Keeping aside India’s offer to jointly remeasure the height of the world’s highest peak, Mount Everest, following the massive earthquake in 2015, Nepal is set to begin the process on its own within two weeks. A secretariat has been set up for the work and officials said the task of measuring the height of Mt Everest will take two years and cost more than Rs 250 million. Nepal will, however, seek help from India and China for getting crucial data for the exercise, Nepal’s Survey Department’s Director General Ganesh Bhatta told PTI. According to a statement by the Department of Science and Technology which comes under India’s Ministry of Science and Technology, after the 2015 “Gorkha earthquake” that jolted Nepal, various doubts were raised by the scientific community over the height of the peak. The Survey of India, a 250-year-old institute under the DST, proposed re-measuring Mt Everest as an ‘Indo-Nepal Joint Scientific Exercise’ with Nepal’s survey department. Girish Kumar, the Surveyor General of India, confirmed that Nepal had not responded to India’s proposal.
The development comes after scientists speculated that the earthquake could have reduced the height of the peak. “India was the first country under Sir George Everest’s leadership as the Surveyor General of India to have declared the height of Mount Everest and establish it as the highest peak in the world in the year 1855,” the Department of Science and Technology’s website states. It is to be noted that Nepal has not measured Mount Everest’s height before. Earlier, in 2011, Nepal had planned to measure the height of Mt Everest and allocated Rs 8 million for the effort. The work was stopped when the finance ministry told officials not to use the money for “unproductive works”. As per media reports, preparatory work has already begun on the project and Nepal is gathering preliminary data crucial for this survey.
An earthquake, measuring 7.8 on the Richter Scale, hit Nepal in April 2015, killing thousands of people and reducing buildings to rubble beside altering the country’s landscape.