TGAN urges MoCTCA to ensure jobs for trekking guides
KATHMANDU, JUNE 14
The Trekking Guide Association of Nepal (TGAN) has urged the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to ensure jobs for those trekking guides who have become jobless due to the lockdown imposed in the country to prevent the spread of COVID-19. Submitting a letter to the ministry on Friday, TGAN has informed MoCTCA that around 22,000 trekking guides and 35,000 trekking workers are in trouble at the moment.
“We have informed MoCTCA regarding the current situation of trekking workers and also tabled our demands with a few suggestions too,” said Sharki Sherpa, general secretary of TGAN. As per him, TGAN has requested the ministry to mobilise workers in other alternative works like cleaning, maintaining and marking trekking trails, national parks, conservation areas and base camps.
“The only difference will be earlier we had been doing these works for free but this time we are seeking payment,” Sherpa said, adding, “Meanwhile the government should arrange loans for workers for their survival till they get back to work.”
The association has also urged the government to arrange skill-based training for trekking guides till the industry gets back to normal. “Guides are free right now and the industry is unlikely to resume anytime soon so the government can provide skillbased training to guides by taking advantage of this time by embracing safety measures,” he added.
As the seasonal workers are in more trouble due to the lockdown TGAN has also asked for unemployment allowance for their survival. “Instead of workers staying idle it would be better for both the workers and tourism sector to mobilise workers in maintaining our resources,” Sherpa said. “The government should take immediate action instead of taking decisions only.”
Earlier, Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai had announced the government would mobilise tourism workers in other areas, however no such step has been taken yet.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on June 15, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.