Futile fight

It’s been more than 40 years since the Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) came into being. As an old institution, the NMA has been working for the promotion of mountaineering in Nepal. It has motivated mountaineering zeal among foreign and Nepali climbers, besides providing formal trainings to those interested in climbing. But even after being a pioneering body, the NMA now seems to be ripped apart by internal bickerings. No wonder, some of its members are now seeking government intervention to run the organisation. The NMA’s central committee member, Kazi Sherpa, in a memorandum to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation the other day urged the authorities to conduct the association’s upcoming elections. The NMA officials have also referred to the misappropriation of millions of rupees and complained about some illegal appointments. The NMA statement claims ineligible people are capturing the NMA memberships while the genuine ones are being denied entry. This is indeed unfortunate for an organisation, which has contributed so much for the growth of tourism in Nepal.

If on the one hand, intense fighting is eroding NMA’s credibility, on the other, the government intervention it is seeking amounts to forsaking its own autonomy. Why should an association engaged in a worthwhile work want to get into bureaucratic hassles and tardy government proceedings? And in an age when the government is expected to govern the least, inviting official intervention just does not fit. Meanwhile, it may be in order to point out here that for lack of transparency and proper auditing, much of the external assistance to NGOs is believed misused. A high government official claims that a certain development aid agency has already disbursed about eight and a half million rupees to a certain NGO and this huge amount is unaccounted for. Most of the battles within many an organisation in the country are fought over who gains control over financial resources. Unless the country puts a check on those NGOs that are minting money through illegal channels, that too in the name of development, not much can be expected in the social front. An effective monitoring mechanism is the need of the hour to check misappropriation of funds in the NGOs including the NMA.