Motorways affecting ABC trial: No road expansion for next 30 years

24th Sep, 2018 | Tourism Mail Crew

POKHARA, Sep 24: Due to the shortening of the average trekking duration of tourists after the motorways built along the trekking trial in recent years in ABC, Annapurna Rural Municipality and Tourism entrepreneurs of the Annapurna Base Camp (ABC) have decided in an agreement not to stop road expansion beyond Jhinudanda in upper trekking trail for the next 30 years to preserve ABC foot trial at least for some years for now.

The Annapurna Rural Municipality has also agreed to respect the decision taken at the local level. According to Hari Bhujel, the president of Trekking Agencies Association of Nepal (TAAN) for the western regional association, “Trekking foot trail does not need motorway that is why villagers themselves have taken an initiative to stop road expansion along the foot trail.”

Losses to both the entrepreneurs and locals has been caused as the the ABC foot trail has been shrinking each passing year due to road expansion. Few years back the road, in which tourists used to walk up to Ghandruk from Naya Pul, is now replaced with motorway. 

“Tourists used to stay overnight or have food on their way during the ABC trek, but now as they can reach up to Ghandruk on vehicles small shops along the foot trail have been displaced,” Bhujel. Road expansion could destroy the local business, he added. 

There are no residential settlements except lodges and restaurants aimed to serve trekkers. On an average, it takes at least three days to reach ABC from Jhinudanda. “If there is no residential area then why the area needs motorway?” he said. “There are only hotels for tourists, all of whom are trekkers. ABC foot trail doesn’t need a motorway.” 

Supporting the locals’ decision, Yuva Rak Kunwar, Chairman of Annapurna Rural Municipality, said: “The motorway has affected the foot trail. If we continue expanding roads, then ABC itself can get into a critical situation. The decision has been taken for the development of the tourism industry here, and building motorway by replacing the foot trail is destruction rather than development.”

Tourism is often regarded as the backbone of the country’s economy. Most of the tourists visiting Nepal come for trekking and other adventurous activities. The numbers of both foreign and domestic trekkers are increasing each year, but the excitement of walking to ABC is continuously decreasing each passing year, which the locals blame at the road extension along the foot trail.