The Nepal National Mountain Guides' Association (NNMGA) has expressed its dissatisfaction towards the provisions set by the Department of Tourism (DoT) to distribute mountain guide licence.

Aiming at regulating the mountaineering sector, DoT is preparing to distribute mountain guide licence and the applications for the same will be open from March 14. However, the DoT has set different criteria for the candidates to be eligible to receive governmental mountain guide licence.

It has mentioned that even those who have been granted the international mountain guide licence should have also acquired the Nepali certificate issued by CTEVT. Thus, IFMGA has stated that the department has tried to discredit the mountain guide licence issued by the association. Issuing a press statement today, NNMGA has said that the department cannot disqualify the certificate issued by the NNMGA.

"Since 2005,NNMGA has been working for the welfare of mountain guides. Still countries like India and China are trying to be the member of this federation however, they are still not getting chance," said Ang Norbu Sherpa, president of the association, "So, how is it logical that the DoT cannot consider the certificate distributed by such a prestigious organisation?"

He further said that for the last 10 years the federation has been trying to help mountain guides who have already received their licence from IFM- GA also to acquire the national mountain guide licence.

"While the department was preparing for mountain guide licence distribution, we had recommended them to address this issue," he said. "However, the department has ignored our suggestion."

He further said that the Nepal government should treat all the mountain workers equally.

The NNMGA has also mentioned in the statement that only the red book issued by Nepal Mountaineering Association would not be eligible to provide mountain guide licence.

Under-qualified people might get licence on the basis of the red book.

"NMA distributes the red book on the basis of some temporary processes instead of looking at whether they have taken extensive training, and have the necessary skills and qualifications. Thus, to provide mountain guide licence on the basis of such red book might lead for unwanted consequences for the DoT," reads the statement.

The DoT has said that those without the government licence will not be allowed to go to the mountains with any climbing team. Also, those who go for mountaineering without a licence will be recognised only as high-altitude porters.

The NNMGA has also asked the department to amend this point.

Issuing a notice on Wednesday, DoT had called for eligible guides to submit their applications for the governmental licence.

A version of this article appears in the print on March 12, 2021, of The Himalayan Times.