Nepal Minute - out of the ordinary

Travel & Tourism

By Narayan Adhikari

The Soaltee West End Resort is facing accusations that it constructed its structures without following the prescribed standards. 

The resort is ready for operation. It is found that the star-graded hotel has constructed structures in the Chitwan National Park (CNP) buffer zone without complying with the criteria for establishing industry in the buffer zone. 

As per the standards, a hotel to be constructed in the buffer zone should not be more than two stories tall and it should be environmentally friendly. But this resort, which is an RCC structure, is three stories tall. 

The Riverside Royal Garden Resort Pvt Ltd has given the responsibility of managing this hotel to the Soaltee Group. 

Rishi Neupane, Managing Director of the Resort, said that the hotel has been constructed at an investment of one billion rupees. 

He claimed that the hotel constructed near the bank of the Rapti River at Bharatpur Metropolitan City-22 was constructed by conducting the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA).

Environmentalists have stressed that attention should be given to the environment while constructing structures in the buffer zone. 

Bharatpur Metropolitan City-22 ward chairperson Bishnu Mahato said that he had put his view during a discussion held by the metropolis at the time of the construction of the hotel that such a structure should not be built at that location. 

"I had said at that time that the hotel should be suitable for the soil," said Mahato, who is also serving as the ward chairperson for a second term. 

He said he had suggested during the discussions itself that a hotel to be constructed close to the national park should be constructed in the form of a villa reflecting the local uniqueness. 

According to him, he had also urged the authorities to change the blueprint of the hotel when it was being endorsed for construction but his suggestion went unheeded by the proprietors. 

It is said a distinguished businessman from the Chitwan district has invested in this hotel. Mahato himself has become share-holder of the hotel of late. 

CNP chief conservation officer Hari Bhadra Acharya said the hotel structure should not be constructed in the buffer zone flouting the standard. 

"The CNP will go for legal action if it is found that the structure is constructed by flouting the standard," he warned. It is found that other hotels have also constructed structures flouting the law.

Prakash Dhungana, CNP Buffer Zone Management Committee president, said the committee is preparing to carry out an investigation after it is found that the standard has been breached. 

CNP former chief conservation officer Ananath Baral said the hotel proprietors had come to him seeking permission for carrying out EIA for construction of the hotel during his term in office but he had declined to give permission as it would not be in compliance with the standard. 

He said the national park office can take action against hotels not meeting the standard, recalling how he made a hotel dismantle its one storey in Bardia National Park when he was there. 

This five-star resort has investments of 23 businesspersons. -RSS

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