Thursday, December 30, 2010

CIAA seeks clarification on hydel licence amendment


KATHMANDU: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) today asked the Ministry of Energy to clarify the amendment of the working procedure for issuing licence to hydro power developers.

The amendment, announced a week ago, had provisioned formation of a special committee, which would have the last right to decide on issuing licence to developers.

Minister Prakash Sharan Mahat had flexed his muscles and amended the existing Hydro Pojects Licence Management Procedure-2010 in a bid, which many believe, was intended to override Energy Secretary Shanker Koirala.

The minister, a week ago, stating the need to evaluate the present status of projects, decided to put on hold the licence issuing process until the next decision of the ministry amends the present license issuing procedure. The move had drawn much flak.

Differences between Minister Mahat and Secretary Koirala surfaced a couple of months ago when both took each other head on while appointing Arjun Kumar Karki chairman of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited. The issue later landed in the Supreme Court, which scrapped the decision to appoint Karki.

CIAA has asked the ministry to clarify the need to amend the existing procedure and also justify the amendment legally within a week as it curbs the rights of the secretary given by Electricity Regulation-1993.

PADT to clear temple area of graves to conserve holy site

KATHMANDU: In a bid to clean up and conserve the Hindu religious site in the vicinity of Pashupatinath, the Pashupati Area Development Trust has decided to remove remains and tombstones of non-Hindus from the Pashupati and surrounding areas.

“Hundreds of bodies have been buried in the Shleshmantak forest area, and concrete structures are causing deforestation in the area. In addition, bodies of non-Hindus are not allowed to be interred in and around the holy site,” said PADT member secretary Sushil Nahata.

There are around 200 Christian graves in the Sleshmantak forest area.

Non-Hindus started burying bodies in the Pashupatinath forest area after 2006 — the year the country was declared a secular state. However, besides Christians, non-Hindu groups like Kiratis too claim the Pashupati area as their heritage site, and they too started burying the dead in the area about a decade ago. PADT earlier demolished about 67 gravestones.

The government in association with the Department of Archaeology had reached an agreement with Rai-Kiratis about a decade ago in relation to performing final rites of the dead in the area. According to PADT Norms- 2050, non-Hindu activities are restricted in the Pashupati area.

Hindus from Giri, Puri and Dashanami societies and children of Hindus only can be buried in the area. However, there is a restriction on constructing structures on the burial site of any sort. KB Rokaya, general secretary of the National Council of Churches of Nepal, said the community didn’t have any other option but to bury the dead in the area as the government failed to allocate land for them for burial. “The government should provide land for the Christians here,” said Rokaya.

However, Nahata informed that today’s meeting of the PADT Council has decided to form a three-member committee to look into the issue.

The committee headed by Nahata includes Kathmandu Chief District Officer and chief of DoA. “The Committee after studying the situation will find a solution,” said PADT Director Bhola Prasad Sitaula.

Culture Minister Minendra Rijal, who is also the Chairman of PADT, said the government will take up the issue seriously considering the gravity of the situation. Concern raised by non-Hindus, especially the Christians, will be discussed to do the needful to address the problem.

Govt mulling over buying time

KATHMANDU: The government is hard-pressed following a UN caveat that the Nepali mission in Darfur of Sudan will be dysfunctional if the government failed to supply UN-standard logistics and equipment to Nepali troops there at the earliest.

The government is contemplating writing to UN seeking some time for the equipment supply. However, it is yet to finalise what procedure to follow for the same.

The Nepali mission in Darfur is embroiled in controversy following reports of irregularity in the purchase of logistics and equipment, especially Armoured Personnel Vehicles, for Nepali troops stationed there.

The Darfur scam, which involves quite a few high-profile personalities, including former home minister and Nepali Congress leader Krishna Sitaula, was extensively discussed at yesterday’s parliamentary State Affairs Committee meeting in which SAC had categorically directed the government and Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority to bring guilty to book.

The Nepali mission, with 150 troops, in Darfur is almost dysfunctional with sub-standard equipment in possession.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today discussed equipment procurement issue with home minister, finance minister, secretaries and officials of concerned ministries, Nepal Police chief and AIGs.

The meeting mulled over two options: Write to UN seeking some time or start procuring equipment immediately to replace the non-operational ones. However, the meeting ended with differences among the participants in the meeting. “Some suggested that NP should move ahead with the procurement process while others said the government should opt for a short-cut way for procurement through a Cabinet decision,” said a source.

Even if the government takes the short-cut route, it may take about a month and a half to complete the procurement.

But is worse, if the UN decides to repatriate the Nepali troops, the country’s image will be tarnished in the international arena. Moreover, Nepal, which is one of the largest contributors to UN peace missions, could be deprived of participating in any mission in future.

On October 25, UN had alerted the government about the non-operational status of the equipment and sought an update to this effect. A few days ago, it inquired Col Purna Silwal, Military Adviser, Permanent Mission of Nepal to the UN, about the progress in procurement.

It had informed Silwal that Nepal Formed Police Unit in Sudan could be no longer deployed due to the sub-standard APCs it had and that it would soon send an official note to Permanent Mission of Nepal setting the deadline for bringing the FPU in operational status. “There was clear hint that in failing to meet the demand, the next step would be to send the FPU back,” reads a December 22 e-mail forwarded by Col Silwal to Nepal’s high-level authorities.

Meanwhile, SAC today wrote to the prime minister, home minister, IGP and CIAA to begin procurement process within 10 days.

SAC also directed CIAA to file a case against the guilty involved in the graft. Nine months ago, SAC had concluded that around Rs 320 million was embezzled while procuring the low-grade equipment worth around Rs 420 million.

NRB admits BoP deficit is growing


KATHMANDU: The Balance of Payment (BoP) has registered a deficit of Rs 5.03 billion in the first four months (mid-November) of the current fiscal year, compared to a deficit of Rs 15.78 billion in the same period last year, revealed Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) data.

According to the micro-economic report of first four months of the current fiscal year released here by the central bank, the year-on-year inflation as measured by the consumer price index stood at 8.4 per cent in mid-November from 9.1 per cent in the same period last year, due to price index of food and beverage group that grew by 13.3 per cent. The current account has also registered a deficit of Rs 1.92 billion, compared to a deficit of Rs 14.78 billion in the same period last year. The BoP deficit has been attributed to decelerating growth of trade deficit and an improvement in the growth rate of transfer income, particularly grants and remittances.

The workers’ remittances have increased by 13.6 per cent to Rs 76.88 billion compared to 6.6 per cent growth in the same period last year. “On a monthly basis, the remittance inflows, however, declined by 16.3 per cent in October-November compared to a month ago of this fiscal year,” the central bank said, adding that under the financial account, foreign direct investment (FDI) of Rs 3.42 billion has been recorded, compared to the level of Rs 744 million in the same period a year ago. However, the report also shows that the import-export gap has not been bridged. Nepal’s import continues to be about six times higher than the exports as exports stand at Rs 21.64 billion against the imports worth Rs 121.35 billion.

Liquidity crunch

KATHMANDU: Around Rs 15 billion revenue has been unspent in the government account, squeezing liquidity in the market,” the central bank Governor Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada, said here today. “Had the budget come on time, the liquidity crunch would have been eased,” he added. The budget was delayed by four months. The macro-economic report shows that there is still a gap between the deposit mobilisation and lending by commercial banks in mid-November. The deposit mobilisation of commercial banks declined by Rs 4.5 billion in the first four months of 2010-11, against a growth of Rs 19 billion in the same period last year due to the diversion of deposits on account of relatively higher interest rate offered by them, it added.

Now‚ NRB to walk out of NBL‚ RBB


KATHMANDU: The central bank will pull out of Nepal Bank Ltd (NBL) and Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB)in a year. “Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has prepared a road-map to pull out its representatives from running the bank in a year,” said NRB Governor Dr Yubaraj Khatiwada.

The central bank is appointing a CEO, who will plan the exit of NRB representatives, he said.

NBL has been under the central bank’s direct supervision after foreign management team walked out suddenly, reportedly protesting NRB decision to extend the contract for another three months, in 2007. The foreign management was part of the financial sector reform programme that started in 2002.

The first phase of the reform programme will come to an end by this December, Khatiwada said, adding that the central bank is into negotiating with donors to start the second-phase of the reform programme.

The second-phase will be more focused on financial service expansion and consolidation, he added. However, the central bank’s decision to appoint a new CEO for NBL has attracted criticism. “When the bank is run by the board that has

no representation of all the shareholders, how can the board appoint a professional CEO,” questioned former finance minister Dr Ram Sharan Mahat here at the sub-committee under the Parliamentary committee on Finance and Labour Relations.

250 students held


KATHMANDU: In coordinated checks carried out by traffic cops focusing on college student on Wednesday, around 250 students were detained along with their two-wheelers. Of the total number of students, 62 failed to produce driving licence. DSP Basant Pant informed that nine two-wheelers had been modified. “What was surprising was, 179 of them did not have both driving license and ownership certificate,” he said. “They awill be fined Rs 200 under the Motor Vehicle and Transport Management Act, while the modified bikes have been impounded.” According to him, most of the students belonged to Golden Gate International College, KIST College, Min Bhawan Campus, White House College and Paropakar College among others.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Subsidized cattle insurance on cards

KATHMANDU, Dec 28: National Dairy Development Board (NDDB) -- the dairy sector regulator -- has come up with a plan of insuring 500,000 milking cows in seven key dairy districts through local dairy co-operatives.

The NDDB mooted the fresh initiative as dairy farmers have been facing a huge loss due to death of their cattle in the absence of a reliable compensation system.

The board is providing insurance coverage to milking cows of about 300,000 farmers associated with 1,000 dairy co-operatives. As per the plan, the board will provide seed money to District Dairy Co-operatives Associations to provide compensation to farmers.

“We are distributing seed money to compensate farmers for the loss of their cattle though District Dairy Co-operatives Associations of the selected districts. Farmers will benefit from the scheme as they will get compensation by paying reasonable insurance premium,” DN Pathak, executive director of NDDB, told Republica on Monday.

The DDB is endorsing the plan in the near future. About 300,000 farmers are expected to benefit from the program in the first phase.

Pathak said Kavre, Lalitpur, Nawalparasi, Makawanpur, Chitwan, Rupandehi and Kaski districts have been selected for the program in the first phase. About 500,000 of an estimated 900,000 milking cows across the country are believed to be in the farms in these seven districts.

“Poor farmers may have to face a huge loss in the absence of insurance coverage. The main objective of this plan is to provide compensation to farmers in case of death of their cattle through insurance schemes,” Pathak added.

Only a few milking cows and buffaloes have been insured so far.

As of now, the Credit Guarantee Corporation has been undertaking the responsibility of insuring cattle.

The board is mulling over expanding the program to other viable districts based on the basis of results of the program in the first phase.

In a bid to address the shortage of milking cows in the country, the board is also importing 20,000 vials semen of improved breeds for artificial insemination in the seven districts.

“With this arrangement, we hope the number of cows of improved breeds in those districts will increase, reducing deepening deficit of fresh milk in the country,” said Pathak.

Many farmers have been quitting dairy farming in the absence of due incentives and rising cost of milk production in recent years, sparking shortage of fresh milk across the country.

According to dairy producers, they were receiving only half of the total daily demand of about 800,000 liters of fresh milk across the country. As a result, most of the producers, including state-owned Dairy Development Corporation, are forced to import fresh milk from India´s Bihar state.

Insurance living ordeal for victims´ families

KATHMANDU: The ordeal for the kin of Tara Air crash victims‚ it seems‚ is not going to end any sooner‚ with uncertainty whether they could get insurance claim.

While the airline company claims that they would get their insurance claim‚ insurers term the case ‘very tough’.

Out of 22 killed in Tara Air Crash last week‚ 18 were found to be Bhutanese who had been issued tickets in Nepali names. While three were crew members‚ one deceased had American passport.

Insurers say it is tough for the kin of victims to claim insurance as passengers were found to have ‘fake identity’.

“Under insurance law‚ only family members of persons bearing the names in the tickets issued can legitimately claim insurance‚” said an official at Himalayan General Insurance Co Ltd‚ which is also Tara Air’s official insurance agent. “We are not sure whether Tara Air will receive passenger insurance as per the agreement as the passengers were holding tickets in fake names‚” said the official‚ adding they are waiting for a Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal report on the crash.

