Melamchi bazaar. (File photo)
KATHMANDU: The Melamchi bazaar and surrounding areas have been no longer the same in terms of touristic activities following the flooding after 15 June, 2021.
The flooding lashed the bazaar and surroundings so hard that they are now struggling to rise again.
Many demolished buildings having hotels and other structures have yet to be reconstructed while the local business persons are struggling to restore their business by reconstructing the destroyed buildings on their own.
However, they are now desperately waiting for tourists- domestic and foreign. Helambu, the source of the Melamchi River, Palchok Temple, Panchpokhari, Indrawati and Melamchi are some of the major tourist destinations in Sindhupalchok district.
But, they nowadays look deserted without tourists.
“There are adequate fishes in the Melamchi River following the flooding. But, there are no customers,” said Ratna Shrestha, a hotel entrepreneur. Customers from various parts of the district can frequent Melamchi for local fishes, and trout found in Helambu Panchpokhari and Melamchi.
Although the hoteliers were trying to recover gradually, the mobility of customers and visitors is very low, he worried.
Over a dozen hotels and lodges are in operation at Melamchi. Sagar Kumar Shrestha, proprietor of the Hotel Melamchi Heritage, blamed the governments- local, provincial and central- for not helping them to restore their business. He sought help from the government to help restore devastated Melamchi.
Another hotel entrepreneur, Janak Lal Shrestha, restored his business by reconstructing his destroyed hotel building at the cost of thousands of rupees. But, a lack of customers has hit hard, he said.
A fish trader, Uttam Bhandari, sought the government’s support to make Helambu a hub for trout.
However, Mayor of Melamchi Municipality, Itaman Tamang, asked the provincial and central governments for help and support to control the river, citing lone efforts of the local government were not enough. He stressed the need for a long-term solution to the problem.
Similarly, Nima Gyaljen Sherpa, chairperson of Helambu Rural Municipality, called for the government to ensure tax exemption and other facilities for local business persons.