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Stung by Covid disaster, guides search for escort | Aurangabad Information

Aurangabad: Subhash Jadhav is a certified regional level (RLG) guide with a good command of the German language and money was not an issue until the coronavirus pandemic broke out. He was forced to work as a farm worker.
Jadhav, a favorite among German tourists, says he made a six-figure monthly income before the pandemic broke out last year. “We find it difficult to make ends meet without a helping hand. With the situation getting worse and worse, the future looks bleak, ”he says, adding that he has no more money in his bank account.
Jadhav isn’t the only one hit by a financial crisis. There are 40 other RLGs like him in Aurangabad who have either taken marginal jobs or are unemployed.
Ram Pitambare, who has a good command of the Japanese language, said he tried connecting with relatives’ businesses for some income, but the renewed closure of trading operations left him in a helpless position.
“Government agencies often refer to us as ‘the nation’s cultural ambassadors,’ but they ignore us during the current crisis. Despite repeated requests to the center and the state government, we received no relief during the lockdown, ”adds Pitambare.
Heritage sites and monuments have been closed for more than a year during the current pandemic, with the exception of about three months through March 11 this year.
According to the service rules of the RLG, certified tour guides are not allowed to have formal employment elsewhere, which increases the suffering of these key players in the tourism industry.
Shaikh Ayyasuddin, another RLG from Aurangabad, says the large geographic area of ​​the Ajant and Ellora Caves should be considered while allowing the World Heritage Sites to open during the lockdown.
“The tourism industry was already exposed to more restrictions than other sectors. The famous monuments that span large areas should be able to be reopened by following Covid-appropriate behavior, ”he adds.
Shaikh is currently unemployed and optimistic that the central and state government will find a solution to end their problems.
When contacted, the Archaeological Survey of India authorities refused to comment, claiming that they were only adhering to government policy.
Aurangabad MP Imtiaz Jaleel said the plight of the guides had already been addressed in front of the center. “You are among the voiceless who have been severely affected due to government policies related to the pandemic. These guides are tourism industry assets and need support during the current crisis, ”he said.
Umesh Jadhav, president of the Aurangabad Tourist Guides Welfare Association, said Maharashtra has around 175 RLGs, including over 40 in Aurangabad.
“The Ministry of Tourism has different guidelines for issuing licenses to RLGs, including guides who are fluent in the foreign languages ​​identified. The selection process for RLG includes an entrance exam and field training, ”he said.
Jadhav said these leaders spent their precious years in tourism, which has been hardest hit due to the pandemic.

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