Written test for guides at Ranthambore

March 8th, 2011 - 6:35 pm ICT by IANS  

Jaipur, March 8 (IANS) Worried by rising tourist complaints against “ignorant” nature guides at the famous Ranthambore National Park in Rajasthan’s Sawai Madhopur district, the authorities have decided that all guides will have to take a written test to be allowed to work there, officials said Tuesday.

“There are about 120 nature guides here. Recently, there had been complaints from the tourists about the incompetence of some guides,” a senior forest department official told IANS.

Majority of the complaints were from foreign tourists, who said that besides lacking fluency in English, some guides were also unable to talk about the vibrant wildlife of the national park, which is not only a tiger reserve but also boasts of a wide variety of flora and fauna.

Taking a tough stand on these complaints, the park’s standing committee headed by the divisional commissioner has decided on the written test, forest department officials said.

A nature guide accompanies each tourist vehicle at the Ranthambore National Park, and is paid Rs.250.

However, the decision has met with severe opposition from the guides.

In a meeting of the Ranthambore Nature Guides Association Sunday, the guides said they will launch an agitation if the decision was not withdrawn.

“We have already been trained by the forest department. We were given licences only after we passed an eligibility test. The department also conducts refreshment courses from time to time, so what is the need of a test now,” the association’s president Atiq Mohammad said.

He added that there were some guides who are working here for the past 10-15 years.

“Raising questions over their competence is insulting them. If they fail the test, they will be unemployed,” he said.

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