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Govt has mountain to climb with Everest season in limbo

  Forms task force to study the demands of mountaineering support staff and guides and come up with recommendations

Reuters

Family members comforting the daughter of Ankaji Sherpa, who lost his life in Friday’s avalanche in the Everest region, during the cremation ceremony of Sherpa climbers, in Kathmandu, on Monday.

RAJAN POKHREL

KATHMANDU: The government today formed a joint task force to study the demands put forth by protesting mountaineering support staff and guides following the deadliest avalanche on Mount Everest in its history on Friday that killed 13 Sherpas and left three missing.

The task force led by Joint Secretary Madhu Sudhan Burlakoti, Chief at the Mountaineering Department under the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation, has been tasked with presenting recommendations and suggestions regarding demands put forth by mountaineering support staff and guides by Tuesday, reads a statement issued by MoTCA.

The task force comprises representatives from different stakeholders, including Nepal Mountaineering Association, Trekking Agency Association of Nepal and Expedition Operators’ Association, among others.

“The task force will present a report with suggestions and recommendations at tomorrow’s meeting with representatives of the expedition operators, agencies and mountaineering associations,” Burlakoti said.

Spring expeditions are hanging in a Himalayan limbo after mountaineering guides and climbers yesterday issued a seven-day ultimatum to the government to fulfil their 12-point demand. They have suspended all climbing and search activities in the Everest region.

An increment in insurance amount, adequate compensation, climbers’ memorial park and a basket fund for the wellbeing of support staff and guides are some of the demands the Sherpas have raised.

Earlier, a joint meeting called by MoTCA also discussed the issues raised by the mountaineers. “We urged the government representatives, including Tourism Secretary Sushil Ghimire, to consider the genuine demands raised by mourning mountaineers,” said Dambar Parajuli, President, Expedition Operators’ Association.

After the meeting, Burlakoti said in a statement that the government was ready to set up climbers’ memorial park with the support from different mountaineering bodies. The statement also reminded that Rs 40,000 each has already been announced to victims’ families as an immediate relief.

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