Thursday, September 30, 2010

Four mountaineers missing, three rescued


POKHARA: Four mountaineers -three Japanese and a Nepali- trying to scale Dhaulagiri (I) mountain have gone missing.

The missing are Osamu Tanawe (49), Toshiyo Yamamoto (36) and Deisuke Honda (32) and Pasang Gyalung Sherpa (47), according to Nawaraj Bhatta, Deputy Superintendent of Police, District Police Office, Myagdi.

However, two Japanese and one Nepali in the expedition have been rescued by a Mountain Air helicopter.

The rescued Japanese are Noboko Kudo and Hiroshi Ishoda while Dawa Chhiring Sherpa is a Nepali. They met the tragedy at the base camp of the mountain. RSS

Sweden-deportee kills self in immigration detention cell

KATHMANDU: A deportee from Sweden, Balaram Chhetri (28), hailing from Lekhnath of Kaski, was found dead in a Department of Immigration detention centre cell in Maitighar today.

Chhetri committed suicide by hanging himself with a muffler. He was found dead at around 6:45 this evening.

The Swedish government on Sunday had handed Chhetri — who is said to have stayed there for around eight years — over to the Nepali Embassy in Sweden. The embassy had issued him a travel permit to Nepal, as he was not in possession of a passport.

He arrived at Tribhuvan International Airport at 2 pm by Thai Airways TG 319 flight. Immigration office at TIA had handed him over to DoI.

According to officials at DoI, he refused to answer anything. The DoI officials then had asked him to pay Rs 5,000 as bail amount.

“We tried our best to find about his deportation but he flatly refused to answer,” said Sesh Narayan Paudel, an investigation officer at DoI.

DoI was in the process of handing him over to the court in the next 24 hours. Chhetri even had refused to accept ‘inmate warrant’ and was being kept in a room at the detention centre. Asked if there were any security lapses at the detention centre, Paudel said, “It is a civilian custody. We allow clothes and electronic gadgets like mobile phones and laptops inside the detention room. This is the first case of its kind and an eyeopener for us. We will take stock of security measures in future.”

Inspector Bir Bahadur Budha Magar, in-charge, Metropolitan Police, said, “The body has been referred to Tribhuvan University Teaching hospital for autopsy.”

“He might have killed himself out of frustration that he could not do much in the foreign land,” Director General at DoI Narayan Sanjel told THT. “He did not seem to be mentally sound, as his behaviour was a bit peculiar during the interrogation session.”

Till late Wednesday, no relative of the deceased had come into contact.

PM holds talks on budget


KATHMANDU, Sept 29: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Wednesday held discussions with former finance ministers on how to bring the new budget.

"Though we are serious towards the budget issue, we suggested the prime minister to hold discussions with the top leaders of parties regarding this topic since it is a political matter", said former Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari who also attended the meeting.

The former finance ministers attending the meeting called for announcing the full-fledged budget by the third week of October since economic activities in the country have slowed down following the delay in budget announcement, he informed.

The prime minister is scheduled to hold a meeting with top political leaders at the office of the prime minister at 12:00 noon on Thursday so as to forge consensus on bringing in the budget.

Finance Secretary Rameshwor Prasad Khanal and Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) Governor Dr. Yub Raj Khatiwada stressed on the need to bring the budget at the earliest considering dwindling economy in the country.

Former finance ministers Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, Dr. Ram Sharan Mahat, Dr. Prakash Chandra Lohani and former NRB governor Tilak Rawal were also present in the meeting.

Wednesday, September 29, 2010

SAG injured yet to receive insurance

Even after seven months of an elevator breakdown during the 11th South Asian Games (SAG) in Dhaka, none of the nine national players injured in the accident have received any insurance or compensation.

Some players say that they do not have any idea how to claim the insurance money, while others who tried say that complicated procedures for claiming insurance has made it virtually impossible for them to receive the reimbursement.

As a result, the investment made by the National Sports Council on players´ insurance has turned out to be meaningless as the players have not been able to reap benefits from the scheme.

Others have shown very little interest to collect the insurance after learning that they are entitled to receive only a meager amount.

The policy papers of the Group Personal Accident (GPA) insurance purchased by NSC from Lumbini General Insurance Company state that injured players are entitled to receive only 1 percent of the maximum insured amount (Rs 100,000) on a weekly basis during the injury period, according to the officials of the company.

“We are not interested to undergo all the hassles for such an insignificant amount,” said SAG bronze medalist Deepak Krishna Shrestha, who was injured in the accident on the inaugural day of the regional sporting event.

“No one is interested to make the claim, except for the seriously injured judo players Debu Thapa, Kaluman Tamang and Ramesh Magar,” he added.

Debu Thapa, who had won bronze despite being injured, said, “The insurance company has told us to meet complex criteria in order to receive the amount. We made rounds of the company a few times but have given up after being unable to submit all the receipts, letters and other details as per the demand of the company,” she added.

Other players have no idea how to proceed. “I don´t have any information on how to claim the insurance. I have received a form but I don´t know what to do with it,” says national judo player Ramesh Magar, who had to undergo a surgery in Dhaka to repair his knee ligaments.

The company´s officials say that they cannot release the amount unless the players submit all the required documents.

“We had written a letter to NSC on February 24, asking it to fulfill requirements to get the claims. Some players had visited us and we had given them clear instructions on dealing with the requirements. But they have not come back,” said Binod Kaji Shrestha, deputy general manager of the company.

He said that the company wants to close the file because the players have not come forward to claim reimbursement and it has forwarded a letter to the NSC on Thursday seeking their suggestion on this issue.

The GPA insurance does not even cover the medical charges, according to DGM Shrestha, who is looking after the issue.

“The GPA covers insurance only for an injury period of 104 weeks. The maximum amount is Rs 100,000, only in case of death of the concerned person,” added Shrestha.

NSC, on the other hand, has not facilitated the players in receiving the reimbursement. The players´ complaints have fallen on deaf ears because there isn´t any department at NSC to hear the complaints.

The failure of NSC to retrieve the reimbursement for the total insurance premium of Rs 111,587 for the 395-member jumbo team has brought into light that the funds from the state coffer have gone down the drains.

The need to seek budget from the government even after insuring the players clearly indicates that the reimbursement is insufficient, besides being difficult to obtain.

Medical team awaits NSC nod

The NSC has formed a medical board, which has been assigned to recommend about the expenses of treatment of players injured during the 11th SAG.

NSC formed the board about a week ago after the Ministry of Youth and Sports asked them to form such a board to get financial assistance from the government. However, the board comprising Dr Ajay Rana, Dr Pradeep Joshi and Dr Buland Thapa is yet to begin its work since they have not received official letters from NSC.

Earlier, NSC had demanded Rs 3.5 million from the ministry for the treatment of the players.

Dengue puts Chitwan docs at high risk

CHITWAN: Dengue epidemic, which has been wrecking havoc for the last one-and-a-half months, has put doctors at various hospitals in the district at risk.

The doctors pointed at the risk they are subjected to at an interaction held here today among physicians, technicians and journalists in the presence of a team of expert doctors and technicians from Epidemiology and Disease Control Division.

Dr Kalidas Adhikari, physician, Bharatpur Hospital, who has contracted dengue, said he had been working for almost 18 hours a day with dengue patients. “This has put physicians at high risk,” said Adhikari. “A doctor of Bharatpur Hospital has been referred to Kathmandu for treatment after he contracted dengue.”

Senior physician at Bharatpur Hospital Dr Bijay Paudel said initial casualty was due to lack of diagnosis. “As Chitwan district faces high risk from communicable diseases, establishment of laboratory for diagnosis is a must,” said Dr Paudel. Dr Paudel also stressed on the need to upgraded the hospital.

Following deaths of 19 patients due to fever which broke out from the last week of July, an EDCD team has started check-ups and research to find out the cause behind the epidemic.

Ram Kumar KC, resource person, District Public Health Office, said 659 fever patients were admitted to various hospitals in Bharatpur between August 13 and September 26.

Of the 722 patients who underwent blood test during the period, 113 were diagnosed with dengue and 24 with H1N1.

In the wake of sudden surge in the number dengue patients, DPHO has demanded 500 additional dengue test kits, according to KC.

Dr Yadu Chandra Gautam, director EDCD, and Ram Krishna Bhandari, senior technician of National Public Health Laboratory, shed light on dengue and life-cycle of aedes mosquito, carrier of the disease.

Fewa, a nation thing

I was not surprised to see Jahnavi appa in Pokhara. She called me to meet her on the northern bank of Fewa. There is nothing like knowing an academician who is so very exceptionally beautiful. Moreover, she speaks many South Asian languages. Her Urdu is as good as her Bengali. She writes poems in Malayalam and is learning Nepali fast because of her profound knowledge of Hindi. We talked about the beauty of the city and later focused on nationalism and imagination because we both have recently read Gayatri Spivak’s book Nationalism and the imagination.

How does the love of Fewa become a nation thing? You ask something like this in your delineation of Spivak’s idea. I am contextualizing and rephrasing her notions on nation and nationalism. How does the love for this water, a fisherman’s song, a gaine’s music become a nation thing? How does singing dohari or eating gundruk change into the idea of a nation? How does love for a green rice field connect to a nation thing? I asked her.

Before meeting Jahnavi appa, I listened to a musical performance at Lake Side. The song, dance, and music for the tourists seemingly suggested Nepaliness. The same question can be repeated here. How does a song of a region relate to a nation thing?

Jahnavi appa’s critiquing of my borrowed questions (Spivak’s) convinced me because I would have argued in the similar line of thought. But let me put forward how Spivak takes such connections and changes. As long as there is comfort associated with such a song and/or a corner of a field which connect us to the nation, the nation thing conjures up. But, for her, such connections do not always lead to positivity. That means such connections are not consistent in the time of helplessness: When the comfort is taken away, nation thing does not remain positive.

Jahnavi appa said that Spivak’s discourse is relevant in Nepali nation thing too. The rise of federalism is, if not the weakening of a nation, resistance to the totalitarian notion of nationalism. When there is discomfort in people’s lives by the governing mechanism, the idea of a nation becomes less important in the presence of immediate surviving demands. And I add that unless the nation is threatened as a collective whole, the corner of a paddy field or a dohari keep changing easily into a nation thing.

Who cares for the nation when a young boy’s life is in precarious conditions? When the comfort is denied by the governance, the nation thing does not remain positive. The butler of the hotel, where Jahnavi appa stayed, used to be a good folk singer from the higher hills. He told her that he is moving to West Asia (Europe calls it the Middle East) where his old school friend from the Tarai has invited him to work in a five-star hotel. “I do not now feel the same enthusiasm when I sing songs about Begnas lake.”

