MoHA becomes a barrier to the rescue of an injured elderly
September 27, 2023 06:15 PM NPT
By: Arun Bam
KATHMANDU, Sept 27: The life of an elderly person in Gorkha, who fell off a cliff while on his way to collect old age allowance, is at risk due to the indifference of the Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) in facilitating his rescue.
Chewang Dorjee, a resident of Chumanuwri Rural Municipality-2 in the northern region of Gorkha, fell off a cliff while heading to the rural municipality office on Monday morning to collect his old age allowance. Rajendra Bajgain, a member of the House of Representatives from the area, said that the accident occurred around 11 AM in the Manaslu Conservation Area, leaving Dorjee bleeding and unconscious.
MP Bajgain mentioned that he received the news late due to network issues in the area. He said, "I was informed about the incident at around 2:20 PM and immediately began arranging for a rescue. Unfortunately, due to MoHA's apparent indifference, we couldn't conduct the rescue today." MP Bajgain said that he tried to get a helicopter from the Nepali army for the rescue.
"Since Manaslu is a protected area, the army required permission from MoHA for the rescue," he said, "Then I spoke to the control room of MoHA at 2:27 PM." He explained that due to security concerns related to the Manaslu Conservation Area's link to China’s security, they were not receiving permission to send helicopters.
He said, "MoHA will bear the cost only if there is a big earthquake or landslide." After that, when I asked them to give permission for a helicopter rescue, the permission reached the army at 4:30 PM.
MP Bajgain says that when the official from the home ministry talked to him, he got the answer that since the exile of Tibetan King Dalai Lama, they cannot send helicopters there as per China's wish. "When our army helicopter was sent to our land to save the lives of the wounded, even when we questioned whether it was a matter of China's security, nothing was done," said MP Bajgain.
Parliamentarian Bajgain said that after several requests, Home Secretary Dinesh Bhattarai is now ready to give permission to send army helicopters. He says that even if the permission is granted, MoHA cannot bear the cost of the rescue. He said, "MoHA indicated that it would only cover helicopter costs in the event of a major earthquake or landslide.”
When MP Bajgain sought permission for a helicopter rescue, it wasn't until 4:30 PM that the request reached the army.Unfortunately, by the time MoHA's helicopter permission arrived at the army base, the weather had deteriorated and communication with Dorjee's location had been lost. As a result, the helicopter was unable to reach him.
MP Bajgain expressed his dissatisfaction, saying, "This behavior of MoHA is deeply troubling when a person's life is hanging by a thread." As of Tuesday morning, Dorjee's condition remained unknown, but preparations were being made for an army helicopter rescue.