Ministry urged to decide fate of CNP hotels

 

KATHMANDU: The Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources failed to come up with concrete decisions regarding the fate of the seven hotels and resorts inside the Chitwan National Park (CNP). The committee today ordered the Ministry of Forest and Soil Conservation (MoFSC) to take the decision without “violating the present rules and regulations”.

Following the expiry of their contract, the hotels inside the CNP are closed since July 15. Earlier, the Public Account Committee (PAC) had instructed the MoFSC to let the hotels run till 2011 in view of the Tourism Year 2011. But the Parliamentary Committee on Natural Resources ordered the ministry not to implement any instruction given by the PAC as the issue was under its jurisdiction. “We are not violating the rules and I always said that the ministry is the executive body to take decision in this regard,” said Deepak Bohara, Minister for Forest and Soil Conservation.

“We advised the MoFSC not to violate any rules and regulations and give the conservation issues top priority,” said one of the members of parliamentary committee.

The hotels are blamed for the degradation caused to the natural habitat of the wild animals as well as the environment inside the CNP, which the hoteliers are not ready to buy. “Our business depends on the natural beauty and the wildlife of the national park. Hence, there is no question that we do such works that affect the natural beauty of the locale and the natural habitat of the animals here,” said Bharat Basnet, owner of the Gainda Wildlife Camp, a hotel inside the CNP. However minister Bohara did not precisely say as to when the hotels will be resumed or shut down.”It will take some time for discussion and to decide on the matter,” he said. But the MoFSC sources claimed that the ministry was considering to let the hotels resume their business.

With the prolonged debate over the hotels’ fate, the business has gone to dogs. “The four month-long discussions have been futile,” said Yadav Bantawa, general manager of Tiger Tops, another hotel. Even as the future of the hotels is in jeopardy, conservationists have been putting forth their strong view in favour of the closure of the hotels.

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