Budget to construct cycle track around Rara Lake to freezeThe provincial government had allocated Rs 30 million for the 14-km track.
The provincial government’s plan to construct a cycle track around Rara Lake, the country’s largest lake, will not go ahead this year as the budget allocated for the project will be frozen.
The Karnali government had allocated funds for the project last fiscal too, but it was also frozen since work on the project couldn’t be initiated due to delays in permission from the Rara National Park and the forest ministry.
With just two weeks remaining in the current fiscal, the Rs30 million allocated for the project will be frozen this year too.
“The government does not give us enough budget for the development of Rara. When it does, it remains unused due to the negligence of authorities,” said Birkha Bahadur Rokaya, a tourism entrepreneur in Mugu. He further claimed the plan to extend electricity service to Rara is also in limbo.
With an objective to promote tourism, the government in 2018 planned to construct the cycle track. But, division forest office, Mugu, failed to complete the necessary paper work required to kickstart the project two years ago.
Locals say all three governments—federal, provincial and local— have ignored the development of Rara. “Rara lacks basic infrastructures. The government hardly allocates a budget for infrastructure development here,” said Kamal Roka, a local. According to him, tourists visiting Rara are deprived of facilities.
According to the division forest office, a detailed project report for the track has been prepared with a total estimated cost of Rs 420 million. Bharat Bahadur Budha Thapa, chief at the division office, said the project could not be initiated since the federal Ministry of Forest and Environment directed them to not start work at the end of the fiscal year. The prolonged lockdown and the threat of Covid-19 also didn’t help. “The budget will freeze as the ministry instructed us to not to start work now,” said Thapa.