NAC to operate five more aircraft by October

July 29, 2014

KATHMANDU, 28 July: The state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) will have five additional aircraft by the end of coming October and a total of 13 aircraft by April next year ready for operational flights.

The corporation has already received a MA60 aircraft in grant from the Chinese government while another Y12E aircraft is reported to be on its way.

The arrival of one of the Y12E aircraft was stalled due to the delay in arrival of Chinese Instructor Pilot (IP) supposed to instruct Nepali pilots to become Instructor Pilots, said NAC Managing Director Madan Kharel.

“The Y12E aircraft will arrive within the next two weeks,” said Kharel.

By September this year NAC will receive one more MA60 aircraft and three other Y12E aircraft by the end of October.

MA60 with 56 seats will make flights on trunk routes from Kathmandu to major cities of Nepal. The Y12E aircraft with 18 seats will operate flights in STOL Fields i.e. to rural areas with narrow runway strips. Read more

Muslim’s biggest festival Eid-ul-Fitr today

July 29, 2014

KATHMANDU, JUL 29  – Eid ul-Fitr is being observed with gaiety and gusto across the country. The government has declared a public holiday today on the occasion of Eid-ul-Fitr, the biggest festival of the Muslim community.

Eid celebrations mark an end to the month-long fast of Ramadan. The month, the most rigorous period of the Islamic lunar year, is when Muslims observe Roza (fasting)—abstaining from taking food, water and all other physical needs from sunrise to sunset. It is marked with the breaking of the fast and enjoying of various delicacies with relatives and friends.

They fast over the month from dawn to dusk in the belief that they would thus ascend to heaven and their sins would be cleansed. During the fasting month, some Muslims do not even watch television or listen to music after the daily fast.

Ever since the country was declared secular in 2008, the government has been declaring public holidays on both Eid-ul-Fitr and Eid-Al-Adha (Bakr Eid), the second biggest festival of the community celebrated in November.

The Ministry of Home Affairs issued a notice on Monday informing about the government’s decision to declare public holiday on Tuesday. Prime Minister Sushil Koirala extended his best wishes to the Muslim community for their progress, happiness and prosperity on the occasion. The PM said the festival would help strengthen religious harmony in the country.

TAAN to fix qualification of guides, porters

July 28, 2014

KATHMANDU, July 27: The Trekking Agencies´ Association of Nepal (TAAN) is working to fix minimum qualification for guides and porters in its bid to enhance the quality of service provided to trekkers.

According to TAAN President Ramesh Dhamala, discussions are underway to fix minimum qualification for trekkers and porters. “We are planning to change the qualification of guides to SLC passed and porters to Grade 10. However, we are studying the practical aspects of this provision,” said Dhamala.

Not only that. TAAN and different unions of trekking workers have already signed an agreement to bar unlicensed trekking guides from leading groups from January 2015 onwards.

Kul Bahadur Gurung, second vice president of TAAN, said the association was holding discussions with trekking workers unions and trekking agencies regarding enforcement of minimum qualification criteria for trekking guides and porters. “It is better to have the qualification fixed as we can assure trekkers on the quality of service that we are providing them,” Gurung said, adding, “There, however, are some issues that need to be discussed and the practical aspects to be considered before taking decision on the issue.” Read more

Snow leopard increasing public income in Manang

July 28, 2014

MANANG: Snow leopard, which once used to be the biggest enemy of herdsmen living in highland of the district, has lately become an important source of income.

Local’s standard of living has significantly altered after the inflow of foreign wildlife researchers spurred in the district over the past couple of months.

According to Annapurna Conservation Area Project (ACAP) official Ananda Subedi, students from Malaysia and America have recently been studying on various aspects of the wild animal snow leopard, known scientifically as ‘Uncia Uncial’.

According to him, snow leopard conservancy has also formed snow leopard scout for school children in Mustang district, in order to increase local’s participation in the wildlife conservation.