“Tara Air hasn’t claimed insurance officially so far‚ and we will start the survey only after receiving the claim‚” said the official.

“They are not solely responsible for deciding the claim as their re-insurance partners from outside the country will also enquire into the incident.”

He admitted that ground for the kin of the victims to make insurance claim was very weak.

However‚ as far as the crew members are concerned‚ there won’t be much problem to claim full insurance and third-party liabilities as per the agreement. According to another insurance agency‚ there is no legal ground for claiming insurance when all the tickets are issued under fake identity.

Practically it is known that 18 of the deceased were Bhutanese nationals‚ but the only tangible legal proof for making insurance claims — tickets and other documents — do not reflect that.

In order to get insurance compensation‚ the concerned airline company needs to forward the names of passengers on board and family members of the deceased along with death certificates and kinship certificate approved by the District Administration Office.

In case of foreign passengers‚ required documents should come through concerned embassies.

Domestic airlines should go by International Civil Aviation Organisation rules that pledge insurance cover of up to $20‚000 per passenger‚ according to country’s civil aviation body‚ CAAN.

“It does not matter whether insurance company provides compensation or not. The airline has to provide insurance compensation to its deceased passengers as per international standards — Warsaw Convention and the Hague Protocol‚” said CAAN Manager Madhav Prasad Dahal.

Thursday, December 16, 2010

Aircraft missing with 22 on board


A Twin Otter aircraft belonging to Tara Air went missing on Wednesday with 22 people on board. The Rescue Coordination Centre at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) suspected that the aircraft crashed in Kunta Devi Village Development Committee in Okhaldhunga district.

Spokesperson at the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation Laxman Prasad Bhattarai said they are yet to confirm if the aircraft that took off from Lamidanda in Khotang district to Kathmandu crashed. According to him, helicopters have been sent to look for the missing aircraft. However, the search mission was cancelled late in the evening due to heavy clouds.

According to the Post’s Khotang correspondent, Deputy Superintendent of Police Tek Bahadur Tamang said the plane did not land in any airport nearby.

The aircraft took off at 03: 08 p.m. and was scheduled to land in Kathmandu at 8: 40 p.m.

Along with Captain Anup Raj Shakya, Co-pilot Sachindra Shrestha and Air Hostess Sudiksha Gurung, there were 18 Bhutanese and one foreigner in the flight, the airline said. The Bhutanese were in Nepal to take part in the SAARC Trade Fair in Kathmandu.

Locals of Okhaldhunga said they heard a loud sound across Musunga Khola. “Police and Army personnel have been sent to comb the area,” chief of the Air Traffic Control (ATC) at the TIA, Kamlesh Lal Karna, quoted the CDO of Okhaldhunga as saying.

ATC officer at the Kathmandu airport, Bhes Raj Adhikari, said the pilot had contacted the tower at around 03: 13 pm as part of its regular reporting and no technical difficulties had been reported then. While the weather in the sector was fair, the ATC declared an emergency when the flight failed to establish contact for almost 30 minutes.

General Manager at the TIA Dinesh Shrestha said the search mission will continue on Thursday morning.

Passengers on missing Tara Air flight

1. Mr. T. R Tamang

2. Mrs. G. Sherpa

3. Mr. K. Sherpa

4. Mr. S. Tamang

5. Mrs. S. Tamang

6. Mr. T.R Tamang

7. Mr. T.G Lama

8. Mr. K.W Lama

9. Mrs. P Tamang

10. Mr. K. N Lama

11. Mr. Z. D Sherpa

12. Mrs. L. W Sherpa

13. Mrs. S. B Lama

14. Mr. T Sherpa

15. Mrs. T.Y Sherpa

16. Mrs. P. W Tamang

17. Mrs. D.B Tamang

18. Mr. T. W Sherpa

19. Mr. Chodek Kelsang (American passport)

The details

The Tara Air aircraft was headed for Kathmandu from Khotang
Officials say it may have crashed in Okhaldhunga district
18 Bhutanese, one foreigner, three crew members on board

Tara Air crash victims' bodies brought to Capital

KATHMANDU: All 22 bodies of the Tara Air victims including three crew members have been brought to the Capital on Thursday afternoon.

The borides have been sent to Bir Hospital for postmortem soon after being airlifted to the Tribhuvan International airport in a Nepal Army helicopter.

A Bhutanese team led by the cabinet secretary, which arrived in the capital today, informed that the bodies of the Bhutanese will be sent home on Friday after postmortem.

Three crew members captain Anup Raj Shakya, co-pilot Shachendra Shrestha and air hostess Sudiksha Gurung and 19 passengere, all of whom were Bhutanese, were killed in the air crash.

The Tara Air plane that had gone missing since Wednesday afternoon was found crashed at a remote location of Okhaldhunga district.

Paras Shah reaches Pokhara after release


(Update III at 1700 NST, 1125 GMT)
CHITWAN, Dec 16: District Administration Office (DAO), Chitwan released former crown prince Paras Shah on bail late Thursday afternoon.

Shah was asked to pay Rs. 10,000 as bail amount and has to be present himself whenever his the investigating authority ask him to be.

“I have not nothing wrong,” he told reporters in a brief comment after he was released. He was expected to address a mass meeting of his supporters, but he didn’t fearing poor security.

He reached Pokhara in a Fishtail Air helicopter and is expected to return Kathmandu on Friday.

A helicopter of Fishtail Air is on standby to take him to Kathmandu.

Earlier on Thursday, police is filing the charge-sheet against Shah.

Police charged Shah on public offense and the Chief District Officer (CDO) gave his decision to release him on bail.

Wednesday, December 15, 2010

Former crown prince arrested for murder bid


NARAYANGADH: Former crown prince Paras Shah, who opened fire at the Tiger Tops Resort in the Chitwan National Park after an altercation with Deputy Prime Minister Sujata’s son-in-law on Saturday, was booked for attempt to murder by the Chitwan police today.

The police nabbed Paras in Pokhara and airlifted him to Mid-Western Region Police Training Centre on a Fishtail chopper around 5 pm. According to police officials, Assistant Sub-Inspector Hari Dhungana of Meghauli Police Post, Chitwan, has filed the FIR against Paras.

A police team led by Gandaki Zonal Police Office Chief Senior Superintendent of Police Keshav Adhikari arrested Paras from Fulbari Resort and taken to Chitwan on a chopper. Police said Paras would bear the helicopter fare.

SSP Adhikari and Inspector Sunil Malla accompanied Paras to Chitwan. According to Kaski District Police Chief Superintendent of Police Pushkar Karki, Paras was not interrogated in Pokhara.

A group of Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal leaders and activists supporting Paras had gathered outside the hotel in support of Paras. Over 80 police personnel were deployed in the resort to ward off any untoward incident. They barred them from entering the hotel premises. Mediapersons were also not allowed inside the hotel.

A team from Chitwan district police office reached Tiger Tops Resort last night and has begun preliminary investigation into the case. If found guilty, Paras can be sentenced for 12 years.

Chitwan CDO Bashantraj Gautam said a panel formed by the Home Ministry to probe into the case had also arrived. Chitwan SP Pushpa Chandra Ranjit could not be contacted. Balaram Sharma, Chief, Police Training Centre, confirmed that Paras was brought to the centre. Mediapersons thronged the Bharatpur Airport after they came to know that Shah was being brought to Chitwan. The police barred them from entering the airport. When no chopper landed till 4.30 pm, they went to the Police Training Centre.

In Kathmandu, some 700 royalists converged on Hanumandhoka Durbar Square, Basantapur, and staged anti-government protests demanding that police release Paras unconditionally. They shouted slogans against Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala and her son-in-law Rubel Choudhary.

Later in the evening, they took out a torch rally.

In the evening, police detained CA member and leader of Sadbhawana Party Khobhari Raya Yadav while he was trying to block traffic on Durbar Marg to protest the arrest of Paras. SP Ramesh Kharel said he was released later as the CA Chairman was not informed before the arrest. Six persons who were accompanying Yadav were detained for interrogation.

(With inputs from Pokhara and Kathmandu)

NA security withdrawn


KATHMANDU: Nepali Army Headquarters recalled a seven-member security team tasked with guarding the former crown prince on Tuesday, four days after Paras Shah opened fire in Tiger Tops Resort in Chitwan. NA Spokesperson Brig Gen Ramindra Chhetri said Nepali Army had set up a court of inquiry to probe the firing by Paras in the presence of NA officials.

Bam case sent to Parliament


KATHMANDU: The Judicial Council today recommended that the Parliament initiate action against Supreme Court Justice Rana Bahadur Bam.

Justice Bam case was getting complicated with Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha and Law Minister Prem Bahadur Singh taking each other head on.

JC, after finding that he was involved in freeing three abduction accused improperly, took the decision to recommend the Parliament to initiate impeachment proceedings against Justice Bam. Singh, however, took strong exception to the decision.

But the five-member JC unanimously decided to sack Hetauda Appellate Court Judge Tej Bahadur Karki, who was also involved in the same case, on the charge of misusing his discretionary power.

JC meeting took the decision based on the report prepared by senior Justice Balaram KC-led panel, which had recommended action against the three judges saying they were not eligible for judgeship. “We decided to relieve Karki of his duties but have given him a chance to present his explanation before executing the decision,” CJ told mediapersons.

“But in Bam’s case, we have recommended the Parliament to initiate action, as it was the jurisdiction of the Parliament to take action against a Supreme Court justice.”

As per Article 105 of the constitution, a two-third majority is required to impeach an SC justice on four grounds — incompetence, bad conduct, mental or physical incapacity, and misuse of power.

JC, which is led by the chief justice, however, kept silent on another controversial judge, Hari Bahadur Basnet, who shared the bench with Justice Bam while releasing abduction accused from the Patan Appellate Court. CJ Shrestha said no action was taken against Basnet as he had tendered his resignation yesterday.

KC-led panel had indicted Bam, Karki and Basnet for releasing three abduction accused, who were later found involved in Dr Bhaktman Shrestha’s abduction.

Singh, however, claimed Justice Bam would hear cases from tomorrow as no action against him had been recommended to the Parliament.

Earlier today, CJ Shrestha called Justice Bam in his chamber and sought his resignation but Bam refused to put in papers and told the CJ that he would rather face parliamentary investigation.

“I won’t let anyone set a bad precedent,” an SC Justice quoted Bam as saying.

Paras arrest drama

KATHMANDU, Dec 15: The first ever arrest of a former high-end royal on a criminal charge after the abolition of monarchy became pretty dramatic when former crown prince Paras Shah took nearly five hours to give himself up to police, on Tuesday in Pokhara.

The government had decided Tuesday morning to arrest Shah in connection with the Chitwan shooting.

Shah was staying at posh Fulbari Resort since Monday afternoon after the shooting scandal in Chitwan Saturday night. In an alcoholic stupor, he had fired in the air with a pistol in illegal possession during an altercation with Rubel Chaudhary, son-in-law of Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, at Tiger Tops lodge inside Chitwan National Park.

Police cordoned off Fulbari Resort at noon, acting on a nationally-circulated arrest warrant issued around 10 a.m. by Chitwan District Police. Senior Superintendent of Police (SSP) Keshav Adhikari, chief of Zonal Police Office Gandaki, led the entire process of taking hold of Shah, who finally agreed to go to Chitwan by a personally hired helicopter.

Shah tarried whole day

According to police officials, when security personnel from both Nepal Police and the Armed Police Force were deployed around the resort, Shah reacted in a way that showed he might not have expected to be arrested. Accompanied on his travel by over a dozen aides, Shah was staying at the 200 US dollars per day Suite No. 3122, and he tarried in showing up in the lobby.

“Initially, he refused to give in,” said a senior police official requesting anonymity. “After we insisted that he had to come with us, he said yes but mentioned different pretexts to delay, like poor health, meals and even matters like answering nature´s call.”

“It was getting late and we were still pressing him. Finally, he said he could not go by police van or any other four-wheeler, but showed readiness to go by helicopter,” officials added.

