Local govt permission mandatory for research in Everest region

Lukla, June 2

Researchers will not be allowed to conduct any scientific study in the Mt Everest region without necessary permission from the local government, a high-level official said.

Talking to THT at his office in Lukla, gateway to the world's highest peak, Chairman of Khumbu Pasang Lhamu Rural Municipality Nim Dorje Sherpa said researchers, whether they were scientists, climbers, students or hikers, must obtain permission from the rural municipality before they embarked on a trip to the Khumbu region for research.

Referring to a recent decision made by his office, he said that researchers should first come to the rural municipality office for permission before heading to higher regions for their study. “None will be allowed to conduct scientific research on mountains, glacial lakes and tourism issues in the Mt Everest region without permission,” he reiterated, adding that researchers will be barred from entering the region if they fail to abide by the rules.”

Sherpa understands that most previous researches were conducted to tarnish the image of the Mt Everest region. “Researchers were doing science for a bad reason,” he alleged.

According to him, researchers in the past had exploited the flora and fauna of the Khumbu region in the name of scientific research. “Especially, the westerners, they have often produced researches that provide negative publicity of the region's glaciers and lakes in world forums,” he alleged.

For instance, research findings on glacial lake outburst flood always keep investors away from the Khumbu region. “The status of glacial lakes fully contradicts the research findings,” he said, adding that they were killing the hydropower potential of the Khumbu region.

“Khumbu locals must be a part of any research work now onwards,” Sherpa said, adding that prospective researchers must notify the locals through the rural municipality about their plan, research process and possible outcomes of their research activities. “Khumbu locals have the right to know about the research being carried out in the Everest region.”

The rural municipality shall decide whether or not a particular research should be conducted in the region, the chief of the people's representative body, said. The researchers must sign a memorandum of understanding with the rural municipality before conducting their research in the Everest region. “Researches that leave the locals always fearful of GLOF can't be tolerated any more.”

Pramod Bhattarai, chief warden at Sagarmatha National Park, lauded the rural municipality's decision. “The researchers must work in close coordination with the local government,” he said, adding that SNP would fully support the rural municipality in its new initiative. According to him, different world projects and individuals spend millions of rupees every year to conduct research in the Everest region.

Mountain geomorphologist Dhananjay Regmi, who heads the Himalayan Research Expeditions, said that they were ready to cooperate with the local government.