How long have you been the President of REBAN?
-It has been two years.
How many members?
-We are 13 altogether.
What tasks has REBAN accomplised under your leadership?
-REBAN Pokhara chapter has been doing a lot of work. Basically we organize training, in order to produce a skilled manpower. Training like food hygiene, bakery, cooking, service, language along others are carried out regularly. So far more then hundred people have been trained under my leadership. Most of them are staffs already working in some restaurant or hotel.
Are they paid during the training duration?
-Yeah, its part of their job. The duration could be of one week, five days or even two days. The latest one was given by NATHM. Some times CTEVT also provides the training. However, we manage their stay and training material.
Besides training ?
-Last year during floods in Chitwan, REBAN Pokhara had contributed five lakh rupees. Also during earthquake we had visited the devastated villages of Gorkha and Sindhupalchok to support them. It had also hampered our tourism industry in Pokhara. We along with the initiation of Tourism Council Pokhara had invited foreign journalists to report about our improving condition during the post-quake period. That had worked. We do support our members too when they are in need.
Any major events in Pokhara?
-We do organize street festivals here every year. The festivities stretch out up to 3 km long area covering the road. Different culture, food, dance and music are displayed. Artists from different parts of the country participate in the event. We have ‘Dasavtar’ from Palpa, ‘Hanuman’ from Baglung along others. Many people from foreign countries like India, Japan, South Korea, China along others also witness the festivities. One can enjoy the ‘Dandiya’ from the Indian state of Gujarat and ‘Bamboo stick dance’ from Mizoram They had also become part of the event and presented their art and culture. Thus REBAN Pokhara has been assisting in the exchange of culture of international level. We also hold free health camps during the street festival.
What is the participation of women in the executive committee?
-Well, we have only one women member in our committee. Out of ninety people who registered themselves in the PAN as the restaurant or bar owner around the lakeside only two are women. Perhaps there are many challenges. Most of us stay far from the lakeside, this could be one of the obstacle for them, as the sector demands working late hours.
What about the conservation of Phewa lake?
-We contribute one hundred thousand rupees each year for the clearing of weeds in the lake. We also hold plantation programs to maintain the greenery.
Anything the State needs to do?
-As soon as it is 11pm we hear the whistles and are compelled to shut down the shutters. Sometimes the guests are eating dinner after a hectic return from trekking or other visit; its sad to tell them to eat fast. Its State’s responsibility to provide peace and order. But since Pokhara is a tourism hub we should be allowed to peacefully carry out our business late hours too.