"PAC's Decision to Revoke Lease Agreement in Ramgram Area Raises Concerns for Tourism Development"

Kathmandu- In a recent development that has implications for tourism in Nepal, the Public Accounts Committee (PAC) under the House of Representatives (HoR) has directed the government to scrap an agreement to lease the Ramgram Area in Lumbini.

The decision comes as a result of concerns raised by the Committee regarding the development and conservation of this significant tourist destination.

During a meeting held yesterday, the PAC deliberated on the financial resources required for research, development, and conservation efforts in the Ramgram Area. As a result, the Committee instructed the government to revoke the lease agreement between the Lumbini Development Trust and the Pramista Land Ltd, effective immediately.

Committee President Rishikhesh Pokharel emphasized the importance of addressing this issue promptly, stating, "The Committee's decision aims to nullify the agreement related to the Ramgram Area, signed by the Lumbini Development Trust. We must ensure that such actions are not repeated elsewhere." President Pokharel further directed the government to conduct thorough investigations into the matter.

Key concerns raised by the Committee include the absence of a competitive bidding process for awarding the contract, non-compliance with procurement laws, the construction of commercial infrastructure without considering the presence of religious sites, and controversies surrounding the awarded company's background.

In addition to revoking the agreement, the Committee issued directives to prevent any further development of infrastructure in the Lumbini Area that does not align with the standards set by UNESCO and the Department of Archaeology. The government has also been urged to allocate a budget specifically for land acquisition purposes in the Ramgram area, emphasizing the significance of preserving and promoting tourism in this region.

This decision by the PAC has sparked discussions about the importance of responsible tourism development and conservation practices in Nepal.

Stakeholders and industry experts have expressed concerns about the potential negative impact on the tourism sector if adequate measures are not taken to protect the cultural and historical significance of sites like the Ramgram Area.

As the government proceeds with further investigations and actions in response to the PAC's directives, it is hoped that a balanced approach will be adopted to ensure sustainable tourism development in the Ramgram Area.

Preserving the authenticity and cultural heritage of this region while promoting responsible tourism practices will be crucial for the long-term growth and success of Nepal's tourism industry.