National River Festival, 2009 to be held

KATHMANDU: With a view to promoting internal and external tourism and to pressurising the government to resume rafting in the Lower Kaligandaki, a private body, in association with local bodies in Syangja district, is organising the 2nd National River Festival and Kaligandaki River Rafting Festival, 2009.

Organising a press meet in the capital today, Main Organising Committee chairman Dr Buddhiman Shrestha argued that the internationally acclaimed Lower Kaligandaki was the safest river for adventure tourism. “The river has a huge potential for promoting tourism in the country, but we are yet to benefit from it due to the dearth of adequate resources and institutional planning and programmes,” he said.

He also appealed to all to cooperate for a maximum utilisation of the potential. Kaligandaki A Hydro-electricity Project has dampened the cultural, historical and religious significance of the river. “The project has badly affected the tourism sector and conservation efforts of the locals,” Dr Shrestha alleged.

The three-day festival beginning October 29 is expected to see more than three million visitors. The festival, sponsored by Nepal Tourism Board, will be organised by District Tourism Development Committee Syangja and Kuwakot, Chapakot and Ratnapur VDCs.

Various entertainment programmes, cultural shows and rafting will be organised during the festival. Suman Ghimire, an NTB official, said the festival would help attract more foreign tourists during the Tourism Year, 2011. Vice chairperson of National Planning Commission Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada will inaugurate the function.