Kathmandu, August 17
Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has made an offer of alternative jobs for trekking workers in two rural municipalities in the initial phase.
Aiming to provide relief to workers who have remained jobless for a long time due to the COVID-19 pandemic, NTB has started offering alternative jobs from two rural municipalities — Madi Rural Municipality and Annapurna Rural Municipality of Kaski district.
NTB recently sent a proposal letter to both the rural municipalities requesting them to take needful action to execute the project.
As per Dhananjay Regmi, CEO of NTB, the programme is being implemented in collaboration with the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP).
NTB will provide the budget to the rural municipalities to execute the project.
Tony Hagan Trekking Trail of Madi Rural Municipality has been selected for the project under which 100 workers will be deployed for cleaning and renovation of the trekking tail among other arrangements in the trekking trail. NTB has given a deadline of 45 days for the project to be completed.
Similarly, NTB has also selected trekking trails of Annapurna Base Camp area located in Annapurna Rural Municipality. For this project too 100 workers will be selected and the work must be completed in 45 days. The project includes works related to cleaning the trail, renovating and cleaning the drainage system, among other works.
The workers will receive Rs 1,000 per person per day for their work in both the projects.
NTB has handed over the responsibility of selecting workers for this project to the respective local governments.
Due to the COVID-19 pandemic over a million tourism workers have remained jobless and are struggling for their survival. Thus, the government had announced to provide them alternative jobs till the situation normalises. The trekking and climbing guides had been seeking alternative jobs for their survival. Amid this, NTB has taken the initiative of providing alternative jobs. However, social media has been flooded with remarks posted by some trekking guides expressing their dissatisfaction with this initiative.
Man Raj Gurung, a member of the Sustainable Mountain Tourism Network, has stated that the amount offered to the guides is quite less. “Since the trekking guides were struggling to survive this type of project has brought some relief to them. However, Rs 1,000 a day is quite unjustifiable,” he wrote on his Facebook page.
As per the Trekking Guide Association of Nepal, around 22,000 trekking guides and 35,000 trekking workers directly work in this sector and are in trouble at the moment. UNDP has supported NTB with a budget worth Rs 14 million for the job retention programme.
A version of this article appears in e-paper on August 18, 2020, of The Himalayan Times.