Sunday, January 30, 2011

TU Teaching Hospital seeks loan to pay staffers

KATHMANDU, Jan 30: The Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), running in loss for several years, has sought loan from the Dean Office of the Institute of the Medicine (IOM) to pay salary to its staffers.

"We had asked for Rs 50 million but have only received 10 million from the Dean Office," Director of the TUTH Dr Keshav Prasad Singh said.

Singh also revealed that the hospital, which has five different bank accounts, has already used some money kept for other purposes.

"We have even used some money from the account of the Suresh Wagle Cancer Center," Dr Singh said. The center is yet to be built. The Maoist-led government gave Rs 50 million to build a separate cancer center at TUTH in the name of its martyred cadre Wagle. But the incumbent government has provided only Rs 10 million for the project this year.

The Tribhuvan University (TU) provides money to the TUTH for salaries, allowance and provident fund of permanent staff. "But we have not got any money from the TU for the current fiscal year. We are yet to get Rs 140 million the TU should give us for the staff´s salary," Dr Singh said. "We will pay back the loan and also return the money used from other accounts when we will receive money from TU," Dr Singh promised.

TU Vice-chancellor Dr Madhav Prasad Sharma said the University Grant Commission (UGC) has yet to provide the budget to the university for this fiscal year. "When we get money from the UGC, we will provide it to the hospital," Dr Sharma assured.

The TUTH has around 300 staffers hired on contract apart from the permanent ones who are paid by the TU. The hospital, that provides free treatment to patients in 80 out of the 480 beds, made a loss of well over Rs 180 million in the last fiscal year.

"The patients in the free beds get everything including food and medicine to radiology, lab tests and surgery free of cost," Dr Singh claimed. The hospital also has to give 50 percent discount on all services and medicines for all TU staffers working across the country, putting further strains on its finances.

Gachhadhar slams Big 3's lust for power


LALITPUR: Deputy Prime Minister and chairman of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum Nepal (Democratic) Bijaya Kumar Gachhadhar said the peace and constitution writing processes could not be put in motion owing to the big three parties' lust for power.

Speaking at a programme organised by Tharu Indigenous NGO Federation (TINF), he said, if the three major parties failed to form consensus government even in the last phase of talks between them then that will be the end of their moral responsibility.

Deputy Prime Minister Gachhadhar claimed that the fringe parties will ensure the environment for peace and constitution writing when the big parties --- Unified CPN-Maoist, CPN-UML and Nepali Congress --- give up their claims for the government as the major three parties cannot ensure the environment for the peace and constitution writing process.

He said Unified CPN-Maoist could play a decisive role to form the government when it desires as it is the biggest party in the government.

During the programme, Chairman of TINF Gopal Dahit said the new constituent should guarantee the indigenous Tharu community's rights.

An alternative for Dahal will be found: Yami


Kathmandu, Jan 30: UCPN Maoist politburo member Hisila Yami said that an alternative will be found for the party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for prime ministerial candidate. Speaking at Reporter’s Club, Yami said that other parties too should look for alternatives for their prime ministerial candidates.

“If all parties don’t name alternative candidates it will be difficult to come to a consensus. An individual is more important than a party in the process of building peace and constitution. Therefore alternatives should be put forward.”

She said if Dahal’s candidacy isn’t accepted by all the parties, alternatives will be given in the form Vice chairman Dr Babu Ram Bhattarai and general secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa. Emphasizing that consensus among all the political parties is needed to write to constitution; therefore the alternatives should be acceptable to all.

She said, since UCPN Maoist is the largest political party, the new government should be headed by the Maoist to make the process of building peace and constitution easy. If majority government is not headed by the Maoist, they will not support any other parties and will stand in opposition.

11 overhead bridges in Bhaktapur to curb accidents


BHAKTAPUR: A total of 11 overhead bridges are going to be constructed at Tinkune-Suryabinayak road section which is being extended with the financial help of the government of Japan.

Saroj Pradhan, chief of the Road Extension Project said the project carried out a survey when the numbers of accidents increased on the nine-km long six-lane road. He said it is necessary to construct 11 overhead bridges to control road accidents there. He suggested constructing overhead bridges at different places including Jadibuti, Lokanthali, Kaushaltar, Gatthaghar, Sallaghari and Suryabinayak.

It is said that there will be room only for traffic police under the overhead bridge.

Pradhan said over head bridge alone could not control the accidents and he stressed on the need for organising different public awareness programmes.

PM will not be appointed by Feb 6: Dahal


ITAHARI, Jan 30: Speaking at the inauguration of a school for martyrs’ children on Sunday, UCPN Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the appointing a new prime minister by February 6th is less likely. He said the other parties were plotting against the formation of a new government.

He said some leaders, while in the process of talks, had hinted that they would not let the new government take form by either not voting or if they do, casting invalid votes in the parliament.

Friday, January 28, 2011

India to install electronic cameras along Nepal-India border

India’s paramilitary border security force, the Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB), has decided to install electronic cameras at almost every point on the Indo-Nepal border in Uttar Pradesh, the online edition of the Times of India (TOI) reported Friday.

The Indians and Nepalese cross the borders via 11 transit points everyday but cameras cover only a few points in Bahraich and Siddharthnagar districts, the report said.

Once installed at every point, any unusual activity could be recorded and instantly the security forces nearest to the location would be alerted.

SSB told TOI the border would still be porous for illegal elements to cross at night but at least daytime entry could be checked if foreigners use entry points nearer to the checkposts.

According to SSB, since China is setting up study centres in Nepal, close to the border with India, more Chinese would enter India with the support of Maoists, pretending to be tourists from Nepal.

The report said the SSB as well as the border district police are also seeking appointment of personnel with working knowledge of Chinese language, as the security personnel had difficulty in understanding what the three Chinese arrested in Bahraich recently were saying, apart from some broken English that could be understood.

Although China has already said that the arrested citizens were tourists who mistakenly entered India through the open border from Nepalgunj, India claims they are spies as they were caught filming important SSB installations.

PM Nepal reshuffles his caretaker cabinet

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Thursday reshuffled his caretaker cabinet to strengthen his shaky coalition government.

The portfolios of ministers representing the newly formed Terai Madhesh Loktantric Party –Nepal (TMLP-N) have been exchanged with that of UML ministers in the cabinet so as to make it appear that TMLP-N ministers were demoted from plum portfolios.

The latest move comes as PM Nepal seeks to pacify coalition partner Terai Madhesh Loktantric Party (TMLP), the parent party of the breakaway faction TMLP-N.

Minster for Industries Mahendra Yadav, who heads the new TMLP-N, has been given the responsibility of Ministry of General Administration. Minister Rabindra Shrestha, who used to earlier look after that ministry, has been given the responsibility of Ministry of Industries.

Similarly, Minister of State for Industries Dan Bahadur Chaudhari, who together with Yadav formed TMLP-N, has been sent to Ministry of General Administraton while Minister of State for General Administration Jitu Gautam has been brought to the Ministry of Industries.

Minister Yadav has already said his party is not going to quit the current government even as TMLP has already threatened to quit the government if the Prime Minister didn't sack minister Yadav and state minister Choudhary, who are accused of dividing the party.

President Yadav to hold parleys with key Indian players next week

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, who reached Kolkatta Thursday evening, will hold high-level talks with the Indian Prime Minister Dr Manmohan Singh and senior cabinet ministers next week.

According to the Indian external ministry, President Yadav is participating in the convocation ceremony of the then Calcutta Medical College from where he obtained his MBBS degree on Friday.

From there, the President is scheduled to pay a visit to Tirupati on January 30, after which he will fly to the Indian capital Delhi.

While in Delhi, the President will hold talks with his counterpart Pratibha Patil and attend a banquet hosted by her on Wednesday.

The ministry said that President Yadav will call on the Indian PM, chief of the Congress Party of India Sonia Gandhi, finance minister P Chidambaram and foreign minister SM Krishna before he leaves for Chandigadh to attend a function as a chief guest on February 4.

Thursday, January 27, 2011

Prez to leave for India visit Thursday

KATHMANDU, Jan 27: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav is embarking on an official visit to India on Thursday.

During his 10-day visit to the southern neighbor, President Dr Yadav is scheduled to attend the 177th Foundation Day of the Calcutta Medical College and Hospital, where he accomplished MBBS degree, and also hold meetings with Indian President Prativa Patil, Prime Minister Manmohan Singh, key ministers and other political leaders in India.

President Yadav will be accompanied a 17 member delegation, including his daughter, Secretary at President´s Office Baman Prasad Neupane, personal physician, two ADCs and MoFA officials. President´s Political Advisor Hari Sharma and Culture Minister Dr Minendra Rijal will join him later in New Delhi.

According to sources at the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), President Dr Yadav will reach Calcutta on Thursday where he will be received by Nepali Ambassador to India Rukma Shumsher Rana, Nepali Consul General in Calcutta and Chief Minister of West Bengal.

President Dr Yadav is scheduled to visit Kali temple and attend a function at Calcutta Medical College and Hospital on Friday. He will attend dinner party hosted by Chief Minister of Bengal Buddhadeb Bhattacharya in the evening. The president will fly to Shanti Niketan on Saturday and Tirupati temple on Sunday.

According to the itinerary finalized by the MoFA, the president will fly to New Delhi from Haridwar Monday afternoon. He will undergo medical check up on the next day at AIMS Hospital.

President Dr Yadav is scheduled to hold meeting with his Indian counterpart Prativa Patil, Indian Vice President, Prime Minister Manamohan Singh, Foreign Minister S M Krishna, President of Indian National Congress Sonia Gandhi on Wednesday. Indian President Patil will throw a banquet party in honor of Dr Yadav the same evening.

He will hold meeting with Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee, Union Home Minister P Chidambaram and Defense Minister K Anthony and main opposition party leader Sushma Swaraj on Thursday. Nepali Embassy in New Delhi will organize a dinner party in the evening in honor of the president.

President Dr Yadav will attend as a chief guest the annual convocation of his alma mater, the Postgraduate Institute of Medical Education and Research at Chandigardh on February 4. He is scheduled to arrive home in the afternoon of February 5.

President Dr Yadav had last made a four-day official visit to India starting February 15, 2010.

22 yrs jail, 2.6m fine for Megha Devkota's abductors

KATHMANDU, Jan 25: Kathmandu District Court has slapped 22 years imprisonment and Rs 2.6 million in fines on the main culprits involved in the abduction of Megha, daughter of Dr. Upendra Devkota.

Judge Madhav Prasad Pokhrel convicted Krishna Chara Rai and Siddhartha Lama as main culprits in the abduction and slapped 22 years imprisonment in total.

Those convicted were sentenced to 16 years for involvement in abduction and 6 years for robbery.

According to the full text of the verdict distributed to journalists Tuesday by Bharat Lamsal, Chief Administrator of KDC, accomplices in the abduction Hem Bahadur Magar and Raju Lama have been sentenced to 15 and 13 years imprisonment respectively.

The court has slapped a fine of Rs 175,000 on Magar and Lama.

