Monday, June 27, 2011

Baidya, Bhattarai gang up against Dahal

KATHMANDU, June 27: The two factions led by vice-chairmen Mohan Baidya and Dr Baburam Bhattarai in the UCPN (Maoist) are secretly teaming up against party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal with a plan to remove the latter as the parliamentary party (PP) leader.

Insiders from Baidya and Bhattarai factions said that the two camps are working on a plan to replace Dahal with Bhattarai as the PP leader so as to end Dahal´s monopoly in the party. They also added that the two factions are also planning to remove Deputy PP leader Narayankaji Shrestha from the post.

“The proposal is under serious discussion but is yet to be finalized,” Maoist politburo member Devendra Paudel, who is close to Bhattarai told Republica. “We want to give the party a new lease of life by reallocating responsibilities among the top leaders.” He said they are for reshuffling the responsibilities on the basis of one-person-one-post principle.

Party Chairman Dahal holds the position of parliamentary party leader as well as the chief of the party´s military wing.

After the party unified with the CPN (Unity Center -Masal), Dahal had nominated Narayankaji Shrestha as the deputy PP leader to replace Bhattarai.

A leader close to Baidya said they were compelled to initiate the move as the chairman has been reluctant in decentralizing the power concentrated in his hands on the basis of efficiency and expertise of the party cadres. He also accused Dahal of promoting nepotism and favoritism in the party.

The proposal is under serious discussion but is yet to be finalized. We want to give the party a new lease of life by reallocating responsibilities among the top leaders. -- Maoist politburo member Devendra Paudel, who is close to Bhattarai

As 156 lawmakers have already questioned his leadership in the parliamentary party, the chairman has already lost the moral ground to claim leadership in all the fronts. -- A leader close to Baidya
“As 156 lawmakers have already questioned his leadership in the parliamentary party, the chairman has already lost the moral ground to claim leadership in all the fronts,” said a leader close to Baidya preferring anonymity.

On Friday, 156 lawmakers from Baidya and Bhattarai camps submitted a memorandum to Dahal demanding that the party chairman rectify his mistake of not recommending at least 33 percent of women leaders from the party for ministerial berths. They also criticized Dahal for nominating some leaders, who were defeated in the Constituent Assembly (CA) election, for ministerial posts. The number 156 is two thirds of the total strength (234) of the Maoists in parliament.

But a leader close to Dahal challenged the leaders from the two factions to show their strength by mustering majority to replace Dahal from the post of parliamentary party leader. The leaders claimed that the list of 156 lawmakers´ signatures collected on Friday was for a different purpose and asserted that the rival factions can´t secure majority against the party chairman.

“He is ready to quit if they can muster majority against him,” said a leader, close to Dahal.

Kul Prasad KC, who is close to Baidya, claimed that the party has wasted its precious years due to the chairman´s failure to entrust the party leaders with appropriate responsibility.

As the intra-party feud intensifies, leaders from all the three factions held separate gatherings with a view to consolidate their respective positions. Leaders from the three factions held separate meetings until late evening on Sunday as well.

Leaders close to Dahal asserted that they will not strike any compromise with other factions. “The party chairman sought feedbacks from us. We advised him to remain firm in the stance he has taken at the ongoing central committee meeting,” Bishwobhakta Dulal, who is close to party chairman, told Republica.

Party secretary Posta Bahadur Bogati, standing committee member Barshaman Pun, politburo members Janardan Sharma, Agni Sapkota, Haribol Gajurel, Lokendra Bista, Nanda Kishor Pun, Chandra Prakash Khanal, Gopal Kiranti, Hitraj Pandey and Hemanta Prakash Oli were among those attending the gathering. Likewise, Narayankaji Shrestha, Dulal and Bishwonath Sah were also present at the gathering.

Govt to unveil policies and programs on July 3

KATHMANDU, June 26: The government on Sunday informed the parliament secretariat that it would present the policies and programs of the new budget on July 3.

Corresponding to the parliament secretariat, the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) informed the secretariat officials that President Dr Ram Baran Yadav would present the government´s policies and programs on that day.

According to Speaker Subas Nembang, the government is also planning to present the annual budget on July 14.

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari on Wednesday tabled the priorities and principles of the new annual budget and pre-budget deliberations are under way in parliament since.

Officials at the parliament secretariat said the pre-budget deliberations will continue till Tuesday. This is the first time after the Constituent Assembly (CA) elections in 2008 that parliament is holding pre-budget discussions before unveiling the new annual budget.

