Tuesday, May 31, 2011

Earthquake risk reduction must be national priority: Shrestha

Nepal sits pretty on a seismically active zone and experts believe that a tremor, which is a cyclic phenomenon, is long overdue in Nepal. Although tremors could not be predicted, the preparedness and rapid response are all the more essential to ward off greater loss of life and property in case a tremor of high magnitude hits the nation. Amid the looming danger of earthquake, Narayan Upadhyay of The Rising Nepal spoke about different dimensions of this kind of disaster with respect to Nepal’s problems, preparedness, and its ability to tackle challenges emanating from the disaster, with Surya Narayan Shrestha, Deputy Executive Director of National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (N-SET). An excerpt:

1. Can an earthquake be predicted? Why are there so many hue and cries about earthquakes hitting our nation or Kathmandu any time soon? Is the doom-saying well placed?

Earthquakes cannot be predicted. Scientific researches so far have not been able to predict earthquakes. However, by studying geology and historical earthquakes in a particular location, it can be identified that certain area is prone to earthquakes.

Nepal is prone to earthquakes. Nepal sits astride the boundary between Indian and Tibetan tectonic plates; due to internal geological processes, such boundary area is seismically very active. Large amount of strain is accumulated every year in this convergence zone and when such strain exceeds the capacity of rock masses, it is released through the active faults in the form of earthquakes. A mapping, done during the national building code development project in 1992-1994 identified 92 such active faults throughout the country which are potential sources of earthquakes.

Historically also, Nepal has suffered number of large magnitude earthquakes. In the past nine centuries, seven major earthquakes hit Kathmandu Valley and surrounding areas. On average an earthquake of magnitude 8 or above has occurred once every 70-100 years. The last major earthquake that hit Nepal was in 1934 (popularly known "Nabbe salko mahabhukamta") during which 8,519 were killed throughout the country and 4,296 in Kathmandu Valley. Since then, a significant amount of stress has accumulated and a major earthquake is around the corner. Scientists even say that a big one is already overdue.

2. What are the things that must be followed to tackle the challenges of earthquakes and to save the loss of life and property?

There is a common saying that "Earthquakes do not kill people but the unsafe buildings do!" Main cause of human casualty during earthquakes is the damage and destruction of houses that people live in. If you go through cases of big earthquakes hitting developing countries like us, almost 80 percent of loss of life is found to be due to building collapses. Therefore, our main focus should be on constructing safe buildings. That can help reduce probable losses of life and property.

We can tackle this challenge with three-pronged approach: a) Stop increasing risk, b) Reduce the existing risk, and c) Be prepared for the possible consequences. We should not add up more risks in our new construction i.e. buildings to be built in earthquake-resistant manner. We should assess & identify the prevailing risks and adopt ways to reduce that. Ideas of non structural mitigation works and also technical interventions like retrofitting the existing structures which can improve earthquake safety of buildings can ensure better safety. Third area of work is to enhance preparedness at various levels, from individual to community to state level. We should have enough knowledge and skills on what we should do before, during and after earthquake.

3. Where is Nepal in terms of tackling the challenges of natural disasters like earthquakes?

During later years, there have been significant efforts from state and non-state stakeholders in promoting earthquake safety in Nepal. But such efforts seem to be very little as compared to the extent of problem that we face. We have been able to make a few number of schools earthquake safe, a few number of hospitals safe and a few number of communities prepared for the consequences. Comparatively very small number of Nepali communities have been reached for raising their awareness and helping them build capacity. Only few municipalities have been able to implement building codes. Several trainings and knowledge sharing efforts to policy makers, engineers, sub-engineers, masons, house-owners and community people have been conducted but still not enough. It is thus I would say we are on right track but a lot of works are still lying ahead.

4. What are the problems that are obstructing the nation in bringing out concrete plans to mitigate the effects of earthquake?

Let me first endorse your point that we need to have long term, short term and immediate plans to mitigate the effects of earthquake. Not having concrete plans means we are having lots of problems. Main problem is actually not giving justifiable priority to earthquake issues at various levels. Like other many disasters, earthquake considerations should be integral part of development approaches which we are missing, knowingly or unknowingly. We still lack well set institutional mechanisms and proper policy instruments in place. After endorsing National Strategy for Disaster Risk Management in 2009, Government of Nepal is now about to bring out the Disaster Management Act in the near future and then perhaps we will have more structured plans and activities to improving the disaster safety in Nepal.

5. It is generally believed that the houses and big structures are built flouting the earthquake resistant rules? As an earthquake expert, what are you suggestions to address this issue?

Yes, there has been a general tendency that people neglect issues of earthquake safety while constructing buildings. This is because of lack of awareness in one hand, and on the other hand, most of the municipalities do not have a system of checking safety provisions while issuing the building permits. Only few municipalities initiated the mandatory implementation of building codes. I think to avert the situation, we have to have three strategies: a) Raise awareness of the people of earthquake safety issues so that people themselves demand safe construction; b) Enhance knowledge and skills of masons so that they can construct buildings in proper manner (almost 90% of the buildings in Nepal are constructed by the masons, head masons or the petty contractors); and c) devise a system of mandatory implementation of building code in all urban and urbanizing areas of the country so that engineers are made liable to the design and construction of the buildings.

6. The haphazard urbanization and a lack of land use plan creating problems in making the city safe from earthquakes? What is N-SET is doing to make Kathmandu Valley and other parts safe from the ill effects of tremors?

Our strategies for achieving ‘earthquake safe communities in Nepal are:

Public Awareness: Each and every individual should be made aware on earthquake safety. By awareness raising myths and fallacies can be eradicated, fatalism can be reduced and community can be convinced of impending seismic risk and way out to mitigate it. NSET has developed innovative ideas to aware people from all walks of life – policy and decision makers, politicians, media, international agencies etc. And of course, the objectives of awareness raising are different for the different target groups: for politicians and senior officials, it is to convince them of the necessity to look at disaster risk reduction as a development issue, for the general public it is enabling them to understand the risk and to identify possible measures that could reduce the vulnerability on an incremental basis.

Capacity Building/Training: In addition to public awareness we stride to make community safer by imparting knowledge skills required for reducing the risk. IT is through training of masons and technical professionals on earthquake safer construction, it is through training of local volunteers on community level preparedness and so on.

Our focus is on the internalization of the knowledge and ultimately its ownership and use, as much as possible, in day to day life. We strongly believe that each and every activity on earthquake preparedness should be institutionalized to achieve earthquake safe communities.

Institutionalization: Institutions be it municipalities, VDCs or departments and ministries should be made stronger and capable to implement DRR. Institutional capacities will ensure sustained efforts for DRR.

7. Is there any obstruction in carrying out the plans you and your institution have envisioned to lower the ill effects of earthquake in the nation? If yes, what are they?

As I have already mentioned there has been several good examples and successes in terms of demonstrating feasible earthquake risk reduction measures. However, such good examples and successes need up-scaling and institutionalization so that the entire country and the communities can be made safer. One of the biggest challenges lying ahead is to make earthquake risk reduction a national priority and reflected in policy and institutional mechanisms.

8. Since an earthquake is a cyclic event and considering this fact, an earthquake is long due in Nepal. In such a precarious situation, is the rapid response to an earthquake in place now?

We do have some systems for emergency response. Ministry of Home Affairs is responsible to provide such emergency response. In minor to moderate event of incidents like frequent floods, landslides, and snow avalanches, the system is somehow capable to cope with the situation. However, recent experiences have shown that current system and legal mechanism are not well enough to cope to major disaster such as that the expected earthquake devastation in Kathmandu Valley.

9. No doubt, the role of government agencies is important in making policies and taking actions to ward off any eventuality from an earthquake. Do you think that the government bodies are doing needful in this regard?

The perception about risk in decision-making level is still not enough. This is what makes people more vulnerable. Everybody should do disaster preparedness. It is not only earthquake but also other disasters like avalanches, floods and landslides that have risks associated with human life and property. Ultimately what is required is a culture at all levels including at household and prime ministerial level about the risk and mitigation. We did have some household culture in the past. We did have indigenous level of culture on how to face the flood, landslides or earthquake. There is a necessity for forcefully bringing this practice into the mindset of the people and their behavior. For that what we require is a very strong policy commitment as well as legal instruments to support. What are missing in Nepal are such kinds of mechanisms - which could take into consideration the totality of disaster scenario.

Recently National Strategy for Disaster Risk Reduction has been approved which will serve as country’s guide for subsequent action planning and implementation for effective disaster risk management (DRM) in Nepal. NSDRM has envisioned highest level institution the National Commission for DRM (NCDRM) under the chairmanship of honorable Prime Minister responsible for endorsement of national policies on DRM and approving the national-level DRM plans and programs, guide and oversee management of fund generation and mobilization and provide policy guidance for bilateral, sub-regional, regional and international cooperation in the area of DRM.

However to implement the strategy the pertinent act is required which has been drafted but not yet approved by the parliament. Unless the act is enacted the formation of the council is not possible. So we hope it will come out very soon.


PM says he is committed to 5-pt pact; asks NC to take initiation for national unity govt

Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal addressed the nation Tuesday, clarifying that he was committed to the recent five-point agreement signed by the three major parties that saved the Constituent Assembly.

PM Jhal Nath Khanal
In his televised address to the nation this evening, Prime Minister Khanal urged the main opposition Nepali Congress to take initiative for consensus government, as outlined in the agreement.

"I am ready to play constructive role for the formation of national consensus government, but the Nepali Congress as an opposition party needs to be more serious about it," PM Khanal said.

According to the PM, his government would not be an obstacle to the formation of an all-party government and that he was ready to step down once the parties forged consensus for the same.

However, he gave a clear hint that he would not resign before there is a concrete agreement to form the unity government as he mentioned that resigning now without an 'alternative' would leave the country in a state of uncertainty.

"Such a state of uncertainty will have long-term impact on the country's economy and security situations."

PM Khanal, who said that his government had faced criticisms from the very beginning, also mentioned that it took a long time for him to give full shape to the cabinet since UCPN (Maoist) took a long time to take a decision on its ministerial candidates.

Khanal offered an apology for the failure to meet the 28 May deadline of the CA.

The Prime Minister, in his 13-minute long address delivered from the National Planning Commission hall in Singha Durbar, also noted that parties had already done major exercise by finalising several pending issues concerning the new constitution and said something significant could happen regarding peace process in a few weeks time. nepalnews.com

Royal massacre still a mystery 10 years on


KATHMANDU, May 31: A decade after Nepal´s crown prince stunned the world by gunning down nine family members, mystery still surrounds the massacre that plunged the monarchy into a crisis from which it never recovered.

Many Nepalese believe they may never know the truth about the night of June 1, 2001, when a drink- and drugs-fuelled prince Dipendra ran amok with an automatic weapon at a family dinner at the palace in the capital Kathmandu.

Dipendra, dressed in military fatigues, killed his revered father, King Birendra, his mother, brother and sister and five other relatives before shooting himself, according to official findings.

The 31-year-old Eton-educated heir to the throne was believed to have been crazed with anger after being stopped by the queen from marrying the woman he loved.

But conspiracy theories continue to swirl in Nepal about the bloodbath, which caused outpourings of hysterical grief in the impoverished nation where the king was seen as the reincarnation of the Hindu god Vishnu.

"The high-level (government) commission formed to investigate the massacre only reported what happened and how it happened," said Vivek Kumar Shah, a former military secretary at the royal palace.

"It didn´t say why it happened," he added.

Shah said some internal and external forces could have provoked the crown prince but declined to elaborate, saying only: "There were interest groups who wanted to end the monarchy."

The royal massacre, believed to have been the worst since Russia´s Romanovs were shot on the order of Vladimir Lenin in 1918, prompted rumours about the possible role in the slayings of the king´s less popular brother, Gyanendra.

Gyanendra was away from the Nepalese capital on the night of the killings.

"The people, who were numb with grief, reached a hasty conclusion it was a conspiracy (involving Gyanendra)," Kishor Shrestha, editor of Nepalese weekly Jana Aastha, said.

From the start of his reign, Gyanendra was much less beloved than his brother who in 1990 had legalised political parties, ushering in a new era of democracy and constitutional monarchy.

Gyanendra´s unpopularity only deepened when he dismissed the government and embarked on a period of autocratic rule in 2005, a move that united Maoist rebels with political parties, paving the way for mass protests that forced the king to step down three years ago.

