KATHMANDU, Nepal–The government has charged mountain bikes double or triple the fee than for motorbikes, cars and buses for entry into Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park.
Issuing a notice in Nepal Gazettee two week ago, the national park under the Department of Wildlife and National Parks, charges a mountain bike a fee of Rs 1,000 per day/per entry into its premises compared to Rs 30 for motorbike, Rs 300 for car/jeep/microbus and Rs 500 for minibus/bus/truck.
A number of mountain bikers are angered at the government’s move.
Shivapuri is one of the best destinations for cycling and the hike in entry fee for the cyclist is speculated to lessen the number of cyclists in the park which was announced 12 years ago.
According to Gopal Prasad Bhattarai, chief warden of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park, the decision was taken viewing the threat that cyclists pose to the biodiversity of the National Park. Bhattarai said that unlike buses and jeeps, mountain bikes can reach every nook and corner of the jungle. Their presence may pose a threat to the flora and fauna there.
Conversationalists and ecologist believe that many animals during their mating season get disturbed by the increasing presence of humans and their activities. Maheshwor Dhakal, an ecologist at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) said the decision can be revised with due process.
Multiple sources at the Department said that any person or group feeling injustice due to the fee hike decision can submit their application to the office of the National Park.
The DNPWC is learnt to have taken the decision as per the feedback of a particular level. In the meantime, a cabinet meeting on Thursday decided to permit general people to travel freely on two routes of Shivapuri Nagarjun National Park. The allowed routes are Tokha to Chhahare and Tokha to Dandagaun.