Megha, a 10th grader at Rato Bangala School, was abducted from her home at Hepali Heights at Budhanilkantha, 7 km south of the capital, nearly two years ago. The abductors had reportedly taken the girl to Bhaktapur and released her after Dr. Devkota parted with a ransom of Rs. 130m.

A team from the police crime investigation division had confirmed that Gokul Giri aka Rajesh Chhetri, 37, of Subbagaun-9 in Kavre district was the mastermind behind the abduction and was involved from the planning phase to the the ransom pickup.

Though police were able to identify the other three involved -- Siddhartha Lama, Krishna Chara Rai and Raju Thapa, Giri and another culprit, Raju Thapa, are still absconding.

Fresh round of PM election from Feb 1

KATHMANDU, Jan 27: Speaker Subas Nembang is likely to kick-start the process for majority-based government on January 31 and hold fresh round of voting to elect new prime minister on February 1 as successive meetings among the parties for formation of consensus government has failed to yield any result.

According to sources, Nembang will hold a meeting of the Business Advisory Committee (BAC) at 1pm on Thursday to take a decision to this effect after receiving a letter from president Dr Ram Baran Yadav calling for a majority-based government the same morning.

President Yadav upon the request of the major parties had extended the deadline for formation of national consensus government till Wednesday.

While the parties may still form a consensus-based government, the election process will be held as per article 38 (2) of the interim constitution. Article 38 (2) of the constitution provides for a provision of electing a prime minister through majority in parliament.

“We will hold a meeting of the BAC in the afternoon after receiving a letter from the president, and fix the date for voting,” Nembang told Republica. Parliament secretariat sources said Nembang is likely to hold the third round of voting on February 4 in case the first two rounds fail to elect a new prime minister. “Nembang wants to speed up the process so that the country can get a new prime minister as soon as possible,” said a leader close to Nembang.

The amended version of the parliamentary regulations related to prime ministerial election states that all the candidates for the prime ministerial post shall compete in the first and second round of voting, but only two finalists will compete in the third round.

The process shall begin anew if none of the contenders secure a majority even after the three rounds of voting. As per the new provision, if two or more candidates are in the fray, lawmakers will have to vote for a candidate of their choice, but they will have no option to vote against any candidate.

The provision related to the prime ministerial election was amended in order to begin the process afresh as 16 rounds of voting held earlier had turned futile.

EPF, NA to get deposits back from the liquidated bank

KATHMANDU, Jan 27: Contrary to the initial wariness, it has now become clear that institutional depositors of Nepal Development Bank (NDB) - Employment Provident Fund (EPF) and Nepal Army (NA) -- could get all their deposits back from the bank subjected to liquidation.

Chartered Accountant Narayan Bajaj, liquidator of the NDB, said he has so far recovered bank-issued loans worth Rs 100 million and would start distributing the money to institutional depositors soon.

Moreover, referring to latest recovery trend, he said he might be able to repay their remaining deposits as well in the future.

NDB presently has total outstanding deposits liability of over Rs 490 million, including Rs 320 million of EPF and Rs 170 million of NA. It has cash deposit worth Rs 105 million in Nepal Cooperatives Bank, loans worth Rs 400 million and non-banking assets worth Rs 140 million.

“It might take time, but these figures indicate that we will be able to clear all those deposit liabilities,” Bajaj told Republica.

However, as the fresh collection of Rs 100 million stand far less than what the two institutional depositors had saved at the bank, the liquidator is currently discussing ways to distribute it among them. Mainly, he needs to decide on whether to distribute the amount equally or proportionately.

EPF, which has much larger deposit than NA, is pushing for proportionate distribution, whereas NA has requested for equal distribution of the recovered amount.
“We will finalize the modality after consulting the Nepal Rastra Bank as well as existing legal provisions,” said Bajaj.

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) - the central monetary authority -- had decided to liquidate the troubled NDB in June, 2009 after its five-year efforts to revive the bank failed owing to incompetent and defiant management. With the Appellate Court endorsing its decision, NDB had become the first bank to be liquidated in the country´s banking history.

Since then, liquidator has recovered loans worth Rs 150 million. During the course, the liquidator cleared all saving dues of 3,391 small depositors and even repaid Rs 10 million each to EPF and NA. He has filed a few cases at the Debt Recovery Tribunal and is also preparing to lodge additional petitions to recover remaining loans.

Bajaj said he might need support of the government as well as other stakeholders to recover the savings and loans of the bank.

The liquidator is mainly facing problems in getting back Rs 105 million that the bank deposited at Nepal Cooperatives Bank. Despite his repeated efforts, the cooperative has not handed over the money to him even though its repayment period has already matured.

Bajaj is also facing problem in recouping property worth Rs 10 million at Gorkha Hydro and other assets worth Rs 2.5 million.

“We have knocked the doors of Debt Recovery Tribunal to recover the loans. However, we need the support of all stakeholders as the effort of liquidator alone might not be enough,” Bajaj stated.

Country headed for majority govt

KATHMANDU, Jan 27: As last-ditch efforts for a consensus government failed and the extended deadline for forming such a government of political understanding expired Wednesday, the country is now headed for a majority government.

With the political parties not requesting the President for more time to try forming a consensus government, Dr Ram Baran Yadav is turning to parliament Thursday for the election of a new prime minister.

The UCPN (Maoist), NC and CPN-UML held day-long bilateral and trilateral talks at Gokarna Village Resort on Wednesday in an effort to forge consensus on the next government.

But as in previous talks on power sharing, the parties came out with a decision to carry on with efforts at consensus. They are meeting again Thursday.

NC and CPN-UML leaders who participated in the meeting told Republica that the meeting ended inconclusively after they stood for a package deal on power sharing, the peace process and constitution writing while the UCPN leaders wanted the meeting to focus only on government formation.

“There was no consensus as the Maoists declined to address our concerns related to the peace process,” said an NC leader asking to be unnamed.

But Maoist Vice-chairman Narayankaji Shrestha told Republica, “They were not ready for a package deal in the past. They pressed for a package deal today but there was no time to discuss all the issue in a package.” He added, “There should be no conditions for us to stake a claim to the government.”

Claiming that the talks were headed in a positive direction and the environment was becoming conducive, Shrestha further said the talks were headed in the spirit of forming a government under the leadership of the UCPN(Maoist).

The UCPN(Maoist), which was for a package deal in similar talks in the past, argued that the peace process should be discussed in the Special Committee and the constitution writing in the Constituent Assembly (CA), and these issues should not be linked with government formation.

“Their stance today reflects their internal political conflict,” said an NC leader participating in the meeting.

Lately, leaders close to Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai have accused Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal of handing over the PLA to the Special Committee without going through a proper process in the party as he was expecting to become prime minister. NC and CPN-UML leaders said this dynamic affected Wednesday´s talks.

“As this dynamic was clearly visible at the meeting, only top leaders and one each from the three parties are meeting on Thursday to try again for a government of consensus,” said a CPN-UML leader who participated in the meeting.

The NC and UML had argued at the meeting that the Maoist party should first be ready to determine the number of combatants to be integrated in the security agencies and also agree on the modality of integration after regrouping the combatants into three separate categories--those choosing for integration, those for voluntary retirement and those wanting rehabilitation.

Emerging from the meeting, CPN-UML senior leader KP Sharma Oli told journalists that the talks could not bear fruit because both the UCPN (Maoist) and NC staked claim for the leadership of a consensual government.

The meeting discussed forming a taskforce to set the criterion for a consensus government. Dahal was opposed to such a task force, arguing that his party did not want to head a government under various conditions.

“The media has already portrayed me as someone handing over command and control of the PLA to the Special Committee to become prime minister,” a NC leader quoted Dahal as saying. “We do not want to head the government on conditions.”

At the meeting, the prime minister urged the parties to reach consensus, stressing that a majority government would not work, going by the experience of two preceding governments -- one led by Dahal and another by himself, according to Shrestha.

NC, UML set terms for Maoist-led govt

The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML have agreed allow the Maoists to head the new government if the latter agrees to vacate cantonment within three to four weeks.

Top leaders of the NC and the UML agreed to do so after Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal conveyed that Maoist Chairman Dahal during an informal meeting had agreed to vacate the cantonments in that timeframe.

However, as the leaders sat for formal negotiation, the Maoists rejected the proposal outright saying that the formation of government and peace process were two entirely different things.

“They insisted that the talks should focus only on government formation, not on issues relating to the peace process,” said a NC leader present at the meeting. “The Maoists said they are not ready to head government by fulfilling such conditions.”

Tuesday, January 25, 2011

Khanal slapper set free after public apology

ITAHARI: Devi Prasad Regmi, who was in police custody after slapping CPN-UML chairman Jhanalanath Khanal in public, during a programme in Inaruwa last week, has been released on Monday at around 5:00 pm.

The District Police Office (DPO), Sunsari, set him free after he confessed issuing a statement, to having done wrong and sought a public apology for his behaviour, according the DPO Sunsari.

In his statement, the 52-year-old former UML supporter said he slapped Khanal impulsively, but not for any concrete reason. Police released Regmi after UML chairman Khanal committed to excuse him, should he ask for an apology for his misbehaviour, it is said

Early in the day, his son Mahesh Regmi had filed a writ petition at the Itahari Appellate Court demanding the announcement of habeas corpus to free him, since his arrest on Friday.

Finance Minister suggests RBB, NIDC merger


KATHMANDU: Finance Minister Surendra Pandey today suggested the Rasritya Banijya Bank (RBB) to merge with the Nepal Industrial Development Corporation Ltd (NIDC).

Speaking at the 46th anniversary programme of the state-owned bank, he said, “the merger of two financial institutions will help bring the negative net-worth of RBB into positive that needs Rs 12 billion capital injection to bring its negative networth to positive.

“The government can not inject Rs 12 billion capital as it is impossible for the

government to allocate the amount,” he said, adding that it will not be not fair for

the government to manage the extra capital for RBB.

“The merger is the best way to expand bank’s capital base and enhance its competency too,” he suggested, however, also added that the merger process will not go ahead without the consent from the bank management.

The central bank governor Dr Yubraj Khatiwada also emphasized on the merger of the two banks for the long term sustainability. “Huge investment has been attracted into the banking sector,” he said, adding that the existing banks have to increase their capacity to compet with the new banks.

“At a time when private sector banks are inclining towards merging for their betterment, it is crucial to enhance the capacity of the government-owned banks too,” he added.

The governor also said that the financial institutions are increasing in Nepal in comparison to the economy. “The government has encouraged merger through the fiscal policy and monetary policy in order to keep the reasonable number of financial institutions,” he added.

According to him, the government-owned bank still lags far behind in the competition with the private banks, though it is improving.

The RBB has posted a total of Rs 11.38 billion profit in last seven years, according to CEO of the bank Janardan Acharya.

“After the reform programme, with an assistance from World Bank, International Monetary Fund (IMF) and Department for International Development (DFID) in January 2003, the bank has succeeded in reducing it Non-Performing Loan to nine per cent,” he said, adding that RBB has been providing Any Branch Banking service to its 100 branches out of the total 128 branches.