Scientists have also installed a device called Fox Light, an electric wildlife deterrent in the snow leopards of the districts. This has further helped in the study and conservation of snow leopard in the region.

Source: The Himalayan Times
Date: 27 July, 2014

KMC to build new toilet in Kathmandu Durbar Square area

July 28, 2014

KATHMANDU: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City is all set to construct a well-quipped rest room for tourists visiting the Kathmandu Durbar Square, also known as Hanumandhoka, a UNESCO World Heritage site.

Lack of a proper washroom in the area has caused inconvenience to tourists visiting the historic site. Although, a toilet was constructed about 13 years ago, it lacks facilities which a rest room should have, hence it is rarely used — unless and until someone is in urgency.

“A well-equipped rest room will be constructed soon,” said Hari Kumar Shrestha, programme manager at Hanumandhoka Durbar Square Conservation Programme under KMC. “The facility is expected to be ready before the 18th SAARC Summit,” he added. The 18th SAARC Summit is scheduled to be held in Kathmandu in November.

Out of four rooms leased from Nepal Aadarsha Higher Secondary School at Basantapur, two rooms will have rest rooms, according to Shrestha. Read more

Hotel business in Langtang area ‘slack’

July 27, 2014

KATHMANDU, July 26 : Just a month ago tourist flow at Rasuwa´s tourist hotspot Langtang National Park area was high and the hotels in the area were jampacked. Some hotels had to even turn the tourists back for lack of accomodation. But, since the past three weeks, tourist flow to the area has sharply decreased and hotels have turned empty. “Just three weeks ago, we had hard time managing the high inflow of tourists,” Nurbu Tamang, operator of Lama Hotel at Langtang, told Republica. “But now the situation is just the opposite, the rooms are empty,” lamented Tamang.

Hotels in the Langtang area largely depend on seasonal tourists. According to hotel operators, hotels make good business only during six months in a year mostly around October and other months during the spring season when the tourists flock to this area in large numbers.  Read more

Private sector proposes two-tier board for NTB

July 27, 2014

KATHMANDU, JUL 27 – The private sector has proposed two-tier board for Nepal Tourism Board (NTB)—NTB Council and NTB—in a bid to ensure its effective functioning, mobilisation of resources and supervision.

As per the private sector’s proposal, the council would play a supervisory role and will be engaged in monitoring the tourism promotional body. Tourism Minister would chair the council.

And, NTB would be responsible for tourism promotional activities at national and international levels. The private sector has proposed its representative to lead the NTB board. At present, Tourism Ministry secretary chairs the board.

After widespread criticism about NTB’s underperformance and misuse of resources, Tourism Minister Bhim Prasad Acharya had directed his ministry officials to form a 15-member high-level committee to recommend the government on NTB restructuring. The committee led by Mohan Krishna Sapkota, joint-secretary of the ministry, includes 12 private sector representatives.

“Although the deadline to submit the report has ended, we have asked three additional weeks,” said Ramesh Dhamala, member of the committee representing the private sector. Read more

Everest avalanche victims still await relief

July 27, 2014

KATHMANDU: Yawning gap between pledges and delivery is becoming unbearable for the bereaved families of the Mt Everest avalanche victims.

Three months have already passed since its announcement but the government has not provided compensation of Rs 5 lakhs each to the 16 families of avalanche victims.

Six families of the mountaineering support staff and guides who were killed in the deadliest April 18 avalanche have not even received the insurance amount of Rs 1 million. They rue that they had only received Rs 40,000 as funeral expenses from the government.

“We have not received any communication from the government or the mountaineering authorities about the compensation or insurance amount,” Pasang Lhamu, who lost her husband Then Dorjee Sherpa, 34, told this daily.

Ngima Dorjee, brother of Phurba Ongyal, 25, of Khumjung, Solukhumbu, said the poverty-stricken family had been hard pressed to make ends meet after losing Phurba, the sole bread-winner of the family of four. Read more