Thus, the connections between nationalism and imagination can be fragile. Comfort determines imagining that a fisherman’s song in Fewa changes into nationalism. If comfort is denied, nationalism and imagination do not live up positively. A Nepali in a comfort zone, a person like me, a reader like you would not agree to such arguments, Spivak would think, because we do not have experience of the dire needs and their total denial.

After talking long with Jahnavi appa, after a day, drinking coffee with a student who is a teacher now in Pokhara, I put similar arguments without referring him to Spivak and Jahnavi appa. He retorted. Nationalism is a profound sentiment which lives inherently with us whether we are poor or rich. He can claim such connectivity because of many reasons. He may be right so for as the sentiment of nationalism works with him as a construction in his comfort zone.

Like me, he is fed with history, doctrines, songs and literatures, and he is not in a position to imagine severe forms of denial, and hence, thinks being an inherent nationalist. He thus is right from his ideological position, nor is the butler wrong from his position. I would not say that the idea of the teacher falsifies the idea of the butler.

Nation seems to me a fragile, floating, indeterminate and yet emphatic reality as Fewa is. The paradox of fact and fiction, comfort and denial, make strange sense of the contested category called nation.

I pondered over the matter multiple times in between my conversation with Jahnavi appa, the butler, the teacher, and this write-up. I do not judge nationalism as good or bad because it is beyond evaluative comprehension. From its predecessors, like religious communities to monarchical systems, nationalism has survived even the impacts of sub- and trans-nationalist hopes of globalization. Despite its long history of fragility, rigidity, and imagination, it is a category which has to be understood in its contestations. Finally, I would keep on reading Jahnavi appa and Spivak, two of my favorite ladies of immense intellect.

New polio case comes as a jolt to govt

KATHMANDU, Sept 29: To the utter dismay of health officials, a new case of polio has been detected in Nepal. The sixth case of polio detected in the last nine months is, as in the past, indigenous. This means that it was transmitted locally, not imported from Indian villages.

National Health Institute (NHI), the Bangkok-based laboratory where the government has been sending cases of Acute Flaccid Paralysis (AFP) regularly to detect polio, confirmed the new trace of acute infectious viral disease this week.
The government, however, is yet to announce the new polio case. According to sources at the Department of Health Services (DoHS), polio has affected a 22-month old child in Jowaha village of Rautahat.

Five cases of polio have been detected in 2010 alone. Of them, five were detected in Rautahat while one in Mahottari. Initially, two polio cases were imported from India. Later, all four cases were transmitted locally. "Alarmingly, most of polio cases have been found in Muslim communities," said a government official.

The trace of new polio case has come as a serious jolt the government because it has surfaced despite several rounds of its special campaigns. Since the first case in March, the Health Ministry has carried out three mop-up campaigns against polio -- the first in eight districts, second in 18 districts including the valley and last again in eight Tarai districts. However, the polio epidemic has not been eliminated. Instead, it has become more dangerous.

With the new case traced, the Health Ministry has decided to carry out new mop-up campaign against polio. But, this time around, the special vaccination drive will take place only in Rautahat and two adjoining districts -- Bara and Sarlahi. According to Krishna Chand, immunization chief at the DoHS, the campaign will be conducted between September 30-31 and October 2-3.

Failed strategy?

The detection of frequent polio cases despite several rounds of mop-up campaigns is due to the failure of the government´s strategy, say some government officials. They say the government must urgently review its strategy.

It has been learnt that the World Health Organization (WHO) and the United Nations Children Fund (UNICEF) have recently asked the government to revise its polio-strategy. "We recently did a presentation in the presence of high-level government officials," said a doctor, involved in mop-up campaigns, adding, "The aim of our presentation was to convince them of a new strategy."

According to him, the mop-up, supposed to be a sweeping campaign, has failed to cover all children below five years of age. "Only in Mahottari, public health officials carried out door-to-door vaccination program against polio, which prevented its further transmission," he said. "Elsewhere, even in Rautahat, the epicenter of the current epidemic, officials did not cover all children. They just installed booths in major intersections and waited for children. It does not effectively prevent polio."

Another doctor, involved in the WHO´s immunization programs, stressed on the need for social mobilization to increase the coverage of mop-up campaigns. "A decade ago, we used to conduct awareness programs massively," he said. "Today, awareness programs mean just some advertisements in radio and newspapers. Hence, the coverage of mop-up is low."

The efficacy of polio drops is never cent per cent, thanks to the poor status of sanitation and nutrition. Public health experts say polio drops do not work in malnourished children. And, its transmission is rapid in villages where people care less for sanitation.

However, overlooking these crucial facts, the government has so far focused only on mop-up programs.

Tuesday, September 28, 2010

Victim's family asks prez to help implement SC verdict


KATHMANDU: Family members of Ujjwal Kumar Shrestha, a local resident of Okhaldhunga, who was killed by former rebel leader Bal Krishna Dhungel in 1998, during the time of insurgency, presented a memorandum to President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav in Sheetal Niwas on Tuesday, asking not to grant pardon to the convicted murderer. Dhungel is elected member of the Constituent Assembly from the UCPN-Maoist.

In the memo, they demanded from the President the immediate implementation of the Supreme Court verdict on the case which had slapped the Maoist CA member Dhungel with a 20-year jail term and confiscation of his assets.

Responding to the demands, President Dr. Yadav suggested that the Shrestha family exert more pressure on the government and Prime Minister for the implementation of the court verdict.

The bereaved family took to the President after the Maoist party sought presidential pardon to Dhungel saying the incident took place during the insurgency and the upholding of the conviction was a violation of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement. If granted, the presidential pardon will reprieve the sentence.

Following a series of meetings with government officials for the implementation of the SC verdict, the family met the President today as a last resort.

Earlier they had met the Prime Minister and Home Minister for the same but they could not get the requisite support.

Speaking with reporters after the meeting outside the presidential office, Sabitri Shrestha, the sister of the victim said, “We are really disappointed by the President as he expressed his inability to work towards the implementation of the verdict.” She also added, “We have been denied justice”.

On January 3, the Supreme Court had convicted Dhungel of murder and also slapped a 20-year jail term with confiscation of property.

The apex court had forwarded the text of its January 3 verdict on September 5 to Okhaldhunga court for prompt execution of the verdict with a 20-year jail term for Dhungel and confiscation of his property for killing Ujjwal Shrestha.

Earlier the Okhaldhunga District Court had slapped a life term against Dhungel but the Rajbiraj Appellate Court had overturned the verdict of Okhaldhunga District Court and gave a clean chit to him. After the Rajbiraj Appellate Court verdict the government had moved the apex court, stating that the appellate court verdict was against the existing criminal law of the nation.

Dhungel had also served a six-year sentence when he was primarily convicted by the Okhaldhunga Court, but was released following the Rajbiraj Appeal Court verdict.

Cabinet puts focus on 100 proposals

KATHMANDU: A cabinet meeting of the caretaker government held at Singha Durbar on Tuesday took up a hundred proposals for discussion.

Approving the resignation of Dr Upendra Koirala and Ram Bahadur Khadka as the vice chairman and member secretary of the Higher Secondary Education Board respectively, the government appointed Hem Bahadur Mishra and Bhim Bahadur Gurung to the post of the vice chairman and member secretary of the board.

Koirala and Khadka were dragged into controversy over financial irregularities in the printing of answer sheets.

According to Minister for Information and Communications Shankar Pokharel, the government has scrapped the allowances for foreign trips until the new budget which is yet to be approved.

Likewise, the government approved a national action plan regarding the human rights and high-level electricity area coordination committee's proposal.

The meeting decided to forward the contempt of court act to the Legislature-Parliament. It also granted authority to the Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperation to adjust of the cost of chemical fertilizers.

The government decided to give the land for the Supreme Court near the west side of the Ministry of Home in the premises of Singha Durbar.

According to the spokesperson of the government, the cabinet has changed the name of the Department of Women's Development to the Department of Women and Children Welfare.

The cabinet approved team members for participation in the Asian Games in China and approved the establishment of a centre for organ implants for Bhaktapur Hospital.

Likewise, the government has promoted Majors- Sitaram Khadka, Bhuban Bahadur Adhikari and Dr Ramesh Bista to the posts of Colonel in the Nepal Army.

The government has given an assistance of Rs. 9 lakhs for the meeting of the World Association of Press Council.

According to Pokharel, the government has decided to grant a public holiday for Madhesi women on September 30 on the occasion of Tijiya festival.

NT mobile, internet disrupted in Eastern region

LAHAN, Sept 28: The cellular mobile and internet services of Nepal Telecom remain disrupted since Monday evening in Eatern region of the country.

According to NT, prepaid and postpaid GSM, CDMA, ADSL and dial-up internet services are disrupted. “The disruption is due to damage in optical fibre at Hariban of Sarlahi,” said Dhaneshwor Sah, an engineer at NT Lahan.

An unidentified gang intentionally damaged the fibre on Monday, according to NT.

NT has sold 617,000 mobile subscriptions in Eastern region and 100 thousand in Sagarmatha zone. All those mobile users are affected by the damage.

Sah added that a team has already started repairing the fibre and hoped that the services will resume on Wednesday morning.

SC allows Thapa, Nihita to walk free after paying fine


KATHMANDU, Sept 28: Lawyer Shakuntala Thapa and her daughter Nihita Bishwas, who were sentenced to seven-day jail term by the Supreme Court on contempt of court charge on Monday, have been allowed to walk free after they paid a fine of Rs 225 each at the SC on Tuesday.

On Monday, a division bench of SC justices Balram KC and Ramkumar Prasad Shah had sentenced the duo to seven-day imprisonment with a fine of Rs 50 each.

As per the Civil Code, the duo paid Rs 25 per day {for seven days} and additional Rs 50 each in fine at the SC. They also made written commitment before the SC that they would never challenge the sanctity of the Supreme Court in future.

The SC also banned lawyer Thapa, mother-in-law of convicted Charles Sobhraj, from becoming a judge in future.

Bishwas, who claims to be a wife of Sobhraj, and her mother, had used abusive language against the justices while talking to media after the SC delivered a verdict upholding life imprisonment for Sobhraj for murdering an American backpacker in Nepal in 1975.

Monday, September 27, 2010

Ending deadlock, amending regulations

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: Chief whips and leaders of all parties represented in the Legislature-Parliament today discussed at the Parliamentary Business Advisory Committee (BAC) meeting ways to end the political deadlock and amend House regulations.

But Congress and other fringe parties smelt a rat in the three-point deal struck between the UCPN-M and CPN-UML on September 17. They demanded convincing explanation from both parties regarding the motive behind the deal.

NC chief whip Laxman Prasad Ghimire and lawmaker Suprabha Ghimire termed the deal “abstract” and “mysterious” while fringe parties flayed the UCPN-Maoist and UML for not consulting them.

