Tourists take a stroll on a vehicle-free street in Lakeside of Pokhara in this photo taken couple of weeks ago. Photo: Republica
POKHARA, June 19: The no-vehicle zone policy that was introduced in Lakeside, Pokhara, has been removed. The government’s decision to designate the area as a vehicle free zone was subject to much criticism. The government altered its decision to disallow vehicles operate in Lakeside on Friday and Saturday evenings since last week.
The area had been announced as a no-vehicle zone with collaborative efforts of Ward 6 of Pokhara-Lekhnath Metropolitan City, local police, tourism entrepreneurs, and other concerned authorities.
However, there were some entrepreneurs who were not satisfied with the idea of restricting vehicles in the region twice a week in the evenings.
“We had introduced the no-vehicle policy around three months ago. Anspeaking with concerned authority, we have decided that the policy will be removed,” Ward Chair Jagat Pahari Pahari said. “There were a few entrepreneurs resisting the no-vehicle zone, so were obliged to remove it.”
According to Pahari, entrepreneurs complained that implementation of the no-vehicle zone made it hard for tourists to commute, hampered the sales of local vendors and caused losses among entrepreneurs. He added: “We had initially planned the no-vehicle policy to allow tourists to travel on foot and get involved in local activities. However, as we were not able to implement it, the no-vehicle policy did not make any sense.”
“We wanted the lakeside to be a quiet place at least twice a week. This would especially help the tourism entrepreneurs. However, they themselves seem to be against the no-vehicle policy,” Bhim Parajuli, chief of Community Police Service Center, told Republica.
Kedar Nath Sharma, president of Pokhara Tourism Council (PTC) told Republica that the government did not seem to be well prepared to implement the no-vehicle policy. Sharma stated that parking has been a major problem for the area. “With the implementation of the no-vehicle zone, the public are facing parking problem. And the main reason behind this is lack of proper planning from the government,” He added. “The government has failed to allocate two parking lots that it had promised.”
“Although the step was a very productive move by the government for the country’s tourism industry, we had to take back the decision, unfortunately,” Sharma added.