Chitwan hotels owe govt Rs 15.6 million

CHITWAN: Hotels situated inside the Chitwan National Park (CNP), which are lying closed due to the dispute over renewing their contracts, owe the govewrnment Rs 15.6 million.

Of the seven hotels there, four have to pay revenue and conservation fee. The remaining three have already made payment under both heads. CNP officials said, Machan Wildlife Camp and Gaida Wildlife Camp have to pay both revenue and conservation fee while Chitwan Jungle Lodge and Tiger Camp have to pay conversation fee. These have, however, paid revenue. Temple Tiger, Island Jungle Resort and Narayani Safari have paid revenue and conservation fee, said CNP chief conservation officer Narendra Man Pradhan.

CNP records show the four hotels have to pay Rs 15,580,727. Gaida Wildlife Camp has to deposit the highest amount of revenue and conservation fee. The hotel has to pay Rs 3,954,449 in conservation fee and Rs 4,650,000 in revenue.

CNP records show that Machan Wildlife Camp has to pay Rs 2,807,000 in revenue and Rs 400,000 in conservation fee. Similarly, Tiger Camp has to cough up Rs 3,311,000 in conservation fee and Chitwan Jungle Lodge Rs 4,68,000. Most of the hotels paid revenue and conservation fee only between mid-May and mid-June.

When asked why they are not paying the revenue and conservation fee, hotel operators said that it was not their fault. "We have signed the agreement with the government to pay the amount under both heads in instalments," said Gaida Wildlife Camp manager Prakash Neupane.

Since 1993, the hotels have been operating inside the CNP after signing an agreement to operate for 16 years.

Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) has urged the government to renew their contracts. It said the hotels are closed since July 16 after the contract span expired.

Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industry also urged for renewal of the contract saying foreign investment would be hurt, if the government continues to violate the clauses mentioned in the contract.

The hotels were generating revenue worth Rs 300 million and contributing to employment generation for about 3,000 people.