The previous government led by Madhav Kumar Nepal had to introduce the budget through ordinance after lawmakers from then main opposition UCPN (Maoist) has obstructed the government´s move to bring the new budget.

The main opposition Nepali Congress (NC) has assured the ruling coalition that it wouldn´t hinder the passage of new budget provided the finance minister brings it in consultation with the opposition parties.

Here arrives Nano

KATHMANDU, June 27: Tata Nano, one of the most-awaited cars in the Nepali market, has been launched in the market on Sunday. Sipradi Trading, the authorized distributor of Tata vehicles for Nepal, launched the vehicle at a function. The prices for the vehicles have been disclosed.

The lowest variant or Nano standard costs Rs 769,800 in the Nepali market. Nano CX and Nano LX will cost Rs 998,000 and Rs 1.178 million respectively.

The company has now started taking bookings for the vehicles at Rs 10,000 for Nano standard, Rs 20,000 for Nano CX, and Rs 30,000 for Nano LX. The monthly instalment for Nano purchasers will be Rs 11,111 a month for five years. "Bookings for the car will be open for 10 days. The vehicles will be delivered to the customers by the end of July," said Siddhartha SJB Rana, the executive chairman of Sipradi Trading, the authorized distributor of Tata vehicles for Nepal.

The company is planning to sell Nano from 14 distribution points around the country. It is also providing exclusive warranty offers to its customers of four years or 90,000 kilometers, whichever comes first.

Nano boasts of giving a mileage of 23.6 km per liter and ground clearance of 180 mm which are the most attractive factors of the car. Three versions of the car will be available in the market — Nano, Nano CX and Nano LX. Nano is available in colors like Racing Red, Ivory White and Summer Blue. Nano CX is available in colors like Racing Red, Ivory White, Summer Blue, Champagne Gold, and Lunar Silver. Similarly, Nano LX is available in colors like Sunshine Yellow, Champagne Gold, and Lunar Silver.

Nano, the basic model, has features like digital fuel gauge, front room lamp, integrated front seat headrest, sun-visor in driver and co-driver, driver seat with slider and recliner, front assist grips, fuel indicator lamps, temperature buzzer, and rear seat belts. Nano CX has all the features of Nano and additional features like cooling system, integrated rear seat head rest, co-driver seat with slider and recliner, rear assist grip and booster assisted brakes. Nano LX has other additional features like body colored bumpers and door handles, front fog lamps, rear fog lamps, instrument cluster with trip meter, power windows, cup holder and central lock with key.

Nano has already been able to establish itself in the Indian market and is getting a good response in Sri Lank where it was introduced about a month ago.

"Nepal has a huge chunk of people who fall into our target group"

Johnny Oommen, chief of International Business, Passenger Car Unit, Tata Motors, was here to attend the function. Akanksha Upadhyay from Republica caught up with him and asked about the company´s expectations from Nepali market for Nano.

How are the sales and response to Nano in India and Sri-Lanka?

In India, Nano has already been able to establish a stable market. We are currently selling Nano from 217 distribution points. But because we have realized the need for more selling points for Nano, we are in the process of bringing into operation 310 more exclusive Nano outlets this year.

Why do you think Nano will become popular in the Nepali automobile market?

Nepal has a huge chunk of people who fall into our target group. The ones who want to upgrade themselves from two-wheelers to four-wheeler will find Nano the best choice for their first car. We are also targeting those new families who are looking for an entry level car. Nano can be one of the best options for those who already have a car and are looking for second car. So, since the Indian market and Nepali market are not very different from each other, we believe that Nano is the right car for the Nepali market.

What are the challenges you faced in the Nepali market to bring Nano?

We were scared of the liquidity condition in the market. But, banks of Nepal were more than ready to provide finance to our customers. About 10 banks are ready to finance our customers. Apart from that, we haven´t realized any other challenges yet.

Do you have any future plans for the Nepali market?

Let´s wait and watch for the market response to Nano. The vehicle will be introduced nationwide in all the three variants. Currently, we´ll focus on fulfilling the market demand for Nano as our dealer for the Nepal market has informed us that they received about 5,000 enquiries last month.

Saturday, June 25, 2011

Tara Air plane crashes at Simikot‚ no casualties

NEPALGUNJ: A Tara Airplane (9NAGQ) bound for the Simikot Airport in Humla district from Nepalgunj carrying food crashed while landing at the airport at 8.50 on Friday morning.

All three crew members on board, Pilot Bodh Raj Niraula, Co-Pilot Maheshwor Man Shrestha and Air-hostess D. Joshi managed to escape unhurt in the incident.

