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Begnas locals unite for tourism promotion

Begnas locals unite for tourism promotion
A large number of young people gathered on the streets around Begnas Lake, the second largest lake in Pokhara, last month. They carried posters and chanted slogans, urging authorities to prioritize the development of the Begnas Lake area. Over 300 youths from the Lekhnath Municipality participated in the rally which ended with a picnic at the dam side. Every year, the local youths organize ‘Hamro Begnas, Ramro Begnas’ (Our Begnas, Beautiful Begnas) campaign to raise awareness and draw the authorities concerned for the development of the Begnas lake area. The campaign was started three years ago by young people from diverse backgrounds and has since become a prominent movement among local youths. During the event, the participants shared their grievances with the local government, stating that it has not shown enough concern for improving the livelihoods of local people by utilizing Begnas Lake. Nawaraj Ojha, the coordinator of the campaign, stated that they have come together not only to support the government but also to hold it accountable.

Every year, when the new year starts, local youths gather to discuss ways for tourism promotion in the area. They regularly organize a picnic as a major platform for exploring the interests and priorities of local youth. During the picnic, participants share ideas on ways to utilize the lake and surrounding natural scenery for overall development.

The youths collect the ideas shared during the picnic and make plans for tourism development. Despite facing procedural challenges as a non-registered organization, they aim to implement these plans not only in the Begnas Lake area but also in other lakes in Pokhara. Coordinator Ojha stated that they plan to complete the registration process by the end of the quarter, in order to move forward with implementing the planned programs. 'We have organized many programs in the past three years, but due to being a non-registered organization, we have encountered difficulties,' he said. “Despite these efforts, stakeholders have not taken any action,” Surendra Babu Tiwari, one of the initiators of the campaign and an assistant professor at Pokhara University. Tiwari stated that after collecting views and studying the potential for tourism development around Begnas Lake, the campaign has made presentations to local bodies and stakeholders. The members of the campaign want their region to become a highly popular tourist destination in Kaski. That is why they are advocating for quick action from local authorities to harness the beauty of Begnas Lake and its surrounding biodiversity. Among others, they want a ring road around the lake, preservation of indigenous species and plant life, and the development of income-generating agricultural activities in the villages surrounding the lake. Additionally, they are pushing for better infrastructure, including footpaths and smooth roads. To achieve these goals, over 200 young people have joined forces with the initiators of the campaign to form a formal organization to advocate for tourism promotion. The ‘Hamro Begnas, Ramro Begnas’ campaign has been a successful effort by local youths to raise awareness about the development and preservation of the Begnas Lake and its surrounding area. With the increased participation of local youths, the campaign is hopeful of bringing positive changes to the existing way of doing development work in the area.