MH thoughts on MAC august 2019

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    I was very happy to attend the MAha adventure council meetup at dadar on the 13th of august 2019.

    I found the present mac members very open to suggestions and have a good understanding of the situation from the standpoint of the trekkers ,trek leaders,locals at base villages .

    As mac is still in its infancy ,will give it time . Also at the meeting it was told they had got a full time person to work for them.
    But here are the present issues with MAC
    1) It is very difficult to figure out who are the point people to approach to get suggestions implemented. This is based on few suggestions i had given various people we thought were the point people who could reach the core people to implement the suggestions .But there never was any feedback about the suggestion or what is the current status

    The suggestions were as follows
    1) Please transcribe all the points made at the meetings and share it on the site . This would help repetition and also build on future knowledge QnA databases.
    2) Have paytm,google pay,phonepe for the associate membership of rupees 100 . This would all speedy issue of receipts to members and faster acquiring of membership .

    2) The focus on acquiring members and extreme focus on the GR .
    From the QnA at the meeting we learnt that there is no stay on the GR and that the october GR is in force. Only the punitive section is not going to be implemented at present.

    I feel MAC will truly be effective after that become the main communicator between the locals ,the ASI,the forest department,the local police, the trekkers ,the trek leaders and other trekking groups and stakeholder.When MAC set up sites for all the group , Shares notifications from govt to all and from all to govt services (forest,asi,police) to the trekkers.When MAC approaches the government and shows they can save the govt lots of resources and cost and also help the government with policy. This is when MAC will acquire official approval from the government .And this official approval with allow MAC the respect to really start collecting the data needed to really help all the stake holders ( help in traffic management at the forts, help in listing homestays,training local staff on the behalf of the government, first aid training and rescue training on behalf of the government .

    With just focus on the membership strength to share suggestion on to improve future GR would not hold MAC with the official approval needed to interact with all stake holders with the authority needed to really made the system work.
    These are just my initial thoughts .This wil change as the organisation matures


    Thoughts on how MAC can be the Key communicator for all parties involved.MAc does not has to just be the enabler .MAC can connect NGOS with the villagers to get all the resources met. There are also online crowdfunding sites ketto/milaap/ to help get resources for the projects.

    1) Village Empowerment
    MAC needs to assign resource people for each base village which welcomes trekkers .

    a) Bank account :- Help trek guides get bank account (this is the single main problem which does not allow them to progress) .without the bank account they cannot take digital payments .
    b) Mobile Connections :– Help trek guides get mobile phones . (a lot of poorer guides do not have the means to get a mobile ).Approach mobile operators and work out a deal to do kyc and get sim for the guides and other villagers who are poor but are important in the chain helping trekkers.
    c) Train the trainer -: Work with the village sarpanch to train promising youth in first aid, rock climbing,rescue,account,site development .These youth will become trainers and facilitators for the village after they acquire the skill over time. (Give a man a fish, and you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, and you feed him for a lifetime)
    d) NGO connect – Connect and tie up with NGOs in i) tree planting domain ii) fort conservation domain iii) Education domain and work out a plan to be implemented in each village.
    e) Sign Board Creation :- Sign boards at each base village listing i) Dos and Don’ts at each fort .Make this fort specific .ii) Sign Boards listing the reasons to join and connect with MAC at each fort
    f) Local Food supplier connect – work with local food suppliers and restaurant on the issues they are facing .
    g) Create Concrete dust bins along the route and at the base village . Create two concrete bins ,one for wet garbage and one for dry garbage . This is very important at each site . To make the initiative eco friendly. Also have huge concrete bins at the base village for glass,metal,plastic, etc. Connect the village with the nearest scrap dealer who can come and buy the garbage.Mac/village sarpanch could use the funds generated from the garbage to use for training the youth and for sign board etc.
    h) List local handicraft if any and have a place to display them to tourist .
    i) Map the list of resource people in each village. List the doctors and hospitals around each fort .
    j) list all the ASI ,forest ,law enforcements for each forts. This list should be dynamic and handled by a person who lives close by .The information in the lists should not be outdated .
    k)list all notifications from ASI,Forest,Law for each for . List train and bus timings for each fort.
    Ideally each fort should have their own online site for better communication .


    2) Trek Organisers Empowerment

    a) Meet all stakeholders and create a standard pricing list (which will be dynamically updated depending on the economic situation ie fuel prices,inflation,recession). Many groups have been asking for years to have a standard price for events ie cost for a trek with transport and food from mumbai and from pune. Right now organiser are quoting their own prices and some care cutting the prices so much that the treks are becoming unsustainable for a lot of organisers.The implementation of the pricing is optional as as not be antagonise anyone. But give all organiser a good base price to quote on their events.

    b) Regular meetings with trek leaders to help understand their issues and concerns .
    c) Regular training for trek organisers
    d) Regular meetings for all trek organisers to meet and promote their events
    e) Guidelines and personal meeting with trek leaders on the right online behavior and posting rules on facebook and whatsapp. This is help prevent the present rift being created by irresponsible posts about new groups or groups not on the whatsapp group . Calling out negative behavior online is important bring back the strong bonds the trek leaders used to have 20 years ago in the field . ie bonds of friendship , bonds of big brother telling new leaders who to improve in a supportive manner. Instead of negative posts on groups which are not on the whatsapp group .We have seen first hand trek leaders post issues and other members of the group make negative comments and name calling without even knowing the real issues behind the post or the real story. It is not a good feeling to know you are abused by people who do not know the real story. Hence it is very important meet and have guidelines on being professional in commenting and posting online .
    f) Meeting with waterfall rappelling organisers to prevent over crowding and safety issues at waterfalls.


    Fort Safety

    Prevention of Overcrowding

    a)For real data collection MAc would need the government authorization .This authorization from the government will send the right message to all the trekkers and registration and analysis will be easy.Without this a lot of visitors will protest and resist giving their data.This will make the data collection incomplete and this will not give the clear picture of the trekker load on each fort.

    b)Formalization of the guide system.
    Most causal trekkers (group of friends,office friends,collect friends,school friends) will not take a guide. These are the people who need it most as all newspaper articles of accidents involve the above groups .Formalization of rates, data of the guides,availability of the guides on each day.Will only be possible with sarpanch approval+police approval+government .

    c) Publication of maps made available at each base village.

    d) Online booking at forts
    Online booking for each fort and other trekking locations can be done like this simple site made for the forest department at andharbaN the site is make with wordpress /good layer theme and plugin

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