Rt.  Hon. Chairman of the Council of Ministers
Honorable Minister of Tourism
Your Excellencies and representatives of diplomatic corps
Founder Chairman and past Chairmen of HRA,
Chairmen and Presidents of various tourism organizations,
 Respected Guests, Members of HRA, Ladies and Gentlemen.

On behalf of the Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal  I would like to extend my hearty welcome to all of you here to celebrate 40th Anniversary of the foundation of Himalayan Rescue Association Nepal.

To begin with I would like to remind you that back in 1973 when HRA was established the founding members envisaged the main mission of the association – to save human life.  A simple thought of an American volunteer peace core Mr. John Skow ‘to save life of trekkers from high altitude sickness in the high mountain regions of Nepal’ couple with his enthusiasm brought together many of the leaders of tourism industry including Prof. Y. Hayata of Japan to establish this organization. Among the founder members the Founder Chairman Mr. Tek Chandra Pokharel is here with us today. He has witnessed all the strides HRA made in all these years.

In our set humanitarian mission US Embassy, British Embassy, Australian Embassy and Embassy of the French Republic provided significant financial assistance to enable us to do our duty and job. My colleagues, in their capacity of chairmen of HRA, had given their time and energy to serve HRA with the best of their ability and knowledge to make HRA what it is today.

The medical doctors, until now 348 of them - mostly from US, UK, Australia, and New Zealand, volunteered to reach out to the trekkers in the high mountain from our remote aid posts at Pheriche and Manang, and later at Everest Base camp, to save life from the unnecessary death from high altitude sickness and other medical problem which can be prevented with a simple dictum Dr. John Dickinson prepared for HRA at that time 40 years ago when little was known about the sickness in the world; it is still the best dictum at present.  Together with them the medical directors of HRA have made valuable contribution in making our mountain a safe tourists’ destination.

At this juncture when the Ministry of Tourism is gearing to set the goal to get 20 million tourists by 2020 we will be facing a daunting challenge to save life as well as to promote Nepal as a safe and caring tourist destination. To meet this challenge I endeavor to set our bar a little higher by ushering HRA to our next goal – Search & Rescue. I have already initiated to make HRA a focal point when tourists are in crisis. To prepare ourselves we are working closely with Nepal Tourism Board on the plate form of Tourists Crisis Cell which is a working unit of Tourism Crisis Response Unit of NTB formed under the Chairmanship of the Honorable Minister of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation. I urged NTB and Minister and Secretary of Tourism to help HRA in its proposal to build ‘Tourist Emergency Response Center’ at our head office in Dhobi-chaur, Lazimpat with capability to respond 24 hour and 365 days.  The center would be a coordination unit for search and rescue and a valuable information point to get help and assistance by tourists when they are in crisis or when disaster happens. We also plan to use GPS technology in our work to minimize disappearance of trekkers as well as help our rescue team to do their job efficiently. With the regular financial assistance from the government and NTB we plan to prepare a standby rescue team as well as train people who we have at various tourist points in the mountain and terai (plain) where we already have established Tourists Crisis Units at 6 different points; and planning to establish more of these units to other places very soon.            

On the 40th year of our uninterrupted service we found today an auspicious moment to show our gratitude to all of our well wishers and friends who have been part of the journey to say ‘Thank You’ in this simple ceremony.  It is also a moment to remember many of them who are not here with us today; and many who are living in far flung places in different parts of the world.

With this note once again I would like to welcome our Chief Guests, Chairman of the Council of Minister Mr. Khil Raj Regmi, Minister of Tourism Mr. Ram Kumar Shrestha, our distinguished guests from various diplomatic agencies and embassies and all respected guests in this hall to celebrate the occasion.

Thank you.                   
Date:30 August, 2013

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