Austrian tourists Arien Cosac and Sabina have a souvenir from the Maoists. It is a permit letter allowing them to trek Rolwaling area and it reads: "The eastern regional command of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) thank you for the Rs 1,000 you provided to help the people's war." The Austrians are not the first to be asked for 'donations'. More than half-a-dozen different trekking groups in Rolwaling have been forced to pay money for the cause. An American-Italian group came back from their trek Rs 12,000 lighter, an Australian team reportedly paid Rs 11,000 to continue with their trek and Belgian trekkers returned to the capital with a receipt for Rs 4,000.
The rebels call it an "entry permit fee". Tourists who arrive in Dolakha are asked to pay between Rs 1,000-3,000 each for the privilege of trekking in this scenic valley. District secretary of the CPN (Maoist), Asmita admitted those who refuse to pay are asked to leave, but added: "We only ask them to pay voluntarily." Asmita said the 'fee' did not violate the code of conduct signed between the government and Maoists earlier this year and that all donations would be put to good use for the development of Rolwaling. Locals estimate the Maoists have collected more than Rs100,000 this spring. Many trekkers feel cheated.