EDITORIAL: Pokhara masterplan

A master plan should be in place which would build the required infrastructure enabling Pokhara to attract more tourists

Pokhara is a very popular destination for tourists. This metropolis, the biggest in the country, could be transformed into a major tourism hub. To realize this potential much could be done. Tourism entrepreneurs of Pokhara have asked the newly elected mayor of the municipality to make Pokhara a thriving destination for tourists by, among other things, developing the famed lakeside area. Looking ahead, a master plan should be in place which would build the required infrastructure enabling Pokhara to attract more tourists, which is possible. Meanwhile, to  develop Pokhara as a must-visit tourism destination all the necessary amenities should be in place for tourists according to international standards.

The lakeside area in Pokhara is now a popular site for the tourists. It is not only popular among foreign tourists but also domestic tourists. Care must be taken to protect this area and to also add to the greenery. Sadly, the Phewa Lake famous for its scenic beauty is now in peril because of the encroachment on its land. The lake is gradually shrinking and becoming smaller due to heavy deposit of sediment, pollution and also the uncontrolled growth of water hyacinths and other such weeds. Therefore, all efforts should be made to reduce pollution and sanitation in the lake which also offers boating for the tourists.  The authorities must act to halt the encroachment of the land here which is taking place in a haphazard manner. It is not only the famed Phewa Lake that is being threatened but also other beautiful lakes like Begnas and Rupa lakes. If timely actions are not taken, then these lakes would be no more.

Meanwhile, the mayor of Pokhara metropolitan city has been asked by the tourism entrepreneurs to hasten the construction of the proposed regional international airport in Pokhara. This would help in the promotion of tourism in Pokhara and many tourists could be diverted from the Kathmandu Valley as they could come directly to Pokhara. This would  help in the inflow of tourists and also manage the congestion in the capital city. There is also a dire need for a fully-equipped bus park in Pokhara to facilitate visiting tourists. This could be done as mooted by having a provision to entrust a tourism entrepreneur’s body to look after the proper management of the bus park. In the endeavour to make Pokhara more popular among tourists a programme was hosted recently by the Pokhara Tourism Council to felicitate the new mayor and other office bearers of the metropolis. Suggestions received during this interaction also included the blacktopping of the roads in the city apart from dealing with pollution and sanitation. If these measures and initiatives are taken soon, there is much scope for promoting Pokhara further as a prized destination for tourists. As tourism is a major industry of the country we could do well in investing on tourism for it would bring in rich dividends and also provide employment for many, that too at the grass-roots level. There should be no further delay in doing the needful, and the recently elected local level officials would have a crucial role to play in making these programmes a success.

Build toilets

The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has issued a circular to all local levels to make the Open Defecation Free campaign a success in their localities. The government has launched this campaign with a view to making all settlements even in rural areas free from open defecation, which is the major cause of water-borne diseases, typhoid, diarrhea and dysentery. Many children and elderly people die due to consumption of unhygienic and contaminated water and poor sanitation. Building public toilets is a major indication of civilization.

The ministry has asked all the municipalities to build public toilets at convenient places, densely populated areas and in areas where a large number of people visit there for various purposes. Whatever the public toilets there are in urban areas they are also sub-standard and not in good condition to relieve the call of nature. It is desirable to allocate enough resources to build public washrooms and drinking water taps so that public places can be kept clean and free from human defecation. All municipalities must drive a campaign educating people about the importance of using toilets to keep their localities safe from all kinds of communicable diseases.