How long have you been the President of REBAN ?
-It has been a year now. I am one of the founder of Restaurant and Bar Association of Nepal (REBAN) Sauraha chapter.
How many members in the executive committee?
-We are 53 members all together.
Achievements so far?
-We have done some remarkable work and organized around 48 programs so far. We started some tasks like collecting the alcohol tax of our members which need to be payed in Kathmandu. So we do this work collectively. This also saves the time of the members, which can be allotted for their business. They need not rush to Kathmandu for that job; REBAN does that for them. During the floods which totally hampered the tourism Industry, we distributed the food, clothes and other necessary things to seven hundred needy households. In order to stop the spreading of contagious diseases we also sprayed medicines around the flood affected areas. We also provided nine of our members with the loan of two lakh rupees without interest to raise their business ruined during flooding. It did help them and they returned back the amount after their business was stable.
We also held a press conference in order to welcome our guests after the havoc of the floods. This in fact helped us to revive the flood affected tourism. So everything was smooth again. On tourism day we welcomed the tourists at the bus park with different dances and reached them to their destination hotels. We also organized different sports events for the tourists and distributed prizes to them. Also rangoli competition for the locals.
During the ‘Food Festival’ we organized a picnic for elephants in Sauraha. Around 66 elephants came together to enjoy their favorite food. Also with the help of local administration, now the restaurants, bar and hotels remain open until 12 pm. The big or heavy vehicles are not allowed to enter Sauraha before 10 pm and after 3 am in the morning. Plantations and distribution of different plants are done frequently.
Are there any work in the pipeline?
-We are thinking about setting up REBAN’s own building in Sauraha. Also we are all set to arrange for a mobile toilet that can be carried anywhere as per the demand. It has the facility for six people-three for men and three for women at a time. Around seventeen lakh rupees has been collected so far for the purpose.
What are the problems?
-The Mugling road section has been a problem since long time. Obstruction on that route has hampered the tourism business here. Finance Minister Surendra Pandey has also suggested the Bhandara-Naubise section as an alternate for the smooth flow. In case of road obstruction due to natural calamities totally disrupts our business and gets us isolated.
We used to have problems of goons troubling us. They would eat and leave without paying. Sometimes there were fights also. We approached the Home Ministry and now it has been settled. The Administration has helped us a lot.
What about women members in the committee?
-We have three women in the executive committee. One is the Deputy treasurer and two others are members. We have also opened a women committee of our wives supporting us in the business.
Anything for tourists?
-Sauraha and the entire Chitwan is a different region of Tharu community as the locals of the land. So we have rich culture of Tharu and other people. The one horned rhino is the most famous animal popularly found here. We also have the Bengal tiger, crocodiles and different species of birds here. We also have natural museum, Tharu dance centre, boating, elephant riding, jungle walking, guides specifically for the birds watchers, home-stays and many other things for our guests.