A Maoist-dominated constitutional assembly declared a republic in May 2008. Many ordinary Nepalese were delighted to see the back of the dour king as well as his playboy would-be heir, Paras.

On June 11, 2008, Gyanendra left the palace for a hunting lodge on Kathmandu´s outskirts, marking the final end to a royal lineage founded by his warrior ancestor Prithvi Narayan Shah, who conquered dozens of small kingdoms in the 18th century.

"The monarchy lost its traditional respect" with Gyanendra´s decision to dismiss the government, said Nepalese journalist Yubaraj Ghimire.

"Looking back, I think the politics of 2006 when the Maoists and other parties were arrayed against the monarchy played a critical role in its demise," Ghimire said.

Now, Nepal remains in tumult, racked by political crisis as parties struggle to draft a new constitution and oversee the peace process that began when the decade-long Maoist civil war ended in 2006.

The widespread hope that followed the end of the conflict and the abolition of the unpopular monarchy has been replaced by a growing sense of anger and frustration in Nepal, one of the world´s poorest countries.

And 10 years on from the royal massacre, even though many Nepalese believe they still do not know the full truth, there is a waning desire to reopen old wounds with another investigation.

"Nobody is interested in probing it," Shrestha said.

Monday, May 30, 2011

बहस:- 'नयाँ विनियमावलीप्रति बीमा कर्मचारीको आपत्ति'

''खाइपाई आएको सुविधा कटौती गरेर विनियमावली ल्याइँदै छ'' - पूर्णबहादुर थापा
बीमा समिति कर्मचारी सङ्गठन
बीमा समितिले अपुग जनशक्ति पूरा गर्नेबाहेक अन्य कुनै संस्थागत सुधारका कुरा पनि प्रस्तावित विनियमावलीमा समेटेको छैन । अझ कर्मचारीले खाइपाई आएका सुविधासमेत कटौती हुने गरी स्वीकृतिका लागि पठाइएको छ । मन्त्रालयसम्म विनियमावली स्वीकृतिका लागि पठाउँदा हामीसँग छलफलसमेत गरिएन । परिमार्जनसहित ल्याउनुपर्नेमा नियमावलीमा भएका सकारात्मक पक्षलाई हटाएर ल्याउन खाजिएको छ । बीमा समितिले स्वीकृतिका लागि पठाएको विनियमावलीमा ०५४ सालदेखि कर्मचारीले खाइपाई आएको औषधोपचार खर्च कटौती गरिएको छ ।

त्यस्तै कर्मचारीले मन्त्रालयसँग माग राखी ०६४ सालदेखि प्राप्त गर्दै आएको विभिन्न भत्तासमेत कटौती गरेको छ । खाइपाई आएको कुनै पनि सुविधा कटौती गर्नु नहुने कानूनी प्रावधानलाई समेत सञ्चालक समितिले बेवास्ता गरेको छ । कर्मचारीको हितविपरीत हुने किसिमको विनियमावली स्वीकृतिका लागि मन्त्रालय नपठाउन हामीले अनुरोध गर्दागर्दै पनि समितिले पठाएको छ ।

हामीले श्रम कार्यालय, अर्थमन्त्री, अर्थसचिव, सञ्चालक समितिका सबै सदस्यलाई यो विनियमावली हाम्रो हितविपरीत आउन लागेको छ भन्ने कुराको जानकारी पनि गराइसकेका छौं । सञ्चालक समितिलाई एउटा ज्ञापनपत्र पनि बुझाएका छौं । हाम्रो मागको सुनुवाइ नगरिए अधिकार प्राप्तिका लागि हामीले वैकल्पिक बाटो रोज्नैपर्ने बाध्यता आउन सक्छ । हामी आन्दोलनमा जान सक्छौं । कानूनी प्रक्रियाका लागि अदालत जान सक्छौं । यही रूपमा विनियमावली आयो भने हाम्रा यिनै विकल्प हुनेछन् ।

''विनियमावली नआई आत्तिहाल्नु पर्ने अवस्था छैन'' - शेखरकुमार अर्याल
बीमा समिति
बीमा समितिको संस्थागत सुधारका लागि लामो समयदेखि आउन नसकेको विनियमावली बल्ल आउने प्रक्रियामा छ । विनियमावली संस्थागत सुधारका लागि ल्याइने हो । बीमा समितिले संस्थागत सुधारका लागि कर्मचारीका तर्फबाट आवश्यक प्रतिवेदन माग गरेको थियो । सोहीअनुसार कर्मचारीले पनि सुधार कार्यका लागि आफ्ना तर्फबाट प्रतिवेदन पेश गरेका थिए । त्यसमा समितिका संस्थागत सुधारका विषय समेटिएका थिए । कर्मचारी नियुक्ति गर्दा समावेशी हुनुपर्ने, समयसापेक्ष कर्मचारीको सेवासुविधामा परिमार्जन गरिनुपर्नेलगायत बुँदा समेटिएको थियो ।

कर्मचारीहरूले आफ्ना तर्फबाट दिएको प्रतिवेदन संस्थागत सुधारका लागि बन्ने विनियमावलीका लागि एउटा सुझाव मात्रै हो । कुनै कामका लागि कसैले दिएको सुझाव अक्षरशः लागू हुन्छ भन्ने पनि होइन । उनीहरूको मागलाई स्वीकृतिका लागि पठाइएको विभिन्न बुँदाले समेटेको पनि हुन सक्छ । बीमा समितिले स्वीकृतिका लागि पठाएको विनियमावली जस्ताको तस्तै मन्त्रालयले स्वीकृत गर्छ भन्ने पनि छैन । उसले पनि आवश्यक परिमार्जन गर्न सक्छ । उनीहरूले उठाएका कतिपय विषय उचित पनि होलान् ।

त्यसैले विनियमावली आउनुअघि नै कर्मचारीहरूले आत्तिनुपर्ने कुरै छैन । सरकारी निकायले नै कानूनविपरीत कार्य गर्ला भनेर सोच्न हुँदैन । यदि त्यस्तै हुन गएछ भने पनि ऐनकानूनविपरीत कार्य गर्ने निकायलाई कानूनको कठघरामा ल्याउने निकाय पनि त छन् । त्यसैले पारित नभएको विनियमावलीका सम्वन्धमा नकारात्मक धारणा बनाइ हाल्नु पर्ने आवश्यकता छैन ।


Mid night Coup averted, Indian RAW, Congress-I backs ex-Nepal King

Telegraph Nepal

A great political turmoil, as the luck would have it, got averted.

The now sidelined King, Gyanendra Shah, was all set to stage a grand come back had the parties failed to extend the Constituent Assembly tenure.

Though the CA tenure has been extended through foul means yet the extension has averted the political disaster which was about to grip the country for some time to come.

High placed sources claim that the former King had already drafted a message to be addressed to the nation wherein he was supposed to have announced his taking over the charge of the nation once again.

Clearly, the message former King had drafted was all the handiwork of the visiting RAW officials, Alok Joshi.

Joshi, according to the high placed sources, had mainly come to Nepal with a single objective: To install the sidelined King in Nepali throne if the parties failed in extending the CA tenure.

Joshi stayed in Kathmandu for over a week.

A tentative message which was to be broadcast on May 28 late evening read like this: “We had abandoned the throne hoping that the political parties will act as per the aspirations of the people but we are pained to record that the political parties failed in their mission......”

This statement was about to be sent to various media houses late evening May 28, 2011. The message further stated that the sidelined King was hurt with the increasing confusion in the nation due to the failure in drafting the constitution and carrying the peace process to its logical end.

But the message could not materialise as the parties, which more or less smelt the dark chamber game, hastily arrived at a consensus and extended the CA tenure.

Must have been a great set back.

The Naya Patrika daily reports, 30 May, 2011, that even Dr. Karan Singh, the International Advisor of Mrs. Sonia Gandhi was specially sent to Kathmandu to extend his party’s unconditional support to the sidelined King.

The China factor.

Telegraph Nepal had already reported that the former King threw a lavish dinner in the honour of the visiting RAW top officials from India at his personal residence, Nirmal Niwas, May 27, 2011.

Those who enjoyed the ROYAL dinner were, AB Mathur, Alok Joshi, H. Khare, K. V. Rajan and possibly Dr. Karan Singh-the special emissary of Congress-I President, Sonia Gandhi.

Unsubstantiated reports have it that Gyanendra Shah had a secret meet with RAW second man-Alok Joshi for over one hour.

Mr. Joshi was some time back the RAW station chief in Kathmandu.

Those who met with the visiting Indian deities were, S. B. Thapa, Pasupati Rana and Kamal Thapa.

No wonder Mr. Rana has changed his political overtones and has begun pouncing upon the present day Nepali leaders whom he sees now as a bunch of power lust people.

The RAW activities in Nepal had begun, May 22, 2011.

Should this then mean that the Indian regime and the Indian intelligence agencies were in a mood to apologise for all what they did with Nepal King in the recent years?

Wisdom appears to have finally prevailed.


Friday, May 27, 2011

School buses to have uniform colour

The government has decided to have uniform colour for all school and college buses in the country.

A cabinet meeting on Wednesday decided to have uniform colour for school buses for easier identification to provide special security.

The Ministry of Education will decide the colour of the buses after consultation from stake holders, said education minister and government spokesperson Gangalal Tuladhar.

The cabinet has also decided to construct separate toilets for girl students in all community schools and have reserved seats in public buses for girl students.

Security posts to be installed at hydel project sites

Wednesday’s cabinet meeting has also decided to install security posts at the construction sites of hydropower projects and take action against those involved in the disruption of projects. Energy minister Gokarna Bista said, the cabinet has also decided to form a commission to coordinate with local residents, collect their grievances and address them in order to improve the hydropower project’s relation with the local residents. nepalnews.com

Chure Bhawar Bandh partially affects normal life nationwide

Normal life in various parts of the country including capital Kathmandu has been partially hit due to a bandh (shutdown strike) called by Chure Bhawar Rastriya Ekta Party and few other groups. Reports coming in say that more than four vehicles were vandalised by bandh organisers at different parts in Kathmandu this morning. However, there are no reports of any clashes between the police and protestors or arrests.

Bandh organisers vandalized and torched Kantipur Television van that was ferrying its staff at Balaju, a bus belonging to Nepal Yatayat at Lokanthali, micro-bus at Maitidevi and a taxi at Basundhara this morning.

Less number of public and private vehicles is seen in the streets of Kathmandu due to fear of reprisal from Bandh organisers while shops and
businesses in many parts of the city are open except at the main market places like New Road, Putalisadak and Bagbazaar.

People were seen heading towards their offices on foot due to lack of enough public vehicles while most of the educational institutions including schools and colleges remained closed.

Reports say that the bandh has partially affected life in many other parts of the country with transportation coming to a grinding halt and main market places including factories, educational institutions, offices partially open.

Chure Bhawar Rastriya party general secretary Bhumi Raj Niraula said the party is conducting the bandh in a peaceful manner and that none of its activists were involved in vandalizing vehicles or public property.

"Our party is organising a peaceful bandh and is not involved in any act of vandalism," he told Nepalnews, adding that cadres of other groups who also called a bandh today might have been involved in vandalism and other disruptive activities.

Niraula also informed that activists of his party is planning to picket the CA building at New Baneshwor later this afternoon by defying the prohibitory orders.

