Committee for closure of hotels

KATHMANDU: A committee formed under the Parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PPAC) on Saturday suggested the closure of hotels located inside the Chitwan National Park. A decision to this effect was taken today, following intense consultations with the hoteliers, local residents and the environmentalists in Chitwan.

The hotels were on the verge of closure due to pressure from local residents, conservationists and the environmentalists. Acting on the plea of the hoteliers, a committee was formed under the PPAC to decide the fate of the hotels. ‘’The Committee today returned to Kathmandu after a five-day-long field visit, suggesting the closure of the hotels,’’ said Narayan Dahal, the coordinator of the Committee.

Dahal said that the Committee left no stone unturned to consult every stakeholders in Chitwan and the nearby district of Nawalparasi to arrive at such a decision. “We held parleys with the stakeholders and 98 % suggested that the hotels within the conservation zone be closed down immediately,” he added.

However, a hotelier, Bharat Basnet, who owns Gainda Wildlife Camp, a hotel inside CNP area, was clearly upset by the decision. “The voice of local is not an adequate tool to take such a deicison, the government should re-think.” Basnet was also present during the intense consultations.

Basnet also doubted that the government has the will and necessary resources at its disposal to convert the hotel area into a playground within a certain timeframe, as demanded by the locals.

Only two per cent of the stakeholders or the respondents were in favour of giving more time for the hoteliers to relocate their business, rest (98 pc) were vehemently opposed to the idea, said Coordinator Dahal. He added “We will not be biased and submit our report to the PAC on time and its for the main committee to finally take a decission.

The committee was given the time period of 15 days to conduct the study. The committee is scheduled to submit the report to the PAC on 25 August.The hotels were ordered to close from 15, July 2009 as the duration of agreement came to a close but the hotel association and tourism industry-related enterprises are insisting on the government to uphold the tourism industry in the country as Nepal is slated to observe the Tourism Year 2011.

“Can anyone guess the aftermath of the closure of the tourism industry, when former Tourism Minister Hisila Yami had decided to celebrate 2011 as Tourism Year?” Basnet retorted.