“We let him hire a helicopter himself to travel to Chitwan, because of his health,” said SSP Adhikari, who declined to furnish details.

Officials said Shah boarded a Fishtail Airlines helicopter at 4.45 p.m. an hour after the chopper landed at the resort premises. He was accompanied by Anil Adhikari, his personal driver, and one Madhusudan while SSP Adhikari and an inspector kept guard over the flight.

“He made us warn him we would use force if he did not cooperate,” said an official.

The chopper first landed for refueling at Pokhara Airport where the airline immediately managed another chopper to fly him onwards to Chitwan.

Detention at training barracks

The chopper dropped the former crown prince at the Regional Police Training Office in Bharatpur. He is being detained in a single-bed room at barracks used for trainee cops. Superintendent of Police (SP) Balaram Paudel said Shah has been treated at his office like any other detainee and was served normal food.

Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal workers staged a demonstration outside the training office upon Paras´ arrival there. They demanded to be allowed to meet him.

To be booked on public offence

Chitwan police are to book Shah on a public offence charge. They had issued an arrest warrant for public offence on the basis of preliminary investigations.
Meanwhile, senior police officials said that as per the nature of the shooting incident, public prosecutors could also chargesheet Shah under the Arms and Ammunition Act 2018 BS. “Whether it will be confined to the public offence charge or otherwise will depend on the discretion of the government as well as the report of a high-level probe panel,” said officials. Officials have also indicated the possibility of prosection under the Natinal Parks Conservation Act.

Meanwhile, both the public prosecutor and the counsel for Shah recorded their statements at the Regional Police Training Office this evening.

Panel starts work

A high-level three-member probe panel led by DIG Ganga Prasad Pandey reached Chitwan and held discussions with officials there on Tuesday. “We are yet to get to the scene,” said a panel member. “From tomorrow, we will speed up the investigation.”

Court of Inquiry for army personnel

The Nepal Army (NA) has summoned all seven army personnel deputed for the ex-crown prince´s security during his visit to Chitwan, for failure to maintain security.

“Seven of the deputed army personnel including a captain have been called to a Court of Inquiry (CoI),” Brigadier Ramindra Chhetri, chief of NA´s Directorate of Public Relations, told Republica.

Asked whether the army personnel had provided the weapon used by Shah, Chhetri said it would be known only after an investigation.

“The CoI can establish the facts,” he further said.

(With contributions from Manoj Adhikari and Santosh Pokharel in Pokhara and Chandani Hamal in Chitwan)

सर्भेयरको हड्तालले बिमा दाबी ठप्प

१२ दिनदेखि सर्भेयर आन्दोलनमा

सर्भेयर फि ३ सय १६ प्रतिशतसम्म बढ्यो

काठमाडौं, २६ मंसिर

दुर्घटनाको क्षति मूल्यांकन गरी बिमितले पाउने रकम सिफारिस गर्ने सर्भेयरहरूले शुल्कवृद्धिको माग गर्दै १२ दिनदेखि काम ठप्प पारेका छन् । यसले गर्दा दुर्घटनाका कैयौं घटनाको दाबी हुन सकेको छैन ।

लामो समयदेखि सर्भेयरले लिने शुल्क वृद्धिका विषयमा छलफल भए पनि नेपाल बिमक संघले चासो नदेखाएपछि बाध्य भएर आन्दोलन गर्नुपरेको बिमा सर्भेयर संघ नेपालले जनाएको छ । तर, आफूहरूले काम बन्द गर्नुअघि परिस्थितिका बारेमा सम्बन्धित सबैलाई जानकारी दिएको उसको दाबी छ । अनेक प्रयास गर्दा पनि सुनुवाइ नभएपछि बाध्य भएर एकतर्फी शुल्क वृद्धि गरिएको उसले बताएको छ ।

क्षतिको निरीक्षण र दायित्व बेहोर्नु पर्ने÷नपर्ने बारेमा स्वतन्त्र रूपले छानबिन गरी दाबी मूल्यांकन सिफारिस गर्ने सर्भेयरहरूले काम नगर्दा पीडित (बिमित) मर्कामा परेका छन् । बिमा गरिएको सम्पत्तिमा क्षति भएपछि त्यसको मूल्यांकन गर्ने तटस्थ प्राविधिक सेवा सर्भेयरले बिमा कम्पनीलाई दिन्छन् ।

सर्भेयरको हड्तालले सबैभन्दा बढी नोक्सान दुघर्टनामा पर्नेलाई भएको छ । यो अत्यावश्यक सेवाभित्र पनि पर्ने भएकाले दुबै पक्षलाई बोलाएर छिटो समाधान निकाल्न आग्रह गरिएको बिमा समितिका अध्यक्ष डा. फत्तबहादुर केसीले बताए । तर, समस्या बल्झिँदै गए समिति चुप लागेर नबस्ने र समाधान निकाल्ने भनाइ उनको छ । “शुल्क निर्धारण गर्ने काम बिमक संघ र सर्भेयर संघको हो,” उनले भने ।

सर्भेयर संघले एकतर्फी रूपमा मनोमानी ढंगले शुल्क बढाएको र वार्तामा नआएको आरोप बिमक संघको छ । सर्भेयर संघले भने बिमक संघले मौखिक सहमति जनाएर पनि कार्यान्वयनमा आनाकानी गरेको दाबी गरेको छ । बिमक संघले न्यूनतम ५० प्रतिशतदेखि ३ सय १६ प्रतिशतसम्म शुल्क वृद्धि गरिएको जनाएको छ । तर, यसबारेमा बिमक संघ र सर्भेयर संघका पदाधिकारी तथा बिमा कम्पनी खुलेर कुरा गर्न चाहँदैनन् ।

एक बिमा कम्पनीका प्रमुख कार्यकारीले त बिमा सर्भेयरहरूले जुनसुकै हथकण्डा पनि अपनाउने भएकाले सुरक्षाका लागि कुनै कम्पनी बोल्न नचाहेको बताए ।

बिमक संघका अध्यक्ष दीपप्रकाश पाण्डेले उपाध्यक्ष केवलकृष्ण श्रेष्ठसँग सम्पर्क गर्न अनुरोध गरे भने श्रेष्ठले केही बोल्न चाहेनन् । बिमा कम्पनीहरू भने अनौपचारिक रूपमा शुल्कमा पुनरावलोकन गर्न राजी भए पनि सर्भेयर संघको व्यवहारले प्रक्रिया अघि बढ्न नसकेको. एक बिमा कम्पनीका प्रमुख कार्यकारी अधिकृतले बताए ।

दुबै पक्षले वार्ता टोली गठन गरेको बताए पनि वार्ता हुन नसकेको स्वीकार गरेका छन् । बिमक संघले मंसिर १७ गते अध्यक्ष पाण्डेको अध्यक्षतामा पाँच सदस्यीय वार्ता टोली गठन गरेको थियो । सर्भेयर संघले पनि वार्ता टोली गठन गरेको बताए पनि अन्य कुरा खुलाउन चाहेन ।

सर्भेयर संघका अनुसार नेपाल राष्ट्र बैंकले निकालेको महँगी परिसूचक (इन्फ्लेसन इन्डेक्स) लाई समग्रमा मिलाएर ४० देखि ५० प्रतिसतसम्म शुल्क बढाएको छ । बिमक संघले अनावश्यक हल्ला पिटाएर सर्भेयर संघलाई फुटाउन खोजेको आरोप लगाएको छ । सर्भेयर संघका अधिकारी पनि खुलेर बोल्दा भोलि तिनै कम्पनीको काम लिन समस्या हुने भएकाले व्यक्तिगत रूपमा चिढिन चाहँदैनन् ।

विश्वव्यापी रूपमा बिमा कम्पनीले सर्भेयरको काम नगर्ने प्रचलन रहेको बताउँदै सर्भेयर संघका एक अधिकारीले नेपालको कानुनअनुसार पनि बिमा कम्पनीले सर्भेयरको काम गर्न नपाउने जानकारी दिए ।

“१२ दिन नाघिसक्दासमेत बिमा कम्पनीहरू निश्चिन्त रहेकोमा आश्चर्य लागेको छ,” उनको प्रश्न थियो, “सर्भेयर नहुँदा पनि काम कसरी भएको छ ?” आफूहरू अप्रिय स्थिति आउन नदिने मनस्थितिमा रहेकाले पनि विषयलाई नबढाइएको सर्भेयर संघको भनाइ छ ।

हरेक तीन वर्षमा शुल्क पुनरावलोकन गर्ने व्यवस्था भए पनि पाँच वर्ष नाघिसकेकाले एकतर्फी रूपमा शुल्क बढाउनु परेको सर्भेयर संघको दाबी छ । सर्भेयर शुल्क पछिल्लोपटक २०६२ फागुनमा पुनरावलोकन भएको बताइएको छ । सर्भेयर संघले २०६५ मै शुल्क पुनरावलोकन हुनुपर्नेमा अहिलेसम्म नभएकाले बाध्य भएर काम रोक्नुपरेको स्पष्ट पारेको छ ।

नयाँ शुल्क लागू गर्नुअघि सबै बिमा कम्पनीसँग छुट्टाछुट्टै र नेपाल बिमक संघसँग पनि छलफल भएको सर्भेयर संघको दाबी छ । यसअघि असोज १ गतेदेखि नै नयाँ शुल्क लागू गर्न खोजेको भए पनि बिमकसँग कुरा मिल्ने आशामा पर्खिएको र त्यसको सुनुवाइ नभएपछि बाध्य भएर मंसिर १५ बाट काम रोकेको उसले बताएको छ ।

बिमक संघले मौखिक रूपमा सहमति जनाए पनि पछि सहमति तोडेको आरोप सर्भेयर संघको छ । काम रोक्नेबारे पछिल्लो पटक मंसिर ४ गते सर्भेयरहरूको भेलाले गरेको निर्णय मंसिर ५ मा सबै कम्पनी, बिमक संघ र बिमा समितिलाई जानकारी गराइएको उसले बताएको छ । कामै रोकेर बस्दासमेत बिमक संघका अधिकारीहरूले भेटै गर्न नचाहेको उसको भनाइ छ । “अन्य कुनै विकल्प नभएपछि आन्दोलन गर्नुपरेको हो,” ती अधिकारीले भने ।

हाल बिमा समितिबाट स्वीकृति लिएर बसेका मध्ये १ सय २० ले सर्भेयर काम गरेको र करिव १ सय संघमा आबद्ध रहेको उनले बताए ।

सर्भेयरहरूले सवारीसाधनका हकमा दाबीकर्ताले दाबी गरेको मूल्यअनुसारको स्ल्याबमा, आगलागी, इन्जिनियर र अन्यमा सर्भेयरले मूल्यांकन गरेको मूल्यांकन स्ल्याबमा र मेरिनमा दिनका आधारमा शुल्क लिने गरेका छन् । सवारीसाधन, आगलागी, इन्जिनियर र अन्यका हकमा बिमा कम्पनीबाट र मेरिनमा सामानवालाबाट यो शुल्क लिइन्छ ।

Tuesday, December 14, 2010

बिमा कम्पनी बाध्यकारी मर्जरतर्फ

काठमाडौ, मंसिर २७ -
मस्यौदा बिमा ऐनमा हाल तोकिको पुँजीभन्दा निकै बढी कायम गरिएपछि अधिकांश बिमा कम्पनीको मर्जरको विकल्प नरहने स्थिति देखिएको छ ।

हालको ऐनअनुसार जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका लागि २५ करोड र निर्जीवनका लागि १० करोडको पुँजी तोकिएमा मस्यौदा ऐनले झन्डै १० गुणा बढी कायम गरेपछि बिमा कम्पनी अप्ठ्यारोमा पर्ने देखिएका हुन् । पारित हुने क्रममा रहेको ऐनमा जीवनका लागि २ अर्ब र निर्जीवनलाई १ अर्ब चुक्ता पुँजी तोकिएको छ । सञ्चालनमा रहेका कम्पनीले एकैपटक धेरै पुँजी वृद्धि गर्न नसकिने भएकाले पुनरावलोकन गर्न माग गरेका थिए । तर, पुँजी परिवर्तन नभई ऐन अर्थ मन्त्रालयबाट कानुन मन्त्रालय पुगिसकेको स्रोतले बताएको छ ।