Chure Bhawar declared two-day of general strike demanding dissolution of the Constituent Assembly and formation of a national consensus government. nepalnews.com

एकैपटक पुँजी बढाउन असम्भव : बिमा कम्पनी

काठमाडौ, जेष्ठ १२ -
बिमा कम्पनीहरूले ऐनमा प्रस्ताव गरिएको चुक्ता पुँजी एकैपटक पुर्‍याउन नसकिने भएकाले पुरनावलोकन हुनुपर्ने माग गरेका छन् । पारित हुने क्रममा रहेको ऐन कानुन मन्त्रालयमा पुगेपछि बिमा समितिले कम्पनीलाई पुँजी वृद्धि योजना मागेको छ ।

प्रस्तावित ऐनले जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका लागि २ अर्ब र निर्जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका लागि १ अर्ब रुपैयाँ चुक्ता पुँजी तोकेको छ । हाल यो क्रमशः २५ करोड र १० करोड रुपैयाँ छ ।

बिमा कम्पनीका सञ्चालकले केही समयअघि अर्थमन्त्री भरत मोहन अधिकारीलाई भेटेर ऐनमा सुधार गरिनुपर्ने बुँदाबारे जानकारी गराएका थिए । प्रस्तावित पुँजीलाई नै निरन्तरता दिने सोचमा रहे पनि बिमा समितिले कम्पनीहरूलाई जेठको पहिलो साता सुझाव मागेको थियो ।

९ मध्ये सात जीवन बिमा कम्पनीले चुक्ता पुँजी वृद्धि गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । बिमा संस्थानले सरकारी नीतिअनुरूप वृद्धि गर्छ भने मेट लाइफ एलिको विदेशी कम्पनीको शाखा मात्र भएकाले यसले चुक्ता पुँजीको व्यवस्था गरेको हुँदैन । १७ निर्जीवन कम्पनीमा पनि १५ वटाले मात्र चुक्ता पुँजीको व्यवस्था गर्नु पर्छ । दुई विदेशी कम्पनीको शाखाका रूपमा काम गरिरहेका बिमा कम्पनी हुन् ।

'राष्ट्र बैंकको नीति हेर्दा समान्यतया एकपटकमा दोब्बर मात्र वृद्धि गर्न लगाउने गरिन्छ,' बिमक संघका अध्यक्ष रमेशकुमार भट्टराईले भने, 'प्रस्तावितमा जस्तै ठूलो अन्तरले वृद्धि गर्न बिमा कम्पनी सक्ष्ाम छैनन् ।' दोब्बरसम्म मात्र वृद्धि र निश्चित समय सीमा तोकिए बिमा कम्पनीलाई राहत हुने उनले बताए ।

हाल एकमुष्ट ७ जीवन बिमा कम्पनीको चुक्ता पुँजी २ अर्ब २३ करोड रुपैयाँ छ । १५ निर्जीवन बिमा कम्पनीको चुक्ता पुँजी जोड्दा १ अर्ब ५० करोड रुपैयाँ पुग्छ ।

बिमा कम्पनीहरू एकै पटक ठूलो मात्रामा पुँजी वृद्धि गर्न नसकिने कुरामा सहमत भए पनि प्रकृयाबारे टुंगो नलागिसकेको बिमक संघमा जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका तर्फबाट उपाध्यक्ष मनोजकुमार भट्टराईले बताए । 'अन्तर्राष्ट्रिय स्तरमा मान्यता पाउने गरी पुँजी वृद्धि गरिनुपर्छ भन्ने धारणा छ,' उनले भने, 'यसबारे छलफल भए पनि निष्कर्षमा पुगिएको छैन ।'

संघमा निर्जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका तर्फबाट उपाध्यक्ष केवलकृष्ण श्रेष्ठ बजारको आवश्यकताअनुसार मात्र पुँजी वृद्धि गरिनुपर्ने बताउँछन् । 'हामी सबैको चासो बजारअनुसारको काम हुनुपर्‍यो भन्ने हो,' उनले भने । पुँजी जुटाउन खुला गरिएको वाणिज्य बैंकको हकप्रद सेयर सबै बिक्री नभइरहेको अवस्थामा एकैपटक ठूलो मात्रामा बिमा कम्पनीको पुँजी बढाइन नहुने उनी बताउँछन् । 'तरलता अभाव, आर्थिक संकटलगायतले बजारलाई असर गरेको छ,' उनले भने ।

हालको पुँजीको दोब्बर वा कारोबारअनुसार पुँजी वृद्धि गर्दै लैजान सकिने विकल्पबारे कम्पनीले छलफल गरेका छन् । सबै कम्पनीको अवस्था एकै नभएकाले कारोबारको मात्राअनुसार पुँजी वृद्धि गर्न सकिने तर्क उनीहरूको छ । ऐनमा नै पुँजी तोक्नभन्दा समयअनुसार वृद्धि गर्दै लैजाने नीति उपयुक्त हुने व्यवसायी बताउँछन् ।

जीवन र निर्जीवन बिमा कम्पनीहरूले बिहीबार छुट्टाछुट्टै स्थानमा बैठक बसी चुक्ता पुँजी दोब्बर मात्र बढाउन सुझाव दिएका छन् । सबै जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका प्रमुख कार्यकारी अधिकृत र एक सञ्चालक नेपाल लाइफ इन्स्योरेन्समा बैठक बसेका थिए । निर्जीवन बिमा कम्पनीका

प्रतिनिधि भने शिखर इन्स्योरेन्स कम्पनीमा बैठक बसी उक्त छलफल गरेका हुन् ।

प्रकाशित मिति: २०६८ जेष्ठ १३ ०९:३६


Thursday, May 26, 2011

Dahal proposes CA extension for 'last time'


KATHMANDU, May 26: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has proposed extending for the “last time” the term of Constituent Assembly (CA) with commitment from all CA members to work without regular allowance.

Addressing an interaction organized in the capital Wednesday, Dahal said there is no alternative to extending the CA term till a new constitution is promulgated through the elected body. “The term to be extended now should be the “last one”. It will be appropriate if the CA members do not take allowance for the extended term,” he said.

Dahal expressed confidence that the main opposition Nepali Congress, which holds a long credential of adhering to democratic and parliamentary norms and values, would not oppose extension of the CA term. “I do not believe that Nepali Congress has decided not to extend the CA term,” he said.

Dahal also hoped that the parties would arrive at consensus within the next couple of days as they are engaged in hectic parleys to settle contentious issues. “It is wrong to argue that there has been no progress on constitution drafting and peace process since the CA term was last extended,” he said. He said there are only 22 of the total 250 disputed issues in constitution writing to be resolved now. The People´s Liberation Army has come under the Special Committee and the Maoists are positive toward the Nepal Army´s proposal on army integration, he added.

Speaking on the occasion, Nepali Congress Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel said all political problems would be resolved once the Maoists detach themselves from their arms and armies. “We fought together for the Constituent Assembly and democracy. There is no point in extending the term of CA if it cannot ensure peace and a democratic constitution,” he said.

Madhesi People´s Rights Forum (MPRF) Chairman Upendra Yadav argued that since the CA has already accomplished many tasks its term should be extended. “The parties only have two alternatives -- either to extend the CA term to promulgate the new constitution or push the country towards a fresh series of violence,” he said.

Arguing that the agitating ethnic groups would declare federal states on their own if the CA is dissolved Yadav said, “Millions of rupees have been spent to split the party. This is a conspiracy against peace, constitution and the Constituent Assembly,” he said.

Speaking at the same function, civil society leaders Shyam Shrestha, Damannath Dhungana and Renu Raj Bhandari demanded that the leaders apologize for their failure to promulgate the new constitution on time and urged them to work seriously to complete the task of concluding the peace process and writing the new constitution.

Top leaders holding talks with President


KATHAMNDU, May 26: Top leaders of main three political parties on Thursday morning are holding talks with President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at his office in Shital Niwan.

Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal, also the chairman of CPN-UML, Nepali Congress president Sushil Koirala and UCPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal are in the meeting

लगानी, मुनाफा र बीमामा पूँजी वृद्धि

देवेन्द्र कोइराला
शेयरमा लगानीको हिसाबले सबैभन्दा बढी आकर्षक ठानिएका नेपालका 'क' वर्गका केही वाणिज्य बैङ्कहरूले जारी गरेका हकप्रद शेयर संस्थापकहरूले लिन सकेनन् वा इच्छा देखाएनन् । त्यसकारण अहिले त्यस्ता शेयर सर्वसाधारणमा विक्रीका लागि सूचना प्रकाशित गरिएका छन् । वाणिज्य बैङ्कहरूको हालत त यो छ भने अरू कम्पनीको अवस्था के होला, सहजै अनुमान गर्न सकिन्छ । विगतमा बिहानैदेखि सक्कल नागरिकताको प्रमाणपत्र हातमा च्यापी लाइनमा बस्ने र १० कित्ता शेयर पर्दासमेत एकापसमा बधाई साटासाट गर्ने नेपाली लगानीकर्ताहरूका लागि यसले दिने सन्देश कम मार्मिक छैन । अझ त्यसअघि ताप्लेजुङका राई, धादिङका चेपाङदेखि बाजुराका दलितसम्मका नागरिकताका फोटोकपी राखी आवेदन भर्ने गरेका यस क्षेत्रका केही खेलाडीहरूको मन अहिले कति पोलेको होला, जोकोहीले अनुमान गर्नसक्छ । शेयरलाई सुनको अण्डा पार्ने कुखुरीभै+m पालेका र शेयर प्रमाणपत्रका चाङ थुपारेर तेस्रो संसारको कल्पना गरिरहेकाहरूका लागि अहिलेको परिस्थितिमा यो बतासे फुलभित्र के रहेछ भन्ने ज्ञान विस्तारै पलाएको होला । अर्कातिर शेयर भनेको के हो र यसले कसरी प्रतिफल दिन्छ, शेयरमा लगानी गरेर नाफा आर्जन गर्नका लागि कुनकुन कुराले बढी भूमिका खेलेका हुन्छन्, अनि यसमा आउने उतारचढाव कसरी विश्लेषण गर्ने, बुझ्ने र खेल्ने भन्ने कुरामा पटक्कै ज्ञान नभएका साधारण जनता अहिले रमिते बनेका छन् । यसैबीच शेयरका खेलाडीहरू आफ्नो घाटाको हिसाब गर्दै पिल्सिएका मात्र होइन, आफूजस्तै अरूको हालत देखेर दङ्ग पनि परिरहेका छन् । शेयरको परिभाषा नबुझेका बाँकी मान्छेहरू आधा ज्ञानको गफ छाँट्दै अरूलाई खिस्याइरहेका छन् ।

कुनै पनि व्यवसायमा प्राप्त गर्ने प्रतिफल तार्किक र स्वाभाविक हुनुपर्दछ । अस्वाभाविक मुनाफा आर्जन गर्ने धन्धालाई कुनै पनि हालतमा व्यवसायको संज्ञा दिन सकिँदैन । व्यवसायमा विक्रेता र ग्राहक वा सेवाग्राहीहरूका बीचमा गरिने कारोबारबाट विक्रेतालाई प्राप्त हुने लाभको अनुपात गुणात्मक रूपमा बढी हुन्छ भने एक प्रकारले त्यो ठगी नै हो । यसकारण कि त्यसमा क्रेताले निकै ठूलो मूल्य चुकाउनुपर्दछ । जस्तो- १० रुपैयाँको चाउचाउमा तातोपानी हालेर मलेखुका छाप्राहरूमा ५० रुपैयाँमा बसका यात्रुहरूलाई बेचिन्छ भने यहाँनेर क्रेताले तोकिएभन्दा ४ गुणा बढी नोक्सानी बेहोरेको हुन्छ । बैङ्कहरूले आर्जन गर्ने करोडौंको मुनाफा उनीहरू आफैले उत्पादन गरेका होइनन् । त्यो त सेवाग्राहीको लाभलाई कटौती गरेर वा ऋणीहरूलाई ब्याज वा अन्य सेवाबापत बढी आर्थिक दायित्व वहन गराई आर्जन गरिएको मुनाफाको हिस्सा हो । तैपनि बैङ्क वा सङ्गठित संस्थाले गर्ने कारोबारमा पारदर्शिता हुन्छ र त्यसको प्रतिफल कर्जाको उपयोगको माध्यमबाट वा अन्य उपायबाट राज्य र सरोकारवालाहरूले प्राप्त गर्न सक्छन् । तर, असङ्गठित र कानूनको दायरामा नआएका कारोबारमा राज्यको पहुँच पुगेको छैन र यो कारोबार सङ्गठित कारोबारभन्दा कैयौं बढी रहेको अनुमान गर्न सकिन्छ ।

एक वर्षअगाडि जग्गाको कारोबार र यसको मूल्यवृद्धि कृत्रिम र अस्वाभाविक थियो । विशेषतः काठमाडौं तथा चितवनमा जग्गामा खेल्न सक्ने सामान्य व्यक्ति १ महीनाभित्र हजारपतिबाट करोडपति भयो । अत्यन्तै न्यून मूल्य राखेर किनबेच गरिने यस्ता कारोबारबाट राज्यलाई पित्को राजस्व उठे पनि यो पेशाबाट केही मुठ्ठीभरका दलाल र व्यापारीहरूले निकै फाइदा उठाए । विगतमा घरमा एउटा दुहुनो भैंसी र एउटा साइकल हुनुलाई गर्वका रूपमा हेर्ने समाजमा रातारात करोडौं सोहोर्ने जमात खडा भयो र राज्यको ढुकुटी यही अनुत्पादक पेशाका माध्यमबाट उनीहरूको निजी सम्पत्तिमा दाखिला भयो । यसरी अनुत्पादक मात्र होइन, अपारदर्शी तरीकाबाट रातारात करोडपति बन्ने यो धन्धा वित्तीय अनुशासनको हिसाबले एक गम्भीर अपराधका रूपमा हेरिनुपर्ने हो । तर, राज्यले उनीहरूमाथि आफ्नो पहुँच स्थापना गर्न सकेको छैन ।

