• Probe ordered into Indian couple’s Everest record

    Ramesh Tiwari
    June 30, 2016
    Probe ordered into Indian couple’s Everest record

    Pune: Three weeks after being celebrated for being the first couple to reach the Everest summit, Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod have been rudely brought back to earth. Eight fellow mountaineers from Maharashtra have filed a complaint stating that the couple, who are police constables, was never at the summit and had, in fact, morphed pictures of themselves at the top.

    Sources in the police department said, “After the mountaineers approached the commissioner, she spoke to a few experts and based on their opinion, directed the assistant commissioner to initiate a probe.”

    Tarkeshwari Rathod, when asked about the inquiry and the morphed photographs, said, “I cannot comment as the case is being investigated by the Pune police and the Nepal government.”

    On June 6, newspapers across the country had prominently published the Rathods’ feat — that they had, on May 23, touched the summit of Mount Everest together — the first couple to have done so.

    On June 16, mountaineers Anjali Kulkarni, Sharad Kulkarni, Surendra Shelke, Anand Bansode, Shrikant Chavan, Rupali Chavan, Manisha Waghmare and Amit Singh filed a complaint with police commissioner’s office against the Rathods, disputing their claim of having reached the Everest summit. 

    Anjali Kulkarni, one of the complainants, said the basis for their complaint is the photographs the Rathods submitted to prove their feat.”These are the biggest giveaways. The pictures are clearly morphed. The couple’s Himalayan suit colours and even their boots seem to have been changed at the summit. The colour of Dinesh Rathod’s down jacket is red and black in his individual summit photo, whereas in the couple’s summit photo his jacket colour is a yellow-orange. The same is the case with Tarkeshwari Rathod’s outfit. Both seem to have changed their climbing boots too in separate pictures. Being able to change one’s clothes mid-climb and not get frostbitten would be a miracle,” Kulkarni said.

    Among the other points made in the complaint is the date and time stamp on the photos. Dinesh Rathod had stated that he reached the Everest summit at 6.25 am on May 23, 2016, but the direction of the shadows indicates that the time the photo was taken was between 11 am and noon, the complaint states.

    Interestingly, it is these very photographs that the Nepal Tourism Board ‘verified’ before awarding the couple their summit certificate. Officials from the Nepal Tourism Board remained unavailable for comment.

    Makalu Adventures in Nepal, the agency that organised this climb for the Rathods, said they had done everything as per the rules. Speaking to mid-day over the phone, Mohan Lamsal, from Makalu, said, “I am aware of the complaint, but the Nepal Tourism Board verified the feat only after calling my two climbing Sherpas and me along with the Indian couple and asking detailed questions about the summit. They separately interviewed the couple and the climbing Sherpas and after four days officially declared the Rathods’ Everest summit feat.” Lamsal refused to acknowledge that there was anything wrong with the photographs submitted.

    This is not the first time the Rathods have been alleged to have faked a summit. Eight climbers who scaled 10 of the highest peaks in Australia in November 2014 lodged a complaint that the Rathods completed only five peaks. “The couple had only completed five peaks. However, they came back and announced their successful summit of the Aussie10 Challenge in the Indian media and were felicitated. The Australian Mountaineering Agency refused to issue them the certificate,” Kulkarni said, adding that this detail is also part of the complaint.

    Kuntal Joisher, a mountaineer from Mumbai, who was in another climbing team on May 19, around the time the Rathods were supposed to have climbed, said he does not remember seeing Dinesh and Tarakeshwari Rathod at any of the higher camps.

    “Between May 19 and 24, we were at the Everest and neither my team nor I saw the constable couple at any of the higher camps. We did, however, see them at the Everest Base Camp.”

    The base camp comprises rudimentary camps that Everest climbers use during their ascent and descent.

    Anjali Kulkarni said she and her fellow mountaineers decided to speak up when they discovered the truth about the photographs. “The reason we have taken up this case strongly is that such people are setting a bad example both in India as well as in Nepal. They should be stripped of their title.”

    Secretary of the Pimpri Chinchwad Mountaineering Association, Surendra Shelke, who is also a complainant, said, “We are not against the Rathods, but against what they have done. This belittles the efforts of genuine mountaineers. The Rathods were my students and had told me they wanted to be part of adventure sport to enable them to get faster promotions. I never imagined they would do something like this.” 

    Source : mid-day.com June 29, 2016

    • Connecting you with the world of travel and tourism

      News Brief

      Kabul: Afghan security forces have regained control of Intercontinental Hotel, hours after the gunmen burst into the hotel shooting at guests and staff. At least five civilians were killed and six were injured in the siege. Three of the attackers have been killed and more than 150 guests were rescued. No group has said it carried out the attack, but the Taliban targeted the Intercontinental hotel in 2011.