Private sector keen on AMC

KATHMANDU: Governor Dr Yubraj Khatiwada said that private sector has shown interest to establish Assets Management Company (AMC). NRB’s strategic plan 2006- 2010 mentions that initiatives will be taken to facilitate the establishment of Assets Management Company to enhance the quality of financial assets.

However, no AMC has been set up so far. “Earlier, NRB along with other government-owned banks had tried to establish AMC but financial sectors objected to the NRB’s involvement, he said.

Paramotor pilot returns favour

POKHARA: French national Jen David Branc, a paramotor pilot of Himalayan Para motor journey, who had gone missing three days ago and was found only yesterday, has praised the Nepalis.

A participant at the first ever para motor flight in Nepal, organised to make NTY 2011 a resounding success, Branc’s paramotor had disappeared from Korchun, Machhapuchhre VDC, on Friday afternoon.

He was handed over by SP Krishnabhakta Brahmacharya of Kalika Battalion amid a programme, where he praised the Nepalis. He also provided Rs 50,000 to residents of Machhapuchhre VDC, Kaski, and another Rs 50,000 Fulbari-based Naya Gorakh Battalion and Malepatan-based Kalika Battalion of APF.

Branc handed over the amount to Secretary Surya Gurung of Machhapuchhre Tourism Development Committee, SP Krishnabhakta Brahmacharya of Kalika Battalion and Shambhu
Gurung, Chief of Naya Gorakh Batallion. Brahmacharya declared that the amount would be used to purchase rescue materials.

Elated on getting a new life, Branc promised to support APF, NA and residents of Jharikhola, Machhapuchhre VDC with additional Rs 1 million to residents and another Rs 1 million to APF and NA.

The amount will be handed over through Stephen Shrestha, coordinator and director of Avia Club. Branc also revealed his wish to invest the amount in the development of trekking route, tourism and construction of drinking water project in Machhapuchhre VDC.

He further promised he would try his best to make NTY 2011 a success. “As I got a new life here, I will promote Nepal in France,” he said, adding “I will encourage my people to visit this beautiful nation which has very kind-hearted people.”

‘’I spent two nights there by eating chocolates and quenching my thirst with the dew deposited on the leaves of the trees in the jungle and igniting a fire using the petrol of the paramotor,” he said, recounting his story after his paramotor met with an accident. Branc, who owns an internet business, said this was his maiden visit to Nepal. He returned to Kathmandu today and plans to return to France on Tuesday.

After he was found, he was brought to Pokhara on a Mountain Air helicopter. Following the news of his disappearance, two teams of Armed Police force had been tasked to search for him.

In order to promote the tourism year, paramotor demonstration had been organised jointly by Avia Club and Nepal Air Sports Organisation, in Pokhara. Starting from Tundikhel, Kathmandu last week, they reached Pokhara on Friday, flying over various places including Hetauda, Chitwan, Butwal and Palpa.

Suicide bomber kills 35 at Russia's biggest airport


MOSCOW : A suicide bomber killed at least 35 people at Russia's biggest airport on Monday in an attack that bore the hallmarks of militants fighting for an Islamist state in the north Caucasus region.

President Dmitry Medvedev vowed to track down and punish those behind the bombing, which also injured about 130 people, including foreigners, during the busy late afternoon at Moscow's Domodedovo airport. Dense smoke filled the hall and a fire burned along one wall.

"The explosion was right near me, I was not hit but I felt the shock wave -- people were falling," said Yekaterina Alexandrova, a translator who was waiting in the crowded arrivals area to meet a client flying in from abroad.

Thick drops of blood were scattered across the snow-covered tarmac outside the arrivals hall, where traces of shrapnel were found.

"I heard a loud boom... we thought someone had just dropped something. But then I saw casualties being carried away," a check-in attendant who gave her name as Elena told Reuters at Domodedovo, which is some 22 km (14 miles) southeast of Moscow.

The Kremlin said Medvedev, who has called the insurgency in the north Caucasus the biggest threat to Russia's security, delayed his departure for the Davos international business forum in Switzerland.

The rebels have vowed to take their bombing campaign from the violence-wracked north Caucasus to the Russian heartland, hitting transport and economic targets. They have also leveled threats at the 2014 Winter Olympics, scheduled for Sochi, a region they claim as part of their "emirate."

"Security will be strengthened at large transport hubs," Medvedev wrote on Twitter. "We mourn the victims of the terrorist attack at Domodedovo airport. The organizers will be tracked down and punished."

No group has yet taken responsibility for the attack, but dozens of Internet surfers, writing in Russian, praised the suicide bomber on unofficial Islamist site

Russia's ruble-denominated stock market MICEX fell by nearly two percent following the blast, which ripped through the arrivals hall, but traders said they expected little long-term impact.

"It (the blast) is moving the market in the short term, but there is no fundamental reason for the market to fall. If you remember, the market didn't react strongly to (previous blasts)," said trader Alexei Bachurin from Renaissance Capital.


Twitter users posted mobile video phone footage of dozens of people lying on the floor as thick smoke filled the hall and a fire burned along one wall.

Airport staff were shown using flash lights to pick their way through the chaotic scene taped off immediately after the blast. Later videos showed emergency workers wheeling injured people out of the terminal on stretchers.

Prime Minister Vladimir Putin, who shares power in a 'tandem' arrangement with the less influential Medvedev, has staked his political reputation on quelling rebellion in the north Caucasus.

He launched a war in late 1999 in Chechnya to topple a secessionist government. That campaign achieved its immediate aim and helped him to the presidency months later; but since then insurgency has spread to neighbouring Ingushetia and Dagestan.

"It does not ... bode well for Russian ties to the North Caucasus and is yet another sign that what Putin started in 1999 by invading the rebellious republic of Chechnya has come home to roost again in the Russian capital," said Glen Howard, president of the U.S. Jamestown Foundation research institution.

"The bomb blast at Domodedevo will further strengthen the view among the Russian elite that Putin is losing control over security in the capital, which plays into the hands of his enemies."

Moscow recently saw riots involving thousands of Russian nationalists who attacked passersby of non-Slavic appearance, many of whom were from the north Caucasus.

Analysts say rebels are planning to increase violence in the run up to 2012 presidential elections, that may well see Putin returning to the presidency.

Security has been tightened at Moscow's other two airports, which will also receive diverted passengers who were flying toward Domodedovo, media reported.

Moscow suffered its worst attack in six years in March 2010 when two female suicide bombers from Dagestan set off explosives in the metro, killing 40 people.

The worst incident involving north Caucasus rebels took place in 2004 when militants seized control of a school in Beslan. When Russian troops stormed the building in an attempt to end a siege, 331 hostages, half of them children, were killed.

Consensus govt chance slim


KATHMANDU, Jan 25: The three-party meeting on Monday ended inconclusively after the Maoists argued that there is no point in holding talks if the Nepali Congress (NC) and the CPN-UML don´t accept a Maoist-led consensus government.

“Why hold the meeting if both the parties don´t accept our leadership in the government?” a leader quoted Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as saying during the meeting at Hotel Radisson in the capital.

The chances of forming a consensus-based government now look slim, with each of the three major parties staking claim for government leadership.

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav had extended the deadline, under the request of the major parties, for formation of national consensus government till Wednesday.

“We could not reach consensus as all the parties claimed government leadership,” NC parliamentary leader Ram Chandra Paudel told reporters after the meeting.

The NC and UML have argued that they would not accept a Maoist-led government unless the Maoists cooperate with the government to drive the peace process and constitution-drafting forward.

NC President Sushil Koirala staked claim to form new government arguing that it was his party´s turn to head the government as the Maoists and the UML have already led the government after the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.

And Khanal argued that there is no possibility of a Maoist-led government given the political reality on the ground.

“There is no possibility of a Maoist-led government at this juncture. So the Maoists should not stake claim for government leadership,” a leader quoted UML Chairman Khanal as saying during the meeting.

Responding to the arguments of the NC and the UML, Dahal stated that he doesn´t see the possibility of reaching consensus in the meeting as the parties don´t accept Maoist leadership in the government, and the meeting ended inconclusively.

The leaders however agreed to hold bilateral talks on Tuesday and again hold a trilateral meeting on Wednesday in an attempt to strike a package deal on the peace process, constitution-drafting and power-sharing.

Maoist leader Narayankaji Shrestha stated his party being the largest in the parliament should be allowed to lead the government. “It is natural for us to claim the government leadership,” he said. He argued that his party has reiterated its commitment, in deeds, to the peace process and has fulfilled the major demands of the non-Maoist parties, which further makes party qualified to head the government.

Earlier on Monday, a standing committee meeting of the CPN-UML decided to adopt flexible policy while holding talks with other political parties in connection with forming consensus government.

However, leaders at the meeting repeated their previous stances at the meeting. While Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal reiterated that the UML must give continuity to its alliance with Nepali Congress, Chairman Jhalanath Khanal stressed that the Maoists should not be isolated.

"Prime Minister clearly insisted that UML must vote for NC candidate but the chairman, myself and some other members emphasized on the need to bring the Maoists on board," UML Vice-chairman Bamdev Gautam told Republica.

Monday, January 24, 2011

पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीमा लगानी गर्न बैंकहरू तयार

काठमाडौं, ९ माघ

पुनर्बिमा कम्पनी स्थापना भए लगानी गर्न बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्था तयार भएका छन् । सरकारले आकस्मिक बिमाकोषलाई पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीका रूपमा विकास गर्न नयाँ लगानीकर्ता खोजिरहेका बेला बैंकहरू लगानीका लागि तयार देखिएका हुन् । यसअघि पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीमा लगानी गर्न बिमा कम्पनीमात्रै अघि सरेका थिए ।

नेपाल बैंकर्स संघका अध्यक्ष शशिन जोशीले स्वतन्त्र व्यवस्थापनसहितको पुनर्बिमा कम्पनी स्थापना गर्न सरकार सहमत भए बैंकहरू लगानी गर्न सैद्धान्तिक रूपमा तयार रहेको बताए । पुनर्बिमा लगानी गरिसकेको विदेशी कम्पनीको समेत संलग्नता भए बैंकहरू अझै आकर्षित हुने उनको भनाइ छ ।

शुक्रबार बिमा समितिमा पुनर्बिमा कम्पनी स्थापनाबारे भएको छलफलमा जोशीले यस्तो बताएका थिए । बैठकमा कर्मचारी सञ्चय कोष, नागरिक लगानी कोष, बिमा सर्भेयर संघ, बिमा अभिकर्ता संघलगायतका प्रतिनिधि सहभागी थिए । समितिले बिहीबार जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका अध्यक्ष र प्रमुख कार्यकारी अधिकृत तथा मंगलबार निर्जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका अध्यक्ष तथा प्रमुख कार्यकारी अधिकृतहरूसँग छलफल गरेको थियो ।

