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Nepal bans absentee liaison officers for fudging attendance

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Kathmandu | August 15, 2019 1:41:22 AM IST
Nepal on Wednesday banned Liaison Officers (LOs) who faked their presence during summit window this year at Mt Everest.

The newly appointed Tourism Minister Yogesh Bhattarai made the announcement upon receiving a report from a committee who probed into various issues regarding mountaineering including reasons behind the death of 11 climbers this climbing season on Mount Everest solely.

"Many of our liaison officers, without prior notice didn't go to their stationed places, didn't work as per the awarded responsibilities and we have those reports. We can reveal their identity at certain condition in the future but there are some officers who had done such. From now onwards they will be banned from performing their works as liaison officers," Bhattarai said.

An investigation undertaken by Center for Investigative Journalism, Nepal had revealed that only 24 out of the 37 LOs deployed for this season had reached the Everest Base Camp.

"Out of the 37 liaison officers, 13 officers had submitted their report about the summit without even going to the base camp. They basically stayed home. Our investigation shows that many of the officers in question were mainly government officials who are well connected to the country's power centres," the CIJ's report published on July 22 had revealed.

As per the Mountaineering Regulations 2002, the Department of Tourism begins distributing the certificate to successful climbers only after the expedition company, team leader and LOs jointly conduce debriefing before the Department Officials.

The climbers are asked for the photographic and video-graphic evidence before awarding of the certificates. The power of regulation thus lies on the LOs to report if the climbers successfully made to the summit or not as well as keep an eye on the expedition companies as well as climbers.

Any government employee with a certificate of basic training from Nepal Academy of Tourism and Hotel Management (NATHM), and officials from security agencies can file an application at the Department to work as LO, together with a consent letter from their immediate supervisors, has been set as the criteria to be LO. (ANI)

 
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