However, Narayankaji Shrestha of UCPN-M and Bhim Acharya, UML chief whip, tried to pacify them, saying the deal was not ill-intended. “We do not have any hidden agenda. The deal aims to forge political consensus among parties on peace and the constitution,” a BAC member quoted the leaders.

UCPN-Maoist and UML asked the NC to pull out of the prime ministerial race and explore a fresh way out by amending parliamentary regulations.

But NC leaders put a rider, saying that NC would withdraw its prime ministerial candidate only after the parties reached consensus on the entire gamut of the peace process.

Shrestha told BAC members that his party would take an important decision on the peace process within a couple of days that would address the NC’s concerns.

With the UCPN-Maoist and UML opting out of the election process, there seems to be no point in holding elections as the two parties combined command absolute majority in the House.

Speaker Subas Nembang urged the parties to reach understanding as delay in forming the government had disappointed people and the constitution-drafting process had also come to a standstill. He said parliamentary regulations could be amended only after the election process ended. Sources said regulations would be amended in such a way that parties could not remain neutral during PM’s election.

Next round too unlikely to yield result


KATHMANDU, Sept 27: The deadlock over prime ministerial election is likely to continue further, with the UCPN (Maoist) and the CPN-UML pushing for an end to the ongoing election process and the Nepali Congress (NC) sticking to it.

With Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal´s withdrawal of candidacy, NC leader Ram Chandra Paudel remains the sole candidate in the current prime ministerial race.

As lawmakers from the UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-UML, who make up a majority in the House, have decided to not participate in the ongoing election process, Paudel does not stand the chance to win the election.

But the election process will not end either, according to Speaker Subash Nembang, until the ongoing process ends, which is possible only if Paudel withdraws his candidacy as well.

The NC is already under pressure to do so after the Maoist move, but Poudel, at least for now, is adamant on not quitting the race as there is "a conspiracy behind the Maoist move to withdraw its candidacy".

"My candidacy will continue until a new prime minister is elected. Is it ethical to say one not to participate in the government formation process?" asked Paudel. The NC is yet to formally discuss the next strategic move in the party.

Paudel said his party would, however, negotiate with the Maoists only if they are ready to reach an agreement on issues of the peace process and their sincere implementation.

But Maoists say withdrawal of candidacy by Paudel is a must if the current political deadlock is to end. "There is no way other than withdrawal of Paudel´s candidacy to end the current election process and garner consensus to end the political impasse," said Maoist Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha.

Maoists say they are ready to strike a deal on issues relating to the peace process and constitution drafting, but are not ready to fix the number of their combatants to be integrated into the security forces in advance, as demanded by the NC and UML.

The NC says the party is even ready for a Maoist-led government if the former rebels fix in advance the number of combatants for integration. However, Maoists have argued that the Comprehensive Peace Agreement (CPA) meant integration, not recruitment, and capitulating to the NC´s demand amounts to surrender.

With the political parties sticking to their respective stances, the next round of voting to elect a new prime minister, slated for September 30, is also not likely to yield any result unless the parties make serious political moves for consensus.

Paras calls on Kisunjee, says barring of royalties wrong


KATHMANDU: Former Crown Prince Paras Shah called on former Prime Minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai at the Norvic International Hospital in Thapathali, where the latter is hospitalised since Thursday, on Sunday afternoon.

Talking to the media briefly at the hospital premises after acquiring information about the ailing leader's health condition, expressed dissastisfaction over the prevention of his father and former King Gyanendra's participation in the religious and cultural activities by the administration.

"Being good citizen we had to follow (administration directives)," he said, when the media asked him to comment on the barring of the former monarch from taking part in the Indrajatra festival in Kathmandu last week.

"I think common citizens should be allowed to practice religion as per their wish," he said.

Bhattarai, 87, was rushed to the hospital on Thursday evening after he complained of loss of appetite and weakness.

Bhattarai has been advocating for the essence of constitutional monarchy in the country even after the abolition of age-old institution in 2008.

A founding leader of the Nepali Congress, Bhattarai has detached himself from the party after it embraced repulicanism.

Nepal fast becoming major opium producer

KATHMANDU, Sept 27: Nepal could soon earn the unenviable distinction of being a major opium-producing country of the world if the current trend of opium cultivation in the central Tarai continues, government officials acknowledge.

The United Nations Office on Drugs and Crime (UNODC) recently sent a team of experts to inspect the central Tarai where the law and order situation has allowed opium cultivation to flourish.

UNODC´s inspection took place at a time when Nepal´s giant neighbors - India and China - have started to emerge as major global players in terms of opium production and consumption.

Both countries produce opium legally for medicinal use. India is the leading country in legal opium cultivation and the biggest exporter to the US, but it is also witnessing increasing illegal production.

Opium cultivation in Nepal is spreading in the southern plains that either border or are close to parts of India - Uttar Pradesh, Madhya Pradesh and Rajasthan- where both legal and illegal opium cultivation exists.

Deputy Inspector General (DIG) Hemanta Malla, who specialized in narcotics during his 13-year stint at the Narcotic Control and Law Enforcement Unit (NCLEU), said illegal opium cultivation has spilled over from India into Nepal due to the poor state of law and order here.

“Opium cultivation could increase in Nepal with devastating effect. The country could become a major producer,” he added.

In Bara district alone, opium was cultivated in over 500 bigahas of land last year.

Bara, Parsa and Makawanpur districts combined constitute the largest opium cultivation zone in the country.

The three districts, known earlier for the production of cannabis, have since the past couple of years been cultivating opium as well.

“It´s not that opium cultivation has replaced cannabis. Both are rampant. The reality is, those who cultivate cannabis are also drawn to cultivating opium because the latter is more lucrative,” said DIG Malla.

According to the Home Ministry, opium cultivation is spreading to the eastern Tarai, extending beyond the original farm clusters in Bara, Parsa and Makawanpur. Cultivation is taking place in Saptari, Siraha and Rautahat districts as well. It is even found in Chitwan where law and order is considered to be better.

The Home Ministry, in a bid to combat the galloping opium cultivation in the central and eastern Tarai, has introduced a new strategy of destroying cultivation during the seed sowing stage. “We have instructed the district administrations concerned to implement this strategy,” said Janak Dahal, under-secretary at the Drug Control Section of the Ministry, adding, “In the past, we used to remove grown-up opium plants. But that was not effective and was also labor-intensive.”

Sowing Season Now

Now is the time for sowing opium seeds. Nepali and Indian racketeers are flocking to remote villages in the central and eastern Tarai to cultivate the opium. They even bring with them skilled laborers to sow the seeds and help local peasants. Hectares of land in places like Prastoka, Simroungarh, Amritgunj, Beldari, Sunfuluwa, Bhagawanpur, Paterwa, Karchewa, Uchidiha and Golagaj in Bara district are being ploughed this year for opium.

A kilogram of opium fetches Rs 50,000 at the time of harvesting in Nepal. Up to a kilogram of processed opium can be harvested from one kattha of land. Another reason why this banned crop has become popular among peasants is that even the opium straw brings in up to Rs 1,000 per kilogram.

The administration has been found lukewarm in controlling opium cultivation. Peasants approached by Republica in Bara district said that police let them cultivate the opium in return for financial benefits. Some of the peasants said they give the police about Rs 1,000 per kattha of opium cultivation.

Shiva Prasad Nepal, Chief District Officer (CDO) of Bara, claimed that anybody involved in the cultivation and trafficking of illegal drugs would be prosecuted. He did not elaborate.

Under current law, if any farm has more than 20 plants of cannabis or opium it can be seized by the authorities. But hundreds of bigahas of opium are left untouched.

International perspective

The scenario of opium production and trafficking in the world has changed significantly this decade, according to experts.

The Golden Triangle covering parts of Burma, Thailand and Laos has switched to synthetic drugs in view of the low costs and ease in trafficking.

International trafficking rings dealing in opium are settling in India to take advantage of the legal provision there permitting opium production for medicinal purposes. “The dynamics in India is easily reflected in Nepal due to proximity and the open border,” said DIG Malla.

Meanwhile, some experts also hold that with the acceleration of army operations in Afghanistan to curtail the chief financial source of the Taliban, namely opium production, trafficking rackets might be eyeing countries like Nepal where the law and order situation is weak. Afghanistan is the nucleus of the Golden Crescent zone

“Such a possibility cannot be ruled out,” said Deputy Superintendent of Police (DSP) Diwas Udas, who has decade-long experience working with NCLEU.

UNDOC´s inspection team had pointed out the need for improving law and order in the affected zones through political commitment to curbing the escalating cultivation of opium, said Under-Secretary Dahal.

Sunday, September 26, 2010

बिमा कम्पनीले सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण ऐन लागू गर्ने

कारोबार संवाददाता
काठमाडौं, ९ असोज

बिमा कम्पनीहरूले सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरणसम्बन्धी व्यवस्था लागू गर्ने भएका छन् । बिमा समितिले गत असारमा सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण निवारण ऐन २०६४ पूर्णरुपले पालना गर्न निर्देशन दिए पनि अधिकांश कम्पनीले कार्यान्वयन गरेका थिएनन् ।
बिमा कम्पनीका प्रतिनिधिहरूले संयुक्तरुपमा ऐन कार्यान्वयन गर्ने प्रतिबद्धता जनाएका हुन् । नेपाल इन्स्योरेन्स एसोसियसन (एनआईए) र नेपाल इन्स्योरेन्स प्रोफेसनल्स सोसाइटी (निप्स)द्वारा संयुक्तरुपमा आयोजित ऐनमाथिको छलफलमा यस्तो प्रतिबद्धता जनाइएको हो ।
बिमा कम्पनीका प्रतिनिधिहरूले आफूहरू सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण निवारणसम्बन्धी व्यवस्थासहित निर्देशन कार्यान्वयन गर्न प्रतिबद्ध रहे पनि केही समस्या तत्कालै समाधान हुनुपर्नेमा जोड दिएका थिए । बिमा गर्दा अनिवार्य फोटो चाहिने र बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थामार्फत आउने व्यवसायमा सम्पत्तिको स्रोत खोज्नुपर्ने व्यवस्था हटाउनुपर्ने उनीहरूको माग थियो ।
त्यस्तै, जीवन बिमाका लागि १ लाख रुपैयाँ र निर्जीवन बिमाका लागि ३ लाख रुपैयाँ बिमाशुल्कसम्मको सीमा थोरै भएको भन्दै बढाउनुपर्ने माग पनि गरे । बिमा समितिले ‘सात दिनभित्र वित्तीय जानकारी एकाइमा पठाउने’ भनी दिएको समय पनि थोरै भएको उनीहरूको भनाइ छ ।
समितिका अध्यक्ष डा.फत्तबहादुर केसीले ऐन कार्यान्वयनमा देखिएका समस्या आपसी छलफलबाट टुंग्याइने बताए । सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरणसम्बन्धी व्यवस्था कार्यान्वयन गर्दा सबै बिमा कम्पनीहरूलाई मान्य हुने किसिमको प्रारुप समिति र बिमक संघले बनाउने जानकारी उनले दिए । “यसबाट सबैलाई काम गर्न सजिलो हुन्छ,” उनले भने ।
कार्यक्रममा नेपाल राष्ट्र बैंक वित्तीय जानकारी एकाइका सहायक निर्देशक पे्रमप्रसाद पाण्डेले ऐन कार्यान्वयनमा जटिलता देखिए त्यसलाई सुधार्दै जाने बताए । “यो वा त्यो कारण देखाएर ऐन कार्यान्वयन नगर्ने कुरा हुँदैन,” उनले भने, “सुरुको समयमा काम गर्न सजिलो होस् भनेर कडाइ नगरिएको हो, कार्यान्वयनमा ढिलाइ भए त्यसको परिणाम नराम्रो हुनसक्छ ।”
नेपाल बैंकर्स संघका अध्यक्ष शशिन जोशीले सुरुमा केही अप्ठ्याराहरू रहे पनि यसलाई कार्यान्वयन गर्नैपर्ने बाध्यता रहेको बताए । बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थाले सो ऐनका प्रावधान लागू गरिसकेको समेत जोशीको भनाइ थियो । “तर, ऐन पूर्णरुपले कार्यान्वयनमा केही समस्या रहेकाले यसको संशोधन आवश्यक छ,” उनले भने ।
डेभलपमेन्ट बैंकर्स एसोसियसनका अध्यक्ष झपटबहादुर बोहराले एने कार्यान्वयनमा ढिलाइ गर्न नहुने बताए । “केही समस्या भए आपसी सहमतिद्वारा हटाउन सकिन्छ तर एने कार्यान्वयनमा ढिलाइ गर्नु हुँदैन,” उनले भने ।