कुनै पनि कानून र त्यसबाट असर पर्ने सरोकारवालाहरूबीचको सम्बन्धलाई परिभाषा गर्नुपर्दा मुख्यतयाः दुईओटा उपायको अवलम्बन गर्ने गरिन्छ । पहिलो कानून बनाएर कम्पनीहरूलाई त्यसमा समाहित गराउने र दोस्रो, कम्पनीहरूलाई सक्षम बनाएर त्यसको व्यवस्थापन गर्न कानून बनाउने । विशेष गरी ०४७ सालपछि खुला आर्थिक नीति लागू गरिएपछि नेपालमा रहेका पुराना नीति तथा कानूनहरूलाई परिमार्जन र समयानुकूल परिवर्तन गर्ने कामले तीव्रता पायो । यसबीचमा यसका सकारात्मक तथा नकारात्मक दुवै परिणाम देखियो । सरकारी स्वामित्वमा रहेका संस्थानहरूमा राजनीतिक धमिराहरूले घर बसाए र त्यसलाई खोक्रो बनाइसकेपछि पत्रुको भाउमा निजीक्षेत्रलाई बेचिए । विशेषगरी नेपाली काङ्ग्रेसको दिमागबाट उब्जेको त्यो नीति भनेको भैंसी दुहेर सकेसम्म दूध बेच्ने र दूध दिन कम भएपछि त्यसलाई काटेर सिनो बेच्ने सिद्धान्तमा आधारित थियो । यसरी दूध दिने भैंसीहरू धमाधम काटिए तर नयाँ भैंसी उत्पादन गर्ने र पाल्ने काम गरिएन । एक हिसाबले त्यो नेपालको सङ्गठित औद्योगिक क्षेत्रको विकासविरुद्ध फाँसीवादी अभ्यास नै थियो । पारदर्शी तरीकाबाट व्यवसाय सञ्चालन गर्नेहरूलाई सिक्रीले कस्दै र निचोर्दै जाने तर आफूभित्र चाहिँ सङ्गठित रूपले राजनीतिक आडमा अपारदर्शी धन्धा चलाउने उनीहरूको प्रवृत्तिका कारणबाट अहिले देशको भान्सा दूधविहीन छ ।

अहिले बीमा ऐन, २०४९ लाई प्रतिस्थापन गर्ने उद्देश्यले नयाँ बीमा ऐनको विधेयक संसद्मा प्रस्तुत हुने क्रममा रहेको छ । प्रस्तावित ऐनमा जीवनबीमाका लागि रू. २ अर्ब र निर्जीवन बीमाका लागि रू. १ अर्ब चुक्ता पूँजी पुर्याउनुपर्ने व्यवस्था गरिएको छ । त्यसबाट बीमा कम्पनीहरूमा अहिले निकै ठूलो बहस सृजना भएको छ । अहिले जीवनबीमाको रू. २५ करोड र निर्जीवन बीमाका लागि रू. १० करोड चुक्तापूँजी हुनुपर्ने प्रावधान छ । यस हिसाबले अब निर्जीवन बीमा कम्पनीले १० गुणा बढी पूँजी उठाउनुपर्ने अवस्था आएको छ । नेपालको बीमा बजार सङ्कुचित छ । व्यावसायिक भाषामा भन्नुपर्दा त्यो निकै प्रतिस्पर्धात्मक छ र चलनचल्तीको भाषामा भन्नुपर्दा लुछाचुँडी, अस्वस्थ वा मगन्ते अवस्थामा छ । आफ्नो व्यवसायबाट मात्रै चित्त नबुझेर केही ठूला वाणिज्य बैङ्कहरूसमेत सूचीकरणको नाममा बीमाको कमिशन आफ्नो पोल्टामा दाखिला गर्न थालिसकेको अवस्था छ । यस्तो अवस्थामा बीमा कम्पनीहरूको चुक्ता पूँजी १० गुणा बढाउनु भनेको 'सिष्टर कन्सर्न'का रूपमा सञ्चालित केही कम्पनीहरूबाहेक अन्यका लागि अलौकिक कल्पनाको संसारमा रमाउनुसिवाय केही हुने छैन ।

नेपालमा लगानी र मुनाफाको हिसाबले सर्वोत्कृष्ट ठानिएका वाणिज्य बैङ्कका हकप्रद शेयरसमेत उठ्न नसक्ने अवस्थामा १० गुणा बढी शेयर उठाउन बीमा कम्पनीहरू तयार होलान् भनेर यो व्यवस्था ल्याइएको हो भने त्यो उनीहरूको आवेगमा गरिएको निर्णयाहेक केही हुन सक्दैन । १० गुणा पूँजी वृद्धि गर्नका लागि केकस्ता कुराहरूलाई आधार बनाइएको छ भन्ने कुराको रहस्योद्घाटन भइसकेको छैन । हुन सक्छ, अहिले चलिरहेका कम्पनीहरूप्रति बीमा समितिका मान्छेहरूको चित्त फाटेको छ । वा बीमा कम्पनीलाई 'सिष्टर कर्न्सन'का रूपमा चलाएका एक-दुई व्यापारिक घरानालाई यो पूँजी बढाउन कुनै अप्ठयारो पर्ने छैन भन्ने आँकलन पनि हुन सक्छ । दौडन सक्नेले नै दौडमा भाग लिनुपर्दछ र नसक्नेहरूले मैदान छोड्नुपर्दछ भन्ने मान्यताबाट यो पूँजी वृद्धिको अवधारणा आएको पनि हुन सक्छ । वित्तीय सुधारका हिसाबले राष्ट्र बैङ्कबाट चालिने प्रयासहरूलाई पछयाउँदै जाने प्रवृत्ति अन्य नियमनकारी निकायहरूमा पनि देखिएको छ । तर, राम्रो कामको अनुशरण गर्नु उचित नै भए पनि सबै घरका मूलढोका पूर्वपट्टि नै हुन्छन् भन्ने मानसिकताले काम गर्नु उचित होइन ।

बीमा कम्पनीको पूँजी १० गुणा बढाउँदैमा यसमा सुधार हुनेछ वा कम्पनीको जोखिम क्षमतामा वृद्धि हुनेछ भन्ने सोचाइ कागजी हिसाबले जति तर्कसङ्गत छ, व्यवहारतः त्यत्तिकै निरथक छ । कुनै पनि व्यवसाय प्रतिफल प्राप्तिका लागि गरिन्छ । तर, अहिलेसम्म लगानीकर्ताहरूलाई खास प्रतिफल दिन नसकेका बीमा कम्पनीहरूमा थप लगानी गर्न कोही तयार हुने छैन । बीमा कम्पनीहरूको संस्थागत सुधार गर्नुपर्छ भन्नेमा बीमति हुन सक्दैन । तर, त्यसो गर्नुको अर्थ यसैले नेपालमा थला परेर ओछ्यानमै नसुते पनि जुरुक्क उठेर दौडिने अवस्था नभएका बीमा कम्पनीहरूमाथि डण्डा चलाउनु वा भारी बोकाउनु होइन । उनीहरूलाई बाटो देखाएर, वातावरण बनाएर र प्रोत्साहन दिएर आत्मानिर्भर बनाउने तर्फ सरोकारवालाहरूले सोच्न जरुरी छ ।
लेखक लुम्बिनी जनरल इन्स्योरेन्स कम्पनी लिमिटेडका कम्पनी सचिव हुन् ।

Admin 2011-05-25


Wednesday, May 25, 2011

Nepal may escape blacklisting

KATHMANDU: The Parliament today passed the much-awaited Anti-Money Laundering Act (first amendment), keeping Nepal’s hopes alive that the country would not be blacklisted by the Financial Action Task Force, a global anti-money laundering agency.

“Apart from giving legal teeth to executing agencies, it has paved the way for approval of two other acts — Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Bill,” according to officials at the Ministry of Finance. “FATF could also consider our request and not blacklist us as Nepal has fulfilled one of the commitments.”

The government tabled the Act yesterday following clearance from the parliamentary Statute Committee on Friday.

However, Nepal still needs to endorse two other Bills — Mutual Legal Assistance Bill and Extradition Bill — apart from two UN conventions —Convention on Suppression of Financing of Terrorism and Convention against Organised Financial Crime. The regional review meeting of FATF in Macau on May 13 had asked Nepal to submit the progress report by June 21, just ahead of its plenary scheduled for June 23-25.

“The Act — that has formed a coordination committee led by finance secretary — has also defined up to five years jail term and penalty of up to Rs 500,000 for such crime,” according to the Act that has defined money earned through tax evasion, earnings made from arms trade, flouting foreign exchange law, robbery, dacoity, fake documentation, drugs peddling, human trafficking, banking and organised financial crime under money laundering.

The Act has made all the regulatory agencies more responsible and they can, through the Financial Information Unit under the central bank, seek issuance of directives as per which the Revenue Investigation Department will investigate suspected activities.

Earlier Nepal had requested deadline extension to meet the requirements citing country’s transitional phase and FATF had given June 7 deadline — after Nepal failed to meet the first deadline of December 2010 — to fulfil its commitments on Anti-Money Laundering and Terrorist Financing.

Nepal’s failure to meet the deadline could earn Nepal a tag of blacklisted in 170 countries.

Under international laws, though blacklisting carries no formal sanction, it causes intense financial pressure and Nepal may find it difficult to get foreign aid from international organisations like the World Bank and International Monetary Fund. Foreign banks may not trust the letters of credit issued by Nepali banks creating difficulties for Nepali businessmen at the international level. Nepali businessmen may also be subjected to harassment at foreign customs offices, with authorities there not allowing Nepali goods to go through the green channel.

Nepali Congress‚ 14 parties block bill tabling process


KATHMANDU: The government’s third attempt to table the interim constitution amendment bill so as to extend the Constituent Assembly (CA) term failed today, following obstruction by the Nepali Congress (NC) and 14 other political parties.

Now, the process of amending the interim constitution through normal process has ended with only four days remaining before the CA term expires. This means the House will have to suspend some provisions in the parliament regulation, for a certain time is required to move the amendment process of the bill seeking one-year extension for the CA, whose term expires on May 28.

When CA Chairman Subas Nembang was about to begin tabling the bill, NC Chief Whip Laxman Prasad Ghimire said opposition parties would not allow the bill to be tabled until the NC’s 10-point roadmap was followed.

“The NC gave ultimatum with today’s deadline to the government and Maoists to address its roadmap for ensuring the peace and constitution writing processes. As there has been no progress in this regard, we will not allow the bill to be tabled,” said Ghimire.

Lawmakers of 15 parties, and one independent member

started chanting slogans ignoring repeated requests from the CA Chairman to allow the tabling process, Nembang postponed the House until for 3 pm tomorrow.

Earlier, opposition parties had let two bills on money laundering and caste discrimination and untouchability to pass.

Before beginning today’s House meeting, senior leaders, including the chiefs of UCPN-M and NC had met, but failed to find a solution.

“Although, the deadline of our ultimatum will expire today, we will wait through the remaining four days because, if the Maoists are willing and honest about the peace and constitution writing processes, the issues of handing over weapons and command and control of cantonments to the government, the bill can

be passed in one day,” said NC General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula.

But if the Nepali Congress roadmap is not followed, the party and its allies will not vote for extending the Constituent Assembly’s term, he said.

Oli tables proposal asking PM to quit


KATHMANDU, May 25: Ruling CPN-UML Standing Committee member KP Sharma Oli tabled a proposal at the Central Committee meeting Tuesday demanding Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal´s resignation, stating that this had become indispensable to pave the way for a national consensus government.

"This CC meeting directs comrade Jhalanath Khanal to tender his resignation from the post so as to save the Constituent Assembly (CA) and the peace process and pave the way for forging a national consensus," reads the proposal registered by Oli at the CC meeting.

Oli recorded the nine-point proposal in the last minutes of the meeting, and it was not discussed due to time constraints.

