The Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA) had announced the launch of an official Special Investigation Unit that would be looking into the activities of more than 500 expedition, trekking and helicopter companies in the country who are accused of corruption and price-fixing through unnecessary and fictitious helicopter rescues to defraud the travel insurance industry out of millions of dollars. The deadline for the completion of the investigation was allocated June 29, 2018.
The team was assigned to find out the culprits along with digging out the reality whereas they were also asked to arrest person who are engaged in such illegal acts. However, no any substantial progress is achieved till now.
Director General of Tourism Department Dandu Raj Ghimire, DIG of Nepal Police Manoj Neupane and Deputy Director of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), Subash Jha and Deputy Secretary of the Ministry, Prakash Sharma Dhakal are members of the investigation team. The team was formed in coordination with of Joint Secretary Ghanshyam Upadhyaya on June 4, 2019.
Joint Secretary Upadhyaya stated that the team could have failed to complete the task at time due to certain issues. Considering this, two months time has been added and the team now must submit the report on August 31, 2019. Ministry claimed that the instruction and coordination from upper level officer has been given to make the research more reliable.
Last year, a record 940,000 visitors arrived in Nepal and within the last three months of 2017, Traveller Assist provided medical assistance for over 250 travellers from the UK, Australia, New Zealand, Canada, and the United States – 37 of which involved a helicopter evacuation. After further investigation, it was found that 30 per cent of these evacuations were completely unnecessary.