Staff Reporter

This has been a longstanding demand

Permit will enable easy movement between States

‘Number of such permits should be agreed upon’

BANGALORE: Karnataka is open to the idea of a southern permit for tourist taxis on lines of the national permit, a longstanding demand of the travel and tourism industry, Transport Secretary M.K. Shankarlinge Gowda said here on Saturday.

If the other southern states — Tamil Nadu, Kerala and Andhra Pradesh — agree to issue such a permit for a specified number of tourist taxis, Karnataka will accept such a proposal, Mr. Gowda told The Hindu on the sidelines of the 25th annual convention of the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO). “We will convince the Chief Minister to have this proposal included in the next budget itself if other States agree to it,” he added.

“The Tourism Department should decide the number of vehicles for which such permits can be issued after reaching an inter-State agreement,” Mr. Gowda said. The permit would enable easy movement of vehicles between the States, and that would also help in the development of tourism. He, however, clarified that the permit could be considered only for taxis, not buses.

Earlier, participating in a discussion on “Synergies - Southern Circuits”, Kerala Tourism Secretary V. Venu said that transportation between the States had become very expensive, and a workable solution was needed.

‘Poor facilities’

Though Karnataka has much to offer, facilities for tourists are minimal, Governor H.R. Bhardwaj, who delivered the valedictory address, said. “Karnataka has a very good countryside, but we do not find many roadside facilities. During a trip to Sringeri, I could not get a cup of coffee though I travelled through coffee estates. More attention should be given to having wayside amenities at a reasonable distance,” he said.