बीमामा केवाईसी एकरूपता

असोज ९, काठमाडौँ । सबै जीवन तथा निर्जीवन बीमा कम्पनीले आफ्नो ग्राहक पहिचान (केवाईसी) प्रक्रियामा एकरूपता ल्याउने भएका छन् । २५ वटै बीमा कम्पनी यसका लागि आवश्यक ढाँचा तयार पार्न सकारात्मक रहेको जानकारी बीमा समितिका प्रवक्ता तथा कानून महाशाखा निर्देशक शेखरकुमार अर्यालले अभियानलाई दिए । यसको ढाँचाबारे छलफल गर्न नेपाल बीमक सङ्घ (एनआईए) र नेपाल प्रोफेशनल इन्स्योरेन्स सोसाइटी (एनआईपीएस) ले संयुक्त रूपमा गत शुक्रवार राजधानीमा एक कार्यक्रम आयोजना गरेका थिए ।

सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण निवारण ऐनलाई प्रभावकारी बनाउने विषयमा नेपाल राष्ट्र बैङ्क, २५ बीमा कम्पनी, बीमक सङ्घ, बीमा समिति, नेपाल बैङ्कर्स एशोसिएशन, डेभलपमेण्ट बैङ्कर्स एशोसिएशनलगायतका प्रतिनिधिले छलफल गरेका थिए । 'नियामक निकाय बीमा समितिको पहलमा २५ वटा बीमा कम्पनी मिलेर केवाईसी एकरूपताको ढाँचा निर्धारण गर्ने निष्कर्षमा पुगेको' शिखर इन्स्योरेन्सका महाप्रबन्धक एसके तमोटले जानकारी दिए ।

अन्तरराष्ट्रिय वित्तीय जगत्मा नेपालबाट सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण र आतङ्कवादमा लगानी हुने अत्यधिक सम्भावना भएको ठानिन थालेको छ । त्यसैले यसविरुद्धको कारबाही चुस्त बनाउन बीमा कम्पनीहरूमा पनि केवाईसी प्रक्रियामा एकरूपता आवश्यक रहेको राष्ट्र बैङ्क वित्तीय सूचना एकाइ (एफआईयू) संयोजक धर्मराज सापकोटाको भनाइ छ । गैरकानूनी सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरणलाई निरुत्साहित पार्ने प्रयासस्वरूप बीमा कम्पनीहरूमा केवाईसी नीतिमा एकरूपता ल्याउन खोजिएको राष्ट्र बैङ्क, कानून विभागका सहायक निर्देशक प्रेम पाण्डेले बताए । यसअघि सबै बैङ्क तथा वित्तीय संस्थाले राष्ट्र बैङ्कको मार्गनिर्देशनमा केवाईसी प्रक्रिया एकरूपताको नीति अवलम्बन गरिसकेका छन् । निकट भविष्यमै सुनचाँदी व्यवसायी सङ्घ, कानून व्यवसायी, लेखापरीक्षक आदिलाई पनि यस प्रक्रियामा समेट्ने तयारी गरेको उनले जानकारी दिए ।

विसं. २०६४ मा ल्याइएको सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण निवारण ऐनको प्रभावकारी कार्यान्वयनका लागि आवश्यक पहल गर्न राष्ट्र बैङ्कले गत असारमा बीमा कम्पनीहरूलाई निर्देशन दिएको थियो । ऐन तीन वर्षअघि आए पनि तीन महिनाअघि मात्र 'तत्काल' कार्यान्वयनका लागि निर्देशन दिइँदा धेरै गाह्रो भएको बीमा व्यवसायीहरूको गुनासो छ । एफआईयूमा सात दिनभित्र बीमा कारोबारको विवरण बुझाउनुपर्ने, जीवनतर्फरू. १ लाख र निर्जीवनतर्फरू. ३ लाख वाषिर्क प्रिमियम हुने कारोबारको जानकारी गराउनुपर्ने आदि प्रवधानबारे पनि बीमा व्यवसायीले सो कार्यक्रममा राष्ट्र बैङ्कसमक्ष असन्तुष्टि व्यक्त गरेका थिए । विवरण बुझाउने अवधि कम्तीमा १५ दिन हुनुपर्ने, कारोबार विवरणसीमा जीवन र निर्जीवन दुवैमा करीब रू. २ लाख बढाउनुपर्ने व्यवसायीको माग छ ।

'विवरण बुझाउने अवधि बढाउनुपर्ने उनीहरूको माग जायज छ, तर प्रिमियम सीमा भने हामीले अन्तरराष्ट्रिय अभ्यास हेरेरै तोकेका छौँ,' राष्ट्र बैङ्क, कानून विभागका सहायक निर्देशक पाण्डेले भने, 'जीवन बीमातर्फ वार्षिक रू. १ लाख प्रिमियम बुझाउनेको विवरण माग्दा उनीहरूले दशवटाको पनि दिन सक्दैनन् । निर्जीवनमा पनि वार्षिक रू. ३ लाखको प्रिमियम हुन डेढ करोड रुपैयाँभन्दा बढीको बीमा गरेको हुनुपर्छ । नेपालमा अहिले यत्रो रकमको बीमा गर्ने ग्राहक कति नै होलान् र उनीहरूले सीमा बढाउन माग गरेका हुन् ?'

राष्ट्र बैङ्कको निर्देशनअनुसार दुई वर्षभित्र बीमा कम्पनीहरूले आफ्ना सबै ग्राहकको पहिचानबारे पूर्ण सूचना राखिसक्नुपर्नेछ । तर, बीमामा पुराना ग्राहकको सन्दर्भमा केवाईसी लागू गर्न गाह्रो हुने बीमा व्यवसायीहरूको भनाइ छ ।

Khanal calls for unity among democratic forces


KATHMANDU: CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal said Saturday a unity among democratic forces has been inevitable to put an end to the current political deadlock.

Speaking at a programme organised by the UML Liaison Special Committee today, Khanal said a united democratic front has become essential to protect the country's national integrity and sovereignty.

The UML has been acting according to the aspirations of Nepali people, he claimed adding that his party would go to extreme lengths for the sake of national consensus.

The political parties should give up their lust for power and posts to ensure the completion of the pending tasks of peace and constitution, he said.

Khanal also argued that his party's decision not to contest the ongoing prime ministerial election has proved that UML is not power hungry.

Vuvuzela at Dasharath Stadium


KATHMANDU, Sept 25: Vuvuzela not only drew the attention of football authorities and lovers but also became an issue of hot debate during the World Cup 2010 in South Africa.

However, the world witnessed and heard the sound of the typically 65-centimeter (2 ft) long plastic device that requires the flow of air to produce a loud monotonous note.

European football´s governing body UEFA has recently decided that vuvuzelas may not be brought into stadiums at matches in UEFA competitions. UEFA has informed its 53 member associations that it has taken the move for reasons related to Europe´s football culture and tradition, saying that the atmosphere at matches would be changed by the sound of the vuvuzela.

But, Nepali football lovers and All Nepal Football Association have nothing to say against the plastic trumpet till date.

The plastic trumpet appeared at the Dasharath Stadium on Friday, probably for the first time, during the San Miguel Knockout Football Tournament. As the quarterfinal match between Nepal Police Club (NPC) and Bauddha Football Club (BFC) was in progress, a group of BFC fans led by Bhuwan Lama blew a vuvuzela repeatedly.

"A friend of mine in the USA gifted it during the time of the World Cup," said Lama. Lama informed that more than 20 BFC fans have asked for vuvuzelas and their friend Gyalzen Sherpa is planning to send those vuvuzelas from the USA.

"We are supporting Bauddha and we will create a different environment whenever Bauddha play at the Dasharath Stadium," said Lama. "The sound of the vuvuzela is best wishes to the club from our side," Lama added.

Though Bauddha´s fans were enjoying the vuvuzela, a large number of other football fans seen at the Dasharath Stadium were annoyed by the sound.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Ban refused to meet PM

KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal dropped the idea of leading Nepali delegation to New York to address the 65th UN General Assembly after Secretary-General Ban Ki-moon refused to meet him.

Two sources at Nepal’s Permanent Mission to UN in New York and at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) confirmed that the PM had sought a meeting with Ban on the sidelines. However, the Secretary General declined to meet him as he had done last year.

An official at the mission told this daily that Ban refused to meet ‘caretaker’ prime minister in the wake of war of words between Nepali government and UN Mission in Nepal over the latter’s role in monitoring Maoist combatants.

Another official at MoFA said, “We had made several attempts to fix PM’s meeting with Ban, but to no avail.”

PM’s Foreign Affairs Adviser Rajan Bhattarai claimed that the PM skipped the trip, as he wanted to engage himself in taking forward the peace process. He said it was a “normal diplomatic practice” to seek a meeting with Secretary-General while a head of government of its member-state planned to visit UN summit.

Ill-informed Nepali workers abroad pay heavy price

KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Death of Karna Bahadur Gharti Magar, 23, of Rolpa, that triggered strike in Malaysia two months ago, drew international media attention, but what passed almost unnoticed by the press was that he died due to overdose of medicines, something which could have been avoided easily.

