To create a safe environment for tourists, the Rajasthan government has passed an amendment bill in the state assembly that makes misbehaviour with tourists a cognizable offence.
A new Section 27-A has been introduced and passed as the Rajasthan Tourism Trade (Facilitation and Regulation) Amendment Bill, 2021. The offence, as cognized in sub-section 3 of section 13 is bailable. However, if repeated, it will become non-bailable according to sub-section 4 of section 13.
Although lakhs of tourists, both domestic and foreign, visit the state every year, they are often accosted by touts, illegal vendors, and other undesirable elements.
The secretary of Rajasthan Association of Tour Operators, Sanjay Kaushik told PTI that the touts, locally called lapkas, falsely pose as guides and mislead the tourists. To get a commission, the lapkas force the tourists to shop and extort money from them. The tourists are harassed and disturbed to no end, and the image of the entire industry is tarnished. Kaushik welcomed the amendment and said that this kind of strict action was needed to make the tourists feel safe.
Similar sentiments were echoed by Sunita Sharma, executive member of the Tourist Federation of India.
Govind Singh Dotasra, Minister of State for Tourism, said that under initial legislation, brought in 2010, the state government had set up police stations in Jaipur and Udaipur, and in 2016, some cases were filed against touts. However, when the accused went to the High Court, the FIR was quashed in January 2017 as the Act did not specifically say if the offence was cognizable. Hence the Act had to be amended.
With inputs from PTI