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Showing posts with label Thamel. Show all posts
Showing posts with label Thamel. Show all posts

Monday, January 26, 2009

Thamel transcending to a Red Light Area

Today, Thamel has developed itself as an epicenter of entertainment and glamour. From its origin, it was established with the theme to satisfy the needs of tourists in every desired way, in-fact it caters all sort of entertainment from visual to physical to mental giving the stance of it being a hub. Likewise, today it has transcended itself to a new hub of glitter and glamour where it wakes-up in the night showcasing a new exhilaration and excitement in satisfying sexual needs and wants.

To be precise the growing numbers of Massage Centers and Cabin Restaurants in the periphery have created an attraction for young men and teenagers from around the valley in habituating a craze of sexual activities in its abode.
Namgyal Lama, President of Thamel Tourism Development Council (TTDC) said, “Thamel is a tourist hub, the way it is expanding and exploited with such social hazard activities has been a question to all. It has become a red light zone acclimatizing all its sexual activities in name of commercialization.”

Currently, there are more than 30 Dance Restaurants and 200 Massage Centers in Thamel where majority of such involve in sexual activities highlighting and giving stance to its audacity. On one hand it is against the law to sell or buy sexual activities whereas on the other it is directly creating a social menace.

In same view Lama stated that the issue is very sensitive and outsiders cannot help it, in-fact the Thamel residences should initiate an effort, which would be worth and effective. “In a tourist hub like Thamel where more than 2400 businessmen pay taxes, the government should give priority and security”, he added. We have formed a committee named Thamel Reform Committee (TRC) to channel the local bodies to clean such harzards. We are in the process of action.

He suggested, “Firstly, the activities of massage center and dance restaurants should be limited to professional level having no alternative for sexual activities and secondly there is no scope of dance restaurants in Thamel, as it does not interest the tourists and foreigners so it should be controlled. Moreover, the people of Thamel should be aware that just by paying an extra buck they should not rent their houses to such dance restaurants and massage centers.”

In today’s context when the sexual activities are openly run in such hub, the social scientists have already predicted a dramatic impact in the socio culture status of the society. In view of Tapan Kumar Dahal, Inspector of Sorkhutta Police Station said, “We are very trapped in situation of dilemma as when we raid on Massage Centers and Dance Restaurants the pressure groups like NGOs, INGOs and other women oriented organization gives us pressure and when we don’t take action, the public blame us saying we are working in hand with such group.”

Just few days back, during a raid in 8 major massage centers at Thamel, 26 girls and 9 guys were caught red handed in sexual activities. The girls caught aged from 18 to 35 where on investigation they reasoned poverty, lack of employment and illiteracy as their prime reason for involvement, according to Dahal. “This is just a beginning as we have initiated a full house operation where we do detail investigation,” he said.

Focusing on the professional ethics, he said that it is the duty of the Police to clean out such social menace and we are fulfilling it with a proactive and progressive approach. Moreover the public and police department should work together in such issues, which directly affects the societal values, norms and law.

From few days the Massage Center and Dance Restaurant issue have been raised, creating a media sensation of sex tourism and it effect but still the question of its legalization and implication lies hidden and un-addressed.

Similarly, Prof. Dr Rudra Pd. Updhayay, Central Dept of Economic and rural Development T.U Kirtipur said, “Sex tourism is a part of tourism which cannot be denied but sex industry is such controversial issue that it cannot be bypassed. From it origin sex industry has coherently adapted the culture and society. So the question of totally eradicating is impossible rather it can be controlled and regulated in a specified form.”

“The increase in sexual activities in Thamel and other hubs are the direct effect of inflation, violence and displaced situation. Moreover, women and sex industry is a sensitive issue which needs to be addressed with higher priority where women exploitation should be well address,” said Dr Updhayay.

Though Thamel has totally adapted the modern theme of tourism and entertainment, it lacks effective measures of monitoring and controlling which has resulted in such social deteriorating state. Perhaps the question of sex and sex tourism in tourism industry stands as a question seeking an answer.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

Noise pollution an ill factor for Thamel Tourism

Entertainment is an essential part of tourism and as the tourism industry is grasping an inclining prospect. It is also materializing its own buzz emphasizing the new trend and concept for the industry. Like such these days, when the trend of discos and pubs, live music restaurants, karaoke restaurants, dance bars and restaurants etc are getting in high demand. Perhaps, Thamel is occupied with various entertainment resources, making available the needs and wants by ability to pay. Although, opened for the feasibility of tourists but today they act as a means of nuisance for the accommodation spot (hotels and lodges) located in the periphery. Nevertheless, the problem is seen as an inevitable in most of the accommodations located near such spots where guests are avoiding staying due to high noise pollution.

John William, a British tourist staying in Thamel said, "It’s a tourist hub so a bit of excitement is the need but the way entertainment centers have been manipulating the sound as a marketing tool is not good. Perhaps, they should be equipped with sound absorbers to sooth the effect which seems lacking. One really gets mixed up with the cocktail of music ringing in ears coming from different direction. I have been in Thamel from past few days and it is really hard to sleep at night.”

However, the entertainment centers are not only expanding but they are also adapting more open approach where locals have been questioning on the intention and prospect of such centers.

Similarly, Shyam Shrestha, a local resident said, "The entertainment centers like dance restaurants and bars always invites crowd where generally you can see people having fights. Perhaps the sound does not disturb you that much in comparison to the scene created by intoxicated people and hooligans. We certainly have complained this to different authority but at the end of the day, no action is taken. Personally, I do not really know who is to blame for this, but somebody has to held responsibilities, in order to regulate and monitor such acts."

He suggested, "We need an effective mechanism which would not only regulate such acts but in return would monitor and in time would take action against them. The concern authorities need to focus on such issues as they directly affect the society."
On contrary Namgyal Lama, President of Thamel Tourism Development Board (TTDB) said, "Thamel is a happening place where people come to enjoy and this is a fact which needs to be understood. Currently there are more than 15 live music restaurants and 23 dance bar operating in the vicinity. We have tried to incorporate all the entertainment centers under a common understanding where every body would feel feasible to operate. Apart from that, we had recently formed a monitoring committee, to evaluate the scenario in Thamel. According to them, most of the tourists they like live music and enjoy it. Highlighting their recommendations, we have already regulated an effective planned schedule for controlling the noise pollution in Thamel for e.g. live restaurants are directed to play till 10:30 PM thrice in a week including Friday.
The main problem is, we had advised the entertainment centers to sound proof their place but the entrepreneurs voiced out that they have to pay a subsequent high amount of money as house rent, pointing it to the owners"

Adding more he said, "We have institution like tourist police to look after the issues but they are silent and most probably can two tourist police handle the whole Thamel is question which needs a proper answer."

When asked question regarding the role of TTDC, he asserted, "TTDC is highly operational but our main weakness is we lack fund and the organization like NTB who have fund, they are silent. If they cannot work then they should forward it to us with the resources and we would work on it. We lack a proper coordination mechanism, which is manipulated by the limited organization in creating the harsh aspect which needs to be understood and worked on."

Moreover, the issue of noise pollution is a condition, which is rising due to the lack of proper monitoring. Though voices are raised out regarding the issues but a relative answer lies hidden with in authorities till the time they take proper action.

By Shreedeep Rayamajhi

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