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TAAN gives suggestions on redefinition of remote areas

April 06 , 2015

TAAN gives suggestions on redefinition of remote areas

The government has formed a high-level taskforce for redefining remote areas.

The High-Level Taskforce on Study and Recommendations of Remote Areas under the Remote Areas Development Committee, in association with Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) and Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), on Sunday organized a daylong workshop with lawmakers as well as local development officers of 22 remote districts along with representatives of TAAN and NMA to seek inputs from them for redefining remote areas.

The committee has altogether 70 lawmakers representing 22 'remote' districts as members.

The taskforce is redefining remote areas based on indicators like infrastructure development, population and social development, organizational structure and development modality. Group discussions were held on thematic papers of each indicator and inputs were collected from stakeholders accordingly. The taskforce will include the inputs in its report.

Inaugurating the workshop, Deputy PM and Minister for Federal Affairs and Local Development Prakash Man Singh said earlier remote areas were declared due to geographical factors. "Now we will redefine remote areas based on a set of indicators. As we have representatives from all 'remote' 22 districts participating in this workshop, it will be easier for us to work out a new definition of remote areas," he said.

Lawmaker Bal Bahadur KC, who is the chairman of the high-level taskforce, said the taskforce will incorporate outcomes of the workshop in its market.

On the occasion, TAAN President Ramesh Prasad Dhamala made a presentation on TAAN, its objectives and activities. "If TAAN and NMA, who are working in the development of adventure tourism in remote districts, are included in the policy-making process for socio-economic development of remote areas from the very beginning, we would like to express our commitment to join hands with the government agencies for any programs and activities to be organized in remote areas in the coming days," he said. Welcoming the government initiation to develop and promote Great Himalaya Trail (GHT), President Dhamala said the government should ease budget releasing process to boost tourism in GHT areas.

He also said tourism is the only sector that can bring about rapid socio-economic change in remote areas. "Tourism development in controlled areas, all of which lie in remote areas, is not taking pace as expected because of complex administrative procedures. TAAN requests the government to lift 'controlled area' tag from those areas," he added.

In his presentation, President Dhamala talked about different activities like new routes exploration, infrastructure development, skill enhancement trainings, and clean-up and sanitation programs organized in remote districts.

Similarly, Ang Tshering Sherpa, president of NMA, said expansion of tourism activities in remote districts can make significant contribution in socio-economic development in those areas. Saying that more than 500,000 foreign tourists, who visit the country, enjoy adventure tourism activities in remote districts, he hoped that tourism development in remote areas will gain momentum after Peak Profile Preparation Sub-Committee submits its report. "Nepal is home to 1,913 mountain peaks which can be climbed. Of them, the government has opened only 414 for mountaineering," Sherpa said.

High ranking government officials, past presidents as well as office-bearers, executive members and members of TAAN and NMA, and media persons were also present in the program.