डेभलपमेन्ट बैंकर्स एसोसियसनका अध्यक्ष झपट बोहराले सर्वसाधारणमा सेयर छुट्ट्याइए बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थालाई लगानी गर्न अझै सजिलो हुने बताए । “सर्वसाधारणलाई सेयर नछुट्ट्याएको अवस्थामा विशेष व्यवस्थाद्वारा लगानी गर्न बाटो खोल्नुपर्छ,” उनको सुझाव छ, “बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थाले सर्वसाधारणलाई सेयर जारी नगर्ने कम्पनीमा लगानी गर्दा शतप्रतिशत खराब कर्जाबापत व्यवस्था गर्ने राष्ट्र बैंकको नीतिले अप्ठ्यारो पर्छ ।”

आकस्मिक बिमा कोषलाई कम्पनीमा परिणत गर्ने र पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीको रूपमा स्थापना गर्ने प्रक्रियाका बारेमा प्रतिवेदन तयार गर्न १५ दिनअघि गठित टोलीलाई शुक्रबारदेखि एक महिना समय दिइएको छ ।

पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीका सम्बन्धमा अध्ययन गर्न सरकारले अर्थमन्त्रालयका सहसचिव तथा बिमा समितिका सञ्चालक विष्णुप्रसाद लम्सालको संयोजकत्वमा चार सदस्यीय टोली गठन गरेको थियो । समितिमा अर्थका सहसचिव तथा आकस्मिक बिमा कोषका अध्यक्ष राजीव गौतम, नेपाल बिमक संघका अध्यक्ष दीपप्रकाश पाण्डे र कोषका निर्देशक राधेश्याम गोर्खाली सदस्य छन् । पुनर्बिमा कम्पनी स्थापनामा अर्थमन्त्री सुरेन्द्र पाण्डेले विशेष चासो राखेकाले प्रक्रिया सहज रूपले अघि बढेको बताइएको छ ।

बिमा समितिका अध्यक्ष डा. फत्तबहादुर केसीका अनुसार अध्ययन टोलीले कम्पनीको प्रबन्धपत्र, नियमावली तथा व्यवसायीका योजना, प्रस्तावित संस्थाको संरचना, जनशक्ति आवश्यकताबारे सुझाव दिनेछ ।

कार्यदलले दिएको प्रतिवेदनका आधारमा कम्पनीको स्वरूप तयार हुनेछ । समितिले पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीका सम्भावित लगानीकर्ताका रूपमा सरकार, बिमा कम्पनी, बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्था, कर्मचारी सञ्चय कोष र नागरिक लगानी कोषसँग छलफल अघि बढाएको छ ।

कम्पनीको संरचनाबारे कम्तीमा दुई वटा प्रारूप तयार हुने केसीले बताए । सर्वसाधारण लगानीकर्तालाई सेयर नछुट्ट्याउने तर पब्लिक लिमिटेड कम्पनीहरू लगानीकर्ताका रूपमा रहने तथा कम्पनीहरूको सहभागितासँगै सर्वसाधारणलाई पनि सेयर छुट्ट्याउने गरी प्रारुप तयार गरिने भएको छ । त्यसका लागि यसै साता टोलीले नेपाल राष्ट्र बैंक र नेपाल धितोपत्र बोर्डसँग छलफल गर्ने भएको छ ।

आकस्मिक बिमा कोष खास जोखिम समूहअन्तर्गतको दायित्व निर्वाह गर्ने उद्देश्यले सरकार र बिमा कम्पनी मिलेर खोलिएको संस्था हो । बिमक (बिमा कम्पनी) ले आफ्नो पक्षको जोखिम धारण गरी बाँकी जोखिमको पुनर्बिमा गराउनुपर्छ । विगत लामो समयदेखि पुनर्बिमा कम्पनीबारे बजेट बक्तव्यमा कुरा उठाइए पनि कार्यान्वयन प्रक्रियामा समस्या देखिँदै आएको थियो ।

हाल पुनर्बिमाका लागि वार्षिक ३ अर्ब रुपैयाँ बिदेसिने गरेको छ । त्यसमध्ये करिब ४५ प्रतिशत दाबी भुक्तानी र पुनर्बिमा कमिसन गरी स्वदेशमा फिर्ता आउँछ । समितिका अनुसार पाँच वर्षको तथ्यांकअनुसार औसतमा दाबी र कमिसनपछि वार्षिक करिब ८० करोड रुपैयाँ पुनर्बिमाका लागि बाहिरिने गरेको छ ।

“स्वदेशमै पुनर्बिमा कम्पनी भए सानातिना जोखिम यहीँ मिलाउन सकिन्छ,” केसीले भने, “वैदेशिक रोजगार बिमा तथा तेस्रो पक्ष बिमाका लागि पुनर्बिमा गर्न रकम बाहिर पठाउनु पर्दैन ।” हवाइ बिमाजस्ता क्षेत्रका पुनर्बिमाका लागि मात्र रकम पठाउँदा धेरै रकम नबाहिरिने उनको भनाइ छ ।

सरकार पनि कम्पनीमा सरकारी स्वामित्व बढी बनाउने पक्षमा नभएको केसीले बताए । उनका अनुसार सरकार हाल आकस्मिक बिमा कोषमा भएको रकमलाई मात्र पुँजीका रूपमा उपयोग गर्न चाहिरहेको छ । “सरोकारवालाहरू नआएको अवस्थामा मात्र सरकार अरु लगानी थप्न चाहन्छ,” उनले भने ।

१० करोड बीउ पुँजी रहेको कोषमा अहिले ९२ करोड रुपैयाँ छ । सुरुमा अर्थमन्त्रालयले ५ करोड र निर्जीबन बिमा कम्पनीले ५ करोड रुपैयाँ लगानी गरेका थिए । सरकारी स्वामित्वको राष्ट्रिय बिमा संस्थानसहित मुलुकमा २५ बिमा कम्पनी सञ्चालनमा छन् ।

निर्जीवन बीमाशुल्क दर आधा

माघ ९, काठमाडौं । बीमा समितिले निर्जीवन बीमाअर्न्तर्गतका अग्नि बीमा र मोटर बीमासम्बन्धी विभिन्न शीर्षकका बीमाशुल्क दर ३५ देखि ५० प्रतिशतसम्म घटाएको छ । बीमक सङ्घको समेत प्रतिनिधित्व रहेको 'बीमादर सल्लाहकार समिति'को सिफारिशमा समितिले बीमाशुल्क दरमा यस्तो भारी कटौती गरेको हो ।

घटाइएको बीमाशुल्क दर कायम गर्न बीमा समितिले सम्बन्धित कम्पनीहरूलाई बिहीवार नै निर्देशन दिइसकेको छ । 'नियामकको निर्देशन लागू त गर्नैपर्यो । तर, यसले प्रिमियम आम्दानी घट्ने देखिन्छ,' सिध्दार्थ इन्स्योरेन्सका महाप्रबन्धक एसके तमोटले भने, 'निर्जीवनतर्फमा बीमा कम्पनीको दायित्व केही बढी हुने भएकाले बीमाशुल्क दर घटाइँदा कम्पनीलाई अप्ठयारो भने पर्छ ।' निर्जीवन बीमातर्फको बीमाशुल्क दर निर्धारण तथा लागू दुवै बीमा समितिले नै गर्छ । जीवन बीमामा भने कम्पनीहरूले सिफारिश गरेको दर समितिले लागू गराउने गर्दछ ।

'पहिले द्वन्द्वकालको जोखिमलाई आधार मानेर बीमाशुल्क दर निर्धारण गरिएको थियो । तर, अहिले परिस्थिति सुध्रिएकाले जोखिम पनि त्यसबेलाको भन्दा धेरै कम छ । त्यसैले बीमितको हितका लागि पनि समयानुकूल परिमार्जन हुने गरी अग्नि र मोटर बीमाअन्तर्गतका विभिन्न शीर्षकको बीमाशुल्क दर घटाइएको हो,' बीमा समितिका प्रवक्ता तथा कानून शाखाप्रमुख शेखरकुमार अर्यालले अभियानसँग भने । बीमाशुल्क दर सस्तो हुँदा बीमितिको सङ्ख्या पनि बढ्ने सम्भावना हुन्छ । त्यसकारण समितिको पछिल्लो निर्णयट बीमकको समेत प्रवर्द्धन हुने विश्वास अर्यालको छ ।

अग्नि बीमाअन्तर्गतको हूलदङ्गा, तोडफोड र द्वेषपूर्ण कार्यको बीमाशुल्क दरमा ३५ प्रतिशत कटौती भएको छ । यसअन्तर्गतकै थोक तथा खुद्रा पसलको बीमाशुल्क दर भने ५० प्रतिशत घटाइएको छ । 'थोक तथा खुद्रा पसलको खासै बीमा नभएको र भएकामा पनि दुर्घटनाको दर अति न्यून देखिएको छ,' अर्यालले भने, 'त्यसैले यस वर्गमा बीमाको दायरा फराकिलो बनाउन पनि बीमाशुल्क दर घटाइएको हो ।'

मोटर बीमाअन्तर्गतको सरकारी सवारीसाधनको हकमा लगाउँदै आएको तेस्रो पक्षलगायत सबै बीमाशुल्क दर ५० प्रतिशत घटाइएको छ । सरकारी सवारीको दुर्घटना दर अहिलेसम्म अत्यन्त न्यून रहेको छ । यसमा जोखिम पनि कम भएकाले सकेसम्म धेरै सरकारी सवारीको बीमा होस् भन्ने उद्देश्यले दर घटाएको समितिले बताएको छ ।

मोटर बीमामा नयाँ व्यवस्था
दुर्घटना भएको सवारीसाधन दुर्घटनास्थलबाट सडकसम्म निकाल्दा लाग्ने खर्चलाई बीमाङ्कअन्तर्गत भुक्तानी गर्नुपर्ने नयाँ व्यवस्था बीमा समितिले गरेको छ । यस्तो खर्च बीमाङ्कको ५ प्रतिशत वा रू. १ लाख वा वास्तविक खर्चमध्ये जुन कम हुन्छ, त्यसलाई बीमालेखअन्तर्गत भुक्तानी गनुपर्ने व्यवस्था गरिएको छ । सोबापतको वार्षिक बीमाशुल्क निजी सवारी (मोटरसाइकलबाहेक) का लागि रू. २ सय र व्यावसायिक सवारीका लागि रू. ५ सय तोकिएको छ ।

त्यस्तै, हेभी इक्वीपमेण्टको हकमा बीमाङ्कको ५ प्रतिशत वा रू. २ लाख ५० हजार वा वास्तविक खर्चमध्ये जुन कम हुन्छ, त्यस्तो खर्च बीमालेखअन्तर्गत भुक्तानी गर्नुपर्ने व्यवस्था गरिएको छ । यसबापत लाग्ने वार्षिक बीमाशुल्क प्रतिसवारी रू. १ हजार कायम गर्न समितिले निर्देशन दिएको छ ।

बीमकहरूले जारी गर्दै आएको अस्थायी बीमालेखमा समितिले रोक लगाएको छ । 'मोटर बीमासम्बन्धी निर्देशिका २०६६' मा कुनै पनि सवारीको बीमा गर्दा अनिवार्य रूपमा बीमालेख जारी गर्नुपर्ने व्यवस्था गरेकाले यसमा रोक लगाइएको अर्यालले बताए ।

साथै, सवारीसाधनको बीमा गर्दा बीमकहरूले जारी गर्नुपर्ने बीमाको प्रमाणपत्र अनिवार्य जारी गर्न पनि समितिले निर्देशन दिएको छ । सबै सवारीको बीमा गर्दा दिइनुपर्ने र सवारीमा पनि प्रस्ट देखिने गरी राखिनुपर्ने यस्तो प्रमाणपत्रमा एकरूपता ल्याउनका लागि समितिले गृहकार्य अघि बढाउने भएको छ । सरकारले तेस्रो पक्ष बीमा नभएका सवारी गुड्न नदिने भनेको छ । यसलाई प्रभावकारी रूपमा लागू गराउन पनि बीमा प्रमाणपत्र अनिवार्य गर्न तथा एकरूपता आवश्यक देखिएको समितिका प्रवक्ता अर्यालले बताए ।

Tourists stranded in Lukla yet again

KATHMANDU, Jan 24: Over 150 trekkers have been stranded in Lukla for the past four days with flights grounded due to poor weather.

