Kathmandu, February 11
The Department of Tourism has decided to halt operation of Everest Panorama Resort located in Daman, Thaha Municipality of Makawanpur district, for three months.
A secretary-level meeting held on February 9 decided to halt all operations of the resort, where eight Indian tourists had died of suffocation after using LPG heater to keep their hotel room warm.
A probe committee formed by DoT on January 23 revealed that the resort management’s negligence had caused the incident. During the investigation, the committee found the resort had not been following the recommended safety measures and was providing substandard services to its guests. Moreover, the committee discovered that the resort had not fulfilled the criteria set by DoT to be categorised a ‘resort’.
Operation of the resort has been halted as per Section 15 of Tourism Act-1979, said Mira Acharya, director of DoT.
As per the regulation, a resort must be equipped with air-conditioners, smoke detectors and proper ventilation in all its rooms. A resort should also have a team of well-trained staff. Every hotel, lodge, motel, resort and homestay should be able to provide health and medication services needed round the clock, the law further adds.
“If the resort owner wishes to resume services after three months of suspension, the resort should be upgraded as per the Hotel, Lodge, Restaurant, Bar and Tourist Guide Rules-1981 and also meet the criteria mentioned in a notice published in the Nepal Gazette under the title ‘Hotel Classification and Criteria’,” Acharya said. She added that the resort would also have to undergo the Environment Impact Assessment to get the permission from DoT to resume operation.
Meanwhile, the resort’s management has claimed that they are not responsible for the incident. “That day we had provided a heater to the tourists following their repeated requests,” said Shiva KC, manager of the resort. According to him, the resort has completed all the procedures of DoT. “The resort is not substandard as mentioned in the DoT’s report. We have been running this resort with quality services for a long time, so our resort cannot be deemed substandard all of a sudden after this incident,” he said. He claimed that the resort was being upgraded as per the new policies of the government.
DoT had granted operation permit to Everest Panorama Resort on 15 March 1992. It was registered at the Department of Industry on 16 September 1992.
A group of 15 Indians were travelling to Pokhara from Kerala. They stopped at Everest Panorama Resort on their way back to Kathmandu. Of them, two couples and four children were found unconscious in their hotel rooms on the morning of January 21. All of them died while being airlifted to Kathmandu for treatment.
A version of this article appears in print on February 12, 2020 of The Himalayan Times.