Santa Bir Lama elected Nepal Mountaineering Association president

KATHMANDU: Tourism entrepreneur Santa Bir Lama has been elected as the president of Nepal Mountaineering Association, the country’s only alpine club.

Lama garnered 383 votes while his nearest rival Zimba Jangbu Sherpa obtained 316 votes in the election of NMA’s central executive board held in the Capital on Saturday. Deebas Bickram Shah, Maya Sherpa, Kul Bahadur Gurung, Tikaram Gurung and Sudershan Neupanye have been elected as first vice-president, second vice-president, general secretary, secretary and treasurer respectively.  General Secretary Gurung represents Sherpa-led panel while all the other winners in the executive committee are from Lama’s panel.

Lama-led panel was jointly backed by the CPN-UML and CPN Maoist Centre while other mountaineering unions close to Nepali Congress and Naya Shakti Party supported the Sherpa’s panel in the election. Lama has served as the first vice-president and Shah was the second vice-president in the outgoing executive committee led by Ang Tshering Sherpa.

Pasang Tendi Sherpa, Singhi Lama, Mingmar Sherpa, Binaya Shakya and Sanjiv Gurung from Lama’s panel and Da Gelji Sherpa, Hari Shrestha, Tulsing Gurung and Ang Chhewang Sherpa have been elected as the member of the executive board. Among 1,039 registered voters, only 756 votes were cast in the election, according to chief election officer Keshav Kumar Thapa.

Earlier, Mingma Gyabu Sherpa (David), Nawang Narbu (Bhaila) Sherpa, Dipendra Pandey and Ang Dawa Sherpa were elected as the executive committee members from the mountaineers’ (book-holders) quota.  Pasang Bhote of Sankhuwasabha has also been elected unopposed representing the life members of NMA.

After his election to the top post, Lama reacted that he was committed to act as per the aspirations of the mountaineering community. “The new committee will work to benefit professional climbers and individuals involved in mountaineering sector as well as develop mountain climbing skills and efficiencies,” he said.

NMA which was established in 1973 as a non-governmental, non-profit and non-political organisation has been working as a national alpine association of Nepal to promote mountain tourism, climbing sports, protect mountain environments and preserve and promote cultural heritage of mountain people.

Being the only national alpine club authorised to issue climbing permits for 33 mountain peaks of Nepal, NMA has also launched several activities in the mountainous region to aware the local communities about the impact of global warming. It also runs welfare activities in the form of assistance to the families of those mountaineers who unfortunately meet tragedy on the high Himalayas.