IMF, ministry chalking out adventure tourism policy

IMF Director Col SS Phogat told TNSE that there are many groups and agencies that go on treks, but do not take IMF permission.
IMF, ministry chalking out adventure tourism policy

BENGALURU : In the wake of recent incidents of trekkers standing in long queues at Mount Everest summit and the death of nine trekkers from Bengaluru while returning from Sahastra Tal Mayali in Uttarkashi, the ministry of tourism and Indian Mountaineering Foundation (IMF) will soon release an adventure tourism policy.

It will regulate tourism, lay down a list of regulatory approvals to be followed by state and central tourism departments, private agencies and mountaineering associations in each state.

So far, permission from the IMF has been mandatory while going on a trek to the Himalayas. But with the new policy, it will be mandatory to seek IMF’s permission for all treks across India. The ministry is working on a comprehensive policy which defines the carrying capacity for each location.

IMF Director Col SS Phogat told TNSE that there are many groups and agencies that go on treks, but do not take IMF permission.

There is a set of rules to follow when going mountaineering. But many adventure tourists lie about the route or mention only that they are going trekking. In the new policy, specific rules and regulations will be laid down that will have to be followed. The trek routes will also be defined, he said.

“Every state has many tour operators who do not contact the IMF. We get information about trekkers from disaster management teams and officials from Uttarakhand when they are taken by private agencies. When government agencies are involved, they inform us. Some private agencies are registered with the IMF. Ideally, all agencies have to be registered with the state or central government tourism department before registering with us,” he said.

Naveen Mallesh from Trek Nomads said Sahastra Tal Mayali is located 4,500 metres above sea level in Bhagirathi Valley. It is a glacier lake and in the Himalayas, especially in Uttarakashi, all valleys and routes look the same, so regulations are needed, he added.

IMF ROLE

IMF is the apex national body for mountaineering and allied sports. It supports, promotes and regulates national and international climbing and mountaineering in the country.

It is affiliated to the International Mountaineering and Climbing Federation. Its role is to engage in mountain protection work, knowledge building and awareness creation on the Himalayas. 

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