Magar is not the only person who lost his life due to such callous disregard and the lack of awareness; lives of a total of 124 Nepali workers have needlessly been blighted during the year.
And the causes of death, unfortunately, are ones which they could have easily been avoided, according to Surya Bhandari, Labor Attaché to Malaysia.

Industrial accident, road accident, chronic disease and suicide are routinely cited as the major causes of death of Nepalis in Malaysia.

With proper information-sharing and prior knowledge about coping with the stresses and strains of the job and the kind of work environment there, those lives would have been saved, Bhandari said.

“The condition of the Nepalis in Gulf countries is nonetheless pitiable,” he added.

The unspeakable suffering and the death toll of Nepali workers in foreign lands has raised serious questions about the effectiveness of pre-departure orientation given to workers by different agencies.

The existing foreign employment law says that the government is responsible for duly informing the foreign countries´ laws, climate, working conditions, culture and the way of life to foreign-bound workers.

Nepali diplomatic missions have routinely complaint that despite the standard orientation training, Nepali workers are unaware of traffic rules, weather condition, healthcare provisions and medication. Apart from using mobile phones in workplaces, they are also unaware of modern technologies and machines, and are not being thrift.

They have also raised doubts about the effectiveness of orientations given by the agencies.

However, the operators of such training centers quickly brush aside the accusations and finger the Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) for the pathetic state of Nepali workers abroad. Says Shovit Basnet, managing director of Merapeak Multiple Pvt. Ltd, an orientation center, “We´re providing trainings as per the curriculum prepared by DoFE.”

“If that isn´t enough, it´s not our fault. DoFE should revise it if there are lapses in the training module,” he added.

However, a highly-placed source informed Republica that the plight of Nepali workers has largely to do with growing practice of training centers issuing the workers orientation certificates even without their actual participation in the training.

“Orientation training has become a lucrative business for many; they just charge the fees and issue the certificates,” said the source.

Going by the existing law, DoFE and Foreign Employment Promotion Board (FEPB) must jointly conduct monitoring of the training centers. “Sadly, however, concerned monitoring authority is doing nothing to correct the situation,” the official bemoaned.

There are over three dozen orientation centers operating in the capital -- many of them flouting the laws.

Interestingly, Kashi Nath Marashini, director of DoFE, admitted the problems of the training centers, not ruling out the role of training centers in landing the Nepali workers in a soup.

“Even our inspections have disclosed that many of the orientation centers lack adequate training equipments and materials. This is compounded by the growing practice of selling orientation certificates,” he added.

The officials, despite being the regulatory authority, however, expressed his helplessness to change the current situation, citing his inability to take actions against these centers, owing to lack of commitment of the ´higher authority´.

Anuradha among CNN top 10 heroes


KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Maiti Nepal founder Anuradha Koirala has made it to the list of top 10 CNN heroes. Her organization has been rescuing and rehabilitating trafficked girls and women.

CNN, the reputed US-based international news channel, has been choosing people whose selfless contributions have brought about tremendous changes in the lives of poor and helpless people across the globe as its heroes for the past four years.

Koirala, chosen from among over 10,000 social workers, was earlier selected for the top 25 CNN heroes. CNN made public the list of top 10 heroes through its website Thursday night. Koirala secured her place in the list for ´protecting the powerless´.

On November 25, CNN will announce the winner of CNN hero from among the top 10 nominees on the basis of online voting. A crew of CNN journalists, which is expected to arrive in Nepal on October 4, will shoot a documentary on Koirala´s life. "I am glad that my contribution has been recognized globally," she told Republica.

Meanwhile, in a press statement released on Friday, Maiti Nepal asked all its well-wishers to help Koirala win the award by voting in her favor.

Khagendra, Sadiccha goodwill ambassadorsREPUBLICA


KATHMANDU, Sept 24: Nepal Tourism Board (NTB) has appointed Khagendra Thapa Magar, who is headed to be the shortest man earth, and Miss Nepal Sadiccha Shrestha as its goodwill ambassadors for Nepal Tourism Year 2011.

"The ambassadors will join us in major press conferences and promotional campaigns in different parts of the world," said Prachanda Man Shrestha, chief executive officer of NTB.
Their first major participation will start at World Trade Mart, London, this November.

Talking to the press, Shrestha further highlighted different programs that NTB was organizing to observe the 31st World Tourism Day (WTD) on September 27 this year. The theme of this year´s WTD is tourism and biodiversity. NTB said it will hold different activities till October 1 to celebrate the WTD.

“We will welcome guests at different immigration points and also provide free entrance facility at different tourist destinations to mark the day,” said he, adding that the board would also arrange special discount on food and accommodation in selected places.

Friday, September 24, 2010

Former PM Bhattarai hospitalised again

THT Online

KATHMANDU: Former prime minister Krishna Prasad Bhattarai has been admitted to Norvic Hospital in Thapathali on Thursday after he fell sick.

A team of the doctors examined Bhattarai at his residence in Bhaisepati, Lalitpur this morning.

According to Amita Kapali, assistant of the former PM, Bhattarai was taken to the hospital on the recommendation of the doctors.

Octogenarian leader Bhattarai was admitted in a naturopathy centre at Chittapol, Bhaktapur on Tuesday after suffering from dysfunction of both legs for a week and loss of appetite for three days.

Cholera outbreak looms over capital

KATHMANDU: The capital city is getting vulnerable to cholera. With a sudden surge in number of cholera patients, the authorities have sounded alarm bells.

Shukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital, Teku, today confirmed that it recorded 25 cases of cholera in the last two weeks. Though no death has been reported, rising number of patients at the hospital has put authorities concerned on their toes.Till now, the most vulnerable areas in the capital city have been identified as Kalanki, Kalimati, Nepaltar, Maitidevi, Balaju and Kritipur.

“We have already written to Epidemiology and Disease Control Division seeking their prompt action,” said Dr Saroj Prasad Rajendra, director at Shukraraj Hospital. She added that cases were recorded mainly in the urban and slum areas due to contaminated water and food sold in open spaces. “Mortality rate of cholera patients is usually high. Patients suffer from short dehydration and may die if immediate treatment is not provided,” she said.

It is alarming that there has been an increase in number of cholera patients given the fact that the hospital did not record even a single case of the disease last year. Dr Basu Dev Pandey, senior virologist at the hospital warned of potential outbreak.

Bishwo Ram Shrestha, Chief of the District Public Health Office, Kathmandu said the health office had already put the authorities concerned on high alert. “We have also written to Nepal Drinking Water Corporation urging them to take stock of water supplied in the areas that are more vulnerable to the disease,” added Shrestha. DHPO has also asked Kathmandu Metropolitan City to strengthen health institutions in the valley to cope with the situation in case of an outbreak, said Shrestha.

Facts about the deadly disease


Cholera is a severe infection caused by the bacterium vibrio cholerae, which primarily affects the small intestine.


Main symptoms include profuse watery diarrhoea and vomiting.


Primarily takes place by the acquisition of the pathogen through contaminated drinking water or infected food.


The severity of the diarrhoea and associated vomiting can lead to rapid dehydration and electrolyte loss, which can lead to death.


Maintaining personal hygiene and sanitation and drinking safe water — either by boiling or purifying it with certified chemicals— are the best ways to avoid contracting cholera.

Cancel registration of offending co-ops: MoF

KATHMANDU, Sept 24: The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has suggested that the Department of Cooperatives (DoC) take immediate action against cooperatives found violating existing law.

The suggested action includes even cancellation of registration. MoF has also issued a work plan to execute its suggestion. The move comes in response to the findings of a study conducted by DoC at 25 big cooperatives operating in Kathmandu Valley, Kavre and Pokhara.
DoC submitted the report to MoF seven months ago.

MoF has suggested that DoC seek ways to stop cooperatives from making members pay service charges while issuing and renewing loans. Most of the cooperatives studied were found to have been slapping service charges from 1 to 3 percent even though the law clearly states that no service charge is to be levied. The study also found that cooperatives were violating regulations by not making provisions for loan losses.

DoC was advised that it strictly enforce the provision that cooperatives maintain a 6 percent spread rate - the difference between interests on deposits and loans - and take action against those found to have been collecting deposits amounting to 20 to 60 times their share capital. According to the existing provisions, cooperatives are not allowed to collect deposits more than 10 percent of their share capital.

Most of the cooperatives monitored by DoC were also found violating the law by issuing loans worth more than 10 percent of total capital reserves to a single member and engaging in transactions in shares, deposits and loans with ´unnatural persons´ -- companies or institutions.

The sternest action against those found violating the provisions while issuing loans to members is cancellation of registration. DoC was also advised canceling registration for cooperatives issuing long-term loans and long-term deposits, issuing overdraft and accepting gold and silver as collateral as such practices are against the Cooperatives Act.

Registration can also be cancelled for cooperatives issuing membership to those who are not residents of the command areas of the cooperatives concerned or opening branches in violation of cooperatives principles, and for cooperatives dominated by members of the same family.

MoF has said that cooperatives accepting deposits from non-members and issuing loans to them are cheating and has recommended strong action against them.

As some of the cooperatives were found to be involved in land business, MoF suggested that their registration be cancelled.

However, officials at DoC have said the suggestions could not be implemented as long as DoC is not equipped with sufficient resources and the legal authority to take action against wrongdoers.

“It is very difficult to implement MoF´s suggestions in the absence of budgetary and skilled human resources and sufficient legal authority as the number of cooperatives to be regulated and monitored by DoC is huge,” Sudarshan Dhakal, registrar at DoC told Republica. Dhakal said DoC has been demanding more quota for human resources, extension of cooperative offices across the country from the existing 38 districts, strengthening the capacity of the six centers for cooperatives training, and separate monitoring wings under DoC to regulate the cooperatives effectively.

UML, Maoist urge Speaker to start PM election afresh

KATHMANDU, Sept 23: UCPN (Maoist) and CPN-UML leaders on Thursday formally urged Speaker Subas Nembang to terminate the ongoing prime ministerial election at parliament and begin a new process.

Terming the ongoing election process meaningless, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal urged Nembang to terminate it on the ground that there is no meaning of repeating similar voting as majority members of parliament have already decided not to participate in the next round.

Signing a bilateral agreement, the Maoist party that commands 237 votes in the 601-seat parliament and the UML, which has 108 parliamentarians, have decided not to participate in the next round of voting. They are for starting the election process afresh.

"Today [Thursday] we have formally requested the speaker to terminate the ongoing voting for prime minister and begin a new process," Maoist Vice-Chairman Narayankaji Shrestha told reporters after meeting Nembang at the latter´s office in Singha Durbar. Following a three-point deal with the UML on September 17, Dahal announced that he was ready to withdraw his candidacy. However, he didn´t formally inform the parliament and the speaker about it until Thursday. After Dahal´s withdrawal, Ram Chandra Paudel of Nepali Congress (NC) is the only candidate remaining in the race.