बजारको आकार र कम्पनीको प्रतिफल हेर्दा धेरै ठूलो पुँजी वृद्धि हुन नसक्ने देखेर पनि समितिले पुनरावलोकन नगरेको व्यवसायीको गुनासो छ । त्यसैले जबरजस्ती मर्जरमा लैजान लागिएको उनीहरूले बताए । 'चुक्ता पुँजीलाई यही आकारमा वृद्धि गरिए जबरजस्ती मर्जरमा जानुको विकल्प रहँदैन,' एक बिमा कम्पनी सञ्चालकले भने, 'यसका लागि समय लाग्छ ।' केही समयअघि सार्वजनिक बजेटले पनि बिमा कम्पनीलाई गाभिँदा विभिन्न सुविधा उपलब्ध गराउने उल्लेख गरेको छ ।

समिति भने मर्जरलाई मात्र ध्यानमा राखेर पुँजी वृद्धि नगरिएको जनाएको छ । 'कम्पनीको संख्या, क्रियाकलाप, बजार, कर्मचारी सबै हेर्दा मर्जरलाई समितिले सधैं प्रोत्साहन गरेको हो,' समितिका अध्यक्ष फत्तबहादुर केसीले भने, 'मर्जरमा जाँदा कम्पनीलाई नै फाइदा हुन्छ ।'

कम्पनीको पुँजी वृद्धिपछि ग्राहक, सेयरधनी, सञ्चालनलगायत सरोकारवालालाई सजिलो हुने उनी बताउँछन् । 'पुँजी बढेपछि कम्पनीको अत्मविश्वास, जोखिम वहन क्षमता, पुनः बिमा कम्पनीसँगको सम्बन्ध, सबैमा सुधार आउँछ,' उनले भने, 'पुँजी वृद्धि विवादको विषय होइन ।'

बिमा कम्पनीको छाता संगठन बिमक संघका अध्यक्ष दीप पाण्डे पनि पुँजी वृद्धि आवश्यक रहेको बताउँछन् । 'तर, एकैपटक यति धेरै वृद्धि सजिलो छैन,' उनले भने, 'हामीले बिस्तारै गर्न सुझाव दिएका छौं ।' ऐनमा उल्लेख भएजस्तै पुँजी वृद्धि भए अवस्था सहज नहुने उनी बताउँछन् । '६ अर्बको बजारमा कम्पनीलाई १ र २ अर्ब पुँजी पुर्‍याऊ भन्दा सजिलो हुँदैन,' उनले भने । तोकिएअनुसार पुँजी वृद्धि गर्नुपर्ने भए मर्जर एक विकल्प हुन सक्ने उनले बताए । 'तर त्यो सजिलो भने छैन,' उनले भने, 'मर्जर गर्न बजार, अनुसन्धान लगायत विभिन्न काम हुनुपर्छ ।'

समिति भने बजारको आकार विस्तार हुँदै गएकाले पुँजी वृद्धि गर्न समस्या नहुने बताउँछ । 'हामी पुँजी वृद्धिका लागि समय दिन्छौं,' केसीले भने, 'यसै वर्ष पनि तेस्रो पक्ष बिमा लगायतले व्यवसाय बढ्दै गएको छ ।'

सञ्चालनमा रहेका कम्पनीले आफ्््नो कारोबारको आधारमा समेत पुँजी वृद्धि गर्न सकिने सुझाव दिएका थिए । 'हरेक कम्पनीले गर्ने कारोबार हेरेर त्यहीअनुसार पुँजी कायम गर्नुपर्ने प्रावधान पनि बनाउन सकिन्छ,' बिमक संघमा जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका तर्फबाट उपाध्यक्ष रहेका रमेशराज भट्टराईले भने ।

हाल ८ जीवन, १६ निर्जीवन र एक दुवै व्यवसाय गर्ने कम्पनी सञ्चालनमा छन् । यसबाहेक थप कम्पनीले पनि सञ्चालनका लागि निवेदन दिएका छन् । हाल जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका लागि २५ करोड र निर्जीवनका लागि १० करोड चुक्ता पुँजी तोकिएको छ । अनुमति लिन खोजेका कम्पनीले पनि यही चुक्ता पुँजी रहने गरी निवेदन दिएका छन् ।

नयाँ ऐनले समेत मर्जरलाई प्राथमिकतामा राखेको छ । 'एउटा बिमक सोही किसिमको बीमा व्यवसाय सञ्चालन गर्ने अर्को बिमकमा गाभिन सक्नेछ,' ऐनमा भनिएको छ । गाभिने दुवै बिमाले आफ्नो साधारणसभाबाट सो सम्बन्धी विशेष प्रस्ताव पारित गरी स्वीकृतिको निमित्त संयुक्तरूपमा तोकिएबमोजिमको कागजातसहित प्राधिकरणमा निवेदन दिनुपर्ने उल्लेख छ ।

यस वर्षको बजेटले बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थासहित बिमा कम्पनीलाई मर्जरमा जान विभिन्न सुविधा दिने उल्लेख गरेको छ ।

'बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्था र बिमा कम्पनीलाई परस्पर गाभिन प्रोत्साहन गर्न आयकर ऐनमा भएको एक-आपसमा गाभिएमा सम्पत्ति तथा दायित्वको निसर्ग मानी कर लगाउने प्रावधानमा परिवर्तन गरी कर नलाग्ने एवं सेयरधनी, व्यवस्थापक तथा कर्मचारी समेतको सन्दर्भमा विशेष व्यवस्था' गरिएको छ ।

मस्यौदा ऐनमा जीवनका लागि २ अर्ब र निर्जीवनका लागि १ अर्ब पुँजी तोकिँदै

एकैपटक यति धेरै वृद्धि गर्न सकिँदैन

- कम्पनी

बजार व्यवस्थापन गर्न पुँजी वृद्धि आवस्यक

- बिमा समिति

प्रकाशित मिति: २०६७ मंसिर २८ ०८:१५

Paras shot gun sans licence to carry one?


KATHMANDU: Former crown prince Paras Shah, it seems, is certainly going to land in the rough for opening fire ‘in a fit of anger’ following an altercation with the kin of Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala.

Kathmandu Chief District Officer Laxmi Prasad Dhakal today said Paras had not obtained a license to possess or carry a firearm from the Kathmandu District Administration Office. “We didn’t find his name in the list of over 13,000 persons licensed to possess firearms,” said Dhakal. “I have no idea if he has obtained the licence from any other district.”

In case Paras has not obtained the licence, he, who enjoyed the royal immunity before the abolition of monarchy, will be charged under Section 5 of the Arms and Ammunition Act, according to which a person shall be punished with imprisonment of three to seven years or with fine ranging from Rs 60,000 to Rs 140,000 or with both.

As per the Arms and Ammunition Act-1962, a person, except security personnel, is required to obtain a licence from DAO to possess or carry firearms. The person found to be eligible to become a licence-holder under the Act might procure licence from the Ministry of Home Affairs.

The former crown prince was engaged in a verbal duel with Rubel Choudhary, son-in-law of DPM Koirala, and others in Chitwan on Saturday night and had opened fire into air — for which he, in a press statement, gave an excuse that he was seething with anger over the insult he was subjected to. It was alleged that Paras whipped a gun out and threatened Choudhary and his family with life.

Meanwhile, Choudhary today told mediapersons that he was still in a state of shock. “He pointed a revolver at my forehead and threatened to kill me, my wife and my son,” said Choudhary.

According to Rubel, Paras, who was initially very friendly and was talking about country’s situation and politicians, went berserk after he had his brain on a leash and began charging GP Koirala with playing a key role in abolishing monarchy. “He asked me if I would like to join him for a jungle safari. I refused and it was at that moment, he whipped out the pistol,” recounted Choudhary. “It’s not up to me to seek action against him; I leave it up to the government and authorities what action they take when a civilian is threatened with a gun.”

Asked whether he said anything negative about, as mentioned in Paras’ statement, Choudhary said, “There is no reason for me to dislike Nepal and Nepali people. I am married to someone whose mother is Nepali.”

Chakkajam to protest fuel price hike

BHAKTAPUR: The youths affiliated with Rastriya Prajatanatra Party Nepal (RPP-N) imposed a chackkajam for an hour at Sallaghari along the Araniko Highway on Tuesday morning, protesting against the recent hike on petroleum products.

The entire traffic witnessed a chaos along the highway from 10 am for more than an hour due to the obstruction.

A team of 40 youths led by the RPP-N's Youth Volunteer co-ordinator of Bhaktapur district committee, Rajendra Lakha, staged the protest to pressurise the government and Nepal Oil Corporation to revoke the petro price hike.

Last week, the NOC reviewed the retail prices of petrol, kerosene and diesel--with an increase of Rs 3 per litre. Likewise, the price of the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) was increased by Rs 75 per cylinder.

The RPP-N had staged demonstration at the NOC office premises last week.

Various student unions, gas dealers and consumer rights activists have been protesting the price hike.

Khanal joins chorus for action against Paras


KATHMANDU: Commenting on the Tiger Tops incident in Chitwan, where former crown prince Paras Shah whipped out a pistol and threatened Rubel Choudhary, son-in-law of Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal said that no one is above the law and the constitution and therefore the nation should take action against the guilty.

He made this statement while speaking at a programme organised by the Reporters Club to hand over a memorandum to the leaders to press the political parties to initiate the task for creating consensus among the parties and establish political stability. Earlier the club had submitted the memorandum to the president of the Nepali Congress Sushil Koirala.

On the occasion he said that the party is against a government based on pluralism, since they are endeavouring for national consensus government. The decision of sticking to the consensus government could not be changed even by the central committee meeting of the party, which starts today, he added.

Khanal said that in the absence of a consensus government the country could not move ahead. He claimed that whoever is elected prime minister in this situation could not handle the situation. However he expressed his confidence that the country would reach its destination by taking the peace process to its logical end and draft the constitution provided that the parties focus on forming a national consensus government.

Prez summons Special Session for Dec 19

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has summoned a Special Session of the House for December 19, acting on the petition filed by lawmakers belonging to the Maoists and smaller parties on Sunday.

According to a press statement issued by the President´s Office Monday evening, President Dr Yadav has summoned the Special Session for 1 pm as per Article 51 (3) of the Interim Constitution.

The decision comes after Dr Yadav held separate meetings with Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, Speaker Subash Nembang and legal experts on Monday.

Article 51 (3) states that if, during the prorogation or recess of a session or meeting of the Legislature-Parliament, at least one fourth of the total members of parliament make a petition that it is expedient to convene such a session or meeting, the President shall, no later than 15 days, convene such a session or meeting by specifying the date and time for the same.

On Sunday, 187 lawmakers belonging to various opposition parties including the UCPN (Maoist) had filed a petition demanding that President Yadav summon a Special House Session.

The lawmakers stated in the petition that a House session had become essential to elect a new prime minister, amend parliamentary regulations and discuss other urgent issues facing the country. However, the press statement issued by the President´s Office is silent about the agenda of the Special House Session.

The government prorogued the House session after Maoist lawmakers assaulted Finance Minister Surendra Pandey when he was preparing to unveil the budget for fiscal year 2010/11 on November 20. The government later unveiled a new budget through ordinance.

On Monday, Prime Minister Nepal also kept himself busy in consultations whether to summon a Regular House Session in the context of Maoist lawmakers demanding a Special Session.

The prime minister held separate meetings in the morning with the chief whips of coalition partners, the law minister and lawyers close to the CPN-UML at his official residence at Baluwatar, after a one-hour meeting with President Yadav that began at 7 am.

The prime minister also held a meeting later in the afternoon, with leaders of political parties that stood against the petition to summon a Special Session.

During the meeting held at the prime minister´s official residence at Baluwatar, legal experts suggested that the government could summon a Regular House session even as a Special Session is underway. “We suggested that the government can summon a Regular Session of the House even when the Special Session is underway,” said advocate Tika Ram Bhattarai, who was present at the meeting.

Bhattarai argued that the Special Session with a limited agenda, which has been demanded by 187 lawmakers, will end soon while a Regular Session summoned at the recommendation of the government will last longer. “So, there is no problem running both sessions simultaneously,” he added.

