Himalayan Times Editorial on Nepali Government Mistakes

The Himalayan Times ( a Nepali newspaper) has written an editorial castigating the Nepali government for their bureaucratic failing to provide a clear process for honoring 2014 Everest climbing permits and providing leadership and a "road map" for moving climbing safety and security forward in the Everest region and beyond. The country of Nepal and the economy of the Khumbu region stand to lose huge amounts of tourist/climber money this year. To any outsider looking in, this situation would be laughable if it didn't affect so many people. Any Scout leader or school club leader could figure out how to solve this situation in a day, but it is beyond the capabilities of this beautiful country's inept leaders.
 
Here is the content of the editorial: (it can be seen at http://thehimalayantimes.com/fullNews.php?headline=EDITORIAL%3A+Costly+i... )
 
It seems what had been feared three months ago has started happening. The government had been reminded from various quarters that it was becoming late to decide on issuing an extension of individual permits by five years to agencies which had postponed their climbing plans last spring. Three hundred and twenty-five Everest climbers had abandoned their attempts last spring after an avalanche fell on the icy slope near Camp 1 and over 100 related to other peaks. Cancelations of commercial Everest expeditions for 2015 and 2016 were increasing then over the government’s lack of decision. The government had postponed issuing or extending permits on the grounds that rule changes were being considered. It meant that various shortcomings regarding climbers’ safety and the climbing business, particularly after the tragedies on the Everest trails, were to be taken into account. 

It is necessary to plug the loopholes so that mountain climbing does not become unnecessarily hazardous, the environmental concerns are adequately addressed, and all those involved in climbing get their due reward. But this argument is no justification for ruining the climbing business through delay, with its multiple effects, including economic ones. The government is fast running out of time to make amends. If it cannot decide, it will lose revenue and the money that the climbers spend in Nepal, which for Everest comes to nearly three billion Nepali rupees a year. As for climbers, they will naturally opt to make their adventure from the Tibetan side. Nepal could lose much more – the international goodwill and interest that Nepal enjoys for mountain climbing. It will send out a wrong message to the climbing world.

The climbing hopefuls are being kept in a cloud of uncertainty, and they are still unable to decide as the fate of the permits they obtained in 2014 hangs in the air. Expedition agencies do not have any clear answers to provide to the queries of the climbers. With just a couple of weeks or so remaining for the climbing season to begin, neither the government nor the expeditions have much time to decide. Even after the decision, the expeditions will require some time to make preparations. Officials have provided bureaucratic replies but these will not resolve the problem and its consequences if not addressed properly in time. The file regarding the matter remains stuck up somewhere in the bureaucratic jungle of the government. Indeed, the file will have to make a journey through several channels before a final decision is made. But that needs to do without avoidable delay, and that has clearly been not done. Hints have come that a final decision on amending the regulations will take at least another two weeks, and perhaps more. But if it comes it will have already caused a certain degree of damage, with some climbers having already changed their plans. It is also a pointer that so far the Department of Tourism has not received any application for a permit to scale Mt. Everest, and the same is true for Mt. Lhotse and Mt. Nuptse. More seriousness is expected from government officials.