This is the second time in two months that tourists have been stranded there. Trekkers from China, England, New Zealand, and Australia, among other nations, are currently stranded in Lukla.

“Regular flights did not operate to and fro Lukla for the past four days due to poor weather condition,” said Baburam Bhandari, chief of the Mountaineering Division. “But effort is underway to airlift those stranded by choppers to Kathmandu,” he said. Bhandari said the stranded tourists are all trekkers as this is not a climbing season.

The Meteorological Forecasting Division (MFD) in Kathmandu said visibility around the Mt. Everest region has been poor in the past one week. “Apart from several pockets in eastern Nepal, even Kathmandu and several areas in the tarai have faced flight delays in the past four days,” said Rajendra Shrestha, a senior meteorologist.

“Visibility in Lukla should improve in the next two days,” he added.

In November, at least 1,000 tourists were stranded in the village for a week, forcing many to trek through Jiri and others to pay hefty fares to companies operating choppers during the brief periods when weather conditions were favorable. But in the third week of the month, MI-17 choppers owned by Simrik Air and Shree Air abandoned their regular routes and operated flights between Lukla and Kathmandu to rescue the tourists.

Bhandari, of the Mountaineering Division, downplayed the problem saying the incidents of a few hundred tourists being stranded in Lukla due to inclement weather is not an emergency situation.

Under normal weather, more than 50 flights operate along the Kathmandu-Lukla route every day. The Lukla airstrip, also called the Tenzing-Hillary airstrip, is located at an altitude of 2,800 meters and is considered one of the riskiest in the world owing steepness and unpredictable weather.

IPO worth Rs 580m approved in first six months

KATHMANDU, Jan 23: Securities Board of Nepal (Sebon) - the stock market regulator - granted permission to nine different companies to issue 5.8 million units of primary shares worth Rs 580 million during the first six months of the fiscal year 2010/11.

Five development banks, two finance companies, one insurance company and one hydropower companies are among the firms receiving Sebon´s permission for initial public offerings (IPOs).

Sebon has permitted Kamana Bikash Bank (700,000 units), Country Development Bank (960,000 units), Chilime Hydropower (960,000 units), Gurans Life Insurance (1.08 million units), Professional Bikash Bank (300,000 units) and Purnima Bikash Bank (300,000 units) to go public. Similarly, Rara Bikash Bank, Multipurpose Finance and Hama Merchant and Finance have received permission to issue 660,000 units, 100,000 units and 740,000 units of public shares respectively.

The stock market regulator permitted 17 companies to issue right shares worth Rs 3.41 billion till Jan 10. Nine finance companies, five development banks, two commercial banks and two insurance companies have received Sebon´s nod for right issue. Those getting approval for right issue are Shikhar Finance, Royal Merchant Banking and Finance, Nirdhan Utthan Bank, Kumari Bank, Prabhu Finance, Sanima Bikash Bank, Prime Commercial Bank, Reliable Finance and Miteri Development Bank. Similarly, Mahakali Bikas Bank, NB Insurance Company, Kathmandu Finance, Butwal Finance, Lord Buddha Finance, General Finance, Swabalamban Laghubitta Bikas Bank and Api Finance have also received permission for right issue.

According to Sebon, public issue of 1.98 million units of shares of eight different companies worth Rs 198.2 billion is in the pipeline. Those getting Sebon´s consent for public issue are Investa Finance, Muktinath Bikas Bank, City Homes, Rajdhani Investment Fund, Nepal Industrial Development Corporation, Mercantile Finance, Corporate Development Bank and Shangrila Development Bank.

Similarly, 19 different companies sought Sebon´s permission to issue 57.22 million units of rights shares worth Rs 5.72 million during the first six months of the current fiscal year.

Special Committee meeting Monday

KATHMANDU, Jan 24: In its first meeting after bringing the Maoist army under its control, the Special Committee is taking up yet another challenging task of developing a modality of integration and rehabilitation for the ex-Maoist fighters.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, who is the coordinator of the Special Committee that has the constitutional obligation of supervising, integrating and rehabilitating former Maoist army personnel, has a meeting on Monday to discuss time-bound modality of integration and rehabilitation of former Maoist fighters, said a highly-placed source at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers.

Maoist representative in the Special Committee Barshaman Pun told Republica that the meeting will discuss the future course of integration and rehabilitation following handover of the Maoist combatants to the Special Committee on Saturday. The planned agreement on modality will open the door for an ultimate management of over 19,000 combatants. Once an agreement is reached, the Maoist combatants will be regrouped as per their choice -- those opting for integration, voluntary exit or rehabilitation in society -- and will be kept in separate camps for further processing.

As the Special Committee takes up the modality issue, it will also have to decide on harmonization of ranks and define standard norms that combatants need to meet to qualify for integration, something many believe is the most difficult task ahead for political parties. “We have prepared our modality on integration and rehabilitation,” Pun said, adding that they will present it before the Special Committee if needed.

Why PLA flag was not handed over?

As per the original plan, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal was supposed to lower the flag of the People´s Liberation Army (PLA) and hand it over to Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal to mark PLA´s handover to the Special Committee at Shaktikhor, Chitwan on Saturday. But the plan was dropped following an objection from Dahal at the eleventh hour.

According to a knowledgeable source, the proposed event was canceled after Dahal told the prime minister that such an act would mean defeat and surrender for the PLA. Though the prime minister insisted that the program should not be cancelled, he finally gave in after Dahal threatened to cancel the entire event.

But Pun, who was one of the members of ceremony organizing committee, told Republica that Dahal was scheduled to either sign a statement declaring the handover of cantonment to the Special Committee or hand over the PLA flag to the prime minister. Accordingly, Dahal only signed the statement.

PM objects to PLA participation in Maoist training

The government has taken exception to the Maoist plan to include combatants in upcoming training of the party´s state committees, saying that the new code of conduct for PLA, which came into effect from Saturday, does not allow the combatants to engage in any political activities.

Talking to Republica on Saturday, Maoist leader Pun, who is also the Maoist military in-charge, said PLA would participate in the upcoming training. He also added his party and the prime minister had reached an understanding in this regard.

“No such understanding has been reached as claimed by Pun,” said a source close to the prime minister, adding that they had only reached an understanding to allow central level Maoist combatants who are not staying in cantonments to take part in political training.

Another source close to the prime minister told Republica that the prime minister is likely to take up the issue in the meeting of the Special Committee on Monday.

NBBL braces for another merger


KATHMANDU: Nepal Bangladesh Bank Ltd (NBBL) is gearing up for the third merger – this time with Nepal Credit and Commerce Bank (NCC Bank). “Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has granted ‘theoretical approval’ to the merger of the banks,” informed Basudev Adhikari, director at the NRB’s supervision department.

Even after obtaining the permission from the regulatory bodies, to realise the merger, the banks have to call a joint Annual General Meeting (AGM) to get approval from their respective shareholders.

Likewise, before the merger is accomplished the banks also have to finalise the share structure of the merging entities – like how many shares of NBBL will be equal to how many shares of NCC Bank or vice versa. And there will also be the issue of employee management that has to be resolved by the banks prior to the merger coming into effect.

Both the commercial banks are promoted by NB Group, thus if these banks do get merged together then this will be the third merger of the financial institutions owned by NB Group.

Just a week ago, Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Banking and Finance Ltd (NSLMB) formally merged into NBBL, following the long process spanning over four years. The merger finally got realised after NRB and Company Registrar’s Office granted the permission on January first week. Likewise, NBBL and NB Finance – both promoted by NB Group had merged four years ago. NBBL would have been able to fulfil its capital requirement of increasing paid up capital to Rs 2 billion as per NRB’s regulation, following the merger with NSLMB.

However, NCC Bank’s paid up capital was short of approximately Rs 600 million.

The merger will not only increase the assets and the capital of the bank but transfer whole load of liabilities as well.

But the merger of full fledged commercial banks will be the first one in the Nepali banking history and might pave the way for more mergers in the future.

The merger of the financial institutions has been encouraged by both fiscal policy and monetary policy for the present fiscal year. The central bank has forwarded the concept as an alternative to opening of new financial institutions and also as the remedy to increase the paid up capital and as a support to the ailing financial health.

Moreover, it creates space in the crowded financial institutions and increases the reach of financial institutions as well. As an incentive, though the annual budget has removed the provision of charging merger with taxes as that of asset transfer. However, the banks and financial institutions are still less inclined to the mergers citing the lack of incentives.

Mystery shrouds death, seven arrested, probe panel formed


KATHMANDU: One day after Deputy Superintendent of Police Kanchan Thapa reportedly shot himself dead with his service pistol at a house in Srijantole of Basundhara, police have arrested seven persons to establish why he took the extreme step.

DSP Deepak Thapa said Khop Kumari Adhikari alias Shweta (25) and her elder sister Subhadra Adhikari (34) of Rasuwa, Phurba Tamang (37) of Sindhupalchowk, Kanchha Tamang (30) of Nuwakot, and Rabin Adhikari (44), Bimal Koirala (21) and Tirtha Kafle (43) of Kathmandu were arrested. All of them were close to DSP Kanchan.

Shweta had rented the third floor of the house where the police officer was found dead in a pool of blood. He had been living together with her for the last 15 months, while his wife and son resided at a house in Dhumbarahi.

An investigating official informed that Kanchan was under mental pressure after he sold an apartment in Orient Colony, Dhumbarahi for Rs 7.5 million and invested Rs 5 million in a business firm run by Rabin, Bimal and Tirtha. During interrogation, Shweta claimed she was married to DSP Kanchan and they were living as a couple. But she failed to produce evidence to support the claim. She was in the house when he was found dead.

“The family continued to pressurise Kanchan to get the money back from them after he invested the cash in September 2010 for a period of one year,” said an investigating official. “The trio still had seven months to return the money with a share of the profit. The death of a money lender is really mysterious. Though primary investigation suggests suicide, it is still too early to confirm.”

