Ramesh Khatiwada/Republica A file photo of Jiri market, Dolakha.
DOLAKHA, Oct 29: Jiri, one of the favorite travel destinations among domestic and international tourists, is working to woo them further. Fulfilling the promises made during the election, the local representatives are taking initiatives to revamp tourism related infrastructures in Jiri. As part of the initiatives, its marketplaces are in the process of being improved. Roads and footpaths are being widened. Drainages and electricity poles are being well managed. The innovations are done as part of the local government plan for which it had allocated budget under several headings aimed at giving facelift to the town.
"Everything is being done step by step. We have a strategy, and we are following it," said Mayor of Jiri Municipality, Tanka Prasad Jirel. "Budget has been allocated for all the projects, soon Jiri will be a new place with far better infrastructures," he added.
According to Jirel, improving the look of market is on high priority as it gives the first impression to the tourists. On the first day, tourists generally stay in the market and then they move to other areas. "So, you cannot ignore the management and beauty of the market. The Jiri market is our pride," he said.
In coordination with locals, the municipality has carried out cleanliness and management campaign with the slogan, 'better market, better business'. And the activeness exhibited by the businessperson reflects that the slogan is working.
"It is the policy of the local government to develop Jiri as top tourist destination. It has allocated required budget for fulfilling this goal. The only challenge for us is to stick to the project guidelines and deadlines," Jirel said.
Along with renovating existing tourist facilities, the municipality has plans to develop a new lake and six parks in the town. Officials believe that these additions will attract tourists and prolong their stay in the town.
"We have accessed and selected open spaces within the municipality for developing these parks. Similarly, we are also surveying space for constructing a new lake. The lake will be huge and we expect it to attract tourists," said Jirel. "Our goal is to develop the town without affecting the existing ecological balance," he added.
Jiri Municipality is developing several parks, an artificial lake, hiking and trekking routes, and promoting private sector to invest in developing hospitality infrastructures to attract and retain tourists.
Similarly, the municipality has also mapped out trekking and hiking routes and is working on managing them. This is supposed to woo more tourists. According to Jirel, if tourists could be attracted for trekking and hiking, it will help in extending their stay and give greater returns to the local. "Hiking and trekking can help further boost the local economy, so we are focused on developing new routes and renovating existing trekking and hiking routes," he said.
According to the plan, the lake will be one and half kilometers in diameter and will be made with water from four rivers. "We consulted experts and engineers for designing the lake. The main purpose for developing the lake is for attracting tourists. And the second purpose is to conserve the rivers. As such, locals are very excited with the plan," said Jirel.
He further added that the rivers flowing through Jiri market will be encircled by erecting embankment for making the developing lake. The embankments will be 60 meters deep. This is also expected to help in generating electricity.
"As per the report, we can generate 2.4 mega watt of electricity from the lake if the embankments are developed as recommended in the report," said Jirel. The lake is being designed in Kune. A powerhouse will be developed at the bottom of the lake and the lake will be in the vicinity of Jiri airport.
"The lake will face towards the airport, but it will not affect the airport in any way. This is going to enhance scenic beauty also," he said. Along with that, the lake will be also used for fish farming, boating and other purposes. Resorts and hotels will be developed in the vicinity of the lake.
"Overall, the lake will give a different feel to tourists. It will have resorts around its perimeter. They can stay for days enjoying the unique landscapes and atmosphere," Jirel explained. "We have seen a huge prospect from this lake and we are speeding up its development," he added.
Tourism entrepreneurs have already contacted the municipality for businesses. They want to invest sooner than later. "Everyone can sense that the lake is going to do wonders here. It has very good business prospects. But what we all must be careful about is to keep the natural beauty and freshness intact," Jirel said. "As of now, we are designing restaurants that align with Swiss restaurant designs. Once these infrastructures are development, it will be a new place," he added.
On Friday, the municipality had held a brief meeting to discuss the progress of the project with planning officers of the province - 3. "We have been trying to make it everyone's project. We want everyone's support and contribution. This is our pride project and we are taking every measure to make it successful," he remarked.