‘Govt ready to partner with private sector’

Kathmandu, December 15

Timely completion of Chandragiri Cable Car project despite numerous setbacks has challenged the government and bureaucracy, as per Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal.

Addressing the opening ceremony of Chandragiri Hills, PM Dahal said the project is a proof of the fact that anything can be accomplished if one has the vision, the will and the necessary resources.

“There are hundreds of locations that could be developed into tourist destinations and Chandragiri project has shown the capability of private sector,” he said, adding the government was ready to partner with the private sector to take the country towards higher growth trajectory.

Located seven kilometres from Thankot, Chandragiri hills lies on the South-West of Kathmandu Valley and is at an attitude of 2,551 metres above sea level. Breathtaking view of the Himalayan range along with the entire Kathmandu Valley makes for a truly picturesque and pristine experience.

Stating the main objective of the project was to promote tourism, Ambika Prasad Paudel, director of Hathway Investment Nepal, informed that Chandragiri hills that used to have around 1,000 annual visitors has had a footfall of 225,000 in last four months since cable car was brought into operation. “We have collected revenue of Rs 140 million and paid 13 per cent value added tax to the government,” he added, stressing private sector could help in achieving ambitious Vision 2020 to boost annual tourist arrivals to two million if the government introduces one-window policy.

Other speakers at the programme, including Rajesh Kazi Shrestha, president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce, and Bhawani Rana, officiating president of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry, underscored the need for government to introduce investment-friendly policies and join hands with the private sector for the overall development of the country.

Similarly, Minister for Population and Environment Jaydev Joshi, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation Shankar Bhandari and Minister for General Administration Keshav Kumar Budhathoki commended the stakeholders of Chandragiri Hills for timely completion of the project despite various challenges and expressed hope that the project would serve as an inspiration for everyone in terms of immense possibilities that remain untapped in Nepal.

Minister Bhandari said he hoped the project developers would abide by the environmental rules and fulfil all obligations in terms of job creation and tourism promotion while ensuring minimal impact to the environment.

Hem Raj Dhakal, director of IME Group, informed that the concept of Chandragiri Hills was conceived 12 years ago after visiting the Genting Highlands — a high-altitude hill resort in Malaysia. Developed since the 1960s, the site comprises hotels, a shopping mall, restaurants and the Casino de Genting. Its Chin Swee Caves Temple sits on forested acreage with mountain views. Genting Skyway, a cable car, connects the resort with the plateau town Gohtong Jaya.

Stating Chandragiri hills hold both historical and cultural significance, Dhakal assured that the project developers were committed to developing an eco-friendly tourism destination that could generate job opportunities for the locals.

Min Bahadur Gurung, director of Bhatbhateni Group, urged the political parties to put their personal differences aside and work together for the betterment of the country. “There are plenty of opportunities within Nepal, all we need is to change our vision.”