CPN-UML leaders said the proposal will be tabled for discussions during the next CC meeting scheduled to start on May 31.

The rival faction in the party, which is led by Oli and former prime minister Madhav Kumar Nepal, has been lobbying for the prime minister´s resignation allegedly because he was acting at the behest of the Maoists and against the UML´s decisions and policies.

In the proposal, Oli has demanded the scrapping of the seven-point deal that the prime minister and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Puspa Kamal Dahal reached secretly just before Khanal became prime minister in February.

Oli has claimed that Khanal, while signing the deal, agreed to implement the Maoist agenda, discarding the UML´s official policy of people´s multiparty democracy. He has also accused the prime minister of violating the party decision in connection with appointing ministers.

He has demanded that the prime minister revoke his decision to appoint Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara as home minister and appoint an UML leader to the same post as per the party decision.

The CC meeting endorsed the party´s politburo decision to pave the way for a national consensus government.

"At the end of the meeting the chairman said that we would demonstrate a maximum level of flexibility to forge a national consensus and extend the CA term, and would be ready to pave the way for [new] government formation if there were strong grounds for that," said the statement issued by party Secretary Yubaraj Gyawali.

At the meeting, 53 CC members aired their views on the politburo´s proposal. Some lawmakers including Ghanshyam Bhusal, Raghubir Mahaseth, Gokarna Bista andYogesh Bhattarai stood against the proposal that suggested the prime minister to be ready to step down if necessary for national consensus.

Other leaders from the Nepal-Oli camp, including General Secretary Ishwar Pokharel, Bishnu Paudel, Bhim Rawal, Jagannath Khatiwada, Bhanubhakta Dhakal, Ganesh Timilsina, Jagat BK, Devraj Bhar, Karna Thapa, Devi Gyawali and Kalyani Khadka argued that the prime minister should be ready to resign to pave the way for national consensus.

Insurance companies plan merger


KATHMANDU: The insurance industry might witness few mergers taking place in the near future even before the regulator goes with its plan of increasing their paid up capital.

Prudential Insurance, United Insurance and Shikhar Insurance are planning to opt for a merger to meet the probable increment in paid up capital requirement by the regulatory authority. “The three non life insurance companies have formed a committee to conduct feasibility study for the probable merger,” according to them.

Prudential Insurance — promoted by Vishal Group — had started its operations in 2002, while Shikhar Insurance started its operation in 2004. United Insurance started its operation from 1993.

Insurance Board — the regulatory authority of insurance companies — has proposed the upward revision of paid up capital of both life and non-life insurance companies in the Insurance Act (amendment).

“The proposed amendment has planned paid up capital to be increased to Rs 1 billion for non-life insurance companies and Rs 2 billion for life insurance companies,” informed chairman of Insurance Board Dr Fatta Bahadur KC.

Currently, life insurance companies must have paid-up capital of Rs 250 million and non-life insurance companies must have Rs 100 million.

The budget for the this fiscal year has also especially led stress on introducing timely reform in insurance business. The fiscal policy has also emphasised on merger and acquisition of banks and financial institutions and also that of insurance companies to strengthen their financial health.

In order to facilitate mergers, the budget has introduced the provision of taxing assets and liabilities as disposal after merger to make it non-taxable.

“The increased paid up capital will compel insurance providers to opt for mergers, if they want to remain in the business,” KC said, adding that the merger will help reduce unhealthy competition among the insurance companies and larger the size of the company making them stronger and lessening their risk.

At present there are 25 insurance companies in the insurance market. There are 16 non-life insurance companies and eight life insurance companies while Rastriya Beema Sansthan — the government owned insurance company has both life and non life insurance units.

The amendment will give more power to the regulator and will be rechristined as an authority. The Finance Ministry is sending the proposed amendement to the law ministry for its opinion and then to the Cabinet. “If it is endorsed, the regulator could tak over insurance companies in case they fail to abide by the rules, regulations and directives and harm the interest of the insured,” according to proposal.

“It will strengthen the regulator,” KC said, adding that the regulator has to be given right to take control of such companies for up to two years.

“The regulator will also enjoy the right to force such companies into merge with another, hand over business of such companies to another company and even scrap the registration. The existing Act has no provision of merger and acquisition.”


Monday, May 23, 2011

Monday's Valley bandh called off

The Chhettri Samaj Nepal has withdrawn its bandh (general strike) in the Kathmandu Valley on Monday.

The Samaj agreed to call off the bandh after reaching an understanding with the government during the talks held at the Ministry of Peace Sunday evening.

The Samaj withdrew the bandh as the government side agreed to form a committee to look into the demands of the Samaj.

Demanding status of indigenous nationality for Chhettris, the Samaj enforced bandh in the Valley today, which paralysed normal life from early morning till evening.

Nearly 300 bandh organisers were arrested from different parts of Kathmandu valley today. nepalnews.com

UML proposes putting up only 5 thousand PLA combatants for integration into state security forces

CPN (UML), which leads the current ruling coalition, has started discussion on the possibility to put up not more than five thousand People's Liberation Army (PLA) combatants for integration into state security forces.

The discussion started following a report, which was submitted by party general secretary Ishwor Pokharel at the UML politburo meeting held at UML headquarters in Balkhu on Sunday, suggested that there is possibility to integrate only five thousand PLA combatants into the security forces.

UML politburo members put forth their views and suggestions on the report and discussed Prime Minister and UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal's recent parleys for extension of Constituent Assembly (CA)'s term, during today's meeting. The discussion is set to continue tomorrow also.

The report which is yet to be made public also states that integration and rehabilitation of PLA combatants should be finished within the next nine weeks.

According to a party source, the report further suggests one year term extension for the Constituent Assembly (CA), compulsory formation of Truth and Reconciliation Commission, Commission for Disappeared and State Restructuring Commission at the earliest.

The report also suggests that the parties should forge agreement on the fundamental principles and features of the new constitution before going for the term extension of CA.

It is learnt that the proposal will be endorsed during the party's upcoming central committee meeting scheduled for Tuesday. nepalnews.com

Govt tightens customs points across the country

KATHMANDU, May 23: The government has begun strict implementation of the mandatory provision of filling up brief customs declaration forms for the import of goods priced between Rs 100 and Rs 5,000 through customs offices across the country.

The Department of Customs (DoC) of Friday issued a circular to this effect to all customs offices, including Tribhuwan International Airport (TIA) Customs Office.

The Customs Regulations has made it mandatory for importers to fill business customs declaration forms while importing goods worth Rs 5,000 or more.

“From Sunday onwards, no one will be allowed to import goods worth over Rs 100 without filling customs declaration forms at customs offices. People holding daylong pass to Khasa are required to fill brief customs declaration forms at Tatopani Customs Office,” Tanka Mani Sharma, director general of DoC, told Republica on Sunday.

Though the government had tried to implement the provision in 2007, it had failed due to strong pressure from local people.

The department decided to strictly implement the Customs Regulations after a high-level team led by Sharma found mismanagement and rampant smuggling through all major land customs during its recent onsite inspection.

The government mobilized Rs 74 billion customs revenue against imports amounting to Rs 274 billion during the first 10 months of the fiscal year 2010/11. The government has set a target of collecting Rs 98 billion as customs revenue. It targets to collect total revenue of Rs 216 billion during 2010/11.

The department has already begun enforcement of the provision at Tatopani, Birgunj and Biratnagar and TIA customs, where smuggling of goods is rampant as compared to other customs offices. DoC officials have instructed Tatopani customs officials to strictly collect customs duty from persons who import goods by misusing ´green pass´ - a special document given to Nepalis and Chinese citizens to travel within 30 km from border points.

Nepal has 31 main customs offices and 143 small customs offices along its border with China and India.

Sharma expects collection of more than Rs 300 million from Tatopani customs alone.

The department has also started to keep records of import bills worth more than Rs 100 and even petty imports. It is estimated that more than 500 persons are involved in import of goods in small quantities through all major customs every day.

Officials said strict implementation of the regulations would help increase revenue collection, keep record of movement of people through customs, raise awareness among people to pay customs, strengthen domestic market and identify smugglers and those going to India for shopping.

“Given the existing mismanagement at customs offices, we are hopeful that our new move will be instrumental in check illegal trade via customs points,” he added.
Meanwhile, the DoC enforced new customs declaration prices on the basis of transaction of goods imported from overseas market from Sunday. The DoC had enforced new declaration prices on goods imported from India on the basis of transaction value on May

“We have instructed all customs offices to implement new declaration prices for goods imported from overseas market from Sunday,” said Sharma.

Nepal imports more than 3,000 varieties of goods from across the world.

Bir to give dialysis services for Rs 500

KATHMANDU, May 23: Kidney patients can now heave a sigh of relief as the Bir Hospital is planning to provide dialysis service for just Rs 500 within a month.

A total of 12 patients can get the services for free at the hospital now but they have to buy the medicines worth Rs 1,000. But the hospital will provide the medicines at Rs 500 and 52 patients will be benefit from the services after the expansion of the nephrology unit.

“The hospital charges Rs 250 to the patients who can pay now and the rate will remain valid even after the expansion,” Hospital Director Dr Buland Thapa said.

Normally a patient has to pay Rs 2,500 for every session of dialysis. Nursing homes and private medical colleges charge anything between Rs 3,500 and 5,000 for one session. A patient undergoing dialysis has to go to a dialysis center three times a week and get hooked up to a machine for four hours at a time.

Bir Hospital said it has made necessary preparations to provide service at the minimum cost as soon as possible. The hospital has published a notice on Friday for procurement of 10 new dialysis machines. According to Dr Thapa, Tokushukai Group, a Japanese medical organization, is going to provide 10 additional dialysis machines to the hospital.

“We hope to get the 10 Japanese machines within a month,” he said. He said the organization has delayed the consignment of machines due to the recent earthquake and tsunami in the country.

The organization had also provided one-month training in Japan to one medical officer, one medical engineer and two nurses to make them competent in running the dialysis center. Bir Hospital currently has eight dialyses machines in operation but new patients cannot get chance for dialysis. The hospital said a new patient can only get dialysis if the patients getting the service die or get kidney transplants.

“We have already arranged a space to install the additional machines,” Dr Thapa said. He said the hospital will provide dialysis service to 56 patients per day.

Sunday, May 22, 2011

Valley bandh cripples life in capital

A valley bandh called by Chhetri Samaj has crippled life in capital Kathmandu Sunday as private and public vehicles have remained off the road.

Students taking the grade XII exams of Higher Secondary Education Board have been particularly affected as they are forced to walk to their exams venue to lack of transportation.

Initially, the Samaj had said it would ease the bandh and allow vehicles used by the students till 10 am in view of the exams. However, demonstrators have started stopping all vehicles on the road now.

Chhetri Samaj leader Ram Kumar Chhetri said, we were forced to impose the bandh more strictly as the state took our plan of easing out the bandh till 10 am as our weakness and started arresting our cadres demonstrating peacefully.

Chhetri claimed hundreds of demonstrators have been arrested from various places including Kalanki, Putalisadak and Chabahil.

Chhetri Samaj general secretary Kumar Khadka claimed, the state has already 1100 of our cadres.

The state has suppressed us so much that we might have to think about imposing an indefinite bandh, said Khadka.

Large number of security personnel have been deployed on the streets. Many demonstrators who tried to stop vehicles have been arrested by police.

Chettri Samaj activists are demonstrating at various places including Kalanki, Chabahil, Koteshwar and Gongabu.

