Visitors flock to Kupinde lake as it reopens after Covid-19 closureThe local government plans to build new infrastructure to attract more tourists in the future.
Kupinde lake, a popular tourist destination in Salyan district, was recently opened to the public after six months of closure due to the Covid-19 pandemic. The lake, which is situated in Ward No. 8 of Bangadkupinde Municipality, has been receiving an increasing number of tourists since its reopening but it lacks the infrastructure to accommodate them.
According to Chet Bahadur Kabar, chairman of the lake conservation committee, around 200 tourists from across the country visit the lake on a daily basis.
“The lake area is turning into a popular picnic spot among domestic tourists who come to the lake to enjoy the surroundings and take a boat ride,” said Kabar. “Weekends see more visitors.”
Earlier, there used to be two boats in operation in the lake. But with the surge in the number of tourists to the area, the number was increased to 23. Boat operators say they are happy with the rise in tourist numbers, as they have managed to earn extra income.
“We charge Rs 100 per person as boat fare and we make upto Rs 1,000 a day,” said Tilak Gosain, one of the boat operators in the lake. “People also come here to make pooja offerings in Baraha Temple, which lies near the lake.”
However, despite the increase in tourist numbers, the concerned stakeholders are not doing much to conserve the lake area, local residents say.
Kul Bahadur Puri, the chairman of Bangadkupinde Municipality Ward No. 8, said the local unit plans to develop the present infrastructure and build new ones but lacks the budget for it.
“We plan to construct a view tower, ring road and other amenities, including hotels and restaurants, in the lake area. But our plans are on hold due to budget shortage,” he said.
In the last fiscal year, Karnali provincial government had allocated Rs 5 million to run homestays near the lake area but the budget froze since the project failed to take off according to plan, says Puri.
The growing number of visitors to the area also means the tourist spot is burdened with additional garbage generation, which the local unit is having a hard time managing.
The municipality Mayor Govinda Pun says the authorities are planning to conserve the lake area but no such plans are afoot yet.