Acting CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) Subash Nirola has been suspended from his post.
The executive committee meeting of NTB held on Thursday took the decision.
Earlier, parliamentary Finance Committee had directed the government to immediately suspend Nirola and take necessary action against him, after finding his involvement in different irregularities in NTB.
NTB’s executive committee is chaired by the tourism secretary. It consists of five board members form the private sector and five ex-officio members from different government agencies.
The executive committee has appointed Nandini Lahe Thapa as the officiating CEO of NTB. Similarly, director general of the Department of Immigration (DoI) has been named member secretary of the executive committee.
A probe team formed by the tourism ministry has found Nirola’s involvement in number of irregularities ranging from misuse of NTB’s resources and by bypassing the Public Procurement Act, among others.
Popular travel guidebook Lonely Planet has included Khumbu, which is popularly known as the Everest region, in its ‘Top 10 Regions to Explore in 2015? list.
Khumbu is in the sixth position in the list.
“Everest is a classic journey following the footsteps of Tenzing and Hillary into the planet’s most jaw-dropping mountain arena, home to the world’s highest peak. With Nepal’s Maoist uprising firmly behind it, trekkers are rediscovering the region’s remoter trails,” the guidebook writes, adding, “Try the high-altitude Three Passes trek or adventurous Mera Peak expedition. And since 2015 marks a half-century since Major Jimmy Roberts organized the first commercial trek in Nepal, it might be time to dust off those trekking boots.”
“If you want something more authentic, tread the old-school approach routes to Everest from Jiri and Tumlingtar, along parts of the 1700km-long Great Himalaya Trail.”
Gallipoli of Turkey features at the top of the list followed by Rocky Mountain National Park of US, Toledo of Belize, Tasmania of Australia and Arctic Norway of Norway. Similarly, The Copper Canyon of Mexico, Flores of Indonesia, Atacama Desert of Chile and Macau of China are in the seventh, eighth, ninth and tenth position, respectively.
The cabinet meeting on Monday endorsed the agreement between the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal and CAMC Engineering Co (CAMCE) of China, paving way for the construction of an international airport in Chinnedanda of Kaski.
According to officials, the finance ministry can formally start the process to secure soft loan from China EXIM Bank for the project. The bank has agreed in principle to provide loan to the government to build the new airport in Chinnedanda of Kaski, three kilometers east of the existing domestic airport.
The project, which was initiated nearly four decades ago, has been idle since July 2012 after CAMCE quoted $305 million for construction works, 85 percent higher than the government estimate. The government had expected the project cost at around $166 million.
CAAN Director General Ratish Chandra Lal Suman and Luo Yan, chairman and president of CAMCE, had signed the agreement to construct the airport on May 22.
As per the agreement, CAMCE will construct the runway, taxi-way, apron, international and domestic terminal buildings, air-traffic control tower, cargo terminal building and a hangar. The airport, which will spread over 200 hectares, has a 2,500 meters long and 45 meters wide runway.
Earlier, the board meeting of CAAN chaired by the then tourism minister Bhim Prasad Acharya had approved the project with the revised cost of $215.96 million on April 7.
The government had acquired 3,106 ropanis of land at Chinnedanda for the airport 38 years ago. It is planning to acquire another 500 ropanis this year. It has allocated Rs 2.6 billion for land acquisition and fencing purpose in the budget for 2014/15.
CAMCE is expected to complete construction of the airport within four years. CAAN officials say the airport will come into operation from 2019.
The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of legislature-parliament has directed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to immediately suspend Subash Nirola, acting CEO of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
PAC took the decision after confirming his involvement in financial irregularities in NTB.
“We have seen Nirola’s involvement in different irregularities like bypassing of Public Procurement Act while making procurement, making purchases without justifying the cause, making illegal payment to unrelated individuals and not keeping financial accounts of the organization in order,” the decision taken by PAC on Wednesday reads.
PAC has also directed the tourism ministry to initiate further investigation against Nirola based on the report of a probe committee led by joint secretary Purna Chandra Bhattarai and Office of the AUditor General.
PAC has also decided to inform the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) and the Department of Money Laundering Investigation about its decision.
Nirola has been denying his involvement in irregularities saying that he only implemented decisions taken by the executive committee of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB).
The blizzard and avalanche that hit different trekking areas in the Annapurna Region on October 14 has claimed 32 lives, the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) said issuing a press release.
Seventeen of the deceased are foreign trekkers. Similarly, a total of 407 (181 Nepalis and 226 Nepalis) have been rescued alive from different trekking trails of the Annapurna Region, the ministry said in the release. Seven are still missing.
The natural disaster hit trekking areas in the middle of the tourist season which begins in September and ends in December. October is regarded the best area for trekking in the Annapurna region as the weather is clear at this time of year and trekkers can enjoy stunning views of snowcapped mountains. But blizzard and avalanche, which were the outcomes of the Hudhud Cyclone which hit the Andhra Pradesh state of India, destroyed the fun this year.
Disaster mainly hit four trails in the Annapurna Region – Thorong Pass of the popular Annapurna Circuit or Round Annapurna Trek, Dolpo-Jomsom Trek, Nar-Phu region in Manang and the Round Dhaulagiri Trek.
Updates are coming.