Tourist guides in Janakpurdham compelled to quit their jobs

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By Laxmi Chaudhari,Janakpurdham, May 22: Sudarshan Lal Karna, a resident of Janakpurdham Sub-Metropolitan-3 who has been working as a tourist guide for a long time, said that tourist guides were forced to quit their profession in absence of tourism guide management. 

“I have been guiding domestic and foreign tourists for 35 years. I can speak different languages. So, the tourists who were guided by me before look for me when they revisit Janakpurdham,” he said. 

But, other tourist guides of Janakpurdham have been disappearing from this occupation due to the lack of management of tourist guides here, he added. 

Karna said, “I have been guiding tourists from India, Southeast Asia, France, Germany, America, China and Japan. However, the trained tourist guides from Janakpurdham have almost disappeared in the last few years.” 

He said, "Tourists are being deprived of the correct information due to lack of trained guides. They are being guided by auto rickshaw drivers. So, tourists coming to Janakpurham are not getting the correct information. Only a trained and studied person can properly explain or inform about the importance of the historical religious city of Janakpurdham. Tourists have been guided from drivers, rickshaws and auto drivers so tourists are deprived of getting right information. 

“Now, I have reached in 75-years-old. I had spent more than three decades of my life in this occupation. Tourist guides play an important role in guiding tourists, it is necessary to mobilise trained guides to develop Janakpurdham as a tourist area,” he added. 

According to Karna, said that trained guides have been displaced from Janakpurdham as auto-rickshaw drivers have been guiding tourists on their own. 

Janakpurdham now is also the capital of Madhes Province. Janakpurdham Sub-Metropolitan City should pay serious attention to the issue, Karna said, adding that the Sub-Metropolis has not made any plan targeting tourism.

In 1997, in the collaboration of government and non-governmental organisations, tourist guide training programme had been organised in Janakpurdham and a 100 persons including Karna had received the training of tourist guide for the first time. 

They had completed second and third phase training but due to the increasing trend of guiding by auto rickshaw drivers, the trained guides have been displaced, said Karna.  

The situation remains same till date even though guides have started guiding tourists without getting registered at the Tour Guide Association. 

Karna said that there was a need to take concrete steps to facilitate the growth of tourism and manage it so that it benefited the local guides. Although some efforts have been made to improve the infrastructure of Janakpurdham and proper publicity of cultural and historical sites, no initiative has been taken to protect the profession of local tourist guides, he said.

It can be seen at Sarnath in Banaras, India to manage and sustain the profession of tourist guide. The guides here explain the importance of Sarnath in detail to every team, every person. It is not allowed to enter Bada Imambara (Bhulbhulaiya) in Lucknow, even the art gallery, without a guide.  

However, no initiative has been taken to make Janakpurdham, a religious, historical city of Nepal and the capital of ancient Mithila, systematic. 

Manoj Sah, Mayor of Janakpurdham Sub-Metropolitan City, said that the provincial and local governments had been holding interaction seminars on this issue from time to time. 

The Sub-Metropolitan City has made arrangements to provide training to 30 rickshaw drivers in the current fiscal year. 

He said, "The rickshaw drivers sometimes pull the tourists coming to Janakpurdham to themselves, so the training of guides will also be given to the drivers.”

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