Police have sent the automatic pistol used to National Forensic Science Laboratory to examine the finger print. Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office has formed a five-member probe panel led by SP Deb Bahadur Bohara to investigate the incident. The panel, which includes DSPs Kedar Dhakal, Deepak Thapa, Hridaya Thapa and Prabin Pokharel, has been given 35 days to submit its report.

Kanchan’s final rites were performed amid police honours in Aryaghat, Pashupati today.

Missing para motor pilot found alive after 3 days


POKHARA: Para motor pilot Jen David Branc, a French national, who went missing on Friday, has been found in Jharikhola VDC-8, Kaski district on Sunday.

A joint rescue team of Nepal Police and Armed Police Force found him today evening.

He lost his way due to the fog and poor visibility during flight.

Talking to reporters at Pokhara Airport, Branc said that he was helped by the locals of Tharikhola. However, security personnel cut short his interview with the reporters citing his poor health condition.

Maoist-led govt in five days, says Prachanda


HETAUDA: Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal today claimed that the country would get a consensus government under his party leadership within five days.

“The chances of the Maoist-led consensus government within five days are high. There is sufficient ground for this,” the Maoist chief told mediapersons at a conference organised by Revolutionary Journalists’ Union in Hetauda today.

The other two major parties — CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress — are positive towards the Maoist-led government, he claimed.

On a different note, the UCPN-M chairman said the transfer of the PLA combatants from the Maoist party to the Prime Minister-led Special Committee had stunned the world.

“The handover of the Maoist combatants to the SC has turned down the allegations that Maoists are against peace and statute-writing processes. Instead, it has paved the

way for taking the peace process to a logical conclusion,” added Dahal.

The Maoist boss also made it clear that the PLA personnel were no longer his party


“As the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly, UCPN-M has democratic and legal rights to stake claim for the government leadership,” asserted Dahal, hoping that new statute could be drafted by May 28 if his party got the chance to be at the helm.

In a response to the media query who would be his party’s prime ministerial candidate if the Maoist got a chance to lead the new government, Prachanda said the party had already finalised the candidate.

On the occasion, he glossed over the internal rift in the party pertaining to the PM candidature and said the latest Central Committee meeting had resolved minor ideological differences that had surfaced lately.

“The ideological rift will not split the party; rather, it will further strengthen it,” he claimed.

On his way to Kathmandu from Shaktikhor, Chitwan, Dahal had stayed in Hetauda last night. He met his party cadres from Makwanpur district during the stay.

Kulekhani’s water level decreases

Water level in the reservoir of Kulekhani Hydro Electricity Project, popularly known as Indrarowar, has decreased in the recent months.

The higher consumption of water by the hydropower to meet the increasing demand of power, reduction in water level in its major water sources like rivers and melting of snow were cited as major reasons for the decline in the water level.

Due to delayed monsoon rainfall in the area the reservoir failed to collect adequate water this year.

The area even didn't receive rainfall and snowfall Sunday when it rained and snowed in many parts of the country including Kathmandu Valley.

Chief of Kulekhani Project Department Sachitananda Mishra said that the level of the water in the reservoir started decreasing owing to the fall in level of running water in rivers and the increasing dependence on the reservoir to manage the power supply.

The project that used to consume only two centimeters of water per day until a week ago was now consuming seven centimeters a day, he said.

These days the project has been producing power in the day time due to the increase in load shedding hours which resulted in the unprecedented decrease in the water level.

The hydropower produces 10 to 12 mega watt in the day time and as much as 92 mega watts in the night, which is its total production capacity, added Mishra.

The hydropower can make the use of water up to 483 meter from the mid sea level.
Kulekhani, the only water reserving hydropower in Nepal, has a capacity to produce 92,000 kilo watt of power.

Upper Tamakoshi publishes int'l notice for management team

The Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower Limited (UTKHPL) has asked for expression of interest (EOI) for its management team from national/international firms or team of individuals through an advertisement in The Economist on January 15 making it the first public sector hydroelectricity project in the country to seek foreign management team.

“The EOI has been sought internationally as per the loan agreement with the Employees´ Provident Fund (EPF) which set pre-condition of a competent management team comprising national/international firms or individuals appointed through global competition,” said Project Director and Officiating Chief Executive Officer Mrigendra Bahadur Shrestha.

The 456 MW project to be constructed in Lamabagar, Dolakha had earlier invited controversy after the Ministry of Energy appointed Dr Arjun Karki as the executive chairman of UTKHPL on August 6, 2010 going against the loan agreement. Energy Minister Dr Prakash Sharan Mahat had then scrapped Karki´s appointment and the Supreme Court had later upheld the minister´s decision on September 3 to ensure that the loan agreement would be complied.

“They had already published the advertisements in national dailies. But the loan agreement required national/international competition for appointment of the management team and I had requested them to publish it in at least one major international publication,” revealed Administrator of EPF Dr Ramesh Bhattarai.

The UTKHPL has set a deadline of February 2 for the submission of EOI and plans to appoint the management team by June/July 2011. The sought management team would comprise a chief executive officer (CEO), a chief technical officer (CTO) and a chief finance and administration officer (CFAO).

The team to be led by the CEO may comprise national or international personnel or a combination of both. “The management team will be hired for the smooth execution, completion and commissioning of the project within the budget and the stipulated time,” said Assistant Manager of the Upper Tamakoshi Hydroelectricity Project (UTKHEP) Bimal Gurung. The project cost is estimated at Rs 35.29 billion and is scheduled to be completed by 2015.

The daily peaking run-of-the-river project will be the largest hydropower project when it comes into operation and will provide 456 MW electricity for four hours a day even during the dry season, claimed Gurung.

The Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) will have 41% ownership of the mega-project while Nepal Telecom (6%), Citizen Investment Trust (2%), Rastriya Beema Sansthan (2%) are the other shareholders. Fifteen percent of shares would be allotted to the general public, 10% to the residents of Dolakha and the rest to the contributors in EPF, UTKHPL and NEA staff, and staff of debtor institutions.

EPF will provide Rs 10 billion in loan to the project while Nepal Telecom, Citizen Investment Trust and Rastriya Beema Sansthan will lend Rs 6 billion, Rs 2 billion and Rs 2 billion respectively. The company has signed Power Purchase Agreement (PPA) with the NEA on December 29.

Sunday, January 23, 2011

More firms to get VOIP license


KATHMANDU: Nepal Telecom Authority (NTA), the regulatory body for the telecommunication sector, has said that it would provide license to more firms to operate Voice Over Internet Protocol (VOIP) services.

“We are mulling to issue license to Internet Service Providers (ISPs) if their service is expanded to at least 25 districts, covering 13 hundred Village Development Committees (VDCs),” said Bhesh Raj Kanel, NTA chairman.

According to him, NTA board had taken the decision in December and had forwarded the proposal to the Ministry of Information and Communication (MoIC). “NTA’s proposal has been approved by MoIC and is forwarded to the Ministry of Law and Justice (MoLJ) for final approval,” MoIC official said. “The decision will come into effect once MoLJ endorses it,” NTA chairman Kanel said.

NTA has licensed four telephone service providers — Nepal Telecom (NT), United Telecom Ltd (UTL), Spice Nepal and STM Telecom — to operate VOIP channel for incoming calls. Of them, NT has started VOIP for incoming calls through Session Initiation Protocol (SIP) phone.

Currently, NTA has provided the license to 21 ISPs so far and the ISPs have to pay Rs 3,00,000 to NTA to operate the service for five years.

“License to more companies will decrease the current trend of illegal VOIP call bypass,” according to Kanel. The operators are losing around Rs 160 million every month through illegal VOIP operation.

According to police sources, illegal VOIP channels are not only eating up huge amount of revenue but also posing serious threat to national security.

According to NTA, illegal VOIP channels account for calls worth two million minutes, resulting in massive loss of revenue.

DSP kills self in Capital


KATHMANDU: Deputy Superintendent of Police Kanchan Thapa today committed suicide by shooting himself at a house in Srijanatole of Basundhara.

An investigating official informed that DSP Thapa fired a shot in his right temple at around 6:30 pm in the veranda of the third floor of the house owned by Purusottam Giri, saying it was not a killing. A woman by name of Shweta Adhikari was living in that floor as a tenant for the last 15 months.

A source said though Thapa owned an apartment in Orient Colony, Dhumbarahi, where his wife and a son live, he was a frequent visitor to the rented flat of Adhikari. According to the source, DSP Thapa was living together with Adhikari.

The police have recovered an automatic pistol loaded with nine rounds of bullets, a communication set, a three-page suicide note and beer bottles from the site. He had procured the firearm with 10 rounds of bullets from his office in the afternoon today. The suicide note read that he decided to kill self due to family and financial pressure. “Recently, I sold the apartment for Rs 5 million and invested the money in another field, which incurred a huge loss on me,” an investigating official quoted the excerpts of the suicide note. The police have arrested Adhikari for interrogation.

Hailing from Biratnagar, Thapa (41) began his career with Nepal Police on March 24, 1993 as Inspector. He was promoted to DSP on June 5, 2005. Of late, his posting was in Special Operation Force, NP Headquarters.

DIG Nawa Raj Dhakal, NP Spokesperson, remembered Thapa as a quick-minded, experienced and creative police official when it came to maintaining law and order. “He was enjoying his job,” DIG Dhakal informed. “He was a dutiful police official.”

The police ruled out the possible cause of suicide as frustration in the job. His contemporaries and relatives said Thapa had not shown any symptoms of his ending life like this. His body has been referred to TU Teaching Hospital for autopsy.

Bus syndicate behind frequent accidents

BANEPA, Jan 23: The latest accident in Kavre district on Friday, which left four passengers dead and at least 50 injured, has once again exposed the ugly face of syndicates in the country´s transportation system.

In the villages of Kavre, as in many parts of the country, passengers have been forced to risk their lives because of the syndicate system. In this system, transport entrepreneurs allow only a few buses to operate, squeezing many passengers into old vehicles, apparently to make more profit. Despite the government´s ban on syndicates, the system is thriving in Kavre.

In that district, various associations of transport entrepreneurs such as Kavre Minibus, Kavre Bus and Helambu Tranport, have taken over almost all the road routes. No other transport entrepreneurs are allowed to operate on those routes, irrespective of how cheap their services are. "They (transport entrepreneurs) say they do not run a syndicate," said Shree Krishna Sharma, a local. "But, we are suffering from their monopoly over transport."

Buses operated by Kavre Bus Entrepreneurs Association, which has obtained route permits for the Kathmandu-Banepa-Bhakunde route, force all passengers to get off and catch another bus at Bhakunde. Similarly, on just a three-kilometer road from Banepa to Nala-Shera, transport entrepreneurs have made it necessary for all passengers to change vehicles half-way. Locals say this irrational monopoly has increased the plight of those who deliver milk and vegetables to nearby markets.