"As the two parties commanding majority in parliament have already decided not to participate in the election, now the speaker has to take initiative to terminate the ongoing process," read separate letters with same text submitted to the speaker by the two parties. They have demanded that the issue be discussed at the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) of parliament and their proposal endorsed by the committee, which is represented by all political parties that have representation in parliament. The Maoist and UML leaders have argued that the speaker can end the ongoing process and start new one by making amendment to the parliamentary regulations.

In response, Nembang told the party leaders that he would take an appropriate step after consulting party leaders. "I don´t think the parliamentary regulations can be amended while one of the contenders has not pulled out of the race. However, the leaders can pave the way for an alternative if they forge a consensus on the matter," Nembang said.

Earlier on Thursday, top leaders of the two parties reached a four-point agreement. They decided to jointly request Nembang in writing to terminate the ongoing ´meaningless´ prime ministerial election.

The parties also decided to request the NC to withdraw from the race and be ready to elect new prime minister through consensus.

Similarly, the two parties have said they will work to expedite the integration and rehabilitation process for Maoist combatants and the constitution-writing process.

The eighth round of prime ministerial election is slated for September 26.

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Singh, Yadav emerge victorious for gen secy, treasurer posts


KATHMANDU: Prakash Man Singh and Chitralekha Yadav have been elected as general secretary and treasurer of the Nepali Congress party respectively in the ongoing 12th general convention in Kathmandu on Wednesday. Among the three candidates, Prakash Man Singh got 1656 votes beating nearest rival Bimalendra Nidhi by a margin of 430 votes, who got only 1226 votes. Narahari Acharya stood third with 152 votes.

Similarly Chitralekha Yadav beat Padma Narayan Chaudhary with a margin of 139 votes. She got 1559 votes while her rival Chaudhary got only 1420 votes. However, the party’s election committee is yet to announce the formal results. The vote count had started at 3.30 pm.

Prakash Man Singh and Bimalendra Nidhi were the running mates of Sushil Koirala and Sher Bahadur Deuba respectively. Sushil Koirala was already elected as NC president beating Sher Bahadur Deuba. Bhim Bahadur Tamang stood third.

Prakash is the son of the late Ganesh Man Singh, co-founder of NC. Ganesh Man is known as the Iron Man of Nepali politics. He had a decisive role during the democratic movements of 1950 and 1990.

Prakash was elected as the central committee member in the 10th NC national general convention. Later he was promoted to vice president from general secretary of Nepali Congress Democratic led by Sher Bahadur Deuba after it split to form NC-Democratic on September 22, 2002. After the unification of the NC and NC-D, he was made vice president of the unified party. Singh left his leader Deuba when there was a dispute about representing the party in the government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal after the downfall of UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. He joined the Sushil Koirala camp and played a vital role to elevate Ram Chandra Paudel to Parliamentary Party leader in 2009.

Yadav was a former vice speaker of the House of Representative in 1999. She became famous for conducting a House meet on the road during the royal takeover on February 4, 2004. She rejected the post of the Minister of Water Resources in the cabinet of late Girija Prasad Koirala after the success of the April uprising in 2006.

Yadav was an elected member of the NC Democratic led by former PM Deuba and remains the sitting central working committee member in the NC after unification.

(With inputs from our correspondent Santosh Pokharel)


General Secretary

Praskash Man Singh: 1656; Bimalendra Nidhi: 1226

Narahari Acharya: 152


Chitralekha Yadav: 1559; Padam Narayan Chaudhary: 1420

Newly elected NC prez hospitalized

KATHMANDU, Sept 22: The Nepali Congress cadres used to the long-standing chest problems of former president Girija Prasad Koirala may have had a strange sense of déjà vu when his successor Sushil Koirala was admitted at the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH) with pneumonia just hours after being elected the president of the grand old party.

But doctors say, to the relief of the party rank and file, the similarity in the medical condition of the two ends there and the new party president has no serious health worries apart from the oral cancer that has been subdued.

“He (Sushil) doesn´t smoke,” senior leader Dr Shekhar Koirala, a close relative of both the leaders, dismissed the comparison of the incumbent president with the predecessor known for his chain-smoking.

GP had Chronic Obstructive Pulmonary Disease (COPD) due to years of smoking, and had frequent complaints of pneumonia. “Grija Prasad Koirala´s immune system had been impaired by COPD and he would frequently have pneumonia and other chest problems,” senior chest specialist Dr Arjun Karki, who treated GP for around four years till his death, reminisced.

On the other hand, Sushil, 73 doesn´t have previous history of serious pulmonary problems. “The only chest problem we can recall occurred due to fluctuations in temperature of air-conditioned space and the sweltering heat when he was on a visit to Surkhet and Rukum last year,” Dr Karbir Nath Yogi, who is currently involved in treatment of Sushil at the TUTH, said.

Sushil Koirala´s current illness is attributed to the exertion during the 12th general convention of the part. “He got caught in the rain on the day of inauguration and caught cold,” Dr Koirala added. Sushil was running a temperature, Dr Koirala said, for the past three days and didn´t stay long after casting his vote even during the election Tuesday.

“He had a temperature of 104-105 degree Centigrade for the last two days and was on antibiotics,” Dr Koirala revealed. Dr Yogi said Sushil was admitted to the hospital after these antibiotics didn´t work. “He´s now in a stable condition with a normal blood pressure. We have started new antibiotics and he will be kept at the hospital for anything between 3-5 days,” Dr Yogi added.

Dr Koirala claimed that Sushil´s health condition didn´t warrant hospitalization and was taken to TUTH for precaution.

“Taking rest at the hospital is obviously more comfortable. But we got him hospitalized much due to fear that he would catch infections at home from hundreds of visitors who may be suffering from a myriad of health problems,” Dr Koirala reasoned.

Wednesday, September 22, 2010

Declining deposit hits banks

Liquidity crunch in the banking sector is over but deposit crunch seems to have resumed. Commercial banks that saw recovery in deposits in the fourth quarter of last fiscal year after the decline in the third quarter have again witnessed a fall during the first and second month of the current fiscal year.

The deposit has come down by Rs 11 billion during the first two months of this year compared the end of last fiscal year. It has come down to Rs 620 million from Rs 631 billion in mid-July. The deposit in the commercial bank was Rs 623 billion at the end of first month of the current fiscal year.

The deposit is the main source of the financial resources in the banking sector. Even after an increase in the number of banks, overall deposits in them have come down. The interest on deposits is still high as most of the banks have not revised interest rates they had increased during the liquidity crisis to collect funds.

Surendra Bhandari, chief executive officer of Siddhartha Bank admitted that banks were failing to attract deposits. “I think money has gone to the gold and silver market,” he said. His bank also witnessed a decline in deposits due to maturity of some fixed deposits over the last two months.

Banks are not lending aggressively. That is why most of the banks are not facing liquidity pressure even though they are failing to attract enough deposits. “There will be a problem if the deposits don’t increase when lending peaks,” said Upendra Poudyal, CEO of NMB Bank. His bank also witnessed a slight decline in deposits in the second month of this year, which he said was due to slashing of the interest rate on call deposits that encouraged many depositors to withdraw their deposits in that account.

Nepal Rastra Bank governor Yubaraj Khatiwada has already warned that a hasty cut in interest rates could have negative consequences. “The time has not come to slash the interest rate on deposits,” he had said at a recent interaction when some banks started to bring down interest rate on deposit.

It has been assumed that deposits might have come down as the banks withdrew their inter-bank deposits following the monetary policy ban on opening call deposit account with interest to be paid. The central bank had made such a provision in order to discourage the tendency of creating artificial liquidity.

According to Nepal Rastra Bank, inter bank deposit had remained at around Rs 5 billion in recent days. Even if that amount is deducted from the total deposit, the deposit still remains sluggish. President of Nepal Bankers’ Association Sashin Joshi said the withdrawal of inter-bank deposits might not have a huge impact on overall deposits. “Individual deposit has stagnated since last year even after the banks started increasing the interest rate.”

According to him, the deposits had soared due to huge government expenditure during the last two months of the last fiscal year. Now, the development spending has slowed down, with the budget not being presented yet and deposits also starting to decrease. “Until the issue related to policy of income disclosure is addressed, I don’t think the deposit will grow well,” Joshi said. The NBA had lobbied strongly last year to change the policy of income disclosure for the deposit of Rs 1 million as well as on the purchase of real estate above Rs 5 million.

“The economy will not suffer if the cause of decline in overall deposits is the fall in inter-bank deposits,” said Finance Secretary Rameshwor Khanal, who is also a board member of NRB. “But, the economy will suffer if individual deposits also decrease.”

Bankers however, say they are feeling no pressure despite no growth in deposits because lending has also not peaked. The banks are not aggressive for lending this year due to liquidity crunch they faced last fiscal year. Lending increased to Rs 474 billion until the end of second month this fiscal year from Rs 462 billion at the end of the last fiscal year. Currently, banks are in a comfortable position in terms of liquidity with the central bank issuing reverse repo of Rs 19 billion over the last two months to inject liquidity in the banking sector.

The banks may face liquidity pressure if deposit continues to decline in the coming months. The bankers say liquidity crunch will not be so harsh that they experienced last year because the central bank has adopted a stringent policy on liquidity and banks have also realised that excessive lending could be harmful.

A senior NRB official said that deposit is expected to grow this month with the surge in remittance right before Dashain festival.

Kumaris in ex-King's palace


KATHMANDU: The present Kumari and her predecessors were ferried to the palace of former King Gyanendra Shah, in Maharajgunj Tuesday afternoon.

Shah honoured the nine Kumaris and received blessings from them after failing to make it to the Kumari Ghar, the living abode of the present Kumari, in Basantapur due to security reasons. His son, former Crown Prince Paras Shah, was also present in the occassion.

The former monarch was forced to cancel his purported visit to Basantapur to take part in rituals of the Indrajatra festival after the home administration requested him not to attend any function in Basantapur, where a pro-Hindu organisation was set to felicitate him, citing "security sensitiveness".

Meanwhile, scores of Hindu activists gathered outside the Nirmal Niwas, Shah's palace, and chanted slogans hailing the former king in the late afternoon.

The police had beefed up the security in the Basantapur region in the morning speculating tension between the former king's supporters and the UCPN-Maoist cadres.

The Maoists had objected to the display of flex boards that portrayed Shah as the 'ruling monarch' in the Basantapur area. However, no scuffle was reported.

The Constituent Assembly abolished the monarchy in 2008. However, Shah is still regarded as the king in religious and cultuaral quarters by some.

