Local bodies to get their share of mountaineering royalty
The local bodies will get 30 per cent of the mountaineering royalty, according to the new guideline.
The government has endorsed Mountaineering Royalty Allocation and Distribution Guideline 2014 that will enable distribution of 30 per cent of the royalty raised from mountaineering activities to local bodies.
The guideline endorsed on February 9 with an immediate effect will help the government distribute the piling royalty amount in the government coffer due to lack of guideline.
Though, the funds were allocated partially in the past and it had to be approved by the Finance Ministry.
Earlier, in Local-Self Government Act enforced in 1999 had provision of allocating royalty for the development of mountain regions. But it could not come into effect. Locals of Upper Mustang and other mountainous regions have been staging protests and demanding their royalty share as provisioned by the Local-Self Government Act.
Currently, the government owes more than Rs 300 million in royalties to 11 mountain regions.
In September 2011, locals of Upper Mustang even warned of barring tourists from entering the district unless the government gives it its share. Locals have been blaming the government for allocating nominal funds in the districts that mobilise the highest mountainering royalty.
According to the new guideline, Tourism Ministry will mobilise royalty through District Development Committees (DDCs) in the form of subsidy. The DDCs have to send their progress reports – on the mobilisation of the royalty – to the ministry annually. "The regions that get more than Rs 5 million annually have also to prepare a tourism master plan."
The guideline also directed the royalty to be used for development and upgradation of tourist road, trekking trail, base camp, porter’s shelters, rafting, home stay and preserving tangible and intangible cultural heritage. " The amount should be used for the development of adventure sports activities, airport infrastructure, promotion of tourism products and exploring new destinations," it has stated.
Annually, the government collects more than Rs 240 million in mountaineering royalty by issuing climbing permits for various peaks.