr Rajkumar P Wadhwa.
Hotel Owners association head Mr Narayangowda said, “We keep creating awareness on the need to keep hotel kitchens hygienic, to provide fresh hot food and hot water, not to use oil beyond a day but 25 per cent of hotel owners still don’t follow the norms. In Mysuru alone, though we have 580 hotels registered with our association, at least 400 hotels and over 3,000 fast food units are not registered. The government has set up the Food Craft Institute in the Karnataka Exhibition Authority premises, to provide training to hoteliers on hygiene and other aspects. Four acres of land too has been allotted at Adjana village in Mysuru district for the cause. And there is a government order that there have to be toilets in all hotels, which is yet to be implemented by many,” he said.
MCC Health officer Dr Ramachandra said, “We conduct atleast 300 raids per month in Mysuru alone, yet some don’t pay attention to hygiene. Besides government authorities, consumers too must question hotel owners and demand hot water and hygienic facilities.”...