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Police Action To Sanitise Lalbagh Hotels For Tourists
October 27, 2011
Police Action To Sanitise Lalbagh Hotels For Tourists


27 October 2011

Asim pramanik, BEHRAMPORE:

The district police are hoping that visitors to Lalbagh will feel a lot safer following a series of raids in hotels at the historical site, which is frequented by tourists. The major aim of the police action is to keep the hotels clean and safe for visitors.

The clean-up drive followed a number of allegations that Lalbagh hotels have become havens for human traffickers operating flesh trade rackets in league with local hoteliers. According to the police, many of the victims of the sex trade found in raids over the past few days were teenage girls manipulated by racketeers who had taken advantage of the girls’ poverty-stricken state.

Mr Mrinal Majumdar, additional superintendent of police (ASP) in Lalbagh, said that a warning has been issued to all the hotels in the town, telling them to make sure that they carry out of the necessary document checks so that undesirable elements can't use the hotels.

Most of the big hotels in Lalbagh do not have sarai licenses, which are issued by the district magistrate (DM) to hotels and hostels, the ASP said. Honest customers, including tourists, face harassment by hotel employees who do not display food or boarding rates, leading to complications, the ASP said. He added that the hotel raids would be intensified in the run-up to December, the month marking the beginning of the peak tourist season.

Lalbagh Bazaar Samiti officials said that the police has directed hotel owners to submit each visitor's information to the local police station within 24 hours of check-in by the customer. Mr Ranjit Sinha, a local resident in the hotel business, said that following repeated raids by the police, customers have to produce their essential documents: voters’ ID cards, PAN cards, or passports. Strict adherence to these formalities has affected their business, a number of hoteliers said, but the increased tourist flow in the next few months should help them to make up any losses.

A human rights activist, Mr Anwar Pasha, said that the Lalbagh hotels had become sex hubs. If the police succeed in cleaning up the hotels, tourists will feel safe, he said.