Monday, April 06, 2020

When death struck down mountain-high Everest Panorama resort in Nepal
IFP Bureau | First Published: February 13, 2020 11:16:50 am
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The popular tourist resort set atop a mountain overlooking the majestic snowy peaks of the Himalayan ranges stands ever alluring. But the 28-year-old picturesque Everest Panorama, now, wears a forlorn look as the Tourism Department of the Nepal government has suspended its licence for three months following the recent death of eight Indian tourists at the resort.

A group of 15 tourists from Kerala travelled to Pokhara in Nepal and on their way back, stayed at the Everest Panorama Resort at Daman in Makwanpur district. Daman Simbhajyang is a popular tourist destination in Bagmati Province. It is about 55 km from Kathmandu.

In a shocking incident on January 21, eight of the tourists, including four children, who shared a room in the hotel were reported dead after falling unconscious. The cause of the death was cited as “possible asphyxiation” by a probe committee. They might have fallen unconscious probably due to a gas leak from a heater in their room at the resort, according to the district police as reported in the Kathmandu Post.

The Makwanpur Police said the eight unconscious tourists were airlifted to HAMS hospital in Kathmandu where they were declared dead on arrival by the hospital doctors.

In view of the tragic incident, the Tourism Ministry set up a probe committee. The committee pointed out that the deaths may have been caused by “possible asphyxiation” as a result of “poor security management and managerial weakness” at the resort. Based on the committee report, the Department of Tourism, Nepal, on February 9 decided to shut down the Everest Panorama Resort for three months as per Section 15 of Tourism Act-1979.

The committee, which was formed under Surendra Thapa, the director of the Department of Tourism, also found the resort had failed to comply with the recommended safety measures and had not fulfilled the criteria for resort set by the Tourism Department.

However, the resort can resume operations after three months of suspension by upgrading the resort as per the Hotel, Lodge, Restaurant, Bar and Tourist Guide Rules-1981 and meeting the criteria mentioned in a notice published in the Nepal Gazette under the title ‘Hotel Classification and Criteria, Mira Acharya, director of DoT, stated, adding that the resort would also have to undergo the Environment Impact Assessment.

Meanwhile, the resort management, in the Kathmandu Post report, stated, “We will work towards meeting the standards fixed by the department… We are saddened by the tragic incident. We will ensure that such incidents don’t occur in the future.”

Everest Panorama is one of the more popular tourist resorts in Nepal owing to its ideal location and the captivating panoramic views around it. Unfortunately, the tragic story of the deaths of the eight Indians, two couples and their four children, may long continue to make the resort wear a forlorn look…

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