While most coalition partners of the current government are in favor of summoning a Regular Session without any delay, some Madhes-based parties and small parties are for summoning the Special Session first, according to NC Chief Whip Laxman Ghimire.

In a meeting organized by Prime Minister Nepal at his office in Singha Durbar, the ruling parties suggested the government summon a Regular House Session before the President summons a Special Session as per the petition filed by the 187 lawmakers.

However, various small parties including Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Nepal have argued that the government should not summon a Regular House session before the President summons the Special Session, according to the prime minister´s advisor, Raghuji Panta.

Panta said that the prime minister will hold further consultations before taking a decision on summoning a Regular Session as there are differing views on the matter.

Khetan Group pays Rs 265m in CGT


KATHMANDU, Dec 14: Gorkha Brewery -- one of the largest taxpayers of the country -- has paid over Rs 265 million in capital gain tax (CGT) to the government for share transfers it carried out recently.

The company, a subsidiary of Khetan Group, had sold over 2.3 million units of its stake to Carlsberg Group, about a month ago at $40 million (about Rs 3 billion).

The transfer had made Carlsberg Group the majority shareholder in the largest brewery of the country.

"We have received a payment of Rs 265.3 million in capital gain tax from the company. The payment has come promptly. This is a welcome step," said Suresh Pradhan, chief of Large Taxpayers´ Office (LTO).

He, however, did not disclose further details like total worth and valuation of each share of the company.

"We can provide you the details only when the company submits its final financial details and tax assessments," Pradhan said.

Carlsberg Group has been a shareholder of Gorkha Brewery from the beginning and has gradually increased its stake over the years.

The company says the new share structure will also help Gorkha Brewery expand into other beverage categories besides beer

Army's Rs 230m in sick financial institutions

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: More than Rs 230 million of the the Army Welfare Fund has been subjected to risk as three different financial institutions where the fund´s money were deposited have been tagged ´problematic´ by the central bank.

Worse, NA says Samjhana Finance, Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Bank and United Development Bank -- the three financial institutions -- have not been repaying the fund´s deposits even as the tenures of the fixed deposits have already matured.

NA has deposited Rs 16 million in Samjhana Finance and Rs 149.2 million in Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Bank. It also has additional Rs 60 million in United Development Bank, records show.

About a year ago, Nepal Rastra Bank had declared Samjhana Finance as ´crisis-ridden´ on the basis of its weak capital base and high non-performing asset (NPA). United Development Bank too has been tagged ´problematic´ for its failure to inject additional capital.

“Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Bank too is in no position to repay its depositors,” said an NRB source, adding that all these financial institutions are highly vulnerable and have been required to prompt corrective actions.

However, NA says it fears it might lose another huge chunk from the welfare fund. “This will directly impact around 800,000 people including army personnel, ex-army personnel and their dependants,” said an army official.

With the risk, NA recently knocked on the doors of Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), seeking the bank´s help to recover the deposits. The NA headquarters wrote to the NRB on December 8 requesting help.

The letter mentions that the banks have not paid back the NA the deposited amounts even after deposit maturity despite repeated requests. It has also drawn NRB´s attention to the money it lost in similar circumstances at Nepal Development Bank (NDB).

The NA had deposited some Rs 330 million in the troubled NDB, which the central bank subjected to liquidation. “We have yet to recover Rs 180 million from NDB,” said NA spokesperson Ramindra Chhetri.

NRB officials, meanwhile, said that they could do nothing to help NA recover the deposits. “The onus of safekeeping and selecting healthy banks and financial institutions lies on depositors. We cannot treat NA differently,” said an NRB source.

NA says that it was mere coincidence that a few of the institutions wherein it deposited its funds turned out to be problematic. NA even views that it was central bank´s duty to protect depositors, and hence, it should look into its cases.

Bam to face impeachment

KATHMANDU, Dec 14: Biratnagar Appellate Court Judge Hari Bahadur Basnet, whom a high-level probe committee has accused of ´dishonesty´ and ´non-transparency´ in his rulings to release some notorious culprits, resigned on Monday.

The resignation will pave the way for the Judicial Council (JC) to take action against two other accused judges as recommended by the high-level committee headed by Supreme Court (SC) Justice Bala Ram KC.

According to a highly placed source at the SC, Basnet handed his resignation paper to SC Registrar Dr Ram Krisana Timelsena Monday evening.

Basnet´s resignation comes at a time when implementation of the probe committee´s report was in question following severe differences between Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha and Minister for Law and Justice Prem Bahadur Singh.

Interestingly, Basnet is tight-lipped in his resignation letter regarding the probe committee´s charges against him. He has cited another reason for his resignation.

"I am unable to perform my official responsibilities due to my deteriorating health condition. Doctors have advised me not to continue in my duty in view of my poor health and I have therefore decided to resign from my post," reads Basnet´s resignation letter.

Basnet has also said in the letter that he is retiring after two weeks.

"Basnet´s resignation has paved the way for taking action against SC Justice Rana Bahadur Bam and another appellate court judge, Tej Bahadur Karki, as the same accusations were leveled against all three," the source told Republica.

Although Basnet has cited health reasons, his decision to resign on Monday comes after Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha and other JC members including seniormost SC Justice Kheel Raj Regmee asked him to step down before any possible action is taken against thim, the source added.

JC, the body authorized to take action against judges, is holding a third round meeting on Tuesday to decide the fate of the three judges accused by the probe committee.

The probe had found Justice Bam and Judges Basnet and Karki guilty of releasing notorious culprits Sanjay Shrestha, Rohit Paliwan Agrawal and Bhimsen Pandit, who were arrested for kidnap, murder and possessing arms and ammunition, on very low bail instead of sending them into custody as required by existing law.

Meanwhile, Chief Justice Shrestha has informed SC justices that they have found SC Justice Bam to be in possession of 90 tola of gold. "We are not going to take action against Justice Bam and Judges Basnet and Karki out of any bias. The JC is taking action against them on the basis of the findings of the probe committee and other supportive evidence. We have found 90 tola of gold to be in possession of Justice Bam. What is the source of that gold?" the source quoted CJ Shrestha as saying in his chambers while briefing other SC justices.

According to the source, an informal meeting of four members of the JC held at CJ Shrestha´s chambers on Monday agreed to take action against SC Justice Bam and Appellate Court Judges Basnet and Karki.

"They decided to recommend parliament to impeach Justice Bam and to fire Judges Basnet and Karki at Tuesday´s JC meeting," a knowledgeable source informed Republica.

The source doubts that the JC meeting can waive action against Judge Basnet just because he has already resigned from his post. "Tainted judges must be punished. They should not be protected under the pretext of resignation," added another source.

Monday, December 13, 2010

- -बिजयको प्रविधी सपना- -

- कुराकानीको शुरुमा उनले एउटा नीतिकथा सुनाए- 'एउटा मुसा निकै बुद्धिमानी थियो । उसले आफ्नी छोरी निकै राम्री भएको घमण्डले मुसासँग बिहे नगराई सबैभन्दा शक्तिशालीसँग बिहे गराउने निश्चय गरेछ । उसले संसारका जिवात्माहरुमा को ठुलो भन्ने खोज्दै जाँदा जनावरहरुभन्दा नि माथी सुर्यलाई ठुलो मानेर उसलाई आफ्नो छोरीसँग बिवाह गर्ने प्रस्ताव लगेछ । सूर्यले भनेछ- 'म ठुलो त हुँ तर के गर्नु मलाई पनि पहाडले छेकिदिन्छ ।'

- त्यसपछि मुसाले पहाडकहाँ छोरीको बिहे प्रस्ताव लिएर गयो । पहाडले भनेछ- 'हुन त म सुर्यभन्दा ठुलो हुँ तर के गर्नु मलाई पनि मुसाले छेडिदिन्छ ।' अन्तमा मुसाले हार खाएर सबैभन्दा ठुलो मुसा नै भएकाले मुसासँगै छोरीको बिहे गराउँछ । यो पुरानो कथा उनले हामीलाई देशको वास्तविकता चिनाउन सुनाएका थिए । हामी आफुभित्र भएको शक्ति र क्षमतालाई चिनिरहेका छैनौं ।

> 'रुल अफ ल नभएको देशमा बीमा कम्पनी चलाउनुजस्तो कठिन केही नहुने' ठम्याई छ उनको । पछिल्लो २ बर्षदेखि उनी बिमा बजारमा प्रतिस्पर्धा गरिरहेका छन् । तर यसबीचमा उनले धेरै उतारचढाव भोगीसकेछन् ।

> उनले अनुमानमै एउटा तथ्याङ्क केलाए- 'यसबर्ष सडक दुर्घटनाबाट मर्नेहरुको संख्या निकै बढेको छ ।' हामी अचम्ममा पर्यौं उनी बीमा कम्पनीका सिइओ हुन् तर ट्राफिक तथ्यांक केलाइरहेका छन् । उनसँग यस्ता दुर्घटनाका थुप्र्रै कथाहरु छन् । प्रहरी राजनीतिक दल र व्यवशायी सबै मिलेर दुर्घटनाका कृतिम किस्साहरु तयार पारेका प्रमाण पनि छन् ।

> पत्रिकाका पाना पल्टाउँछन् । समाचारमा देखिन्छ बसको छतबाट खसेर यात्रु मरेको खबर । तर प्रहरी मुचुल्कादेखि गाविसको पत्रसम्ममा लेखिएको हुन्छ- गाडीको ठक्करबाट पैदल यात्रुको मृत्यूका कथा । एउटै व्यक्ति एउटै घट्नामा बसको यात्रु र पैदल यात्रु कसरी बन्न सक्छ हो यही प्रश्नले उनको दिमागमा रन्को छुट्छ । तर के गर्नु, 'लिखितमको अगाडी बकितमको के काम?' भन्ने लोकोक्ति सम्झेर चित्त बुझाउँछन् ।

> उनी हुन- बिजयबहादुर शाह । नेपालको चर्चित ननलाइफ इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनी एनएलजी इन्सुरेन्सका सिइओ । हामी पुग्दा उनको टेबलमा 'इन्सुरेन्स क्लेम'का फाइलका खात थियो । चिया नखाई कुरा नगर्ने उनको 'कर्पोरेट स्टाइल'लाई हामीले पनि अनुशरण गर्यौं ।

> हाम्रो जिज्ञाशामा उनले जिकिर गरे- 'थर्ड पार्टी इन्सुरेन्सको नियमले सडक दुर्घटना बढाएको छ ।' उनी भन्दै गए हामी सुनिरह्यौं - पहिले थर्ड पार्टी इन्सुरेन्सको बाध्यात्मक व्यवस्था नहुँदा गाडी साहु र ड्राइभरले नै सबै व्यहोर्नुपथ्र्यो । त्यतिबेला उनीहरु बढी सचेत थिए । तर अहिले दुर्घटनाको जिम्मेवारीबाट उनीहरु आफु मुक्त भएको ठान्छन् र जोखिम लिन्छन् ।

-'मान्छे मरे पनि इन्सुरेन्सले तिरिहाल्छ नि !' भन्ने सोचाइ हावी छ । जसले इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनीहरुलाई मार मात्रै परेको छैन समग्र सामाजिक संरचना र सभ्यतामै असर पर्दैछ ।

> सरकारले राजमार्गमा स-साना दुर्घटनामा पनि चक्का जाम गर्ने अवथा बनेपछि तेस्रो पक्ष बीमाको अवधारणा ल्याएको थियो । त्यसअघि हरेक दुर्घटनाका बेला सरकारले चर्को क्षतिपूर्ती व्यहोर्ने सहमति गरेपछि मात्र राजमार्गको जाम खुल्ने गरेको थियो । यसपछि सडक दुर्घटनामा पैदल यात्रुको मृत्यू भएमा ५ लाख क्षतिपूर्ती दिने प्रावधान छ । तर पछिल्लो समय सबैको मिलेमतोमा इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनीलाई फसाउने नियतले काम भैरहेकोमा शाहको गुनासो छ ।