Transport entrepreneurs have not operated a direct bus service from Banepa to Kathmandu. Hundreds of passengers from Banepa have to catch already over-crowded buses coming from either Dhulikhel or Panauti to reach Kathmandu. "Four years back, we proposed a direct bus service from Banepa to Kathmandu," said Rabin Shakya, then president of the Town Development Committee, adding, "However, local transport entrepreneurs, who know how to squeeze more profit through a syndicate system, rejected our proposal outright."

Syndicates are not the single reason behind frequent accidents. Loopholes in government policy also compound the risk. The bus (Ba 2 Kha 1142) which was wrecked in Friday´s accident previously operated the Kathmandu-Jire route for years. Later, it was operated on the Banepa-Nala route with a new registration number. Many such buses are believed to be operating in Kavre, and putting passenger lives at risk.

"Old buses have been painted to make them look new. They have new registration numbers; and the drivers show us their blue-books," said Traffic Police Inspector Govinda Kumar Karki. "When we see all that, we cannot ask for anything more. Otherwise, the drivers will immediately complain about us to our senior officials."

Combata Combatants now officially under Special Committeents now officially under Special Committee

SHAKTIKHOR, Chitwan, Jan 22: The UCPN (Maoist) handed over its arms and army to the Special Committee on Saturday, four years and two months after it abandoned war, marking a historic day in the country’s home-grown peace process.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal publicly signed a joint statement announcing that the Maoist combatants have officially come under the command and control of the Special Committee, amidst an elaborate function organized at the 3rd Division of the People’s Liberation Army (PLA) at Shaktikhor, Chitwan.

“The PLA has formally come under the Special Committee from January 22,” the prime minister and the Maoist chairman said in the joint statement.

The development marks an important step toward the Maoist party’s transformation into a civilian party, as it has now officially dissociated itself from its combatants.

“You were cadres of the UCPN (Maoist) till a while ago. But you have now come under the Special Committee and your role has naturally changed from now onward,” the prime minister said while addressing the gala event attended by top political leaders, senior government officials, diplomats, senior UN officials, civil society members, security chiefs and PLA members.

The prime minister hoisted the national flag at the cantonment to symbolically mark the coming of the PLA under the command and control of the Special Committee, which is headed by himself. Nepal and Dahal also jointly released red balloons to mark the occasion.

“In reality, we have a situation of one state and two armies until the integration and rehabilitation [of Maoist combatants] under the peace accord and the Interim Constitution is completed. We want to form a strong national security [force] by completing the integration and rehabilitation,” said Dahal, reading from his written speech.

Coming under the command and control of the Special Committee also means the combatants will have to follow a special code of conduct that, among other things, prohibits them from becoming engaged in any political activity. In addition, the code requires that all printed material and writing that links them to the UCPN(M), including signboards, insignia and charts suggestive of politics be removed from all seven main cantonments and 21 satellite cantonments housing the combatants.

“A decision to this effect [by the Special Committee] is necessary,” Balananda Sharma, convener of the secretariat under the Special Committee that oversees adherence to the code of conduct, told Republica.

Though the combatants have come under the Special Committee, parties are yet to agree on a modality for management of the combatants who have been living in the cantonments for the last four years.

“We now want to see parties agreeing on the modality soon so that the uncertainty over our future ends at the earliest,” Maoist combatant Chandra Nepali ‘Depen’, 30, told Republica after the handover function, adding that their patience over a decision on their future has run thin.

There was a sense of apprehension among PLA members this scribe talked to about whether they would get a fair deal. This sentiment was also echoed by their chief commander, Nanda Kishor Pun ‘Pasang’, in his “commitment speech” at the function.

“We hope there will be no bitterness and prejudice from the past. We hope we will be treated equally,” Pun said, adding, “This historic development will be a milestone toward completing the peace process and writing the constitution."

Prime Minister Nepal tried his best to dispel the combatants´ apprehensions. “Now the management of the combatants is not only the responsibility of a political party or one side; it´s the collective responsibility of all parties and the state. I assure you that the management process will move forward on the basis of personal interest, qualification, skill and mutual understanding.”

PLA units put on a parade and presented a guard of honor to the prime minister, who was chief guest and is chairman of the Special Committee, and to Maoist Chairman Dahal, at the outset of the function. The PLA did a march-past and a martial arts and cultural display to mark the historic occasion.

* ran a live blog covering the ceremony. Here is the archive of the blog.

Saturday, January 22, 2011

Rupee weakens, gold tumble continues


KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Nepali rupee weakened against US dollar this week, as greenback slipped against Indian currency with which the Nepali currency is pegged. This raised income for exporters and remittances receivers, but rendered imports expensive. Despite this, gold price plummeted in the domestic market, thanks to drop in gold prices in the international market.


Nepali rupee slipped 54 paisa against a US dollar over the week, as greenback slipped against Indian currency. A dollar was exchanged at Rs 73.20 on Friday.

Nepal Rastra Bank -- country´s monetary authority -- had set exchange rate of a US dollar at Rs 72.66 when the market opened this week on Sunday. Rupee sharply shed 24 paisa on Monday and again slipped by 35 paisa on Tuesday. On Wednesday, however, rupee bounced back recording an overnight gain of 20 paisa and further appreciated by 15 paisa on Thursday. On Friday, however, it weakened by 30 paisa against a dollar.

Likewise, rupee weakened against euro as well as pound sterling this week. It shed 93 paisa against a euro and dropped by a whopping Rs 1.56 against a pound sterling over the week. On Friday, a euro was exchanged at Rs 98.26, while a pound sterling was valued Rs 116.63.


Gold became cheaper by Rs 295 per 10 grams in the domestic market over the week, as dollar strengthened against major rival currencies causing demand for gold -- the save haven for investors - to fall in the international market. On Friday, gold was traded at Rs 33,525 per 10 grams.

Trading had opened this week with they yellow metal priced at Rs 33,820 per 10 grams on Sunday. Even though gold became cheaper by Rs 40 per 10 grams on Tuesday, it rallied over the next two days, gaining Rs 85 per 10 grams on Wednesday and Rs 45 per 10 grams on Thursday. On Friday, however, gold price dipped sharply by Rs 385 per 10 grams.

The price of silver too dropped in the domestic market over the week and closed at Rs 703 per 10 grams on Friday.


The market continued to showcase its uptrend (+1.03 percent) for the second consecutive week, as Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) closed at 406.9 points. The uptrend can be primarily attributed to the speculations prior to the second quarter results and increment in share value of Nepal Telecom. However, total turnover decreased by 7.58 percent compared to last week.

The ´Others´ sub-index (+2.03 percent) posted the highest gain amongst all the sub-indices, as share price of Nepal Telecom (+ Rs 10) appreciated. The Hydropower sub-index (+1.94 percent) continued its upward rally for the second consecutive week, as share values of Chilime Hydropower (+Rs 45) and Arun Valley Hydropower (+Rs 3) rose. The Insurance sub-index (+1.51 percent) retrieved from its last week´s dip helped by gains in share prices of Nepal Life Insurance (+Rs 63), Shikhar Insurance (+Rs 14) and Asian Life Insurance (+Rs 4).

The Commercial Banking sub-index (+ 1.33 percent) made significant gains this week, as banks like Nepal SBI Bank (+Rs 50), Machhapuchhre Bank (+Rs 14) and Global Bank (+Rs 14) saw their share prices appreciated. The Finance sub-index (+0.06 percent) saw marginal gain, as both the top gainers and top losers for the week are from this sub-index. Suryadarshan Finance (+Rs 33) and Kuber Merchant Finance (+Rs 17) were the top gainers, while Butwal Finance (-Rs 84) was the top loser.

Nevertheless, the Development Banking sub-index (-1.70 percent) continued to shed value as share prices of Jyoti Bikash Bank (-Rs 95), Udhyam Bikash Bank (-Rs 51) and Infrastructure Development Bank (- Rs 16) plummeted. Likewise, the Hotels sub-index (- 0.78 percent) followed suit as share prices of Oriental Hotels (-Rs 8) and Soaltee Hotel (- Rs 1) descended.

Amongst news and highlights, Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Banking & Finance is merging with Nepal Bangladesh Bank and is starting operation as a single entity from Jan 23. Securities Board of Nepal (SEBON) has formed a steering committee and six advisory groups under the coordination of its chairman to create policies for formulating a five-year master plan to strengthen the security market. The share trading of Gurkha Development Bank has been suspended by Nepse as it is under investigation.

On the declaration front, Life Insurance Co (Nepal) is holding its 9th AGM on Feb 7 February (Book Closure: Jan 24). It is proposing 5.26 percent cash dividend. The 18th AGM of Yeti Finance has approved 12 percent bonus shares. Similarly, the 18th AGM of Nepal Finance and saving has approved 27 percent bonus shares. Zenith Finance´s 3rd AGM has approved 20 percent bonus share and 6:5 rights share.

Similarly, Kathmandu Finance´s 16th AGM has approved 20 percent bonus share. Everest Finance´s 8th AGM has approved 20 percent bonus share and 10 percent cash dividend. Furthermore, Nepal Express Finance´s 5th AGM has approved 10 percent bonus share. Pokhara Finance´s 4th AGM has approved 10 percent cash dividend. Narayani National Finance´s 18th AGM has approved 10.5 percent cash dividend.

Forecast: Technical analysis tools indicate that the current short term uptrend will continue. However, this signal is not corroborated by the turnover.

CJ discloses property details

KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Setting a historic precedent, Chief Justice Ram Prasad Shrestha on Friday made public his property details through the Supreme Court (SC)´s website -- No previous chief justices, justices or judges have made public their property details till now.

As per his commitment expressed some three months back, Shrestha disclosed his property details, which he had been submitting annually at the Judicial Council (JC).

The chief justice has made public the property he accumulated over a 10-year period. All judges are required to submit their property details to the JC every year. However, the JC, as per the JC Act, doesn´t make the property details public.

According to the details made public on Friday, CJ Shrestha owns a three-storey house on a four ana land at Lajimpat.

"I disclosed my property details as per my commitment I had expressed during Russian chief justice´s visit to Nepal," CJ Shrestha told Republica, adding, "This move will help keep every judge´s property transparent."

He further said judges who are interested to make public their details can now do so through the SC website. "The trend of disclosing property details will ultimately help people know how judges have been accumulating properties," CJ added.

CJ´s old house in Anamnagar has now been transferred in the name of his son Sanjeeb Shrestha. "I received Rs 3.5 million from my elder son Snajib after transferring that home in his name. I took Rs 800,000 in loan from the Employees Provident Fund and Rs 200,000 from the Citizen´s Investment Trust. I have invested altogether Rs 4.5 million in my house that I bought in Lajimpat some five years ago," the CJ has said in his disclosure statement.

CJ´s son Sanjeeb, who is an aeronautical and flight engineer, had bought a car for his father. The home in Anamnagar was built after selling lands in Birgunj and Pokhara.

CJ possesses 14 tola of gold, 200 tola of silver and one diamond ring. "The sources of the gold, silver and the diamond ring were dowry, ancestral property and gift from sons abroad," reads the disclosure.

The CJ however has not disclosed his cash holding. "The government provided me altogether Rs 400,000 for foreign trips and thus the cash amount might have gone up slightly. However my immovable properties remain the same. I will also make details of my cash holding public in a few days," he told Republica.

