The West Bengal government will soon frame a set of rules and guidelines for climbers from the state who wish to go on Everest expedition. Sports minister Arup Biswas told reporters at the airport, where he paid floral tributes to Subhas Pal who died while attempting to climb the world’s highest peak, that complying with the rules will be mandatory. “We are forming some rules for mountaineers which they will have to comply with. If anyone goes on an expedition to Everest without the state’s nod, Nepal government will have to take the responsibility,” Biswas said.
The decision comes in the wake of a string of deaths on Mount Everest involving climbers from the state. Experts have raised serious doubts about the physical fitness of the climbers, their training and the quality of specialised gear they carry.
The state government representatives who went to Kathmandu last week to coordinate the search and rescue operations of the missing mountaineers has even asked the Nepal government not to allow any climber on the world’s highest peak unless they have no-objection certificates from the Bengal authorities. As of now, an NOC is not mandatory unless the climbers take grants from the state.
The state government team comprising principal secretary of the sports department SA Bawa, joint-secretary Mukesh Singh and mountaineer and police officer Ujjal Roy met Nepal government officials who grant permission to the climbers to scale Mount Everest. “We told them that we will check the physical fitness levels of the climbers before granting them permission to go on Everest expedition,” Ujjal Roy told HT.
In 2014, Chanda Gayen went missing while she was descending from Kanchenjunga West (Yalung Kang). Her body is yet to be found. In May 2016, Rajib Bhattacharya died while on an expedition to Dhaulagiri. More recently, Subhash Pal met an icy death on Mount Everest. And both Gautam Ghosh and Paresh Nath perished on the way to Mount Everest peak.
Soon after these series of mishaps, doubts were raised about the fitness levels of the mountaineers and the quality of equipment they carry. Many climbers, it is alleged, go on the expedition without proper training and gear bought from Kathmandu’s flea market.
“The West Bengal government is serious about regulating Mount Everest traffic from the state,” Ujjal Roy told HT.