> 'इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनी भनेका त 'कुबेर' हुन यीनीहरुसँग जति असुले पनि हुन्छ भन्ने मान्यता समाजका बरिष्ठ भनाउँदाहरुसँग समेत छ !शाहले आफ्नो गुनासो पोख्ने क्रममा भने- 'सरकारले समेत थेग्न नसकेपछि हामीलाई जिम्मा दिइयो तर हाम्रो पनि लिमिटेसन हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा तिनै सरकारी अधिकारीहरुले समेत बुझ्न सकेका छैनन् ।'

> ट्रयाक्टरबाट खसेर मरेको व्यक्तिलाई समेत तेस्रो पक्ष बीमाको क्लेम गरेर पठाइएको छ । उनी भन्छन - 'सरकारी सयन्त्रले तयार पारेर पठाएको कागजातमा बिश्वास गर्ने कि नगर्ने !' यसको मुल कारण नै यात्रु बीमा र तेस्रो पक्ष बीमाको रकम फरक हो ।

- हालको नियमले सवारी यात्रुको मृत्यूमा ५ हजार र पैदलयात्रुको मृत्यूमा ५ लाख क्षतीपूर्ती दिइने गरिन्छ । उनी भन्छन- 'टिकट काटेर गाडीमा यात्रा गर्ने त्यो बिचरा यात्रुको के दोष ? मरेपछि उसको परिवारलाई केही बढी रकम दिलाउन गलत रिपोर्ट बनाएर उसको आत्मसम्मानमाथि प्रहार भैरहेको छ ।'

> उनलाई सरकार र बीमा समितिले बनाइदिएको नियमकै कारण सरकारी अधिकारीहरु नै भ्रष्ट हुन्छन कि भन्ने चिन्ता पनि छ । किनभने ५० हजारको बीमा रकम पाउने यात्रुलाई नक्कली मुचुल्का बनाएर थर्ड पार्टी बनाइदिँदा ५ लाख आउने हुन्छ । यसमा हुने लेनदेनको अनुमान धेरैले गरेका छैनन् ।

> यस्तै रहिरहेमा कुनैबेला सबै कम्पनी मिलेर 'थर्ड पार्टी इन्सुरेन्स' नगर्ने अवस्था पनि आउन सक्ने अनुमान उनको छ ।

> यतिखेर नेपालमा १७ वटा जनरल इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनीहरु छन् । मुलुकभरको कुल कारोवार ५ अर्बको । २ करोडमा स्थापना भएर हाल १० करोड पुँजीमा चलिरहेका बीमा कम्पनीहरुलाई नयाँ ऐनमा ५० करोडको पुँजी पुर्याउनुपर्ने प्रस्ताव गरिदैंछ । यस हिसावले हालकै कम्पनीहरुले मात्रै साढे ८ अर्ब त चुक्तापुँजी नै जम्मा पार्नुपर्छ फेरी नयाँ पाइपलाइनमा रहेका कम्पनी पनि थुपै्र छन् ।

'८-१० अर्ब लगानी गरेर बर्षभरीमा ५ अर्बको कारोवार गरेर बस्ने अनि त्यसबाट नाफा कति कमाउने ?' यो प्रावधानप्रति बिलकुल असहमत शाहले भने 'बरु चुक्तापुँजीको आाधारमा कारोवारको सीमा तोकिदिँदा राम्रो हुन्छ ।' हाल बैंकहरुमा पनि यस्तै प्रावधान छ ।

> एनएलजी इन्सुरेन्स अहिले नेपालमा १७ निर्जिवन बीमा कम्पनीमध्ये दोस्रो नम्बरमा छ । एभरेष्ट इन्सुरेन्सको बिजनेस धेरै भए पनि उसले हवाइ इन्सुरेन्स गरेका कारण जोखिम धेरै लिएको मानिन्छ जबकी नेपालका अन्य कम्पनीले हवाइ बीमा गर्दैनन् । 'हवाई बीमा नगर्ने हो भने हामी र एभरेष्ट बराबरीमा छौं यस हिसावले हामी नेपालको टप कम्पनीमा पछौ', शाहको दाबी छ ।

> नेशनल लाइफ एण्ड जनरल इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनीबाट छुट्टीएर सहायक कम्पनीको रुपमा काम गरिरहेको एनएलजी इन्सुरेन्समार्फत बीमा बजारमा छिरेका शाहका लागि यो बिलकुलै नयाँ क्षेत्र भने होइन । उनी १२ बर्ष सूर्य टोबाको कम्पनीमा फाइनान्स डाइरेक्टर थिए । त्यसपछि गोर्खा ब्रुअरी महेन्द्र प्रकृति संरक्षण कोषको बित्त प्रमुख र नेशनल इन्भेष्टमेन्ट कम्पनीको सिइओ हुँदै उनी बीमा बजारको मैदानमा प्रतिस्पर्धा गर्न उत्रिएका हुन् ।<

> 'पहिले अघिल्लो टेबलमा बसेर इन्सुरेन्स गराउन बार्गेनिङ गर्थें अहिले सामुन्ने बसेर इन्सुरेन्स पोलीसी बेच्न बार्गेनिङ गर्छु', उनले आफ्नो फेरिएको 'जब-नेचर' बारे बताए ।

> इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनीले पि्रमियम उठाएर फाइदा गर्ने होइन लगानीबाट गर्ने हो तर अहिलेको नियमले लगानी गर्ने सिमालाई धेरै बाँधेको छ । धितोपत्र बोर्डको छलफलमा सेयर बजार उकास्न संस्थागत लगानीकर्तालाई भित्र्याउने निर्णय गरेको सुन्दा उनलाई हाँसो उठ्छ । 'हाम्रो ५५ करोडको लगानी छ । यसमा ५ प्रतिशतमात्र सेयर तथा बण्डमा लगानी गर्न पाइन्छ यस हिसावले २ करोडको सेयर किनेर कसरी बजार उकालो लाग्छ उनको सुझाव छ - 'पहिले बीमा समितिले लगानी सिमा बढाउनुपर्यो ।'

> तपाइँसँगचाहि कति सेयर छ ? 'मेरो व्यक्तिगत लगानीबारे त भन्दिनँ बरु कम्पनीकोचाहिँ भनिदिन्छु ।' उनले रिपोर्टको फाइल पल्टाए र भने - 'जम्मा १३० कित्ता सनराइज बैंकको । त्यो पनि आइपिओमा परेको ।'

> इन्सुरेन्स कम्पनीको बिजनेस अहिलेसम्म बैंकहरुमै बढी निर्भर छ । किन त ? - 'नेपालमा स्वेच्छाले कसैले बीमा गर्दैन कानुनले बाध्य नपारेसम्म बीमा गर्ने संस्कार छैन', उनले भने- 'विदेशमा भए आमाको पेटमा हुँदादेखि नै बीमामा आवद्ध हुन्छन् ।'

- नेपालको बीमा बजार स्याचुरेसनको स्थितीमा पुगेको हो त ? हाम्रो यो प्रश्नमा उनले भने- 'बजार बिस्तार गर्नसक्ने धेरै ठाउँ छन् । यसका लागि प्रविधीसँग नजिकिनु पर्ने धारणा छ उनको ।

> सरकारले बैंक र बीमा कम्पनी गाउँ गएन भनेर आलोचना गरेको छ नि यो जिज्ञाशामा उनको धेरै प्रश्न छ, 'कसरी जाने ? सरकारले खुला गर्देमा जान सकिन्छ र ? सगरमाथा चढ्न खुला गरेको कति भयो कतिजना गएका छन ? सरकारले कडाइ गरेर बाध्य बनाउने होइन वातावरण सिर्जना गर्ने हो ।'

> अधिकांश कम्पनीहरुको मुख्य बजार मोटर बीमा रहेको सन्दर्भमा विजयले गाउँतिर शाखा खोल्ने योजना बनाएका छन् । उनको प्रविधी सपनाले काठमाडौंकेन्द्रीत बीमाबजारलाई हिमालका चौंरीगोठदेखि तराइका धानबालीसमेतलाई समेट्नेछ । बैंकहरुले ल्याएको प्रबिधीबाट बीमा कम्पनीले फाइदा लिनुपर्ने धारणा उनको छ ।

'मोबाइल मनि मार्फत् पि्रमियमदेखि क्षतीपूर्ती पनि अनलाइनबाटै भुक्तानी गर्ने स्किम' उनको दिमागमा छ । 'मुस्ताङमा पर्यटक बोक्ने घोडादेखि सोलुमा चिज उत्पादन गर्ने चौंरीको बीमा यसरी गर्न सकिन्छ', उनले आफ्ना सपना सेयर गरे !

- 'इन्टरनेटमा पोलीसी बेच्न सकिन्छ मोबाइलबाट भुक्तानी गर्न सकिन्छ ।', नेपालको ९५ प्रतिशत भागमा टेलिफोनको पहुँच पुगेको समाचार आएपछि हौसिएका उनले योजना बनाइहाले । तर उनको यो प्रविधी सपनाले मुर्त रुप पाउन भने धेरै काम बाँकी छ ।

- मुलुकमा कानुनी राज नभएको अवस्थामा राज्य संयन्त्रहरु बिश्वास र भरोशायोग्य छैनन् । अनि पढेलेखेका सबै विदेशीएर महिला र बुढाबुढीमात्र रहेको गाउँमा प्रविधीसँग नजिक रहेका मान्छे भटिदैंनन् । यस्तो समस्यामा उनले आइडिया फुराएका छन 'गाउँ गाउँमा रहेका बैंकिङ र सहकारी च्यानलमार्फत जाने ।'

प्रविधीकेन्द्रीत अरु आइडियाहरु भन्नुस न ? हाम्रो अन्तिम प्रश्नमा झसङ्ग हुँदै भने- 'एउटा सिइओले मिडियालाई कसरी बिजनेस आइडियाहरु भन्छ ? अघि भनेको पनि गलत पो भयो की !

A renal transplant specialist speaks

KATHMANDU: As Bir Hospital celebrated the second anniversary of its kidney transplant unit today, Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha, the man who kick-started an almost dead kidney transplant unit at the hospital recounted the problems he faces.

After serving six years in different hospitals in the UK, including Freeman Hospital, Queen Elizabeth Hospital and Royal Liverpool Hospital, Dr Shrestha returned home two years ago with the project of setting up a Renal Transplantation Department in the country.

He found the renal transplant unit at Bir Hospital established in 2004 in a mess. But with perseverance, he and his team resumed transplant services. Although the hospital aimed to transplant 48 kidneys a year, only 39 kidneys have been transplanted in two years due to technical and administrative problems.

Dr Shrestha, who used to carry out 15 renal transplants a week in the UK said. “I am trying my best to readjust my expectations with the dismal management in the hospital.”

He doesn’t have an operation theater nor has he got enough members in his team.

“If the frustration continues, I may not get a proper platform to show my skill and will have to think of alternatives,” said Dr Shrestha.

“We borrow the operation theater from cardiology or neurology departments. If they have emergency cases, we must cancel our scheduled operation,” he said. Tissue cross-matching is not available in the country and sample tissues are sent to India, which is costly and takes four to six days to get the result, Shrestha lamented.

“We carry out operations with methods similar to those used in internationally renowned hospitals for kidney transplants. Fortunately, complication rates are less here than in those hospitals,” added Shrestha.

The international mortality rate after renal transplantation is 5 per cent, whereas it is only 2.5 per cent in Nepal, he said.

In future, Dr Shrestha hopes to build his team, open a human leukocyte antigen laboratory and establish a well-equipped renal transplant facility in the country. Previously, the only option for patients of kidney failure was to go to India. Now, Bir Hospital carries out a transplant at Rs 3.5 lakhs, which is reportedly the cheapest in the world, said Dr Shrestha.

Over 2,800 new kidney failure cases are recorded annually across the country .

House panel directs to cancel Air Arabia deal


KATHMANDU: The International Relations and Human Rights Committee has instructed the Ministry of Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoTCA) not to allow Air Arabia operate flight on Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route saying that the decision will not only bleed the national flag carrier while it is also against the Act. “The decision is illegal as the ministry did not seek the permission from Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) in accordance with the NAC Act-2019,” said C P Gajurel, a UCPN-Maoists lawmaker.

According to the Act, the ministry has to seek prior approval from NAC to allow another airliner to fly on any route that NAC is flying.

