Majority of TS tourism spots have no guides
As the very name indicates, the guide is one such a person who really enhances the experience of tourists by providing relevant information and interpreting the culture and heritage of the place. Despite this fact, majority of tourism and pilgrim spots in Telangana State are without site guides for the last couple of years.
The profession they chose was to interpret the ancient history to the tourists, while their clientele ranges from common man to the likes of Chief Minister K Chandrashekar Rao, Governor ESL Narasimhan, Supreme Court Justice Madan B Lokur, actors Prabhas, Ravi Teja and the list goes on… However the travesty is such that the site guides in the State are struggling to make their both ends meet as they get a paltry sum of Rs 3,000 a month.
As the very name indicates, the guide is one such a person who really enhances the experience of tourists by providing relevant information and interpreting the culture and heritage of the place. Despite this fact, majority of tourism and pilgrim spots in Telangana State are without site guides for the last couple of years. Telangana has 27 site guides at the time of State bifurcation in 2014. Since then the number fell to 14 as the guides who hoped a better compensation in the new State were disappointed and opted for other jobs.
Way back in 2004, the Tourism Department trained and appointed 90 site guides in the united Andhra Pradesh in 67 tourism spots for the convenience of the tourists. Then the salary of the guides was just Rs 600 a month. Considering it too little, the then government allowed the guides to collect Rs 10 from each tourist, but only if the latter were willing to give.
Following the hue and cry raised by the guides, the government hiked the salary to Rs 2,000 a month in 2011. A few months ago, the State government raised it to Rs 3,000 a month. “Though there is a noticeable increase in the number of tourists coming to Ramappa and other places in the region, only 20 per cent of the tourists are using our services,” 34-year-old Gorantla Vijay Kumar, Ramappa Temple Site Guide, told The Hans India.
He attributed it to the advent of internet and the smart phones that provide information at fingertips. Majority of tourists are dependent on internet as they search for information on various sites. They use navigation facility on smart phones to reach the sites, according to him. This is also hurting the guides who, to some extent, are dependent upon tourists’ largesse.
Incidentally, Vijay was on duty when the Telangana Rashtra Samithi chief K Chandrashekar Rao visited Ramappa Temple in 2008. He was also the guide for Justice Madan B Lokur, actors Prabhas, Ravi Teja, Prabhu Deva, Srihari etc. Telangana State Guides Association General Secretary A Poshetty, who is stationed at Basara Saraswathi Devi temple, said their counterparts in Andhra Pradesh were likely to get Rs 15,000 a month very soon as the file was pending with that government.
He urged the State government to increase their salaries at least on par with the Minimum Wages Act and appoint more personnel as many tourism spots were without guides.Some of the important places that do not have guides are the 1,000 Pillars Temple in Hanamkonda, Chaya Someswara Swamy Temple in Panagal (Nalgonda), Elgandal Fort in Karimnagar etc.