Tourist pressure in the border area

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November 30, 2020 : Despite the increase in tourist pressure in the attractive border area of ​​Falot, Nepal has not been able to reap any benefits. Tourist pressure is increasing in Falot, a Nepal-India border area in Panchthar.

India has built roads on its side where vehicles can operate in the border area, while Nepal has extended roads from different areas to the border. Hundreds of tourists have started arriving in the Falot area daily due to road access. Despite the significant pressure of tourists, Nepal has not been able to take any advantage as there is no structure to generate income. The Indian side is reaping the direct benefits.

There are important tourist areas in the Nepal-India border area including Falot, Charrate, Bhaise, Gorkhepani, Tin Simana, Toriphule and Chivabhanjyang. According to Shyam Thamsuhang of Phalelung-4, hundreds of domestic tourists visit the border area daily.
Tourists from different parts of India, Bhutan and Bangladesh also come to the border area. The Falot area at an altitude of 2,500 meters to 3,600 meters is very attractive in terms of entertainment, which has led to a significant presence of tourists.

Though there are places to see and enjoy the mountains in Nepal, there are more tourists due to easy road access from India and India is the one to collect the revenue, said Thamsuhang. According to Amrit Bahadur Rai of Phalelung-4, there is no restriction on Nepali and foreign tourists traveling through Nepal to India on foot.

Rai is of the view that he has taken the policy of increasing the income by making it easier for tourists to travel even after getting basic facilities from India. The locals demand the construction of well-organized roads, view points and hill stations to benefit the tourists. Chandralal Nepal, who is active in the tourism development of the region, says that the pressure of tourists has increased here as the mountains of Nepal, Sikkim (India) and Bhutan can be seen from the Fallot area.

From here, you can see the highest peak, Mount Everest, Lachelachen in Sikkim and the mountains of Bhutan. It is said that the pressure of tourists has increased as sunrise, sunset and hilly terrain can be seen from here.

He is of the view that it is unfortunate that Nepal is not in a position to take advantage of such an important place. “He is taking full advantage of the infrastructure on the Indian side. After the lockdown, the pressure of tourists from the surrounding areas has increased exponentially, ‘said Nepal.

However, efforts have been made to build a shelter to benefit Nepal as well. Nepal, who is also the secretary of the Kanchenjunga Phalelung Tourism Development Center, said that the construction of cowsheds has been started with the investment of all three levels of government with the objective of constructing cowsheds in Charrate, Gorkhepani, three borders and other areas.

So far, there are no hotels or lodges in Nepal. India has built homestays in some places. Tourists are getting service from these houses. According to Bidhiman Sawden, Ward Chairman of Phalelung-4, which has a large border area, Nepal has extended the road to the border after the construction of the local level. Before that, there was only a road to the settlement. About 15 kilometers of road track has been opened with the investment of all three levels of government.

With the establishment of four Border Outposts (BOPs) of the Armed Police Force in Nepal, the construction of physical infrastructure is now expected to be a priority of the government, said Ward Chairman Savden. “Even though the border area is important for the promotion of tourism, it has not been able to attract a large number of tourists due to lack of security guarantees,” he said.

The local people’s representatives had raised investment in road construction with the aim of developing the three border areas, Gorkhepani and Charrate as a checkpoint. Ward Chairman Savden said that it was difficult to develop the border area as a border point as Sinhala is a national protected area on the Indian side. He said that the import and export of goods has become easier after the construction of the road.

Chairman of Phalelung Village Municipality Sanch Kumar Kerung is hopeful that the federal and state governments will pay more attention to the construction of tourism infrastructure with the establishment of BOP. “We also expect increased investment in the tourism sector in the border areas to facilitate the security personnel living in the BOP,” he said.

Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Basant Kumar Nemwang, who inaugurated the BOP in Falot, said that the structure would be constructed in such a way that Nepal could earn income. For this, the federal government has put forward the concept of construction of Kechana-Kanchenjunga road.

Survey work has started from Kechankawal in Jhapa for construction of two lane road from the border area. Minister Nemwang said that construction of Phidim-Falot road, Jorpokhari-Memeng Falot and Henwa corridor has been started to bring tourists to Falot. He said that the aim was to pave the way for blacktop in a few years and surpass India in tourism development.

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