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Saturday, 22 June, 2019, 14 : 13 PM [IST]

Tourist Guides’ Federation of India divided on Guide Fee agreement signed with IATO

One of the factions says the agreement is unacceptable
The faction claiming to be the official faction of the Tourist Guides’ Federation of India (TGFI), which claims support of 13 of the 17 member associations, has come out raising strong objections against the biennial agreement signed between the Indian Association of Tour Operators (IATO) and the Federation fixing the Guides fee for the next two years.

 Sanjay Sharma, President of TGFI claimed that he was not party to the agreement and will serve a legal notice soon against the parties which signed the agreement. Sharma said that IATO for the second time in succession has engaged a “smaller faction” of the TGFI which has no authority or sanctity for negotiations and finalising the agreement. “I haven’t signed the agreement and not party to it,” said Sharma in a telephonic conversation with Travelbiz Monitor.

 IATO and Guides Federation negotiate and finalises guides fee and sign agreement every two years. Last agreement was signed in 2017 with a 12% rise in the Guide fee from the previous agreement. This year both the parties are said to have agreed to revise the fee by 10%. “10% fee hike is not at all acceptable to TGFI,” said Sharma, “Last time also there was a stalemate during negotiations,” he added.

Sharma said that he will be writing to the Ministry of Tourism, Government of India as well on the illegitimacy of the agreement. He said that while the Fee of the Guides was fixed by the Ministry of Tourism for a long time, before a Jabalpur court deciding against the procedure on the petition of a tour operator. “It was then decided that the TGFI will decide the fee in consultation with the IATO. But now it is the reverse that is happening. It is the IATO which decides it,” he said. For 10 years, the fee structure is decided through negotiations between IATO and TGFI. 

 IATO dismisses the current controversy as “part of the factional” feud that is raging in the TGFI for some time now. Rajesh Mudgill, Hony. Secretary of the IATO said that they hold negotiations and sign agreements with the leadership of TGFI which is recognised by Ministry of Tourism. He said that they tried to bring together the two factions and sign the agreement together last time but failed because of the non co-operation of one faction. “We don’t recognise Sanjay Sharma,” he stated.
 
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