Staff, 2022-12-09 20:43:56,
In 2022, according to the Indian Mountaineering Federation, 33 foreign and 104 Indian expedition permits have been issued. About 50 to 60 percent of tourists apply for permits which cost foreigners $100-$200 and Indians Rs1,200-Rs1,600. Yet, not many services are offered for the fee and there are several restrictions. For instance, satellite phones are banned, or, in special cases, require permission. This while the International Climbing and Mountaineering Federation mandates the need and use of satellite phones.
Also, long processes to obtain permits often lead to illegal trekking and many trekkers go unaccounted for as they set off on their own without permits, backpack in tow.
“India currently has no information on who has entered its natural heritage. Registration of adventure companies and a model law (in progress) will ensure a safer environment,” says Kala.
A single-window access will greatly help the industry, says Praveen Sood, general secretary, ATOA-M, which has carried out 65 rescues in its lifetime. “In the West, one pays a membership per peak. Under its gambit, rescue and insurance is covered and compulsory. That could be a simple solution,” Sood adds.
Adopt global safety standards
Sood looks at India’s neighbour for inspiration. “Nepal started Trekkers’ Information Management Systems (TIMS) 10 years ago with internationally certified guides and pilots, professional experts, and rescue stations. India needs this,” he says.
The TIMS that…
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