Gangtok: April 20, 2012
Yumthang of late is grappling with the obstacle of tourist visit being stalled since the road to Yumthang yet remains covered with snow leading to a road blockage.
Yumthang road is closed since the month of January 2012 for this sole reason. “The plea of the people of Lachung to GREF regarding the problem seems to have fallen on deaf ears. They are not seriously heeding the issue of road problems”, said vice president of Lachung Hotel and Restaurant Association, Tshering Lachungpa.
In a press conference addressing the media Lachungpa said that in this booming tourist season due to road blockage tourists are unable to tour Yumthang. “Many of the tourists want to see Yumthang but the carelessness of GREF officials has kept them from visiting Yumthang since January 2012”,he alleged.
He further alleged that on being approached by the people of Lachung to mend the problem GREF officials said they were facing oil crisis due to which they could not start the work, this in turn only proves the lethargy of the GREF on road problems. Following this the people of Lachung went to Yumthang and started the work. “Yumthang road is not cleared today but their effort may make it possible to open the road by Friday 20th April”, he added.
He further highlighted on tourism being the main source of income for the people of Lachung and Lachen since the heavy snowfall on the region hindered the growth of crops and thus farming as an income garnering source seemed an unlikely option for the people of Lachung. The members of the association met with Minister for Tourism Department, Bhim Dhungel on 18th April but the Minister seemed unaware about the road problems, he said.
“The tourism department is responsible on the matter and they must visit North to abreast themselves of the situation prevailing there and find the ground reality. There are a total of 77 lodges and hotels in North District and all are dependent on tourism. Lack of tourists visit will hamper the livelihood means of the people in the region”, he added.
Similarly the Pipon of Lachung, Karma Lachungpa further addressed the occasion informing that their requests’ to GREF to open the road has been met with least response on the part of GREF who readily assures to aid but is doing practically nothing to solve the issue. This has left the people dissatisfied with the activities of GREF, he said. He further urged the tourism department to equally focus on the people of the North saying that the North District people also belong to Sikkim state.
He alleged that the negligence of the tourism department and GREF has led to the dissatisfaction of the tourists who want to explore the scenic beauty of Yumthang valley. “Yumthang road is closed since January but the tourists are not yet informed regarding the road problems. Everyday around 150 vehicles ply to North district to see the Yumthang valley”, he added.
Mr. Lachungpa lastly appealed to the concerned department to give preference to north district and to speed up the permit giving process so that the tourists reach North district on time.
During the occasion around 20 members were present.