Chhetri Samaj called the bandh demanding indigenous identity to Chhetris, reservation in state agencies and a different Khas Chhetri state. nepalnews.com

संविधानको नाम ‘नेपालको संविधान’

संविधान अघि शान्ति प्रक्रिया पूरा गरिने

काठमाडौं, ५ जेठ

नयाँ बन्ने संविधानको नाम ‘नेपालको संविधान’ रहने भएको छ । संविधानसभाका लागि ८ दिनमात्र बाँकी रहँदा उपसमितिले यस्तो सहमति जुटाएको हो । संविधान निर्माणका क्रममा देखिएका विवादहरूको अन्त्यका लागि गठन भएको संवैधानिक समिति अन्तर्गतको विवाद उपसमितिको बिहीबार बसेको बैठकमा संविधानको नामसहित ६ वटा बुँदामा सहमति कायम भएको छ ।

एनेकपा माओवादीका अध्यक्ष पुष्पकमल दाहालसहित समितिका सबै सदस्य उपस्थित बैठकमा नयाँ संविधानको नाम ‘नेपालको संविधान’ मात्र राख्ने सहमति भएको हो । यसअघि एनेकपा माओवादी, नेपाली कांग्रेस, नेकपा एमालेसहित अन्य दलले संविधानको विभिन्न नाम प्रस्ताव गरेका थिए ।

दलहरूले प्रस्ताव गरेको संविधानका नामहरूमा नेपालको संविधान २०६७, समाजवाद उन्मुख गणतन्त्र नेपालको संविधान,२०६७, संघीय गणतन्त्र नेपालको संविधान २०६७, जनताको संघीय गणतन्त्र नेपालको संविधान २०६७, गणतन्त्र नेपालको संविधान २०६७ रहेका थिए । तर बिहीबार बसेको बैठकमा संविधानको नामको अघि या पछि केही पनि उल्लेख गर्नुनपर्ने गरी सहमति कायम भएको हो ।

त्यस्तै उपसमितिको बैठकमा शान्ति प्रक्रिया पूरा भएपछि संविधान जारी गर्ने विषयमा पनि दलहरूबीच सहमति कायम भएको छ । पहिले माओवादीले शान्तिप्रक्रिया र संविधान निर्माण सँगसँगै हुनुपर्ने अडानसहित नयाँ संविधानमा जनमुक्ति सेनालाई कहीँ न कहीँ उल्लेख गरिनुपर्ने अडान राख्दै आएको थियो । शिविरमा रहेका लडाकुहरूको पुनःस्थापन, व्यवस्थापन र समायोजन लगायतको शान्तिप्रक्रियाका कार्यहरू टुंगो लागेपछि मात्र नयाँ संविधान जारी हुने भएकाले सोसम्बन्धी विषय नयाँ संविधानमा राख्न नपर्ने हुँदा राष्ट्रिय हितको संरक्षण समितिको प्रतिवेदनमा रहेको यससम्बन्धी टुंगो लाग्न बाँकी विषयलाई विवादको सूचीबाट हटाइएको उपसमितिका सदस्य अग्नि खरेलले जानकारी दिए ।

We'll fix integration number, categorize combatants by May 28: Dahal

KATHMANDU, May 22: UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has conveyed to the Nepali Congress (NC) that they will determine the number of combatants to be integrated in security agencies and categorize them for integration and rehabilitation, before May 28.

In his bid to solicit NC support for extension of the CA´s term, Dahal also said the Maoists would agree to joint monitoring teams comprising security personnel and Maoist army personnel for all the cantonments, to help bring the cantonments practically under the control of the Special Committee.

However, during his meeting with NC President Sushil Koirala at the latter´s residence at Maharajgunj, the Maoist chairman said they are not in a position to hand over weapons to the government as demanded by the NC unless all issues are settled.

On the NC´s demand for resignation of the prime minister to pave the way for a consensus government, Dahal told the NC leadership that it would be difficult to look for a new government at the moment as the incumbent government was formed at Maoist initiative, according to an NC leader. “Withdrawing support from the government immediately would put us in a difficult position,” the leader quoted Dahal as saying.

Dahal said it was not possible to fulfill all the demands of NC before May 28 as they are running short of time.

In reply, Koirala reiterated that the NC cannot support extension of the CA´ term unless its 10-point demand is met by May 24. He also stressed that the Maoists must be prepared to severe any links with arms and combatants right away and form a national consensus government of all major parties to deliver peace and a constitution.

Koirala asked Dahal to be responsible towards implementing all agreements reached in the past in regard to the peace process and constitution. Koirala was accompanied by Vice-president Ram Chandra Paudel, Dr Ram Sharan Mahat and Dr Minendra Rijal during the meeting.

The meeting between Koirala and Dahal came a day after the NC made its stance on CA term extension public at a mass rally in Kathmandu. Dahal had reached Koirala´s residence after a meeting Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal at Baluwatar.

The meeting between Koirala and Dahal started at 8:45 a.m. and lasted about an hour. After the meeting, NC senior leaders gathered at Koirala´s residence to develop the party´s official position on Dahal´s proposal.

NC leaders are optimistic that talks will yield results. "Things are moving positively. Maoists have shown flexibility on number of stances," said NC leader Gopal Man Shrestha.

Later in the afternoon, NC Vice-president Paudel, General Secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula and Dr Rijal had a separate meeting with Prime Minister Khanal at Baluwatar.

The meeting with Khanal dwelled on NC´s 10-point demand on the peace process, constitution drafting and formation of a national consensus government before May 28 -- the statutory deadline for the new constitution.

Assuring that the government is committed to concluding the peace process at the earliest, Prime Minister Khanal had asked NC leaders for support to extend the CA. The NC leaders maintained that the government and the Maoists first address their demands by May 24 to create a conducive environment for CA extension.

The meeting between Khanal and NC leaders came shortly after the ruling parties agreed to bring a common proposal on the peace and constitution drafting processes.

Hydropower companies put brake to rally


KATHMANDU: The losses in share prices of listed hydropower companies stalled secondary market’s rally this week.

The stock market that had witnessed minimal surge last week again went down by 1.61 points in the week’s trading as the hydropower subgroup lost 93.89 points.

The market had just started to look up when the hydropower companies put an end to the recovery. Butwal Power Company alone lost Rs 194 in a unit share this week.

The announcement of Chilime Hydropower’s public offering from next week contributed to the decline in the company’s share prices. A unit share of Chilime is priced at around Rs 900 in the secondary market while it will be available at Rs 408.36, after adding premium. The market reacted to the public offering by pulling the price of Chilime’s share.

Sunday morning the market opened at 346.44 points and it closed at 349.22 points. The next day also Nepse inched a little up to 350.62 points, but on Wednesday it retreated to 346.91 points. By the end of the trading week, the secondary market index turned back to 344.83 points. This week, the trading floor observed 358,827 unit shares of 117 companies worth Rs 76.76 million being traded through 6,160 transactions in the four trading days. This is 18.91 per cent decline in the transaction volume in comparison to a week ago.

The sensitive index — measuring the performance of Class ‘A’ companies — increased by 0.1 point reaching 85.46 points on the week’s trading. Among the total transactions, the trading of class ‘A’ companies consisted of 60.83 per cent amounting to Rs 46.6 million. The float index went down by 0.03 point to 29.13 points.

Commercial banks earned 3.37 points as the major banks were able to gain in the week’s trading. Similarly, Bishal Bazaar earned Rs 57 per unit share pushing trading subgroup up by 5.71 points, while finance companies went up by 0.46 point.

Soaltee Hotel pulled hotel subgroup down by 10.18 points. Nepal Telecom pulled the others subgroup by 4.7 points and Unilever’s loss of Rs 110 on a unit share also brought the manufacturing subgroup down by 10.18 points. Development banks and insurance subgroup lost 1.61 points and 1.86 points, respectively.

People’s Finance (Rs 8.82 million), Standard Chartered Bank (Rs 6.25 million), Bank of Kathmandu (Rs 6.04 million) Chilime Hydropower (Rs 5.47 million) and Progressive Finance (Rs 2.95 million) were the top five performers of the week.

Saturday, May 21, 2011

ऊर्जामन्त्रालयद्वारा ३६ अर्ब बजेट माग

कारोबार संवाददाता
२० मे २०११, १०:२२ बजे

काठमाडौं, ५ जेठ

ऊर्जामन्त्रालयले चार दर्जन प्रसारणलाइन निर्माण तथा आधा दर्जन ठूला जलाशययुक्त आयोजनाको अध्ययन गर्न तथा निर्माणाधीन आयोजनाका लागि ३६ अर्ब रुपैयाँ बजेट माग गरेको छ ।

प्रसारणलाइनको समस्या आएपछि ऊर्जाले ४०० केभी क्षमतासम्मका ४८ वटा प्रसारणलाइन निर्माणका साथै जलाशययुक्त आयोजनाको अध्ययन गर्न यो रकम माग गरेको हो । कुल रकममध्ये साढे २७ अर्ब रुपैयाँ नेपाल विद्युत् प्राधिकरणमार्फत प्रसारणलाइन निर्माण तथा आयोजनाको अध्ययन र विकासका लागि लगानी गर्ने योजना मन्त्रालको छ ।

राष्ट्रिय योजना आयोगले आगामी वर्षका लागि १८ अर्ब रुपैयाँको बजेट सीमा निर्धारण गरेको भए पनि धेरै आयोजना कार्यान्वयन गर्र्न थप रकम आवश्यक भएकाले सीमाभन्दा दोब्बर रकम मागेको मन्त्रालयका सहसचिव श्रीरञ्जन लाकौलले बताए ।

ऊर्जाले यो वर्ष प्रसारणलाइन निर्माणका लागि बढी जोड दिएको सहसचिव लाकौलले बताए । उनका अनुसार यो वर्ष ४८ वटा प्रसारणलाइन निर्माण गर्न ८ अर्ब ७२ करोडको योजना प्रस्ताव अर्थमन्त्रालयमा पठाइएको छ ।

ऊर्जाको प्राथमिकतामा भरतपुर–बर्दघाट, मस्र्याङ्दी–काठमाडौं, हेटौंडा–दुहवी, सोलु करिडोर, कावेली करिडोर, खिम्ती–ढल्केबर, ढल्केबर–मुज्जफपुर, त्रिशूली–काठमाडौ, सिंगटी–लामोसाँगुलगायतका ठूला प्रसारणलाइन तथा सवस्टेसन निर्माण रहेका छन् ।

यी प्रसारणलाइन बनाउन मन्त्रालयले ५ अर्ब २४ करोड रुपैयाँ दाताबाट ऋण लिने, सरकार र विद्युत् प्राधिकरणले ३ अर्ब १८ करोड रुपैयाँ संयुक्त रूपमा खर्च गर्ने गरी लगानी मोडालिटी तयार गरेको उनले बताए । लोडसेडिङ हटाउन मन्त्रालयले यो वर्ष प्रसारणलाइन निर्माणलाई बढी जोड दिएको सहसचिव लाकौलको भनाइ छ ।

मन्त्रालयले बूढीगण्डकी, नलसिंहगाड, माथिल्लो सेती, तमोर, दूधकोसी, आँधीखोलाजस्ता जलाशययुक्त आयोजनको सम्भाव्यताको अध्ययन गर्न तथा माथिल्लो तामाकोसी, त्रिशूली–३ ए, राहुघाट, चमेलिया र कुलेखानी आयोजनाको निर्माणका लागि भनेर ११ अर्ब ३४ करोड रुपैयाँ बजेट माग गरिएको छ । बूढीगण्डकीमा इलेक्ट्रिसिटी डे फ्रान्स (ईडीएफ) र आँधीखोलामा कोरियन न्युक्लियर पावर कम्पनीले संयुक्त लगानीमा निर्माणको प्रस्ताव गरेका छन् ।

ऊर्जाले अर्थमा बजेटका लागि पेस गरिसकेको बताउँदै उनले भने, “अर्थले कति रकम विनियोजना गर्छ हेर्न बाँकी छ ।” चालू आवमा ऊर्जाले प्रसारणलाइन निर्माण गर्न म्याचिङ फन्डका लागि भनेर १ अर्ब ७५ करोड रुपैयाँ माग गर्दा अर्थले केवल ४० करोड रुपैयाँ मात्र विनियोजन गरेकाले विश्व बैंक र एसियाली विकास बैंकको सहयोगमा बन्न लागेका प्रसारणलाइन बन्न सकेका छैनन्, तर मन्त्रालयका अधिकारीहरू सरकारबाट ऊर्जासंकटकालको घोषणा गरेर थुप्रै कार्यक्रम ल्याएको बेलामा पनि अर्थबाट पर्याप्त रकम विनियोजन गर्छ भन्नेमा शंका व्यक्त गर्छन् ।

यसका साथै ग्रामीण विद्युतीकरण कार्यक्रमलाई ३ अर्ब ९० करोड रुपैयाँ माग गरिएको उनले बताए । यो वर्षदेखि सरकारले प्रसारणलाइन गुरुयोजना तयार गर्ने लक्ष्य लिएकाले यसका लागि पनि रकम माग गरिएको उनको भनाइ छ । यसैगरी प्रसारणलाइन निजी क्षेत्रबाट निर्माण नहुने भएकाले राज्यबाट निर्माण गर्न मन्त्रालयले प्रक्रिया सुरु गरेको उनले बताए ।

New skill-testing authority to help job-seekers


BHAKTAPUR: Council for Technical Education and Vocational Training (CTEVT) is going to establish a National Skill Testing Authority (NSTA) to issue certificates on various skills through an examination.

