The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) is preparing to file corruption against the then acting CEO of NTB Subash Nirola after confirming his involvement in misappropriation of millions of rupees in NTB.
CIAA has directed the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) to suspend Nirola from the post after finding his involvement in embezzlement of more than Rs 50 million in the name of tourism promotion.
On October 30, MoCTCA suspended Nirola until January-end as per the direction of the parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC). PAC took the decision after studying report prepared by a committee led by joint secretary Purna Chandra Bhattarai.
MoCTCA had formed probe committee under Bhattarai after tourism entrepreneurs, at the call of Joint Tourism Coordination Committee (JUTCC), bivouacked in NTB premises for nearly two months, barring Nirola from the office. The protest had affected tourism promotional activities of NTB.
CIAA has also directed the tourism ministry to produce Nirola before CIAA for interrogation. It plans to charge-sheet Nirola in the court after interrogating him. “The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation has been hereby directed to suspend and present Nirola before the CIAA as retaining him to the post could result in loss and destruction of evidences,” CIAA said in a statement.
According to the probe report, Nirola had coerced the executive committee of NTB to amend its financial by-laws which authorized him to award contracts sans competitive, bypassing the Public Procurement Act. Similarly, it authorized NTB CEO to spend up to Rs 10 million at a time for tourism promotion in Nepal and up to US$ 400,000 in foreign countries.
Popular media outlet CNN has included Great Himalaya Trail (GHT) in ’10 of the world’s most amazing long-distance trails’ list.
Describing the trail as ambitious, CNN writes in its news report: “Still being put together, when finished, this 4,500 kilometer skyscraping traverse will be the longest and highest mountain trail in the world, crossing the entire Himalaya range from Kashmir to Tibet, via India, Nepal and Bhutan.”
Nepal’s section (of the trail) is the most complete and it alone offers one of the great trekking challenges, the news report adds.
The Nepal Section of GHT is split into Low and High routes that run near parallel, beginning either side of Kanchenjunga Base Camp and ending on the Tibetan border in Humla.
“For high culture, the low route (still averaging 2,000 meters in height) passes through remote Nepali villages dotted along the hills and valleys. Only those with mountaineering experience should attempt the high route — it peaks at a breathless 6,146 meters (20,164 feet),” the report adds.
Other long trails included in the list are: The Appalachian (US), The South West Coast Path (UK) Te Araroa (New Zealand), Continental Divide Trail (US), Sir Samuel and Lady Florence Baker Historical Trail (Sudan-Uganda), Oregon Desert Trail (US) Grand Italian Trail (Italy), Hokkaido Nature Trail (Japan), and Trans Panama Trail (Panama).
The government has appointed tourism entrepreneurs Phurba Gyalzen Sherpa, Rajendra Sapkota and Ghanendra Bahadur Shrestha as members in the executive committee of Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) from the private sector.
A ministerial level meeting chaired by Tourism Minister Deepak Chandra Amatya held at the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation took the decision on Thursday evening took the decision.
The meeting selected the three tourism entrepreneurs from a list of five recommended by a selection committee led by Joint Secretary Umakanta Parajuli. Former President of Trekking Agencies’ Association of Nepal (TAAN) Sitaram Sapkota and tourism entrepreneur Chandra Rijal were members of the selection committee.
This is Sherpa’s second term in the NTB’s executive board. Similarly, Sapkota is the chairman of Tourism Area Committee of CPN-UML. Likewise, Shrestha is the treasurer of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN). As per the NTB Act, five representatives from private sector have to be nominated to the executive committee of NTB.
The ministry appointed only three private sector representatives in the executive committee as two incumbent members — Dhruba Narayan Shrestha and Rebat Bahadur Thapa – still has tenure of another two years.
Popular aviation website AirilneRatings.Com has named Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and Tarai Air among the world’s unsafest airlines.
The website says if an airline has a crash that involves the death of a passenger and/or crew members it will automatically receive a deduction of one star, giving it a lower safety rating.
“A crash involving fatalities carries with it a one star deduction for 10 years from the date of the incident,” says the website on a page explaining its ratings system.
Of the 449 airlines surveyed by AirlineRatings.com, nearly 50 have just three stars or less.
Kazakhstan’s Scat Airlines and Afghanistan’s Kam Air are the other two airlines in the world’s unsafest airlines list. All of these airlines have been banned from flying in the European Union (EU) skies.
QANTAS TOPS SAFEST AIRLINES LIST
AirlineRatings.Com has named Qantas of Australia as the world’s safest airlines.
Other airlines in the top 10 list in alphabetical order are Air New Zealand, British Airways, Cathay Pacific Airways, Emirates, Etihad Airways, EVA Air, Finnair, Lufthansa and Singapore Airlines.
The website’s rating system takes into account audits from aviation’s governing bodies and lead associations as well as government audits and the airlines’ fatality records.
It also examines airlines’ operational histories and incident records.
The government has reduced Mt Everest climbing permit fee for foreign climbers by more than 50 percent. It has also reduced permit fee for all peaks opened for mountaineering.
Officials say the new move is aimed at increasing the number of mountaineers in the country.
The government had reduced permit fee for Nepali climbers about a year ago. The new climbing fee for foreign climbers came into effect from January 1.
Officials of Department of Tourism (DoT) say reduction in climbing permit fee will relay positive message about Nepal in international arena.
Now onwards, foreign climber will need to pay US$ 11,000 per person for climbing Mt Everest via normal route in the spring season. Earlier, they need to pay $25,000 per person. For other routes, permit fee has been fixed at $10,000 per person. Earlier, climbers were required to pay $15,000 per person.
Similarly, permit fee to climb Mt Everest via normal in autumn season has been revised to $5,500 per person. Earlier, mountaineers were required to pay $12,500 per person.
The permit fee has been revised as per the recommendations of a committee led by Purna Chandra Bhattarai formed to review existing permit fee.
Similarly, permit fee for mountains above 8,000 meters, excluding Mt Everest, has been fixed at $1,800 per person. Likewise, permit for mountains between 7,500 meters to 7,999 has been fixed at $600 per person and permit for mountains between 7,000 meters to 7,499 meters has been fixed at $500.
Altogether 1,792 mountains have been identified in Nepal. Of them, 326 peaks have been opened for mountaineering. Eight of 14 peaks above 8,000 meters, including Mt Everest – the tallest peak on earth – lie in Nepal.