April 25 , 2016
Trekking Agencies' Association of Nepal (TAAN) recently organized an interaction with local staekholders in Dhunche of Rasuwa to address problems that it has been facing in operation of Dhunche TIMS Checkpost.
In the interaction chaired by Taranath Lamichhane 'Dinesh', the coordinator of TIMS Department, local stakeholders said problems have arisen because of the failure to effectively inform trekkers the main objectives of Trekkers' Information Management System (TIMS).
"Tourits used to complain us of double taxation as they had to pay national park permit fee and TIMS fee from the same counter. TAAN should take necessary initiative so that trekkers understand what TIMS is and why the fee is being collected," Chief Conservation Officer of Langtang National Park Hari Bhadra Acharya said.
Before the earthquake of April 2015, counters of Langtang National Park and TIMS were in the same building. But after the earthquake, national park officials have not allowed staffers of TIMS check post to work from the building. Because of this, TAAN has been facing problem in maintaining database of trekkers visiting Langtang region.
Similarly, Local District Officer of Rasuwa Rajendra Dev Pandey, lamented that revenue generated from TIMS is not spent in affected areas. "Millions of rupees reach to the account of NTB and TAAN from this area. TIMS will be sustianable only if there is an arrangement of repariating certain share of TIMS revenue to Langtang Region," he added.
Speaking at the program, Santosh Ghale of Langtang Conservation Concern Society (LACCos) urged TAAN to help in garbage management in Langtang Region and provide hosptiality training to the locals. "We are not against TIMS. But it would be of no significance if affected area does not get any benefit from it," he added.
Similarly, Chief of Rasuwa Police Abadesh Bista said his office couldn't get any data of trekkers after the earthquake of April 2015. "Officials of different embassies called us to get database of trekkers travelling in the Langtang Region during the earthquake. But we couldn't provide them anything," Bista said, adding, "TIMS will be a failure, if TAAN failed to provide data of trekkers when needed."
Likewise, Kedarnath Sharma, joint secretary of Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation, said TAAN will face difficulty in implementation of TIMS if it failed to take locals of affected areas into confidence.
Speaking at the program, Chief District Officer of Rasuwa Krishna Prasad Adhikari requested TAAN to disseminate information about TIMS and its objectives so that trekkers understand the purpose behind implementing it. "As the main objective of TAAN is to maintain database of trekkers, TAAN's focus should be on it. TAAN should also take initiatives for maintenanace and upgradation of trekking trails," he added.
Lawmaker Chhewang Tenzen Tamang argued that locals of Langtang were not getting any benefit from TIMS. Tamang said it was hight time TAAN and NTB released some share of TIMS fund to Rasuwa and added that we must ensure trekkers on safety. "Though Langtang Region has opened for trekking after the earthquakes of 2015, it is still difficult for FITs. I will request the tourism minister to bar FITs in Langtang at least for some time," Tamang added.
Thanking all for their participation in the interaction, TIMS Department Coordinator Lamichhane said TAAN would study the suggestions and implement them graduallly. "We have been facing problem as Langtang National Park Office is not allowing our staffrers to work in the Dhunche check post like in the past. I request all concerned to take needful initiative so that our staffers can perform their duties at the checkpost," he added.
TAAN's TIMS Department In-Charge Pradip Karki, Media Consultant Bishnu Bhattarai and Operations Officer Devendra Dangol were present in the interaction.