LETTERS: Hike salary for Sherpas

Apropos of the news story “Sherpa shortage takes a toll on Everest” (THT, May 19, Page 1), there are two dimensions to the problem here: paucity of workers and dirt cheap prices. As we near the two million or more tourists mark in less than two years, we might have to pull a puff and ponder over our prices and paucity of staff, not just on the slopes of Everest but also in the Valley.

Paradoxically, Nepal faces a unique situation -- scarcity amidst plenty, particularly in water resources and manpower. We have water everywhere but persistent shortage of potable water makes our life miserable.

Similarly, our industries, including a trekking company in the news, rue dearth of workers even as 1,500 workers officially leave the country everyday citing no jobs here. Is someone lying? It is true that convent-educated youths including off-springs of high altitude Sherpa guides, are no longer interested in risking their lives for the  monthly wages of a couple of hundred dollars on highly seasonal jobs.

There might be interest if they are paid a lump sum of $3,000-5000 per expeditions like the lucky liaison officers. The only solution to the looming labour shortage in tourism is to hike the salary scale like Trump did to get the Americans to work in IT and keep out the immigrants. Questions may also arise as to how someone can run an expedition to Everest at 20,000 dollars, one third the price of their competitors. I reckon the selling price of Everest expedition would be around $90,000 or more at source markets.

Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu


The aboriginal (indigenous/tribal) communities across the planet are suffering tremendously due to exploitation, loss of their traditional livelihood, lands, forests, traditional socio-cultural practices as well social security.

In many countries around the planet they have been reduced to significant low numbers threatened with extinction in the next five to six decades.

Irrespective of their monumental contribution to the human society and civilizations; in most countries their roles have never been truly recognized and honoured appropriately. Rich tribal heritage and traditions should make us all equally proud due to the value that have added to our societies over several centuries in the form of rich archaeology, socio-cultural history, arts, handicrafts and literature, traditional science and technology, agricultural innovations, ethno-botany and ethno-medicine, forestry & conservation; and above all tribal philosophy.

The ancient tribal community life inspires me in their basic philosophy of share and care of all members of a tribe, their meta physiological perspective of life and life processes highlighting that all things in nature are sacred and has equal rights to survive with humans side by side in the same ecosystem or habitat.

Saikat Kumar Basu, Canada