Jay Bahadur Tandon, member secretary of CTEVT, today said that they are going to upgrade the National Skill Testing Board to standardise skill-testing examination and certification.

Tandon said, “A number of Nepalis going abroad as care-giver, beautician and others are returning back to the country due to lack of skills.”

He stated that such workers not only lose money and time, but also become vulnerable to torture by employers. “Therefore, an authority should be there so that no Nepali returns due to lack of skills.”

CTEVT is currently in the process of amending the National Skill Testing Board regulations to incorporate NSTA.

The plan states that arrangements would be made to equip people for foreign employment or domestic labour market as skilled and semi-skilled after carrying out tests.

“Since the issue of standardising the training has already appeared in the three-year plan, we are also looking into this issue seriously,” he said adding, “Though skill-testing certification from CTEVT is not mandatory now, it would be mandatory after the establishment of NSTA.

EDITORIAL: For Timely Completion Of Upper Tamakoshi Project

The Upper Tamakoshi Hydro-electricity Project, with a capacity to generate 456 MW of power, was initiated on Wednesday in Dolkha district, which is by far the largest hydro-power plant in the country. Inaugurating the project, Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal termed it as a milestone in Nepal’s hydro power development and said that it was the beginning of an economic revolution in the country. Expected to be complete by 2015, should no obstacles come on the way, the power project would reduce the load shedding in the country to a large extent, while stimulating economic activities in the country.

The initiation of this power plant has provided the people, who have been suffering long hours of power outages, a sense of relief. Nepal at present is suffering its worst energy crisis due to the previous governments’ negligence, incompetence and irresponsible attitude towards the problems of the country and the people. In the absence of energy, many industries have shut down and many more are on the verge of closure. The energy crisis did not emerge overnight. Past governments failed to initiate any new project or find alternative ways to abort the looming crisis. The entire country and the people are, thus, paying the price. Had the past governments taken serious initiatives in time - both short and long term - to address the energy crisis, the country would not have been groping in the dark.

The demand for electricity is growing every year. Even if the Upper Tamakoshi is completed in time, the power generated would not meet the energy demands in 2015. In view of this situation, the government needs to initiate other projects, too. Moreover, immediate alternative plans to address the present energy crisis should be introduced and implemented so that the people find relief. Hydro-power generation requires huge funds, which means the country must try to attract foreign investment so that more power can be generated not only to meet the domestic needs but also for export to the energy-deficit countries of South Asia. Similarly, appropriate policies and programmes are needed to encourage the Nepali people to invest in small and medium hydro projects. Only the adoption of all possible measures will rescue the country from the acute energy crisis.


10 NAC co-pilots grounded for staging protest

KATHMANDU, May 21: Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) on Friday grounded 10 co-pilots serving in domestic sectors on charge of protesting the appointment of a new pilot, which they claimed was done violating the corporation´s rule.

Managing Director K B Limbu had appointed Man Bahadur Tumbahanfe to the post of Captain about three months ago. He had given Tumbahanfe, who earlier worked with Yeti Airlines, seven-year service contract.

However, pilots had instantly protested the decision, saying that the appointment was done without due approval of the board and hence goes against the NAC rule.
The log-book at NAC head office on Friday stated that 10 co-pilots have been suspended from flying until further notice, as directed by Limbu. The grounded co-pilots include Sajal Kuinkel, R Banjare, Suresh KC, S Paudel, A K Khadka, D K Gupta, B Kathayat, P Shrestha, A R Shakya and Raman Ghimire.

They knew about the decision while going through the log-book to check their duty schedules.

NAC currently has 27 pilots for domestic flights. As per the existing flight schedule, only five pilots will be enough to handle the national flag carrier´s domestic operations.
“So the decision will not impact NAC´s services,” said an official at the corporation.

R Banjare, one of the grounded co-pilots, argued that Limbu´s decision to suspend them from flying was not legitimate. “It is true that we were in a protest against the management. But taking action without seeking due clarification or issuing any warning is unfair,” he stated.

Another grounded pilot Suresh KC said issuance of seven-year contract was against the NAC´s practice of giving initial contract of six months with the board´s approval.

Limbu termed the action against co-pilots as a departmental action for not complying with the management´s decision. “The action was taken after they (pilots) were found approaching different institutions, lobbying for Tumbahanfe´s ouster, instead of approaching the management for talks,” Limbu added.

As for the appointment of Tumbahanfe, Lumbu said he decided to hand a seven-year contract as the national flag carrier was facing shortage of experienced Captain. “I´m ready to hire more captains if I get qualified and experienced hands,” he added.


New law to tighten SCC operations

KATHMANDU, May 21: The government has finalized the draft of Savings and Credit Cooperatives Act (SCCA) in order to regulate their operations and protect savings of small depositors.

The draft act has for the first time incorporates a provision, going by which the government can cancel registration of cooperatives and slap penalty up to Rs 200,000 and jail term of two years to promoters in case they were found involved in irregularities.

There was no law governing savings and credit cooperatives (SCC) so far. A separate act was prepared after recent inspections showed that SCCs were resorting to imprudent lending, exposing people´s savings to risk, due to the absence of law, prudential financial norms and poor supervision of the Department of Cooperatives (DoC).

Nepal Federation of Saving and Credit Cooperatives Unions (NEFSCUN) prepared the draft in consultation with the DoC.

Sudarsan Prasad Dhakal, registrar at DoC, told Republica that the draft act seeks SCCs to compulsorily insure deposits that they have mobilized. It also authorizes DoC to freeze accounts and property of any individual or institutional member of SCCs if investigation on organized crime or terrorist activities has to be launched against them.

The draft Act demands high integrity and corporate governance from the SCCs promoters and staff members and even makes them accountable for possible financial loss. In case any stakeholder is subjected to loss due to the promoters´ decisions, they will have to compensate for the loss.

"This provision has been incorporate to discourage growing impunity in SCCs," said Dhakal.

The act designates DoC as the regulator of SCCs. In case of foul play by SCCs, the act authorizes DoC to slap up to Rs 100,000 penalty even go to the extent of closing the SCCs depending on the severity of offences. It also provisions penalty ranging from Rs 25,000 to Rs 75,000 to SCCs if they are found providing loans to promoters or fail to call board meeting and annual general meeting within stipulated timeframe or submitted wrong information about the financial status. It also provisions similar penalty to auditors if they failed to perform their duty in a sincere manner.

The proposed act also empowers DoC to take management control of SCCs that are found violating its directives, failing to adhere to corporate governance norms and fulfill the institutional responsibility, thereby subjecting members and depositors interests to risks.

The act allows DoC to file a case at the appellate court to cancel registration of SCCs engaged in irregularities of severe nature or if they lack capacity for effective functioning even after management intervention.

The proposed act envisages a tribunal to settle cases related to the investments or deposits of the SCCs with high priority.


Efforts to make complaint box effective


DHADING (Gajuri), May 21: Stakeholders have expressed commitments to make citizen charter and complaint box kept in government offices effective at a time when complaints have been voiced up regarding their disuse.

Chiefs of government offices in district while speaking at an interaction program on ‘Citizens charter and complaint box for good governance and transparency’ made this commitment.

Local Development Officer Shanker Nepal said the implementation part is weak since people are not aware about the charter and box.

Chief of District Education Office, Dhading, Man Bahadur Chhetri said the service recipients of the village have low level of literacy so that they should be imparted information about the services through the use of CD or cassette for their convenience.

Other participants stressed the need to remove unnecessary matters and put essential information explicitly in the charter.

The discussion took decision to form a team to monitor the use and effectiveness of charter and complaint box.

Meanwhile, a ban has been imposed on the production and sale of alcoholic substances in Mahadevsthan Village Development Committee-3, Buruswang from last Friday.

The move has been taken on the initiative of Shanti Nepal through various youths and women groups.

Similarly, lightning that took place with strong wind injured 12 persons in Katunje VDC-3, Bhanjyangchhap.

Among them, six are seriously injured and two children and other four are in normal condition.

New gangs have Valley police worried

KATHMANDU, May 21: A wanted man who succeeded in hiding his illegal firearm has recently been prosecuted only on public offense charge. Investigators believe that the man named Manish Manandhar, a drug user, is the kingpin of a four-men criminal group involved in robbery and ´contract´ assaults in the capital.

The Manandhar group has been identified at a time when police have uncovered a similar gang led by one Niraj KC which was involved in two separate fatal shooting incidents in Teku and Ganabahal last month.

KC, who himself gunned down Prem Krishna Maharjan, a staffer of Exide Battery Company showroom, and Anjani Kumari Chachan, a Kathmandu-based Indian businessman, reportedly fled to India following the arrest of four of his aides. He is also believed to be a drug user
"We are looking for two other gangs besides these two," said a senior official at Metropolitan Police Crime Division Kathmandu. "They all have firearms and organized networks."

The emergence of these new groups has astounded the authorities who used to believe that a few known criminal gangs generally are involved in major organized crimes in the capital. "These new gangs could have carried out many major incidents including lethal shootings in the last few years," said investigative officials.

KC´s gang has also been linked to two shootings involving a monk and a money exchange centre respectively at Thamel in 2010. In both incidents, the gang managed to escape with a huge amount of cash.

"We now need to revisit the previous major cases in view of the possibility of involvement of these new groups," said DSP Somendra Singh Rathor, who led investigations into Teku and Ganabahal shootings that took Nepal Police nearly a month to find substantial leads.

Investigative officials said that the new gangs involving mainly drug users appear to be more dangerous than other existing organized gangs. "KC had opened fire in a drug-induced high while his group had only visited the Exide Battery office with the objective to stalk Maharjan over a dispute about a woman," said officials. "Curbing such gang activites is very difficult."


Tuesday, May 17, 2011

Dr Bhattarai gets death threat from own party cadres


Attempted murder accused Rai is in police custody
KATHMANDU: UCPN-Maoist Vice Chairman Dr. Baburam Bhattarai has reportedly received death threat from the trade union leaders affiliated to his own party.

It has been learnt that a group of trade unionists met him and threatened him over the arrest of Kalpadeep Rai, an All Nepal Trade Union Federation (ANTUF) leader at Casino Anna. He is accused of murder attempt of Gyan Man Dangol, who is a leader of a rival faction supporting Dr. Bhattarai.

Dr. Bhattarai has informed Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Krishna Bahadur Mahara, who leads the Maoist squad in the government, about the threats and demanded security.

A group led by Rai, who leads the ANTUF faction close to the Maoist chairman at the Casino Anna, had severely beaten up Dangol, and inflicted injuries on him in the Capital on May 9. On May 14, police apprehended Rai from his residence in Lamatar, Lalitpur.

There are three factions of ANTUF from the centre to lower levels, and they are indulged in nasty fights between and betwixt themselves.

Police seeks arrest warrant against absconding former NSMF’s Chairman

Police has sought an arrest warrant against Yogendra Prasad Shrestha, former chairman of Nepal Share Markets and Finance (NSMF), as he has been found involved in financial irregularities during the investigation conducted by Nepal Rastra Bank’s (NRB) inspection team.

As Shrestha has been found involved in indiscretion while issuing loans worth over 2 billion, the police has sought the arrest warrant against him along with his family members as per the appeal made by NRB.

Shrestha has been absconding since being found involved in financial irregularities and the central bank has requested the police to search for him and carry out necessary investigation into the case.

The central bank has also already forwarded the letter to the Home Ministry through Finance Ministry to arrest Shrestha along with his family members for further investigation and necessary actions citing his involvement in financial irregularities.

Shrestha is accused of issuing loans to his own family members while none of the promoters of the bank and financial institutions can issue a loan to his own family members as per the financial act.

The central bank has also decided to seize the passport of Shrestha while the bank has already frozen the bank accounts and property of Shrestha. nepalnews.com

New wage package for workers on cards

KATHMANDU, May 17: The Ministry of Labor and Transport Management (MoLTM) is preparing to introduce new minimum salary package, incorporating agreements to introduce social security for workers and rise in salary and daily wage signed over the past two months.

Employers´ associations and three major trade unions had signed an agreement to introduce social security package and raise salary and daily wage of workers on March 24. Labor Minister Top Bahadur Rayamajhi signed another agreement on April 16, due to protest from two factions of pro-Maoist trade union and trade union of Madhesi parties,.