The incident occurred when the plane skidded off the runway, informed chief of the Civil Aviation Authority's Shyam Kishor Shah at Nepalgunj office. The wings and the rear end of the aircraft have been damaged in the accident.

Following the incident, two planes of Tara Air were turned back without landing, while all the other flights at the airport have been cancelled, informed Shah.

Plane crash-lands in Simikot‚ no injuries


NEPALGUNJ: A cargo plane crash-landed at the Simikot airport in Humla this morning.

According to Shyamkishor Shah, officer at Civil Aviation Authority, Nepalgunj, Tara Air’s Dornier 9 NAGQ aircraft, which was ferrying food, sustained ‘minor damages’ in the incident.

The crew of the plane – Captain Bodhraj Niraula, co-pilot Mahesworman Shrestha and air hostess Dipa Joshi –– are reported safe. “What caused the incident will be known only after an investigation,” said Shah.

He informed that officials from the Department of Flight Security will reach the site and begin investigations tomorrow.

Following the incident, 12 flights to Simikot from Surkhet and Nepalgunj were cancelled.

NRB issues govt bond with highest rate


KATHMANDU: The central bank is issuing its latest bunch of bonds at 10 per cent coupon rate in sync with the increasing trend of interest rate that might lead to yet another rate hike in the market.

“We are issuing the bond at the prevailing interest rate in the financial market,” said spokesperson of the central bank Bhaskarmani Gyawali.

Nepal Rastra Bank is issuing National Saving Bonds 2073 worth Rs 6.68 billion at 10 per cent coupon rate.

The bond will mature in five year in July 2016. The interest rate is the highest so far among the bonds as

previously the interest yield of the bonds ranged around nine per cent only.

“The banks and financial institutions are offering about 15 per cent of interest on fixed deposit thus central bank also has to offer more interest to make it marketable,” he explained.

It will also be the first bond in recent years that will yield real interest to the purchasers. By purchasing the bonds that yield the interest less than rate of inflation, bond owners actually were losing money.

Discounting the rate of inflation that stand at 9.5 per cent at present, the bond purchaser will gain 0.5 per cent as real interest from it provided inflation does not flare out more than 10 per cent.

The attractive interest rate of these gilt-edged securities that are considered to be the safest option for investment are not much popular among the general public. The government bond market in Nepal is mostly dominated by institutional buyers such as banks and financial institutions.

The bonds issued by the government are largely held up by the financial institutions to maintain Statutory Liquidity Ratio (SLR) as per Nepal Rastra Bank’s regulation or by institutional depositors as investment option.

Moreover, the secondary bond market is virtually non existent.

Of the total bond worth Rs 6.68 billion, bonds worth Rs 1.68 billion are kept for general public while banks and financial institutions can apply for the rest amounting to Rs 5 billion.

The budget deficit worth Rs 33.68 billion for the fiscal year 2010-11 is expected to be covered through public debt but the government’s inability to spend coupled with late budget has made it not mandatory.

According to Nepal Rastra Bank issue calendar, the central bank has planned to issue treasury bills worth Rs 10 billion, development bonds worth Rs 8 billion, citizen saving bond worth Rs 10.68 billion and foreign employment bond worth Rs 5 billion in the current fiscal year to cope with the fiscal deficit.

Fuel supply likely to ease Saturday onwards


KATHMANDU, June 25: The supply of products is expected to ease in Kathmandu Valley from Saturday onwards, with the agitating entrepreneurs affiliated to Central Region Petroleum Transportation Entrepreneurs Association (CRPTEA) withdrew their strike following talks with Nepal Oil Corporation on Friday.

The CRPTEA had announced the strike protesting the NOC decision on Tuesday to relocate tankers transporting fuel from the Baireni-Amlekhgunj route to the Kathmandu-Raxaul route. The strike has been withdrawn after the NOC agreed to roll back its decision.

Due to the strike, the supply of petroleum products was halted, from the Thankot depot to private petrol pumps in the Valley for the last two days. Motorists were seen queuing up for fuel at state-owned petrol pumps.

Aircraft skids off Simikot runway


KATHMANDU, June 24: A Dornier aircraft operated by Tara Air was damaged at Simikot airport Friday morning after it skidded off the runway and lost balance while landing.

The 9N AGQ 228 aircraft carrying over two quintals of rice of Nepal Food Corporation from Nepalgunj to Humla met the accident at around 8 am.

