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Nepal Hosts Five-day Chitwan Elephant Festival to Revive Dwindling Tourism Industry

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Representational image. Pixabay

December 27, 2016: The 13th edition of Nepal’s five-day Chitwan Elephant Festival kicked off here with the participation of over 50 elephants.

The annual festival which brings fun, sports and adventure together was inaugurated on Monday in Sauraha, the gateway to Chitwan National Park, Xinhua news agency reported on Tuesday.

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The festival would feature unique and spectacular games like polo, football, fast-walk, beauty contest, picnic among others elephant participation.

The annual event has been organised by Regional Hotel Association Chitwan in order to bring humans closer with elephants, to encourage wildlife protection and conservation and to promote tourism in the region.

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Inaugurating the fiesta, Nepalese Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Jeevan Bahadur Shahi said that these sorts of festivals play an important role in attracting foreign tourists.

“Chitwan is a pioneer hub for elephant adventures but still lack tourists as compared to other parts of the country.

“We need to attract more tourists from our neighbouring countries to boost the overall tourism industry,” Shahi said.

The tourism industry in Nepal was adversely affected by the devastating earthquake in 2015, he said.

“If we could invite just one per cent of population from the neighbouring countries India and China, it would be a big achievement for Nepal”, Shahi added.

Chitwan is the third popular tourism destination in the Himalayan country after the capital city Kathmandu and lake city Pokhara.

Though the region used to welcome nearly 200,000 tourists in a single year, the number has dropped to less than half after the disaster of 2015.

This year, the festival has introduced elephant polo for the first time in its history, which is expected to draw huge number of foreign and domestic tourists.

Elephant polo is often regarded as the most adventurous and rare activity in the world.

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Besides, the festival has also featured cultural and entertainment programs along with boat and cart riding competition.

The five-day event will end on Friday. (IANS)

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Special Drive on India-Nepal Border in Bihar to Instantly Clear Pending IGST Refunds of Exporters

The special drive to clear refunds on the spot is aimed at disposing all refund cases which are pending due to various errors

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India, Nepal, Exporters
The department's Patna unit will organize a 5-day IGST Refund Mela at all land customs stations (LCS) starting September 3. Pixabay

Central custom officials would kick off a special drive on India-Nepal border in Bihar to instantly clear pending IGST refunds of exporters.

The department’s Patna unit will organize a 5-day IGST Refund Mela at all land customs stations (LCS) starting September 3.

The special drive to clear refunds on the spot is aimed at disposing all refund cases which are pending due to various errors such as invoice details and bank particulars filed with the department.

The customs authorities have already sent more than 500 letters and emails to exporters explaining them the errors which led to withholding of their refunds and how they can get them back following a simple process.

India, Nepal, Exporters
Central custom officials would kick off a special drive on India-Nepal border in Bihar to instantly clear pending IGST refunds of exporters. Pixabay

Commissioner of Customs, Patna, Ranjit Kumar said that government is committed to ease of doing business and the IGST refund is automatically done if the data regarding details of invoices and banks are filed correctly in the system.

He, however, said that due to errors related to invoice and bank details, some of the IGST refund claims are not sanctioned.

Besides making exporters aware about errors and need to avoid them, the Customs Department would clear the pending refunds following submission of required details in prescribed format.

The Commissioner said that he will inaugurate an IGST Refund Mela in Raxaul on Tuesday.

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Office of the Commissioner, Customs, Uttar Pradesh and Uttarakhand would also organize IGST Refund Week for rectification of errors and updation of export accounts from September 3.

In this regard, the authorities have informed exporters, custom house brokers, shipping lines and other members of the trade. (IANS)