Mountaineers who had abandoned expeditions in the last spring season following the devastating April earthquake are set to get their climbing permits extended for two more years, according to a high-level official at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation.
Pushpa Raj Katuwal, Under Secretary at MoCTA, told THT that the ministry had already initiated a necessary process to extend climbing permits issued to 103 expedition teams for 32 mountains in the last spring season.
“The ministry has also forwarded its decision to extend climbing permits by two more years to the Ministry of Finance as MoF’s consent is necessary to waive the royalty,” he told this daily.
According to him, the decision will come into force after getting approval from the Council of Ministers. “MoCTA will seek the Cabinet’s approval once it receives the MoF’s consent,” he said, adding that the Ministry of Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs would also be consulted to make necessary changes to the existing provision of the mountaineering regulation.
The mountaineers can apply at the Department of Tourism to validate their old permit anytime within 2017 but they need to give at least two weeks to DoT for processing their documents, the MoCTA’s decision reads.
“The decision aims to support the country’s mountaineering sector which was worst hit by multiple disasters in the last two years.”
At least 801 world climbers, including 265 wishing to scale Mt Everest, had cancelled their expeditions after the devastating earthquake flattened parts of the country on April 25, killing nearly 9,000 people.
The world’s highest peak also witnessed a massive avalanche triggered by the earthquake on its base camp where 19 mountaineers and their support staff were buried.
According to Gyanendra Shrestha, a DoT official, only a 14-member team of Austrian climbers has submitted an application to the department seeking a permit for scaling Mt Everest the next spring.
DoT charges each foreign climber $ 11,000 to issue a climbing permit for Mt Everest in the spring season (March-May).
A version of this article appears in print on January 14, 2016, of The Himalayan Times.
Source: The Himalayan Times