All the three members of the crew were safe. Its left wing was damaged. The accident has been blamed on the runway´s poor maintenance.

Unable to pay depositors, Capital Merchant shuts operations

KATHMANDU, June 25: Capital Merchant Banking and Finance (CMBF) that witnessed massive deposit withdrawals over the past one week suddenly succumbed to liquidity crisis and shut down operations without even consulting the regulatory authority, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), on Friday.

The action of CMBF left depositors in the lurch. Bankers and chief executives of other finance companies too flayed its move, particularly as such illegal and irresponsible acts — fifth in a series over the past four months — has largely contributed to erode depositors´ confidence in the financial system.

The category C financial institution was reeling under severe pressure to manage liquidity, particularly after large depositors rushed to withdraw fixed deposits prematurely over the last few weeks. The withdrawals had soared particularly after the central bank deputed a team to inspect its portfolio. A total of Rs 750 million was withdrawn in last 45 days.

"The inspection has revealed a severe governance problem in CMBF. Apparently, large depositors too were aware of its affairs. So, when we started to dig out the facts, they rushed to withdraw their savings," said an official.

Given the mess the finance company has now landed in, NRB officials refused to disclose the inspection´s findings.

Massive withdrawal is not all the trouble confronting the finance company. It is facing problems in recovering loans, a major chunk of which has gone into the real estate business.

The latest financial statement of CMBF shows that it has mobilized deposits of Rs 3.04 billion. Its total loans and advances stand at Rs 3.36 billion, of which Rs 839.38 million has gone into speculative land purchase and plotting business.

That is not all. The company has invested additional Rs 295 million in different real estate projects and also issued loans worth Rs 1.02 billion under the undefined ´others´ category. The central bank officials said these investment and loans too have gone into the speculative land business.

"We have traced cases of irregularities by the board of directors and chief executive on real estate and other lending," said the source.

´Resume services´

NRB, meanwhile, has issued instructions to CMBF to resume operations from Sunday. The central bank had summoned the entire board of directors of the finance company as soon as it got the information of its closure. "We informed them that the central bank will provide all possible support to bail out the company from the present crisis," said Bhaskar Mani Gyawali, NRB spokesperson.

The central bank also suggested the finance company to apply for special refinancing, promising it a speedy release of money. The company had applied for refinancing two weeks ago, but according to CMBF official, the central bank had denied it the facility.

CMBF was established in 2001 and was operating with 12 branches including head office in Battisputali, Kathmandu. It was offering interest return of 15 percent to fixed depositors.

Gurkha Development Bank, Nepal Share Markets and Finance, People´s Finance, and Vibor Development Bank had faced similar crisis over the past four months.

MS Office 2010 Nepali version out


KATHMANDU, June 24: Unlimited Technologies has launched Nepali version of Microsoft Office 2010 in the market. Launching the product in the capital, chief-executive-officer of Unlimited at Tech-Mela, Allen Bailochan Tuladhar, said the product will assist people in rural areas.

Microsoft Corporation has already brought Microsoft Office 2010 in the market.

But, due to language problem all Nepali users could not use it. "This Nepali version will help everyone including those with basic literacy to use the computer," he added.

Till date, Unlimited has launched Microsoft Operation System, Windows XP, Windows Vista, Windows 7, Microsoft Office 2003 and 2007. The company is working to bring Nepali version of Windows 8 and Window Live in near future.

The two day long Tech-Mela featuring seminars on IT and Microsoft products is being held at Nepal Administrative Staff College (NASC) from Saturday.

Wednesday, June 22, 2011

Prime Life help


KATHMANDU: Prime Life Insurance donated Rs 100,000 to Guru Sangbo Ama Samuha of Kobang VDC of Mustang to support their education, health and community development programmes. Marketing Manager Kamal Bahadur Pandey handed over the amount to chairperson of group Dil Kumari Gauchan.

Paddy festival on June 29

KATHMANDU: The government is celebrating Paddy Festival on June 29 (Asar 15) to boost up rice production in the context of continued reduction in productivity. According to Ministry of Agriculture and Cooperatives, curre-nt rice production stands at 2,981 kg per hector, which is lowest of South Asian average. Nepal has only seven per cent growth in rice prod-uction in one decade.

Disappointing SLC result


The School Leaving Certificate (SLC) exam result is out with a disappointing pass percentage. Only 55.5 percent students passed this year, about 9 percentage points less than last year. This is the second year in a row that the SLC pass percentage has slid. Last year, only 64 percent students got through the Iron Gate, four percentage points less than the previous year. The 5 grace marks given to the students by the Office of the Controller of Examination, which helped many students obtain the pass mark, belies the actual pass percentage. More than 17,000 students benefited from the grace marks— meaning only about 51 percent students actually passed the SLC exam on their own. That one in every two students failed the exam is less a reason for celebration and more a matter of concern.

