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Indian Mountaineering Foundation suggests expedition teams

Indian Mountaineering Foundation
Darjeeling, May 29: The Indian Mountaineering Foundation today suggested that all expedition teams planning to scale peaks outside India should inform the apex national body for better co-ordination in case of accidents such as the one in which Chanda Gayen went missing.
Col (retd) H.S. Chauhan, the president of the foundation, said today: “I would suggest that all Indian expeditions should keep us in the loop so that there can be better co-ordination as we have partners (across the globe). In Nepal we work with Nepal Mountaineering Association.”
Chauhan was speaking on the sidelines of an event to mark the 100th birth anniversary of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, the first man to climb Mt Everest along with Sir Edmund Hillary. The event was held at the Himalayan Mountaineering Institute. All expeditions in India have to be okayed by the IMF.
But two veteran mountaineers said it was not mandatory for climbers to inform the IMF about expeditions abroad.
Basanta Singha Roy said the IMF had no role to play in expeditions in foreign countries.
“It’s primarily the (private) agency’s responsibility to carry out the rescue operation. It’s being paid for that. I have no idea as to how the IMF can chip in a rescue mission in a foreign country. If any accident happens on Everest or Kanchenjungha, the country’s tourism ministry is there to look after it,” he said.
“One can send a formal intimation to the IMF before an expedition in India. But, it’s not a rule. Now, if anything goes wrong during the expedition, the climber’s family has to bear the cost of the rescue mission. The respective state government can also chip in. And at that juncture, if the IMF is intimated and provided with the expenditure of the rescue mission, it can as well launch a search drive,” he said.
Jamling Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, son of Tenzing Norgay Sherpa, also said climbers do not have to seek permission from Indian authorities for expeditions abroad.
“We simply go to the country concerned and apply for the permit to climb there. In Nepal, we have to get the permission from their tourism ministry if the peaks are higher than 8,000m, and if it is lower we have go get permission from the Nepal Mountaineering Association. Climbers usually go through agencies (private companies) and they do the needful,” Jamling said.
Since most expeditions in Nepal are managed by private agencies, organising rescue missions is the responsibility of these private tour agencies.(TT)

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