Bhaktapur opens six tourist centers to engage workers in cleaning and beautification worksWorks are underway in the ancient city to attract tourists after the pandemic is over.
Bhaktapur Municipality on Thursday opened its six tourist service centers after nearly four months of closure due to the coronavirus lockdown.
Although the tourist flow in the area has yet to resume, the municipality has opened the tourist service centres in order to keep its staff engaged.
“We have assigned our staff in repainting, cleaning and weed removing tasks. They don’t have to stay idle,” said Bhaktapur Mayor Sunil Prajapati.
Tourist arrival in Bhaktapur dropped ever since the government enforced a nationwide lockdown on March 24.
The municipal office has 14 tourist service centres that employ 49 people. Eight of these service centres are still closed.
The municipal office has also been deploying 20 cleaning staff to remove weeds and pick garbage from Durbar Square, Taumadhi Square and Dattatreya. Works are also underway to pave inner alleys of the tourist centre.
Mayor Prajapati said nearly 2.5km stretch from Bharbacho to Chamashingh, 200 metre stretch from Ram Mandir to Bulucha, and over 150 metre stretch from Dhoka Phalcha to Barahi Mandir were stone-paved during the lockdown.
“There is no garbage problem in the area because we have not received visitors in months. So our work is focused on removing overgrown weeds,” said Kancha Gota, 52, one of the cleaning staff.
Gautam Lasiwa, head of the centre, said the workers have been put to the tasks of cleaning, beautification, coronavirus quarantine centre management and raising awareness against the disease.
Till the date Bhaktapur District has seen 44 positive Covid-19 cases; 24 people are currently kept in quarantine.
“The pandemic has greatly impacted the lifestyle and daily income of people in Bhaktapur, as many of them are dependent on tourism,” said Lasiwa.
Lasiwa added that the municipality was doing its best to welcome more tourists once the pandemic is over.
In the fiscal year 2019/20, Bhaktapur had generated Rs 270 million in revenue from tourism. In the fiscal year 2020/21, the municipality generated only Rs 170 million.
“Since the nationwide lockdown started, the income from tourism has hit dipped,” said Lasiwa. “But we are working towards making the city more attractive and appealing for tourists after the pandemic is over,” said Lasiwa.