Gyanendra kept off Basantapur

Himalayan News Service

KATHMANDU: Former King Gyanendra cancelled his visit to Basantapur to attend a programme organised by Hindu activists to felicitate nine former Kumaris (living goddess) and 504 virgin girls in Basantapur Durbar Square today after the government urged him not to show up there citing security reasons.

Earlier, Gyanendra was all set to attend the religious rituals at 11 am to felicitate the Kumaris on behalf of World Youth Hindu Federation and get himself felicitated.

DSP Pradhumna Kumar Karki, Kathmandu Operation in-charge, said the former king’s office gave last-minute information to the police that he had cancelled the visit. Hundreds of security personnel were deployed in and around Basantapur Durbar Square to prevent any untoward incident.

Jaya Mukunda Khanal, spokesperson for the Ministry of Home Affairs, said the ministry had requested Gyanendra’s office to avoid the rituals in Basantapur citing security concerns. “Acting on a tip-off that his presence in Basantapur to felicitate former Kumaris and accept felicitation from WYHF could invite scuffle between pro-monarchy and anti-monarchy groups, we urged Gyanendra’s aides to cancel his visit,” he added.

The Home Ministry’s move comes at a time when the government is working on clipping the wings of monarchy on the cultural front also through the

formulation of country’s first National Cultural Policy. “The policy will be compatible with the republican

system and the king’s

presence in cultural activities completely barred,” Bishnu Raj Karki, Director-General, Department of Archaeology said.

The Maoist cadres staged a protest after the organisers displayed flex boards reading ‘His Majesty the King Gyanendra’ with his photos in all quarters of the venue inviting him as the chief guest. However, clashes were averted.

The Hindu activists drove nine former Kumaris to Nirmal Niwas to get them felicitated by Gyanendra. Rajan Maharjan, President, WYHF, condemned the government’s decision to stop Gyanendra from attending the religious ceremony, and confirmed that the former Kumaris and 10 other virgin girls were taken to Nirmal Niwas in the evening.

Maharjan also warned that they would prevent President Dr Ram Baran Yadav from attending Indra Jatra festival on Wednesday.

Tickets to major destinations already booked: Airlines

KATHMANDU, Sep 22: As the Dashain festival approaches nearer, major domestic airlines said their tickets to popular destinations have already been booked. Tickets to other parts of the countries, however, are still available.

But as the rush for tickets is increasing day by day, officials of Buddha Air and Yeti Airlines -- the two domestic airlines with highest market share -- said they were having hard times fulfilling the demand.

Rupesh Joshi, senior manager-marketing of Budhha Air, said tickets for two sectors -- Biratnagar and Bhadrapur - have already been sold out. “However, tickets to other destinations are still available," he told Republica.

To manage the demand for tickets, Joshi said Budhha Air has started extra flight each for Biratnagar and Bhadrapur since last week. But the demand for tickets is still so high in the sector that company is still reeling under pressure to add more flights.

“We are eager to increase the frequency of flights. But the only thing that troubles us is, we don´t get equal demand for tickets for flights back to Kathmandu," Joshi said. To resolve the situation, the company has already announced to cut its airfare on those flights so that it could lure reasonable volume of passengers to Kathmandu.

“Our lowest fare on Kathmandu-Biratnagar route costs Rs 2,600. But the returning ticket ticket of the same flight will cost only Rs 1,200 from October 8 to 17," Joshi said.

The company will restore normal rates after October 17.

The tickets of Yeti Airlines are also difficult to obtain as the tickets are booked for almost all the regions. “Almost all the tickets are already booked, but most of them are not given out. If anyone cancels the ticket, last moment flight is still possible,” Binaya Shakya, senior marketing manager of Yeti Airlines, said “Otherwise, it´s really difficult as the tickets for almost all the sectors are already booked."

Though Yeti Airlines has not yet added the number of flights to any region, it is planning to operate additional flights under some conditions like if a flight is chartered or if they get customers returning from the same flight.

“Till now, we haven´t increased our airfare. But if it´s a chartered flight, we´ll raise the airfare as there´ll probably be no passenger returning from the same flight," said Shakya.

Koirala elected NC President


KATHMANDU, Sept 22: Nepali Congress (NC) Acting President Sushil Koirala has been elected to the post of party president. In the election for the party president held Tuesday, Koirala secured 1,652 votes while his nearest rival Sher Bahadur Deuba received 1,317 votes. The other presidential candidate Bhim Bahadur Tamang could garner only 78 votes.

As per the NC statute, a presidential candidate had to secure over 50 percent of the total vote cast to get elected to the post.

According to the Election Committee, altogether 3,062 out of the total of 3,080 12th General Convention representatives had cast their ballots during the voting held between 10 am and 5 pm Tuesday at the Nepal Academy premises, Kamaladi. Among the votes cast, 15 were declared invalid.

Tuesday, September 21, 2010

Daura suruwal down but not out

KATHMANDU, Sept 21: It has been two decades since 62-year-old Hira Bahadur Shakya, proprietor of Rastriya Daura Suruwal Tailors at Bangemudha, sensed that his trade was under threat as Nepal´s traditional dress with over six centuries of history was clearly faltering in its battle against Western-style apparel.

Since the advent of multiparty democracy, the population in the capital has almost quadrupled, but Shakya´s clientele has remained the same in size, giving credence to his fears that the daura suruwal is loosing its centuries-old charm.

“Today, the sight of a man in daura suruwal is a rarity in Kathmandu´s streets,” said Shakya, who has been dealing exclusively in daura suruwal, coat and Nepali cap for 40 years.

Ceremonial Garb

Like Sagarmatha Daura Suruwal Impex and other outlets in Bangemudha, Shakya´s establishment no longer sees customers who want to wear daura suruwal, also known as labeda suruwal, on a daily basis.

“For common folks, the use of daura suruwal is exclusively limited to weddings and bratabandas,” said Shakya, whose outlet receives orders for around 15 sets of daura suruwal a day.

“Many Nepalese men flying abroad make it a point to include at least one daura suruwal set in their baggage,” he added with a smile that betrayed gratitude for the foreign-bound.

The remaining chunk of Shakya´s clientele consists of a section of political leaders, heads of constitutional bodies, and government officials who have given continuity to the pre-1990s practice of wearing daura suwural at least during office hours.

House Speaker Subas Nembang, for instance, has always worn daura suruwal at public functions after he was elected speaker following People´s Movement II.

But Nembang is an exception. It wouldn´t have been so 20 years ago.

“It was different during the Panchayat era,” said Shakya, remembering the days when business was brisk and profit plentiful.

Especially after the crowning of King Birendra, it became mandatory for civil servants of all ranks, apart from the prime minister and other ministers, to wear daura suruwal, coat and Nepali cap during office hours.

Though daura suruwal remained the official dress of the nation after 1990, monitoring was lax and so compliance was not total. However, senior officials in the civil service, most government ministers and all the successive prime ministers rigorously stuck to the official dress code.

But after the momentous changes of 2006 through 2008, daura suruwal lost further ground.

On August 18, 2008, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal took the oath of office as prime minister in a Western-style business suit. The only thing indigenous he wore on that occasion was a Nepali topi.

Shakya has noticed an interesting correlation between politics and his trade.

“The daura-suruwal business is relatively good when the Nepali Congress is in government,” he said. “But when the Maoists were in government, not even a single daura suruwal combine was ordered by people in the administration or government,” he added wryly.

But people like Shakya now have reason to cheer.

In mid-August this year, the cabinet reinstated daura suruwal as the “Nepali dress” or the official dress for Nepali males. Henceforth, Nepalese officials will be required to wear daura suruwal, coat and Nepali cap during official ceremonies.

Malla Era Dress?

Though there is no historical document conclusively proving the origin of the daura suruwal, it is clear the style existed well before the Malla period.

“Many human statues at Changunarayan, Tindhara and Balkumari dating back to the Malla period and even the Lichchhavi era prove that daura suruwal existed then,” said culture expert Satya Mohan Joshi.

Also, the statues of the 17th century king Pratap Malla of Kathmandu, the 18th century kings Bhupatindra Malla of Bhaktapur and Yog Narendra Malla of Patan, that exist to this day, show them wearing what looks like an earlier version of the daura suruwal.

“While the daura suruwal and topi are indigenous, the jacket or coat is British influence,” said Joshi, who himself always wears daura suruwal.

It´s widely held that Rana Prime Minister Jung Bahadur sailed for England in 1852 wearing daura suruwal and a Nepali cap. When he returned to Nepal nearly a year later, there was a new addition to his outfit: the coat. Thereafter, daura suruwal, coat and Nepali cap became the official Nepali dress.

Daura suruwal was also the common man´s dress in Kathmandu Valley throughout the Rana regime when the capital was a forbidden city for foreigners.

Paudel's withdrawal a must for fresh process


KATHMANDU, Sept 21: Speaker Subas Nembang has said the ongoing prime ministerial election in parliament cannot be terminated until Nepali Congress candidate Ram Chandra Paudel withdraws his candidacy.

Nembang said this to UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on Monday when the latter inquired him if ending the ongoing election process was possible through amending the related provision in the parliamentary regulations.
Nembang and Dahal held a meeting at the latter´s residence at Nayabazaar, Monday morning.

According to sources, Maoist chairman discussed the matter with the speaker after some legal experts told Dahal that a fresh start to election was possible by ending the ongoing one. It is learnt that experts had suggested to Dahal to propose to summon special session of parliament to amend to the regulations.

The speaker said amending the regulations is not possible while the election process is still under way as that would directly affect the voting. "Withdrawal of Paudel´s candidacy is a must for amending the regulations and starting the prime ministerial election afresh."

After listening to the speaker, Dahal did not press him any further.

A provision in the Interim Constitution says, if, during the prorogation or recess of the session or meeting of the Legislature-Parliament, at least one-fourth of the total number of the then members of the House make a petition that it is expedient to convene a session or meeting, the prime minister shall, no later than within 15 days, convene such a session or meeting by specifying the date and time for the same.

Opposition parties sometimes demand special meeting of parliament as they can propose the business for the House in such a session.

A legal expert said the provision was put in the constitution to summon special parliament meeting particularly if there is a serious crisis in the country.

Though Dahal, after reaching a three-point agreement with CPN-UML, announced in public that he would withdraw his prime ministerial candidacy, the Maoist party has not officially informed the Parliament Secretariat about the decision.

Sources privy to top Maoist leaders said the latter are for officially pulling out from the race only after consulting Nepali Congress and Madhes-based parties, among others.

"They will implement the agreement either by remaining absent or adopting other ways in the upcoming voting that is scheduled for September 26 even if they don´t withdraw Dahal´s candidacy before that date," the source said.

"They are still holding discussions and consultations for finding the best option." Sources said Maoist leaders would prefer to withdraw the candidacy together with Paudel if possible.

