February 03 , 2017
Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) has submitted a charter of demands at the Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), Kathmandu, stating clearly that it would announce series of protest programs if it demands are not addressed by February 6.
Issuing a statement, TAAN said that the NTB has not released the former’s share from the TIMS Fund citing a letter issued by the International Relations and Labor Committee of legislature-parliament dated April 1, 2015. Similarly, TAAN has said that it fears misuse of funds in printing and distribution of TIMS cards as the NTB has not informed it yet about the number of TIMS cards printed and distributed so far, the statement added.
“Though firms appointed by the NTB have audited TAAN’s income and expenditure of 2012/13, 2013/14 and 2014/15 and pointed out unaccounted expenditures, the NTB has not taken any initiative of recovering such unaccounted expenditures from individuals and firms concerned. Instead of resolving the issue on the basis of auditing reports, the NTB has done nothing in this direction so far,” TAAN said in the statement.
TAAN has not been able to provide rescue expenses, medicinal expenses and insured amount to trekking support staff, as the NTB has not provided TAAN its share from the TIMS fund for the past three years. “Works to indentify, exploration, development and promotion of trekking trails and support tourism programs in affected areas have also been affected. As a result, TAAN is not in a position to set up TIMS check posts in different trekking areas of the country,” the statement said. “Even though the MoU between the NTB and TAAN signed more than three years ago says that 10 percent from the TIMS Fund will be deposited in Workers Welfare Fund, the working procedure to mobilize the fund is still to be made,” it added.
Expressing dissatisfaction over preparing budget without consulting the private sector, TAAN said that tens of millions of rupees have been set aside in the unproductive sector. “Our requests to allocate budget for reconstruction of quake-damaged trekking trails also fell on deaf ears,” TAAN said.
Saying that TAAN would not be able to pay its check-post staffers, which would lead to closure of check-posts and rescue trekking support staff in case of accidents, if the NTB fails to take the TIMS issue to its logical conclusion, TAAN said that the NTB will have to bear the consequences should such a situation arise. “It will also tarnish the country’s tourism image in the international market,” the statement added.