NMA Demands Royalty Rights

31st Dec, 2017 | Tourism Mail Crew

KATHMANDU, Dec 31: The Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA) has demanded the renewal of royalty rights to 12 mountains with the newly forming government. NMA had been collecting royalty from the mountains since four decades, and the royalty rights had expired around August.

The demand was made on the 27th General Meeting of NMA. The President of NMA, Santa Bir Lama, said during the event that the new government should solve the issue of royalty rights which had been unrenewed due to various reason.

The chairman of CPN-UML Party, K.P. Oli, said during the event that in order to develop the tourism sector of Nepal, it is necessary to preserve, promote, and make sustainable use of the Himalayan region. Since the mountaineering tourism is a dangerous sector, there should be a balanced cooperation of the government and the private sector, said Oli.

Past President of TAAN, Ramesh Dhamala, said that there should be a one-way mechanism for the tourism promotion of Nepal.  He said that if tourists have to pay entry fees to every villge municipality and state, then there would be no tourism promotion. “If the coming government does not bring an intelligent plan on the matter of tourism then there can be a conflict between the state-level and local-level governance.”

NMA had made an agreement with the government to collect mountaineering royalty rights until five years back. It had gained the permission under Article 37 of the Tourism Act, 2035.

The government had given the NMA rights to collect royalty from mountaineers for 18 small mountains under 6500 meters in 2034. The ministers’ cabinet had, in 2051, given it additional permission to collect royalty from 15 more mountains, allowing the NMA to collect royalty from 33 mountains and giving it responsibility for their management and promotion.

NMA has been collecting royalty on 6 mountains under 5800 meters from 2072, and since four decades has been collecting on 27 mountains under 6500 meters lying in various trekking routes. The Sushil Koirala government had given the mountain royalty rights to the Tourism Department, which was reverted back to the NMA by the Supreme Court two months later. The royalty rights to 12 mountains have not been renewed due to disagreement on this issue between the government and NMA.

The NMA collects around Rs. 60 million in mountain royalties, of which it is obligated to send 20% to the Local Development Fund,  10% to the Environment Protection Fund, and 5% to the Rescue Fund.

In the economic year 2072/73, NMA did not send the 12.8  million rupees it was obligated to send to the Local Development Fund, and the 3.5 rupees that were meant to go to the Enviroment Protection fund. The Office of the Auditor General had subsequently suggested the toursm ministry to withhold the renewal of the royalty rights.