KATHMANDU, July 24: A proposal of Department of Tourism to provide certificate of mountaineering expedition to the high altitude workers is awaiting cabinet approval since the last three months.
Sherpas, who accompany climbers from across the world to the mountains as workers, have been asking the government for certificates of successful ascent of the mountains.
Durga Datta Dhakal, information officer of Department of Tourism, said that the department had sent a proposal to the cabinet for amendment of Mountaineering Expedition Rules 2002 three months ago.
“Till now we have been following the Mountaineering Expedition Rules 2002 that does not consider high-altitude workers as a part of the expedition,” Dhakal said: “Those who do not pay royalty but climb the mountains as a sirdar (group leader), mountain guide, and high altitude workers do not get climbing certificates till now. In order to correct it, we have proposed the cabinet to amend the regulations.”
A mountaineering expedition team has a sirdar, mountain guide, high altitude worker and a climbing member. Only the climbing members are given certificates of mountaineering expedition by the government.
“Both mountaineers and non-mountaineers take equal risk to life while on the expedition. So their contribution must be addressed equally,” Dhakal said: “In order to address the demand of non-mountaineering Sherpas, we have sent the proposal for amendment of the law.”
It is not only a certificate but a matter of pride for them, he added.
Till now the government of Nepal has been giving mountaineering permits for 412 mountains of Nepal.
Sunar Gurung, president of Nepal National Mountain Guide Association, appreciated the amendment proposal as a positive step by the government to address the concerns of high altitude workers.
“It would be better to have a written record of their work, which will help them document their experience. It also helps them provide proof of their work while changing job from one agency to the other.”
He further said the regulations should be amended as early as possible.
Former president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, Zimba Zangbu Sherpa said: “In early days the government used to provide certificates to high altitude workers for their successful ascent of the mountains. But in recent years it has stopped giving certificates.”
“We don’t know the exact reason behind this, but it would give a very positive message to the Sherpas if the government starts giving certificates.”
However he said certificates were not required for all the mountains. To give certificates for some of the renowned mountains would be better, and the government must verify their records while distributing certificates, he added.
The department’s information officer Dhakal said that the government had stopped providing certificates to high altitude workers since there was no clear provision in the Regulations of 2002 about providing certificates to them.
“The regulation was not clear about providing certificates to mountain workers. So the government stopped issuing certificates to the high altitude workers, Dhakal said, adding that it was the only reason for not providing certificate to them.”
According to official statistics, the certificates were being issued to the mountain workers until 2015.
Rule number 33 of the Mountaineering Expedition Regulation 2002 mentions that the ministry (Ministry of Culture, Tourism, and Civil Aviation) shall provide a certificate of mountaineering expedition to the mountaineering expedition team and the member of such team for successful mountaineering expedition in format as prescribed in Schedule-13.