“The ministry only sought permission for Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) not for giveing another ailine license to fly the route in question,” he added.

“The ministry could allow Air Arabia to fly on any other routes except the Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route that is the only profitable route among the international routes of the national flag carrier,” he suggested.

“The NAC flies six days a week on the Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route carrying 1,140 passengers due to increased migration of Nepali workers to Malaysia, that is the biggest destination for Nepali blue-coller job seekers,” said K B Limbu, General Manager of NAC that has opposed the ministry decision to award its profitable route to a foreign airline.

“The government has permitted Air Arabia to operate six flights a week on Kathmandu-Kuala Lumpur route under the revised Air Service Agreement (ASA) between the UAE and Nepal in 2007, offering the airline fifth freedom rights that allows an airline to carry passenger from one’s own country to a second country and from that country to a third country,” said Sarat Singh Bhandari, Minister for MoTCA, defending the ministry’s decision.

The United Arab Emirates-based low-cost carrier is scheduled to start flights on the route from December 16.

“We can earn Rs 125.25 million annually directly from this decision,” the minister said, adding that there are more indirect incomes like ground handling charges and royalty among others.

“NAC has not been able to cater to the increased passenger flow and was fast loosing business to other airlines,” he said, adding that one of the NAC aircraft is grounded due to technical glitch and there are only three flights of NAC on the route, currently.

The ailing NAC has been planning to add two new wide-body aircraft on international routes. Currently, NAC is flying a Boeing B-757 and a Boeing 757-200 aircraft — Karnali and Gandaki — each with 190-seat capacity on international routes. The then Royal Nepal Airlines Corporation (RNAC) — and present NAC — had taken two Boeing 757s — Karnali on lease in 1987 and Gandaki in 1988.

Currently, 27 international airlines fly to Kathmandu and Nepal has ASAs with 35 countries.

Govt allows Nepali women to work in Gulf

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: It´s official now. Nepali women can legally go to Gulf countries to work as domestic helps. The government has recently approved Terms of Reference (TOR) prepared by the Ministry of Labor and Transport Management (MoLTM) paving way for Nepali women to work as domestic helps in Gulf countries.

The MoLTM had prepared this TOR based on recommendations of the high-level taskforce led by joint secretary Purna Chandra Bhattarai.

Earlier, irrespective of the Foreign Employment Act-2007 that envisages equal opportunities for male and female jobseekers, there was a virtual ban on Nepali women to work in Gulf countries. As a result, they had been resorting to illegal means to migrate to Gulf countries. Many of them even ended up being victims of sexual exploitation and physical tortures at the hands of their employers.

“There were several restrictions,” said Bhattarai, adding, “And they had been migrating to gulf countries through various illegal channels. Now, they can go to any Gulf country through a legal process. This TOR is all about managing safe migration of Nepali women to the Gulf.”

As per this TOR, Nepali women can go to Gulf countries through legal manpower agencies. However, before sending them to the Gulf, these agencies must ensure that Nepali embassies in Kuwait, Saudi Arabia, Qatar and United Arab Emirates (U.A.E.) certify the demand for Nepali women workers. “If our embassies say there is no demand, manpower agencies will not be allowed to send Nepali women workers to the Gulf,” Bhattarai said.

However, the approval of demand of Nepali women in the Gulf by embassies is not the only measure taken by the DoTM to ensure that they do not land in trouble. Before beginning the process of approving the demand, Nepali embassies should ensure that they would be entitled to a minimum salary, insurance, secure and appropriate residence, among other things.

Saru Joshi, Regional Program Coordinator of the United Nations Development Fund for Women (UNIFEM), says the approval of TOR alone can not ensure safe migration of Nepali women to Gulf countries. “Not many Nepali women know that they can now legally go to the gulf,” Joshi said. “The government should spread this message in every village. Otherwise, Nepali women will continue to be victims of unscrupulous agents.”

The government had restricted entry of Nepali women to Gulf countries after a Nepali woman, who was abused by her employers in Kuwait, committed suicide in 1998. In January, 2003, following a massive campaign by the UNIFEM, the government had decided to let Nepali women work in organized sectors in the Gulf.

Regardless of the many hurdles, around 114,000 Nepali women are known to be working in Gulf countries currently.

Music for life: An evening for Kumar Kancha


KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Veteran singer Kumar Kancha is fighting for his life at the S L Raheja Hospital in Mahim, Mumbai and a handful of Nepali singers have come together to perform at a fundraiser concert to raise funds for Kancha’s treatment.

“An Evening for Kumar Kancha” will see singers like Hemant Rana, Ram Krishna Dhakal, Mallika Karki, Shreya Sotang, Dharmendra Sewan,Suresh Kumar Chhetri and bands like The Unity and Aghoors perform at the Patan Musuem from 6 pm onwards, on Saturday, December 18.

Currently bedridden with paralysis, Kancha is living with his wife and two sons in Mumbai and in a video uploaded earlier on YouTube, the singer can be seen appealing to his fans and Nepali music lovers to help him financially.

“I have been bedridden for a month now. I have been left paralyzed from the waist down after a spinal cord operation. For those who can help me financially, please do and for those who can’t, I ask for your prayers,” he appeals.

As per informal sources, Kancha needs a total of Rs 1, 120,000 for his treatment and so far, a sum of Rs 4, 80,000 has already been transferred via the contributions made possible by donations from non-resident Nepalis, SMS initiatives and amount deposited in the official funds account at Nepal Investment Bank Limited.

The fund-raiser concert is being organized by model and actor Namrata Shrestha in collaboration with Sparrow SMS and Kumar Kancha Swastha Upachar Sahayog Samiti.

“We’re all upset by the news, but we’re optimistic about his treatment and hopeful that we’ll be able to raise some funds to help him out. Let’s not hope he becomes the second tragic case of Gopal Bhutani who died with a dream, unfulfilled,” Shrestha told Republica.

Shrestha vividly remembers meeting Kancha during an interview at Kantipur FM.

“It’s not just money that counts, the care shown by his fans, friends by the act of giving is sure to be a great moral booster. To be loved and to be wanted is the biggest motivator to live, ask me, I’m a prime example,” she said.

Kancha’s album “Saino” will also be launched during the fund-raising concert and Shrestha revealed that she will also be acting in the music video for the song, “Naina resham”, free of cost. The video is to be directed by Bushan Dahal.

The tickets are priced Rs 1500 and are available at Jasmine Club, Tripureshwor, The Attic Lounge, Lazimpat and Janaki Technology, Jawlakhel. For Further Details, contact 9803162500, or type KK YOUR NAME and send SMS to 5001

Patients wait for years for valve replacement at Gangalal

KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Heart patients thronging the Shahid Gangalal National Heart Center (SGNHC) to change their valves have to wait up to four years for the operation.

Over 900 patients are currently in queue to get valves, according to the hospital. “A new patient arriving now will get a date for the operation in 2015 if his condition is not very serious,” Chief of the Cardiac Surgery Unit Dr Jotendra Sharma, said.

The patients who registered in 2007 are being operated now and those who arrive now have to wait for up to 2015. “We prescribe medicines to the patients in the interim,” Dr Sharma added.

The hospital classifies the cases into three categories -- elective, semi-urgent and urgent-- depending on the seriousness of their ailment. The hospital provides immediate service for those in urgent need but those in elective category have to wait for up to four years. The hospital has three cardiac surgery units and as many operation theaters.

Unit A is led by Dr Bhagawan Koirala, who says that the patients invariably wanting to be operated by him wait for years even for other types of surgeries. The patients have to wait only six to eight months in Unit B and C but they still prefer A.

Unit A is also the pediatric unit and the hospital has now started shifting patients to other units to reduce the pressure but not with much success. “But we do not compel the patients get transfered to other units. If they are not serious, they can wait,” Dr Sharma said. And they generally do.

Unit A is under pressure also because it caters to the patients under 15 years and over 75 years, qualified for free valve change as per the government´s policy. For the rest of the age-groups, they have to pay Rs 55,000 for a valve.

There are four valves in a human heart to control the flow of blood through the four chambers and keep the blood moving in one direction. When one of these valves stops functioning normally, the blood has difficulty moving from one chamber to another leading to shortness of breath, a decrease in ability to exercise, chest pain and other symptoms.

The long queue at the center is also due to the postponement of scheduled regular surgeries because of emergency cases. “Emergency cases are treated immediately. We postpone regular operations when an emergency case arrives,” Executive Director, Dr Arun Maskey, said.

Paras Shah manhandled DPM's son-in-law: report


KATHMANDU, Dec 13: Former crown prince Paras Shah reportedly manhandled Rubel Chaudhary, the son-in-law of Deputy Prime Minister Sujata Koirala, at a Chitwan resort on Saturday night.

“Paras fired a few round in air after aiming at Chaudhary,” Nagarik daily wrote on Monday. The newspaper reported that Shah asked Chaudhary out of a bar in the Tiger Tops Resort and threatened him saying that he would ‘kill all those brining in republicanism’.

DPM Koirala is the daughter of late Girija Prasad Koirala who was Prime Minister when the nation was declared a republic abolishing monarchy.

Meanwhile, issuing a release, Shah claimed that he fired a round in air after a Bangladeshi and an Indian citizen started ‘commenting false and aggressive on his old role and the institution he represented’ forcing him to go out of the bar highly tense. He had denied aiming at anyone.

Sunday, December 12, 2010

Joint panel mulled to monitor PLA


KATHMANDU: The Secretariat, tasked with bringing Maoist combatants under the government, has plans to form a joint mechanism comprising security forces and People’ Liberation Army representatives to monitor Maoist combatants after UNMIN departs next month.

The mechanism will comprise representatives from Nepal Army, Nepal Police, Armed Police Force and the People’s Liberation Army.

The Secretariat worked out this mechanism with the aim of involving the Maoists in the monitoring process. The Maoists had rejected its earlier proposal which mentioned that only ex-army men would be hired for the job of monitoring former Maoist combatants.

Dr Shambhu Ram Simkhada, a Nepali Congress member in the Secretariat, said the concept of joint mechanism has yet to get full shape. “The idea is still in its infancy. It needs to be further discussed with our Maoist colleagues,” he said.

Another member of the Secretariat informed that Maoist members in the Secretariat are not yet convinced with the proposal of a joint monitoring body. But, they appear to be more “positive” than with the earlier proposal.

“Our Maoist colleagues were not able to decide immediately. They have told us they need approval from the party high command,” he added.

In its earlier proposal, floated by the coordinator of the 12-member government body, retired lieutenant general of Nepal Army Balananda Sharma, 154 former Nepal army officers would be employed as monitors in all seven main and 21 satellite cantonments housing PLA combatants.

Taskforce shelves transitional issues


KATHMANDU: The meeting of the seven-member taskforce today decided to defer issues of ‘transitional arrangement’ till all issues related to the executive, legislature and judiciary are settled.

“We decided to defer issues of transitional arrangement till issues of the executive, legislature and judiciary are sorted out,” said Ramesh Lekhak, a member of the team of experts assisting the taskforce. The parties have to agree whether or not the incumbent president, vice president, council of ministers, judges and political and constitutional appointments made under the Interim Constitution will remain functional after the new constitution comes into force.

The parties must also agree on the existing constitutional provision of ‘removing difficulties’. According to the Interim Constitution, it is the sitting president who removes such difficulties upon recommendation of the council of ministers. The Interim Constitution clearly mentions that head of the State and the council of ministers and constitutional bodies shall continue to remain functional during the transition period, which means they remain in place till they are effectively replaced on the basis of what the new constitution says. But the Interim Constitution has mentioned nothing about the Judiciary’s transitional arrangement. A thematic report of the Constitutional Committee has suggested overcoming such ‘double standard’.

Although the taskforce agreed that the federal legislature shall amend the constitution with two-third majority, it is yet to reach understanding on whether an approval of a majority of the provincial legislatures is required to make changes in the boundary and jurisdiction of any province.

Leaders of MJF-Nepal said distribution of population of the provinces, not their majority, should be the benchmark when their boundaries and jurisdictions are changed through constitutional amendment.