“We will introduce new salary and remuneration package within a week as per the agreement signed on April 16, while the social security package will be formulated in line with the March 24 pact,” a high-level source at the MoLTM told Republica on Monday.

As per the April 16 pact, minimum monthly salary of workers will increase by Rs 1,600 to Rs 6,200, whereas the minimum daily wage will rise to Rs 231.

“We will make it mandatory for all employers and trade unions to follow the new package. This will be a win-win situation for both sides,” the source added.

The MoLTM is also preparing to set up a Social Security Secretariat, having representation from concerned government agencies, employers and trade unions, to manage the fund collected through Social Security Tax.

Employers´ associations, however, are cautiously watching the new developments. “We will present our formal response on the package once it is formally introduced,” said Pashupathi Murarka, chairman of Employers´ Council of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).

Bishnu Rimal, president of UML-affiliated General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions, said major trade unions were still sticking to the pact signed on March 24.

“The pact between Labor Minister Rayamajhi and representatives of fringe trade unions is one-sided. We can´t be compelled to follow that agreement,” Rimal added.


Govt may table CA extension bill on May 22


KATHMANDU, May 17: The government is planning to table the bill on extending the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA), which is expiring on May 28, at a parliamentary meeting on May 22.

The government on May 13 registered the bill at the parliament secretariat, proposing to renew the extended CA term by another year. The article of the Interim Constitution that set the May 28 extended deadline for promulgating the new constitution needs to be amended by a two-thirds majority if the CA term is to be renewed again.

"We are planning to table the bill at the parliament meeting scheduled for May 22," Bhim Prasad Acharya, chief whip of the ruling CPN-UML, told Republica.

Leaders familiar with Speaker Subas Nembang´s consultations with the chief whips and other leaders of the major political parties said the speaker´s plan is also to table the bill on that day.

Sources said that if everything goes as planned, the bill will be passed or rejected by May 26.

"But for that, there should be an understanding at least among the major political parties to take the procedure ahead smoothly," the parliament source said.

The opposition parties may give a hard time to the government in mustering a two-thirds majority for endorsing the bill to amend the constitution because major opposition party Nepali Congress (NC) and other opposition parties have already announced that they would not vote in favor of the government bill without some tangible progress in the peace process.

If any lawmaker registers a notice of protest against the bill, that needs to be tabled for decision at the meeting. The notice of protest should be rejected by a majority of parliament prior to tabling the bill at the meeting.

Sources at the parliament secretariat said if the bill is tabled on May 22, there will be a theoretical discussion on it the same day. After that, parliament will allow three-days (72 hours) for any amendment to the bill.

"On May 26, there will be clause by clause discussion of the bill and it will then be tabled for voting," the sources said.

But, based on past experience, officials at the parliament secretariat doubt the government will be able to take the proceess to a logical conclusion by May 26.

"Last year also the government planned the same thing but failed," said the official. Last year, failing to reach an understanding among the ruling and major opposition parties, a bill was tabled at midnight on May 28.

"All the procedures concerning deliberations were skipped by suspending the related clauses of parliamentary regulations and the bill to extend the CA term was hastily endorsed within half-an-hour at midnight," the official said. "Therefore, I am little optimistic that the leaders will be able to pass the bill by May 26 as planned."

Monday, May 16, 2011

Maoists want PLA ranks unchanged after integration

KATHMANDU, May 16: The UCPN (Maoist) has proposed that the ranks of its combatants be arranged on par with their current ones while being integrated into the security agencies. The Maoists floated such a proposal during a meeting held with NC and UML on Saturday.

“The proposal is unacceptable as the ranks of the Maoist combatants can not be arranged on such a basis. We have asked the Maoist leaders to further discuss the proposal in their party,” said a leader who is engaged in the talks with the NC and UML for the last one week.

Currently, Maoist Vice-chairman Dr Baburam Bhattarai and Maoist Standing Committee member Barshaman Pun have been discussing the issue of integration with Nepali Congress leader Dr Ram Sharan Mahat, Dr Minendra Rijal and CPN-UML leaders Pradeep Gyawali and Bhim Rawal.

According to the leader, the Maoist leaders verbally floated their model of integration, proposing to create a new force comprising personnel from the Nepal Army (NA), Armed Police Force (APF), Nepal Police (NP) and People´s Liberation Army (PLA).

The Maoists, according to another leader, proposed that the force should include 50 percent Maoist combatants and the rest from security agencies.

“We have rejected it outright because such a proposal is contradictory to past agreements and understanding,” said Dr Mahat said.

Mahat said the combatants should be integrated into the existing security agencies as creating a new force would be against the past agreements. The agreements have spelled out that the Maoist “combatants can be integrated” into security forces.

A CPN-UML leader who participated in the meeting told Republica that the Maoist proposal has back-peddled the whole negotiations on integration. He said the Maoists had already agreed that there would be no new force for Maoist combatants and that they would be integrated into existing security agencies.

“There is a big gap between what the NC and CPN-UML leaders have understood about integration and what the Maoists proposed yesterday [Saturday],” said a CPN-UML leader on condition of anonymity, “If that is going to be their formal proposal, whatever we have achieved with regard to integration of Maoist combatants will be reversed.”

In the meantime, PLA Spokesperson Chandra Prakash Khanal said that his party has proposed bulk integration of the combatants.

“The integration should be at the battalion level,” said Khanal on the party´s position on basis of integration.

But NC and UML have rejected such a basis of integration.

“Integration should be made on individual basis and that too on the basis of existing standard norms. We are also mindful that such integration should be honorable,” Mahat added.

“We have asked the Maoist leaders to take into consideration the fact that other parties want to see the peace process reach an irreversible point,” said CPN-UML leader Gyawali.

It is not yet clear when the Maoists will formally bring their version of integration modality for discussion with NC and UML.


Suspended lawmakers jailed


KATHMANDU: The Special Court today sent Gayatri Shah and Bishwonatha Prasad Yadav, the two suspended Constituent Assembly members being tried for misuse of diplomatic passport to prison after they failed to pay the demanded bail amount.

A three-member bench set the bail amount at Rs 1.5 million for Nepali Janata Dal lawmaker Shah and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (Nepal) lawmaker Yadav.

Along with them, Section Officer of Immigration Office Bhuminanda Bhandari has also been jailed as he could not pay the bail amount of Rs 1 million. The bench also summoned other accomplices — Chief Immigration Officer Shyam Babu Bhandari, Senior Investigation Officer Devi Dutta Khatri, Computer Officer Indra Kumar Sunuwar and middleman Santosh Raj Upreti and CA member Shah’s father Hari Charan—within 15 days to face charges as per Section 10 (1) of the Special Court Act, 2002.

Citing evidences and documents produced by the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority, along with the charge sheet, the bench stated that Prithivi Chhantyal and Sita Shah had flown with diplomatic passports belonging to Yadav and Shah, and were arrested in Abu Dhabi Airport and deported to Nepal. “This fact could not prove that shah and Yadav were not involved in the offence, thus the bail amount had been determined for their release,” the bench added.

On May 11, the CIAA had prosecuted them on corruption charge demanding up to 15 years jail sentence. Immediately after being charge sheeted, their CA memberships were suspended as per Section 33 of the Corruption Prevention Act, 2002. The CIAA also charged the duo of selling their diplomatic passports at Rs 16 million with the help of Upreti and demanded eight years to ten years jail for them as per Section 3 (1) of the Corruption Prevention Act, 2002 and additional two years jail for tampering with diplomatic passports as per Section 11 of the Act. Also, accusing them of misusing their position as CA members, the anti-graft body demanded three years additional jail sentence with Rs 16 million in fine, the money they made by selling their passports and confiscation of an equal amount.

In their statement at the court, Yadav denied the charge and said he did not even go to Abu Dhabi Airport and was not involved in the offence while Shah said she had handed over her diplomatic passport to Upreti for obtaining visa to Canada but was not involved in any wrongdoing.

नाम छलेर टिकट लिएकाले बिमामा समस्या

तारा एयर दुर्घटना

काठमाडौं, ३१ वैशाख

तारा एयर दुर्घटनामा परी मृत्यु हुने भुटानी नागरिकका आफन्तले हालसम्म पनि बिमा रकम पाउन सकेका छैनन् । भुटानीहरुले नक्कली (नेपाली) नामबाट हवाई टिकट बनाएकाले उनीहरुले बिमा रकम पाउने/नपाउनेमा विवाद छ । यसअघि तारा एयरले मृतक यात्रु सबैका नाममा बिमा रकम उपलब्ध गराइने बताएको थियो । हवाईविज्ञ भने नाम छलीकै कारण मृतकका आफन्तले अहिलेसम्म बिमा रकम नपाएको बताउँछन् ।

“बिमा रकम पाउँछन्, प्रक्रियामा छ,” तारा एयरका कार्यकारी निर्देशक विजय श्रेष्ठले भने, “मृतक व्यक्ति जोसुकै भए पनि टिकट नामभन्दा पनि सिटको आधार बिमा पाइन्छ ।”

टिकटको पछाडि भागमा प्रतिव्यक्ति २० हजार अमेरिकी डलर र ब्यागेजका हकमा प्रतिकिलो २० डलर बिमा उल्लेख गरिएको हुन्छ । नागरिक उड्डयन प्राधिकरण नियमावलीअनुसार विमान कम्पनीले अधिकतम ६ करोड डलरसम्म बिमा निर्धारण गर्न सक्छन्, जसमा विमान, चालक दल, यात्रु, पर्यावरणलगायत पर्छन् ।

तारा एयरको नेपालका लागि बिमा एजेन्ट हिमालयन जर्नल इन्स्योरेन्स कम्पनीका प्रबन्ध निर्देशक महेन्द्र श्रेष्ठले भने, “यो विषय प्रक्रियामै छ, अरु नभनौं । हवाई यात्रुले नाम छलेर यात्रा गरेका कारण अवैधानिक देखिए पनि बिमा कम्पनी र विमान कम्पनीबीचको आपसी सहमतिले यो विषय टुंगो लाग्छ ।”

तारा एयरले बिमाको सम्पूर्ण कार्य हिमालयनमार्फत गर्छ । प्रमुख बिमा कम्पनी विदेशी भएका कारण बिमा पाउने÷नपाउने कुरामा विवाद छ ।

बिमा समितिका अध्यक्ष फत्तेबहादुर केसी भने नक्कली नाम प्रयोग भई यात्रा गरिएकाले सैद्धान्तिक तथा कानुनी रूपमा बिमा पाउन नसक्ने दाबी गर्छन् । “तर, प्रमुख बिमा कम्पनी र विमान कम्पनीबीच समझदारी भए पाइन सक्छ,” उनले भने ।

पाँच महिनाअघि लामीडाँडाबाट काठमाडौं आउने क्रममा ओखलढुंगाको श्रीचौर गाविसअन्तर्गत पालुंगेडाँडामा ठोक्किएर तारा एयरको विमान दुर्घटना भएको थियो । दुर्घटनामा तीन जना चालक दलका सदस्य, १८ जना भुटानी र एक अमेरिकी नागरिक गरी २२ जनाको मृत्यु भएको थियो ।

दुईटै समिति अलपत्र

तारा एयर दुर्घटनाका मृतकको बिमाबारे अध्ययन गर्न सरकारद्वारा गठित समिति अलपत्र परेको छ । बिमा दिने÷नदिने विषयमा देखिएको विवादका कारण समितिले आफ्नो प्रतिवेदनसमेत बुझाउन सकेको छैन ।

पर्यटन तथा नागरिक उड्डयन मन्त्रालयका सहसचिव रञ्जनकृष्ण अर्यालको संयोजकत्वमा गठित समितिको समयावधि १५ दिन तोकिएको थियो । “बिमा पाउने÷नपाउने विषय नै विवादित भएकाले हामीले समयमै प्रतिवेदन बुझाउन सकेका छैनौं,” अर्यालले भने । बिमा रकमको विषयलाई लिएर आगामी साता हिमालयन जर्नल इन्स्यारेन्सका उच्च अधिकारी नेपाल आउने जानकारी उनले दिए ।

विमान दुर्घटनाको सत्यतथ्य पत्ता लगाउन गठित जाँचबुझ समितिसमेत अहिले अलपत्र अवस्थामा छ । छानबिनका क्रममा लाग्ने खर्च सरकार वा विमान कम्पनी कसले बेहोर्ने भन्नेमा सहमति नहुँदा समिति निष्क्रिय छ ।