Geeta Kumari Gurung is the chairperson of Ichhakamana Rural Municipality in Chitwan district who has already passed three years of her official tenure. Recently, Gurung talked to Highlights Tourism and shared some of the facts about the tourism prospects of the Ichhakamana rural municipality which are presented below:
Ichhakamana is the only rural municipality of the Chitwan district. This rural municipality of Chitwan comprises seven wards and a total population of 28000 people. This landscape is a confluence of various ethnic communities, languages, cultures, and religions with the remoteness of its geography.
The Ichhakamana temple is one of the attractions of this rural municipality. Jalbire Waterfall of Ichhakamana where more than 2000 visitors both domestic and foreigners come here for canoying. The municipality has paid attention to the management of public toilets, road topping leading to the waterfall which has helped tourists visit this spot regularly. The road link and accessibility from Fisling, Muglind can lead you to Ichhakamana temple and cascading waterfall.
According to Gurung as many as 500 to 2000 visitors enter this rural municipality daily. “We are also focusing on making homestays to attract tourists. Our plans for organizing Trishuli river rafting was planned, but was postponed due to covid-19 pandemic,” said Gurung.
“We have focused on the change of peoples’ mentality, infrastructure development, and development of tourism spots. Siraichuli is a famous hill as high as 1900 meters. Upradhan is the old capital of Chitwan. Our rural municipality is working towards rebuilding historic places, lakes, and ponds and do everything to bring more tourists,” added Gurung.
Ichhakamana is a fertile land for agricultural products, which can also attract tourists through agricultural festivals in the pocket areas for oranges, some places for a nursery of plants, some areas for a pocket of a pig farm, goat farm in close coordination and consultation with civic society.
Plan for agricultural tourism
Referring to the plan for agricultural tourism in the area, Gurung said, “We plan to incorporate the youths of foreign returns. We have provided them machinery things for them to engage in the agricultural revolution. We have distributed plants of fruits such as orange to them to sow and grow fruits agriculturally.”
This year we have also thought of a land bank to give some lands on lease to the landless farmers. The interested farmers will be given those lands to do farming of animals and agricultures in pocket areas such as they can grow avocado or dragon fruit too.
We also have initiated a policy to provide Rs 500000 to 1500000 loans without collateral to the youths to do agricultural farming. We think of a change in the mentality of the people.
We have also focused to draw the attention of women to tie up with banks for loan attainment. We are focusing on enhancing the skill and capacity of the Chepang community.
Challenges of being a women leader
I am a women representative in this rural municipality. It was both challenges and opportunities too. I have been able to remove the doubt among the people that a women leader can not do the job well. I have reached everywhere to everyone in times of urgency, whether in the night or day or on a rainy or hot day. I understand that I should fulfill my responsibility to serve the people who voted for me. There are people with the mentality to dominate female leaders. But I have never been discouraged in any circumstances.
In the past, the people had to walk ten hours to fetch water in four rural municipalities. They had suffered a hard life for a long time. The first thing was the road accessibility. I even took ten days to walk across the villages while asking for votes from people. But today we have all the road links everywhere. All houses have tape water to drink.
There is a campus in the village. The teachers who used to toil for mere 6000 rupees now can happily go to the school classroom with a minimum of 10,000 to 12,000 rupees as a monthly salary which has been arranged by this municipality.
We have arranged for the cold storage of vegetables for the sake of farmers. We have encouraged villagers to rear three buffaloes to get a subsidy of Rs 100,000 from the municipality. Every house today has three buffaloes.
There was no electricity in the past, but now most of the villages have got the electricity except ward no 2 for which I have already allocated Rs 68,00000 to the federal government to push the work ahead jointly. But it has been belated, so I wish the government to expedite this work.
People are happy to be connected with road links. Locals have seen the indicators of change now. There are a trauma center and hospital and birthing center and health posts.
To bring tourists from Chitwan Sauraha and Mankamana to Ichhakamana, we have a network of road links to our village. We have passed a road map for trekking and homestays. We are also thinking of making a road map of all possible tourists spot in coordination with the District coordination committee and allow the tourists to taste Chapang foods. We are preparing to make a documentary on this road map.
Promoting domestic tourism
The strategy for promoting domestic tourism is a fearless encounter with the Covid-19 pandemic as brave Gurkha. The people coming and going from the waterfall are on including picnic celebrating people coming to Pradhangadi.
All tourists are welcomed by the rural municipality with the traditional dress, multi-linguistic and cultural aura. We welcome all and expect suggestions to improve our rural municipality infrastructure.
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