The parties were also at odds on the appointment of ambassadors. The UCPN-Maoist and the Madhesi parties insist on appointing them on ‘proportional’ basis while the NC, UML and other fringe parties opted for “inclusiveness”.

Narayanman Bijuckchhe, a taskforce member, claimed they had almost sorted out 75 percent contentious issues. “But crucial issues such as forms of government, restructuring of state along federal lines and election system, to name a few, remain unresolved,” Bijuckchhe said. He said the taskforce would have accomplished its tasks had leaders of major political parties spared enough time for meetings of the taskforce, whose tenure expired today.

Dev Gurung, a Maoist leader, hinted the taskforce would not get its tenure extended. But tomorrow’s 27-party meeting will decide whether or not to extend its tenure. He suggested that top leaders of major parties sit together to settle the remaining issues, which, he said, were of ideological and political nature.

Bijuckchhe, however, said the taskforce must get its tenure extended in order to further work on disputed issues. He said only half-a-dozen issues should go for voting in the full House of the Constituent Assembly.

RPP Nepal cadres picket NOC office


KATHMANDU: Cadres of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party Nepal (RPP-N) on Sunday have picketed the office of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) at Babarmahal, to pile pressure on the state company to bring down the recently hiked prices of petroleum products.

The party had also staged a similar demonstration on the NOC office premises last week halting day-to-day works at the office. NOC had brought in force the new price format to adjust with international market.

Various student unions, gas dealers, consumer rights activists had taken to the street after the NOC, the state-controlled company for import and distribution of petroleum products in the country, decided last week to hike fuel prices.

Even some of the lawmakers have submitted a memorandum to the NOC demanding that it roll back the hiked prices. The prices of petrol, Kerosene and diesel were each increased by Rs 3.0 per litre. Likewise, the price of the liquid petroleum gas (LPG) was increased by Rs 75.0.

Solar electrifictaion getting popular


KATHMANDU, Dec 12: Solar power, once available only to a few who could afford, has now gained popularity even among common people. People have now realized that though the initial investment is huge, installing solar power hands on long term benefits.

The popularity of solar power for electricity has increased so drastically that every six out of 10 households are installing solar energy system as a way to deal with prolonging load shedding hours.

The drop in price of solar systems in the recent years as also led to its popularity. "There has been a substantial growth in the number of households shifting towards solar energy for electrification," said Suraj Pudasaini, system design engineer at Lasersun Energy Pvt.Ltd. " People are showing positive tendency towards solar energy and it has emerged rather as a necessity amongst household." Introduction of cost effective solar system has attracted many people, especially middle-class customers, towards it, Pudasaini further said.

With the demand growing every day, solar companies are providing customized packages based on the energy requirements of households or offices. These packages range from a system that powers just two bulbs to those with the capacity to operate heavier appliances like water pumps, computers, televisions, etc. It is entirely possible for a customer to have a fully solar-dependent power system, however, most of them are found to be opting for a hybrid system that turns out to be economical. A hybrid system enables users to charge batteries through both solar as well as the main power line, ensuring 24-hour power supply. Some systems can supply power even on gloomy days.

Lighting four bulbs and operating a television set or a computer today form a basic requirement for an individual household. However, a large number of households go just for a four bulb system with no appliances.

"As the load shedding hours prolong, a large number of people are adopting solar system that can light up at least 4 bulbs. This is the cheapest and affordable package for middle class households," says Narendra Poudyal of Ultra Energy Trading.

Installing a system that supports 3 to 4 bulbs costs Rs 10,000 to Rs 21,000. While a 20 watt system that powers three lights costs between Rs 10,000 to Rs 12,000.

At Ultra Energy, the cost of installing a 20 watt solar power system that can light four 10 watt bulbs for 3 to 4 hours cost Rs 21,000. "The duration, however, depends on the total usage period," said Poudyal. "A 180 ampere solar power system that can light 8 to 10 bulbs and a television for around three hours costs Rs 120, 000," he further said.

A 20 watt system through which customers can light up to 4 rooms with 10 to 15 watt bulbs is the highly popular package among households. Solar companies are of the view that those wishing to avail long term benefits through solar lighting system should go for branded batteries and panels. Solar panels come with a 25 years warranty at most and to make them work longer they require regular cleaning.

"Batteries on the other hand require a change of distilled water every three to six months," said Poudyal. Most of the solar installing companies provide 10 to 25 years of guarantee for the panels and 5 to 7 years for batteries.

Missing soldiers found dead


LAMJUNG, Dec 12: Two personnel of the Nepal Army (NA), who went missing in a jeep accident that took place Saturday, have been found dead Sunday.

Among those missing after the incident, Thaman Dangi and Karna Bahadur Basnet have been found dead in the reservoir of Mid-marsyangdi hydropower project.

A squad of 70 security personnel from NA and Nepal Police was mobilized under the command of Battalion Commander of Ranabam Battalion Nawaraj Gurung to undertake search operation in the accident site.

The Army´s jeep plunged into the reservoir off the Udipur-Besisahar road section along the Bhanubhakta highway yesterday afternoon. NA constable Arjun Chaudhary serving the Ranabam battalion died when the jeep met with an accident.

Saturday, December 11, 2010

Indian External Affairs Ministry throws weight behind Sood

Reacting to media reports about the likely replacement of its controversy-prone ambassador to Nepal, Rakesh Sood, the Indian External Affairs Ministry has described him as a "distinguished officer" claiming that bilateral cooperation between the two countries has "progressed substantively" during his tenure.

A press statement ascribed to the spokesperson of the Indian Ministry of External Affairs said, "We have seen a media article which appeared today regarding the alleged unpopularity of the Ambassador of India in Nepal Shri Rakesh Sood. Shri Rakesh Sood is a distinguished officer of the Indian Foreign Service who has served with dedication and commitment as India's Ambassador to Nepal since April 2008."

The brief statement was in response to a news report in The Telegraph, an English daily published from India, on Thursday about Sood's likely replacement by the Special Secretary of the ministry, Jayant Prasad, as ambassador to Nepal.

"During his tenure, bilateral development cooperation and dialogue between the two countries has progressed substantively," the ministry spokesperson stated without saying anything about his likely replacement.

Meanwhile, quoting sources, The Telegraph said the decision to replace him has much to do with New Delhi's desire to re-calibrate ties with Nepal, especially with the Maoists.

"Of course, he is pursuing India's interests in Nepal, but he comes across as a brow-beater and that harms rather than helps India's case in Nepal," the daily quoted a senior Indian diplomat diplomat as saying. "His tenure has coincided with heightened criticism of India in Nepal, not only among politicians but on the street."

Khanal hints at extension of statute taskforce's term

CPN (UML) chairman Jhala Nath Khanal has hinted that high-level taskforce formed to settle the thorny issues concerning the new constitution might get another term.

Speaking to reporters at the UML parliamentary office in Singha Durbar Friday, Khanal said that the taskforce's term can be extended on the basis of political consensus. The meeting of the 27 parties on Sunday will take a decision on this, he informed.

The term of high-level taskforce headed by Maosit chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, which has been extended twice, ends on Sunday.

The taskforce has so far resolved 100 out of the 210 tricky issues concerning the new constitution.

Armed NA soldier creates terror in Dadeldhura village

A Nepal Army (NA) soldier created terror in Jogbuda village of Dadeldhura district after he opened fire at a couple killing the husband and wounding the wife.

Deepak Shahi from Arjuni Barracks in Royal Shuklaphanta Wildlife Reservein Kanchanpur opened fire at Bir Bahadur Bista and his wife when they were collecting firewood in a jungle near their house. While, Bista died on the spot, his wife Lilawati sustained injuries in her mouth.

Shahi, armed with an M-16 rifle, chased Bir Bahadur's sister Madhavi after shooting the couple, according to eye-witness accounts.

Shahi has not been arrested as of now. Bir Bahadur's body was airlifted to Dhangadi only on Friday more than 24-hours after his death as the armed soldier threatened the villagers not to inform the police or army about the incident.

Villagers said, Shahi was still around in the village after the incident till Friday, but they could not catch him as he was armed.

Bista had absconded from his troop Thursday morning with the gun and 125-rounds of bullets.

The motive behind the shooting was not immediately known.

My presence or absence meaningless: Prime Minister


KATHMANDU: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today tried to gloss over media reports that he defied the advice of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav and Constituent Assembly Chairman Subas Nembang not to embark on a foreign trip when the country was burning with problems galore.

“I don’t think the President gave any advice to me regarding my trip,” Prime Minister Nepal told mediapersons at Tribhuvan International Airport upon his arrival from his 10-day South-East Asia and Europe tour.

Nepal had drawn flak from several quarters for opting to be the part of the junket instead of actively participating in deliberations to break the political stalemate, which has mired the country for so long.

Media reports were rife that President Dr Yadav and CA Chairman Subas Nembang had advised him separately to not make frequent trips to foreign countries when the country was at a critical juncture and time was running out for the completion of peace process.

Following the budget presentation fiasco on November 19, the government took the decision to prorogue the House. The following day the budget was tabled through ordinance — to temporarily bail the country out of financial crisis. But it pushed the country into yet another political crisis. And after 10 days Nepal set off to Cambodia.

Next House session is nowhere in sight. Still, Nepal, seeming very much oblivious to the country’s woes, maintained that his presence or absence did not make much difference in resolving the political deadlock. Instead, he took a pot shot at other leaders, “I don’t think the other leaders were in a deep slumber when I was away.”

He even regaled mediapersons with the claim that he was constantly in touch with political leaders — including Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN-UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokharel and Nepali Congress leaders — over phone and added that he had been urging them to end the political imbroglio.

He picked the same end of the thread — that he had picked before setting off — when asked about calling the winter session of the House and said, “It will be called as soon as possible once consensus is forged.” And, he outright rejected that House session will be called the way the Maoist are lobbying for — through a petition to the President with one-fourth of CA members’ signatures.

Nepal once again repeated ‘very successful’ cliché to describe his tour of Cambodia and Belgium.

The prime minister had set out for Phnom Penh of Cambodia on November 30 to participate in the sixth meeting of the International Conference of the Asian Political Parties in capacity of one of the founders of the forum but the official website of ICAPP, much to the humiliation of all, identified him as ‘former prime minister of Nepal’.

He later left for Brussels from Cambodia to attend the annual ceremony of the European Development Days 2010.

Two killed, 25 injured in road accidents


CHITWAN: Two persons killed and other 25 were injured in two separate incidents that took place on Saturday morning.

A person died and 25 other injured when a passenger-ferrying bus plunged into the Trishuli river from Satrakilo of Chitwan along the Mugling-Narayangarh road section.

Bus driver Bir Bahadur Lama died on the spot when the bus en route to Narayangarh from Besisahar of Lamjung plunged the river, according to District Police Office.

The injured in the incident are undergoing treatment in Bharatpur hospital.

Similarly, Hem Bahadur Lama, a local, died when a motorcycle hit a bicycle in Ratnanagar. Search for motorcyclist is on, said police office.

Meanwhile, loss worth Rs. 2.5 million is reported when fire engulfed a house in Narayangarh.

Drugs and drug manufacturing materials stored at the house of Chandra Prakash Neupane in Belchowk gutted in the fire, according to District Police Office. Reason behind the fire has not yet been found out, police informed.

Friday, December 10, 2010

No plan to call back envoy Sood: India


NEW DELHI: India's Ministry of External Affairs has clarified that there was no official plan to recall India’s Ambassador to Nepal Rakesh Sood.

“I read in the newspapers about the change of the ambassador in Nepal. It is news for me. There has been no official decision to this effect,” a ministry source said.

According to a knowledgeable source, the Ministry of External Affairs notifies the host country before it takes a final decision on the appointment of a new ambassador, and in the due process, it moves relevant documents to different departments, but none of these has happened as of now.

Indian ambassadors normally have a three-year term, but this may vary depending upon the seniority of the position as well as that of the incumbent official.

In case of Nepal, Sood's predecessor Shiv Shankar Mukherjee served for more than three years while his predecessor Shyam Saran served in Nepal in capacity of India's ambassador for less than three years. Ambassador Sood has spent two years and eight months in Kathmandu as the Indian envoy, and it won't be an unusual move if he is called back to Delhi, added the source. However, there have been no routine procedures initiated so far.