Mess on mountains: 90 pc liaison officers don’t go to camps

Mess on mountains: 90 pc liaison officers don’t go to camps

Nepali government officials who are deputed to monitor the mountaineering expeditions in the autumn climbing season have yet again breached the country’s Tourism Act and the Mountaineering Regulations as they failed to accompany the world climbers during the entire expedition period.

The list of liaison officers obtained by THT Online shows that 43 officers ranging from non-gazetted first class level to under-secretary positions have been assigned to facilitate the world climbers attempting to climb different peaks in the season.

Interestingly, 90 per cent of the LOs never reach base camps of the respective mountains to monitor climbing activities.

“Only four officials arrived here for a day or two at the base camp of Mt Manaslu,” a base camp official said. According to them, over 150 foreigners and high altitude workers have already summitted the mountain without seeing their LOs throughout the expedition period this autumn.

There were 17 teams comprising 151 foreign climbers along with their over 200 climbing Sherpas on the Mt Manaslu this season.

Gross violation of law

The Tourism Act clearly states that every liaison officer must accompany the team for the period commencing from the date of departure for mountaineering expedition to the date of arriving after completion of mountaineering expedition and the Mountaineering Regulations mentions that LOs must stay in the base camp during the mountaineering expedition programme.

“But, the majority of LOs blatantly breached the regulations,” Director General at the Department of Tourism Sudarshan Prasad Dhakal admitted.

Without even making it to the Everest base camp, the 15 liaison officers were also found to have attested climbers as eligible for summit certificates in the last spring season while six LOs returned the same day and five stayed for two to four days at the Everest base camp.

An official from the DoT, three security personnel and two from Everest Summiteers Association, however, stayed at the base camp for over two weeks, according to a record maintained by base camp officials.

Over 80 per cent of the LOs who had never shown up on the mountains, however, had claimed of having stayed at the base camp for over one to three weeks in order to prohibit the expedition teams or their members from indulging in any unauthorised activities when they filled up the expedition form during the debriefing.

Till when?

“The trend of violating rules would continue until the government mechanism failed to strictly implement its reward and punishment measures,” he repeatedly said.

The LOs charge each Everest expedition nearly USD 3,000 and other expedition team USD 2,000. “All of the LOs have been already paid for their services in the autumn season,” foreign climbers reacted.

“It has been an established practice for many years and we were not the exception,” an officer who stayed in Kathmandu without accompanying his team to the Mt Manaslu told THT Online.

“Being an LO is by luck, not by performance,” he said. According to him, there was always an unhealthy competition among the officials as most of them needed to knock the doors of ministers, political leaders and even the Prime Minister to get listed in the LO roster.

Officers of the non-gazetted first class or above from civil service and Nepal Army, Nepal Police and Armed Police Force personnel corresponding to the level of civil service gazetted third class and Nepali mountaineers who have successfully climbed the Mt Everest and been recommended by the mountaineering association designated by the Ministry of Culture Tourism and Civil Aviation are eligible to become liaison officers.

But no complain?

When asked, the expedition organisers said that they could not complain against the liaison officers as they wanted to avoid any further hassle that they would have to face in the government offices.

“If complained, they will certainly target us on different occasions ranging from issuance of climbing permits to summit certificates,” a senior manager of a trekking agency said, adding that their noncooperation would adversely affect the businesses.

While the government may cancel travel orders and may force them to return the facilities received as per its Regulations from the LOs if they do not accompany the mountaineering expedition team, the Director General reluctantly responded that it was impossible to take such action against them. He, however, declined to furnish the reasons.

“It is all because of the negligence, the major output of impunity,” an official at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation said.

Liaison Officers – Spring 2016

Mt Everest
Durga Datta Dhakal
Dola Raj Dhakal
Sontash Moktan
Nagendra Dhungel
Gopal Bhattarai
Bina Shrestha
Shiva Ranajan Poudel
Tanka Bhattrai
Saroj Pokharel
Gyanendra Kumar Shrestha
Rama Gautam
Khada Nanda Adhikari
Krishna Lamsal
Mukta Baskota Sherpa
Gopal Bhandari
Narendra Raj Thapa
Pramod Nepal
Gita Parajuli
Jhalak Subedi
Sabin Dhakal
Laxmi Sharma
Tika Ram Pandey
Ratna Bahadur Katuwal
Shekhar Babu Karki
Ang Pasang Sherpa
Ram Prasad Bhushal
Ganesh Bahadur Katuwal
Lila Raj Shrestha
Vinod Gautam
Pawan Kumar Ghimire
Lekha Paneru Mahat
Rajesh Maharjan
Ganesh Prasad Timilsena
Mt Lhotse
Nagendra Prasad Rokka
Risiram Dawadi
Sudip Thapa
Sarada Shivakoti
Narayan Bahadur Thapa
Bhim Prasad Panthi
Suman Pandit
Namarta Chudal
Shiva Bahadur Sapkota
Tek Raj Bhusal
Shree Prasad Poudel
Mt Nuptse
Amba Datta Joshi
Juanendra Pun
Tulasi Nath Gautam
Rosani Karki
Sudip Sing Sunar
Nanga Dorji Shrepa
Narbada Shrestha
Rajendra Kumar Shrestha
Mt Manaslu
Hari Dhakal
Subarna Raj Bhattarai
Deepak Kumar Dahal
Mt Makalu I
Mukesh Dangol
Ram Kumar Gautam
Bheshraj Ghimire
Santi Devi Dahal
Radha Sharma Bhattarai
Mt Dhaulagiri I
Laxman Sharma
Khayam Bahadur Thapa
Durga Basnet
Tulsi Ram Bhandari
Mt Annapurna (I, III & IV)
Rajendra Raj Dhakal
Manoj Kumar Pokharel
Rishiram Bhandari
Khim Lal Gautam
Subir Shrestha
Mt Amadablam
Nima Kumari Dhital
Dhruba Poudel
Shree Krishna Khatri
Tukuche Peak
Narayan Bahadur Kuwar
Deepak Ghimire
Purushotam Acharya
Sandeep Khanal
Other Peaks
Ranajana Prajapati
Rajan Prasad Pokharel
Padam Bhandari
Bishnu Kumari Bhattrai
SOURCE: DoT

News Source: THT