PM revokes cabinet decision to transfer secretaries

KATHMANDU, Jan 22: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal on Friday revoked a government decision to transfer two secretaries following pressure from various quarters and chief secretary´s objection to the move.

The cabinet three days ago had decided to transfer Chhabi Raj Panta from the Ministry of Land Reform to the Western Regional Administration Office and Secretary Ananda Pokharel from the Kathmandu Metropolitan Office to Mid Western Administration Office in violation of the Civil Service Act and Regulations.

Panta, who is the seniormost government secretary, had refused to accept the transfer letter stating that the cabinet decision was not taken as per the existing legal provisions.

Chief Secretary Madhav Ghimire on Friday had spent nearly two hours to convince the prime minister to rectify the cabinet decision. The prime minister finally gave in and decided to transfer Panta to the Office of Prime Minister and Council of Ministers and Secretary Pokharel to the Information Commission.

Bindra Hada, who had been serving as a secretary at the Information Commission, has been transferred to the National Planning Commission.

“Not only the chief secretary Ghimire but other secretaries and well wishers had also advised the prime minister to rectify the decision,” a knowledgeable government source said, adding, “The prime minister would have committed a serious mistake by setting a wrong precedent had he not revoked the cabinet decision.”

As per the Civil Service Act and Regulation, the cabinet cannot transfer any senior secretary to remote areas or make him work under a junior secretary. Second, cabinet has to take consent from the concerned secretary before taking any transfer decision if the secretary is getting mandatory retirement in a year or less. Moreover, the cabinet cannot transfer secretary above 50 years to remote areas.

Panta is getting compulsory retirement in six months while Pokhrel has less than a year left to get retirement.

However, Panta is still not happy with the government´s rectified decision. “I am still not happy with the decision as it has not been taken as per the provision of Civil Service Act and Regulation,” Panta told Republica.

The three days- old decision of the cabinet to transfer Secretary Keshav Bhattarai to the Ministry of Land Reform and Management and Secretary Sheetal Babu Regmee to the Ministry of Energy remains unchanged.

NSLMB, NBBL merged


KATHMANDU: Nepal Sri Lanka Merchant Banking and Finance Ltd (NSLMB) is finally going to be merged into Nepal Bangladesh Bank Ltd (NBBL) after the central bank’s green signal on January 2. Though, the merger process started in April 2006 when NBBL’s proposed merger with NSLMB was endorsed by the bank’s annual general meeting, the central bank had halted the process as the banks had not duely notified the central bank.

“They were through the merger in October 2010 but the procedure was stalled by NRB as the financial institutions did not apply for the merger to the central bank as per the regulation,” according to the central bank.

Thus, these financial institutions restarted the whole process, jointly applying for the merger. NRB finally granted permission for the merger of these financial institutions on January 2. The merger was formalised after Company Registrar’s Office granted the permission on January 7. From now on, all the transaction of NSLMB will be conducted via NBBL. The central office of NSLMB located at Kamaladi, Kathmandu, will operate as NBBL’s Kamaladi branch office. Likewise, the finance company’s branch office at Banepa will also operate as NBBL’s branch office. Both these companies are owned by NB Group.

NBBL and NB Finance promoted by NB Group had merged four years ago.

After the current merger, NBBL will be able to increase its paid-up capital to Rs 2 billion as required by NRB regulation. However, along with NSLMB’s financial assets, liabilities have also been transferred to the bank. Also, the management has to resolve the issue of employee management.

NRB asks people to return notes with kings' image


KATHMANDU, Jan 21: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) - the central monetary -- has appealed to the public to exchange banknotes bearing portraits of former kings from nearby banks. It has also warned people that they might have to approach certain designated counters if such notes are not exchanged by mid-March.

Top NRB officials made such an appeal at an interaction on clean notes policy with bankers here on Friday.

The central bank on the government´s request has been withdrawing the notes bearing portraits of former kings after the country was declared a republican state. However, the rate of withdrawal has remained pretty slow and concerned officials said this has been forcing them delay the pace of jumping into clean note regime.

According to NRB records, the central bank so far has withdrawn only Rs 18.73 billion worth of such notes from the market. Such notes worth Rs 28.22 billion are under circulation, according to the central bank.

“Our target is to withdraw them from the market by mid-March. If people did not return such notes to the banks now, we are planning to ask them approach certain designated counters to get them exchanged,” said NRB Governor Dr Yuva Raj Khatiwada.

NRB plans to replace banknotes with king´s portrait with those bearing the image of Mt Everest. So far, the central bank has already circulated Rs 111.96 billion worth of banknotes bearing the image of Mount Everest.

The central bank took the initiative of jumping into clean note regime after it adopted clean note policy in the monetary policy for the current fiscal year. Under this, it will ensure that people get high quality clean notes and withdraw soiled notes from the market. Under it, the central bank eventually plans to make stapled and handwritten notes not usable, and replace staples on the note packet by paper or plastic bands.

“Sadly though, it is the banks themselves that use staple on the notes,” said another NRB official.

Ashwini Kumar Thakur, executive director at NRB´s Currency Management Division, urged the banks to sort out notes bearing king´s portrait collected from the public and exchange them with the central bank.

“We still find ATMs issuing soiled notes and notes bearing king´s portrait. This should stop,” said Thakur.

He even appealed to the people to take care of banknotes in their possession as early damage of note and the need to replace them only add cost on general consumers themselves. “Printing a note has a cost. Hence, it is wise to properly handle the notes,” he said.

According to a central bank report, the life of notes in Nepal is much lower than neighboring countries because Nepalis do not handle them with care. The report even says that more than 50 percent of notes issued during Dashiain festival, when the central bank issues maximum number of new notes, are returned at unusable condition.

Bryan Adams tickets out for sale


KATHMANDU, Jan 22: The wait is over for eager fans. Tickets for The Bryan Adams Live, the first ever international gig in Kathmandu, are now officially on sale. And judging by the enthusiasm of the crowd, it’s sure to sell like hot cakes!

Adams and his band members are being flown to Kathmandu by JPR Events in partnership with ODC Network. The concert is to take place at Kathmandu’s Dashrath Stadium on February 19.

Shital Singh, of JPR Events, shared, “The tickets are flying off the counter, and the response has been tremendous.” Singh recommends getting the tickets at the earliest, as the organizers will be stopping the sale two weeks prior to the concert date, February 19.

The tickets are exclusively available through branches of Manakamana Development Bank in Pokhara, at Durbar Marg, Kamal Pokhari, and New Road in Kathmandu. According to the spokesperson of the Bank, a separate counter has been set up for JPR/ODC Events where one can deposit money and purchase the tickets.

The price has been set at Rs 2,000, Rs 3,000 and Rs 6,000 for silver, gold and platinum seating zones respectively. The venue, Dashrath Stadium, is to accommodate around 25,000 music enthusiasts on the D-Day.

To counteract counterfeit issues, special tickets from India have been flown in. Singh revealed, “The tickets will bear special 3D hologram and bar code which will be readable only through laser lights and can’t be duplicated.”

Prez extends consensus govt deadline


KATHMANDU: President Dr Ram Baran Yadav today extended the deadline to form a consensus government by five days as per the request of political parties. “The President hopes that the parties will form a government by Wednesday by forging consensus,” Chakra Pandi Pandey, assistant spokesperson for the Office of the President, stated in a press release.

Twenty-three parties, including Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML, today decided to seek five more days from the President for the formation of a new consensus government.

The seven days’ time, given by the President expired this evening. With the parties agreeing on seeking more time for the consensus government under

Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution, today’s scheduled Parliament session

was put off till Monday

as the Parliament had

no business to discuss.

However, five fringe parties – Rastriya Janashakti Party, Nepal Sadbhavana Party (Anandi Devi), CPN-Unified, Chure Bhabhar Ekta Party and Socialist

Democratic People’s Party – declined to sign a petition to the President, for


The fringe parties sought a guarantee that the major parties would agree on forming the next government on consensus.

“It has been seven months since incumbent PM stepped down for consensus government,” RJP leader Dr Prakash Chandra Lohani said adding, “But they have failed to form a majority government, let alone a consensus one.”

The major parties had met only once on Thursday following the President’s one week deadline to forge consensus.

Post Bahadur Bogati, chief whip of UCPN-M,

said they agreed to request the President to extend

the deadline to forge consensus on Nepali Congress’s proposal during a meeting in which UML was also


Bogati said NC and UML leaders told them that they were “open to discuss” the formation of a consensus government under Maoist leadership. He, however, expressed doubt over the NC’s and UML’s preparedness for forming government under Maoist leadership.

Emerging from the three-party meeting, UML Chairman Khanal said the three major parties might join the new government, irrespective of who may lead it.

The NC and UML had maintained that the Maoists could not lead the new government unless the party transformed into a civilian outfit and agreed to implement all agreements of the peace process.

The parties failed to iron out differences on the amendments to the Parliamentary regulations yet again.

UCPN-M and UML said NC still insisted that all PM’s proposals should be put together for voting and only the first two candidates must remain in the second run-off if the first round of election fails to yield result.

GIC to provide Rs 600 cr insurance cover to ESPN for World Cup

MUMBAI: State-owned reinsurance firm General Insurance Corporation of India (GIC) today said it will provide a Rs 600 crore terror and weather insurance cover for the Cricket World Cup to international sports broadcaster ESPN.

"We have finalised on providing Rs 600 crore terror and weather insurance cover for the Cup to ESPN on Rs 9 crore premium," GIC Chairman-cum-Managing Director Yogesh Lohia told reporters on the sidelines of the 4th India Rendezvous on Reinsurance here.

This is a record cover for any sporting event in the country and is three times more than the Rs 200 crore cover for the Commonwealth Games in Delhi.

The 2011 World Cup will begin on February 19 and end on April 2. India will host 27 matches in the 2011 ICC Cricket World Cup at eight venues -- Bangalore, Chennai, Delhi, Mumbai, Kolkata, Punjab, Gujarat and Nagpur.

The insurance cover will compensate for any broadcasting loss arising from cancellation due to adverse weather conditions and terror attacks.

However, GIC is still working on the modalities of providing insurance coverage to the World Cup event with the BCCI.

Meanwhile, with regard to claim ratios, Lohia said in the first half, the incurred claim stood at 70-80 per cent, which is expected to go up during the second half of this year.

He said floods in Brazil and Australia are likely to hit the margins of the company.

"We are getting reports of losses, however, we not sure if it is the company loss or insured loss. But it may hit the profitability of the company," he added.

On the occasion, Minister of State for Finance Namo Narain Meena said there was exponential growth in premium collections in the general insurance industry to USD 8 billion in 2010 from USD 3.5 billion in 2003.

"After managing the Indian Terrorism Insurance Pool and now working for the establishment of the Indian Nuclear Insurance pool, the time is right to pursue the target of creating an Asian reinsurance hub in India," he said.

GIC is currently working on details for establishing the Indian Nuclear Insurance Pool that will provide insurance protection from nuclear accidents.