Monday, September 20, 2010

Karki faces UML axe over bribery

THT Online

KATHMANDU: A meeting of the disciplinary commission of the CPN-UML on Sunday decided to take action against its Constituent Assembly member Dol Bahaur (DB) Karki over his alleged involvement in bribery in the capital.

On the basis of a committee formed by the party to investigate the allegations against Karki, the commission decided to forward its decision to UML central committee to suspend him from his post in the party.

Karki is a standing committee member of All Nepal Peasants Federation and an oganisational member of the party. However, the meeting stated that the final decision regarding Karki’s CA membership would be taken after the entire investigation would be completed.

The party also urged all to be aware about the issue of financial irregularities including such condemnable activities.

Karki was arrested on September 1, 2010 for his alleged involvement in a bribery case with false promises of recruitment for the post of Inspector in the Nepal Police. He is currently in custody due to the ongoing investigation.

Maoist confers with fringe parties on PM poll


KATHMANDU: The UCPN-Maoist and some fringe political parties held discussion on Sunday for the formation of a government garnering two third majority, comprising the UCPN-Maoist and CPN-UML.

The discussion was held at the Parliamentary Party office of the Maoists, Singha Durbar. During the meeting, Maoist leaders had informed about the 4-point pact signed with the Maoists and UML for the prime ministerial election.

During the meeting, the leaders of other parties had complained on Prachanda's step to pull out from the prime ministerial election without informing them.

UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal 'Prachanda', vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha, secretary Post Bahadur Bogati, standing committee member Dev Prasad Gurung and leaders of Nepal Majdoor Kisan Party, CPN ML (Socialist), Nepali Janata Dal, Nepa: Rastriya Party, Nepal Sadbhabhana Party (Anandidevi) and Rastriya Janamukti Party were present during the meeting.

Corruption, anomalies rife in KMC: Report

KATHMANDU, Sept 20: You won´t be taken aback by surprise if you come across a government establishment rife in corruption for many of these institutions, run by the taxpayers´ money, have historically been bleeding the national economy white.

But the fact that these government institutions are overtly indulged in corruption and anomalies is something to reckon with seriously.

In a nerve-racking revelation, the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC), the only metropolis of the country, has jumped into the bandwagon of corrupt government institutions. This was made public in a report released by the National Vigilance Center (NVC), a government body established in 2059 BS to create awareness about corruption-related undertakings and to root them out.

The report, prepared on the basis of field visit, states that the KMC has not submitted audit report of its accounts for the past four years. By doing so, it has not only made a mockery of the prevalent laws but also failed in its accountability towards the people.

Worse still, KMC has not maintained periodical records of advances doled out to its staffers, political leaders, construction companies, and suppliers since long. Millions of rupees had remained unsettled as a result.

NVC Spokesperson Sher Bahadur Dungana said, “About 124 million rupees given as advances is yet to be recovered and the KMC staffers are apathetic towards this.”

The report has further unveiled that there are anomalies in house construction licenses granted by the KMC. Most of the houses are built without KMC´s permission and even if they do, they are found to have flouted the rules, the report stated, adding that the KMC staffers do not hesitate to tell that many buildings are erected in public lands as well.

Regarding development projects within the city, of which KMC is legally responsible, it has not maintained any record of periodical projects. Local Self-Governance Act 1999 has it that every municipality should maintain statistics of its territorial region and prepare detailed plan to carry out developmental activities.

The non-compliance also reflects in the 45-year lease agreement signed between KMC and Lhotse Multipurpose (P.) Ltd, which was done to manage Gongabu-based bus park. Lhotse owes millions in dues to KMC. Besides, vehicle parking and KMC´s internal management rues apathy.

Tana Gautam, chief of NVC, operating under direct supervision and control of prime minister, said, “Although the report can be an eye-opener, it has failed to delve into in-depth issues.”

He said the report would be handed to the Minister for Local Development and the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority to seek action against KMC.

Chitwan confirms 53 cases of dengue

CHITWAN, Sept 20: Chitwan district, which is reeling under viral fever, confirmed 53 cases of dengue, 10 leptospyrosis and 12 Pandemic H1N1 Influenza, otherwise known as swine flu.

The District Public Health Office (DPHO) said 17 patients of Bharatpur Hoapital, 26 of Chitwan Medical College and three samples sent to Kathmandu have tested positive for the disease, while tests conducted in Bharatpur Medical College have yet to be obtained.

Hospitals in Chitwan have started testing for dengue from September 15 after the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division sent them the test kit. The difficulty in testing the disease lurked as the government delayed the shipment of the test kits, thereby delaying the treatment.

It was only after the Epidemiology and Disease Control Division that sent 75 kits to Bharatpur Hospital, 25 to Medical College Bharatpur and 96 to Chitwan Medical College when the test began.

Currently, dengue fever is being diagnosed at these hospitals free of cost, vector control inspector at the DPHO, Ram KC, said.

KC, however, conceded that the number of test kits was not sufficient enough forcing the patients to go for the test in hospitals elsewhere which have not been supplied with the kit by the government, by paying up to Rs 1,000 for a single test.

The DPHO has launched an awareness campaign against dengue, leptospyrosis and swine flu as the prevalence of fever went out of control across the district.

The campaign is especially focused on combating dengue, which is transmitted by Aedes mosquitoes. The people in the affected areas have been advised to be careful as the mosquitoes breed in water collected in artificial containers such as plastic cups, used tires, broken bottles, flower pots, and even drinking water tanks.

Sunday, September 19, 2010

8 for key posts, 353 for CWC file nomination


KATHMANDU: A total of 361 candidates filed their nomination for the Nepali Congress Central Working Committee membership and three key posts of party president, general secretary and treasurer on the second day of party’s 12th National General Convention on Saturday.

Altogether eight leaders registered their names—three each for presidency and general secretary, and two for treasurer—under three different panels led by the presidential hopefuls: acting president Sushil Koirala, senior leader Sher Bahadur Deuba and ideologue Bhim Bahadur Tamang.

Prakash Man Singh (Koirala panel), Bimalendra Nidhi (Deuba panel) and Narahari Acharya (Tamang panel) registered their name for the election of party general secretary, while Chitralekha Yadav (Deuba panel) and Padma Narayan Chaudhary (Koirala panel) claimed their stake over the treasurer post.

The nomination registration was carried out the party central office in Sanepa, Lalitpur from 8 a.m. to 12 p.m.

99 for 25 open category seats

For the CWC membership, 99 candidates filed their nomination for the 25 seats for open competition.

Ram Chandra Paudel, Ram Sharan Mahat, Kul Bahadur Gurung, Sujata Koirala, Krishna Prasad Sitaula, Arjun Narsingh KC and Amar Raj Kaini are the leaders in this category.

The central leaders who have filed nomination include Shekhar Koirala, Sujata Koirala, Khum Bahadur Khadka, Chakra Bastola, Govinda Raj Joshi and Suprabha Ghimire.

Nepali Congress (NC) acting president Sushil Koirala reaches the party’s central office to file his nomination for party presidency, at Sanepa in Lalitpur on Saturday, September 18, 2010.

For three seats reserved for the Dalits, 25 nominations were filed, while another five nominations were registered for the two seats in the Dalit women category.

Likewise, there were 40 nominations for six reserved women seats, while 15 candidates registered their name for available two seats under the Adivasi Janajati women category. 37 nominations were filed for three Adivasi Janajati seats.

Also 92 candidates filed their nominations from 14 zones. One candidate from each of 14 zones will be elected to the CWC.

The final list of nominees will be published at 10:00 am Sunday morning. The names of all nominees will be put to vote on September 20 from 10:00 am to 4:00 pm.

Presidential rule is Bijukchhe's mantra


"Though I favour president's rule in principle, President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav cannot do that."

BUTAWAL: Chairman of Nepal Majdoor Kishan Party Narayan Bijukchhe said that "president's rule has become essential" to give an immediate political way out.

"If president's rule is not imposed when a country experiences a complex economic chaos, the nation will go back," he said speaking at a press meet in Butwal today.

"I am still sticking to my stand last year when there was crisis of notes. President's rule should be enforced during the time of economic disorder," he said.

Saying the country is still facing the old problems, he said that fresh election could be another way out.

"Though I favour president's rule in principle, President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav cannot do that," he added.

New rule on collateral New rule on collateral to hit realty sector to hit realty sector

KATHMANDU, Sept 19: People aspiring to buy land and housing taking loans from banks and financial institutions (BFIs) by pledging the same as collateral will not be able to have their plan materialized now.

The government this week imposed a new rule, whereby buyers will not be able to pledge the land and housing as collateral at BFIs on the very day they bought it.

Issuing a circular, Ministry of Land Reforms and Management (MoLRM) this week instructed all Land Revenue Offices (LROs) across the country not to allow buyers pledge the property being bought as collateral on the same day.

“Based on the circular, we have already stopped registering the transactions wherein people seek to pledge the same as collateral immediately after ownership takeover,” said Krishna Prasad Joshi, official at Kalanki LRO.

“We allow pawning on the next day of ownership takeover though,” he told However, opening the collateral a day after does not serve the interest of banks, said bankers, adding that the new rule will badly squeeze banks credit in the realty sector.

So far, LROs used to allow pawning of property at the same instant of transactions and issue letter to the banks that they will not allow collateral´s further transactions until the bank opens it instantly.

Under this practice, the banks used to complete all formalities like clear identification of shape and size of the land and housing plot number and its monetary valuation, prior to the transactions.

And on the day of transaction, they used to issue checks to the sellers on behalf of the buyers as soon as LROs transfer ownership and simultaneously get a stay letter on further transaction of the collateral from LROs.

“But the new rule has made it impossible for people lacking other collaterals to buy land and housing with BFIs finances,” said Rajan Singh Bhandari, vice president of Nepal Bankers´ Association and chief executive of Citizens Bank International.

Bhandari stated that no BFI can issue loans to the customers without being assured of collateral and with LROs restricting their pawning on the very day of transaction, people will simply fail to get the loans from the banking system.

The new rule will hit commercial banks´ credit flow in the sector as well. Although the central bank has long tagged realty as vulnerable sector and capped BFIs loans in the sector, real estates and housing is still one of their favorite investment areas.

The rule has turned land and housing developers anxious, especially as realty transactions have nosedive with banks tightening loans after Nepal Rastra Bank capped their lending in the sector in January.

“The NRB cap had already turned the market jittery. The new rule, which makes loans inaccessible to buyers, will further mess up the situation,” said Ichchha Bahadur Wagle, the vice president of Nepal Land and Housing Developers Association. He urged the government to revoke the decision immediately.

Chhavi Raj Pant, secretary at MoLRM, meanwhile, said that the new rule was imposed with a view to systematize LRO operations. “It might create inconvenience in the market. But eventually it will safeguard the interest of all, including buyers and bankers,” he said.