      Beijing: China’s economy grew by 6.9% in 2017 according to official data – the first time in seven years the pace of growth has picked up. The figure beats Beijing’s official annual expansion target of about 6.5%. Gross domestic product (GDP) totaled 82.71 trillion yuan (about 12.84 trillion U.S. dollars) in 2017, with the service sector accounting for more than half of the total.

      Shanghai: China Eastern Airlines and other domestic airlines have begun to allow mobile phone use on their aircraft or announced plans to lift a ban. China Eastern Airlines and Hainan Airlines began to allow passengers to use portable electronic devices (PED), such as smartphones and tablets.China Southern Airlines and Xiamen Airlines announced they would allow mobile phone use on all their flights this week. – Agencies

      2017 in review -Top stories

      January 1 : New year nightclub attack leaves 39 dead in Istanbul
      January 20 : Republican billionaire Donald Trump sworn in as 45th US president
      January 23 : Syria peace talks begin in Kazakh capital Astana
      March 29 :United Kingdom officially launches the Brexit process
      April 4 :Syria launches chemical attack killing 90 people
      April 6 : US cruise missiles destroy Syrian air base
      April 9 : Bombings at two churches in Egypt kill dozens
      April 16 : Refugee death toll passes 1,000 in Mediterranean
      April 16 :Turkey says YES to presidential system
      May 6 :Emmanuel Macron elected French president defeating Marine Le Pen
      May 19 :Iran’s President Hassan Rouhani wins re-election
      May 22 : Terrorist attack kills 22 at Manchester concert
      June 5 : Gulf nations severe ties with Qatar
      June 7 :Suicide bombers attack Iranian parliament killing 13 people
      June 14 :London fire kills 71 in the 24-storey Grenfell Tower
      July 4 :North Korean leader Kim Jong-un’s missile ambitions
      July 28 : Pakistan’s top court disqualifies Prime Minister Nawaz Sharif from office
      August 5 :US withdraws from Paris climate change pact
      August 17 :Storms cause record damage in Caribbean and southern United States
      August 25 :Muslim Rohingya start fleeing Rakhine state in Myanmar
      September 15 : NASA’s 13-year Saturn mission ends
      September 20 : Earthquake kills more than 200 in Mexico
      September 24 : Germany’s Chancellor Angela Merkel wins fourth term
      September 26 : Saudi Arabia lifts ban on women driving
      October 1 : Gunman opens fire on Las Vegas music festival killing 59 people
      October 14 : Massive bombing in Somalia’s capital Modadishu kill more than 500 people
      October 24 : China confirms the elevation of President Xi Jinping to the same status as the nation’s founder, Mao Zedong, and Deng Xiaoping, by enshrining ‘Xi Jinping thought’ in the party’s constitution at the 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China
      October 27 : Catalonia declares independence from Spain
      November 4 : S audi Arabia detains 11 princes, four ministers and ten former ministers in a corruption probe
      November 12 : Iran-Iraq magnitude 7.3 earthquake kills more than 500
      November 15 : Argentine navy submarine disappears with 44 crew on board
      November 21 : Robert Mugabe resigns as Zimbabwe’s president after 37 years in power. His former deputy Emmerson Mnangagwa will become president.
      November 22 : Bosnian Serb army commander Ratko Mladic convicted of genocide in Srebrenica during the 1990s Bosnian War
      November 24 : Gunmen kill hundreds at Sinai mosque in Egypt
      December 4 : Houthi militants assassinate Yemen’s former President Ali Abdullah Saleh
      December 5 : Russia banned from 2018 Winter Olympics for state-sponsored doping
      December 6 : US President Donald Trump recognises Jerusalem as the capital of Israel
      December 17 : Price of one bitcoin reaches a new high of $19,783.06 dollars
      December 21 : Yemen’s cholera outbreak
      December 22 : Syria peace talks in Astana (compiled)

      Top ten most visited cities

      Between January and August 2017, destinations worldwide welcomed 901 million international tourist arrivals (overnight visitors), 56 million more than in the same period of 2016 .The top ten most visited cities are:
      HONG KONG26.6 million
      BANGKOK 21.2 million
      LONDON19.2 million
      SINGAPORE16.6 million
      MACAU15.4 million
      DUBAI14.9 million
      PARIS14.4 million
      NEW YORK12.7 million
      SHENZHEN12.6 million
      KUALA LUMPUR12.3 million

      Source: Euromonitor International

      Wildlife in Chitawan , Nepal

      Window of Nepal Tourism