Kathmandu, July 3
Nepal Tourism Board has put a temporary halt on processes and preparations related to hosting of the International Indian Film Academy Awards in Nepal, following the Parliamentary International Relations Committee’s directive.
NTB Chief Executive Officer Deepak Raj Joshi said negotiations with the IIFA organiser, Wizcraft International Entertainment, and other preparations remained halted for now.
Joshi said NTB will wait for a decision from the Cabinet and the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation regarding the proposed IIFA event even as Minister of Communications and Information Technology and the government’s Spokesperson Gokul Baskota said on Thursday that the award function would be held in August last week.
The NTB is one of the co-organisers of the event, along with Kathmandu Metropolitan City.
The Parliamentary International Relations Committee had yesterday directed the government to immediately halt all work related to organising the event saying the ministry and the NTB could not furnish convincing arguments as to why the event was being organised in Nepal.
The panel had said in its decision that the draft agreement to be signed between the government and IIFA organiser Wizcraft was against national interest, and the government’s financial liability stipulated in the draft was inappropriately and unnaturally high, given the country’s economic status.
As per the draft agreement, the government is to pay Wizcraft a sum of $4 million, in addition to providing venues accommodating 4,000 guests and other necessary infrastructure, all costs for which shall be borne by the government.
Terms of the draft agreement state that the government shall provide accommodation facilities in hotels agreed and selected by Wizcraft, and costs relating to all hospitality and food and beverage associated shall be borne by the government.
The government shall also provide all air travel for the IIFA contingent and crew to travel to Nepal via commercial and/or chartered flights. All first- and business-class air travel will be done by chartered aircraft within the duration of the IIFA weekend. All costs of the air tickets shall be borne by the government of Nepal.
The government had argued that hosting the event would help promote Visit Nepal Year 2020, as the awards ceremony would have audiences from across the globe, with participants having massive following globally.
But the government decision to host IIFA Awards has met with severe criticism from all quarters, including lawmakers from both the ruling and opposition parties, the general public and members of the Nepali film industry. Senior leaders of the ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) are also among those who are against Nepal hosting the awards ceremony.
A version of this article appears in print on July 04, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.