The state spends about 17 percent of its budget in the education sector. In nominal terms, the education budget may still sound meager but as a share of total spending it’s decent. Does the result justify spending? We still don’t have disaggregated pass percentage between private and public schools. Once we have that number, it will further expose the poor performance of public schools. The major question of concern at this point, however, is: Why has the pass percentage begun to slide after a robust growth for several years until last year? The answer is not simple as is reflected in the conflicting arguments of education experts and officials at the Ministry of Education. The official argument is that this year the exams were held in a far stricter environment compared to the past. Hence, the dismal result. Maybe, but experts disagree.

We don’t want to get into this debate, for we are afraid that we don’t have a lot to contribute to it. But there cannot be a dispute on one thing—this drop in the SLC pass percentage of public schools should be reversed. That needs increasing the quality of teachers and teaching methodology and some targeted investments on trainings, teaching materials and resources. But this dismal result should also inform our ongoing and future debates about the public sector education. Two immediate issues come to our mind. First, teachers’ unions are demanding for permanent positions to the teachers hired on a temporary basis.

We want to ask the unions: Going by the current results, do these teachers deserve promotion and permanent position or a punishment? Teachers appointed on the basis of political connections with complete disregard for merit will only contribute to the further deterioration of education quality. Second, Maoist party and teachers association affiliated with it often demand abolishment of private education and promotion of public education. If you don’t have enough resources and ideas to improve the quality of existing public schools, why do you want to convert the private schools into public ones in the first place?

Govt announces public holiday today


KATHMANDU, June 22: The government has announced a public holiday on Wednesday, to commemorate National Census Day 2011, which also marks 100 years of the beginning of national census in the country.

The 11th national census is being conducted with the slogan ‘Include All, No Double’.

The information obtained during the census is widely expected to be an instrumental tool in the state restructuring process, one of the major tasks the Constituent Assembly is faced with.

Around 34,000 enumerators have been mobilized to collect data from 5.8 million households from across the country between June 17 and 27 before sending the data for processing.

The Central Bureau of Statistics has projected the country’s population at 28.6 million by 2011, up from 23.1 in 2001.

SC asks Minister Sapkota to assist police in murder charge probe

KATHMANDU, June 22: The Supreme Court (SC) on Tuesday ordered Minister for Information and Communications Agni Sapkota to cooperate with the police in investigating the charges against him of murdering Arjun Lama, a local of Karve during the Maoist insurgency.

Responding to a writ petition filed by a group of civil society leaders and human rights activists nearly three weeks ago, a division bench of SC justices Ramkumar Prasad Sah and Prakash Wasti issued the order to this effect.

Purnimaya Lama, widow of Arjun, had registered a complaint against Minister Sapkota and six others at the district police office Kavrepalanchowk accusing them of abducting and subsequently slaying her husband nearly seven years ago.

Kavre district police registered a complaint following the SC order but hadn´t initiated any investigation. Though, the police office had issued a warrant notice against him, Sapkota neither appeared before the police nor cooperated with the investigation.

“It has been learnt that Minister Sapkota was all aware of the warrant notice issued by Kavre police against him,” reads the SC order, adding, “It is the duty of all civilized citizens to assist the police and authorized officials in the investigation. One can prove innocence by defending himself before the court.”

The bench, however, refused to issue an interim order as sought by plaintiffs to stop Minister Sapkota from discharging his duties in the capacity of a minister.

“Complaints alone do not prove anyone guilty,” reads the decision, “No law prohibits anyone from accepting appointment in public office despite complaints against them at the police office. It depends on the moral discretion of the accused whether or not to accept a public position.”

The apex court, in its clear and strong message, had asked Minister Sapkota to demonstrate moral and legal integrity by assisting the police in its probe.

“It is the duty of those holding public position to fully abide by the rule of law and cooperate with the police in any investigation related to crimes,” reads the decision, adding, “It should not be presumed that a person holding a public office will influence prosecution.”

The apex court has not only warned Minister Sapkota not to obstruct police investigation but also ordered the Kavre police to expedite investigation into the case fairly and effectively.

“The bench hereby orders Kavre police to furnish progress report of the investigation every 15 days to the SC through the Office of the Attorney General,” reads the decision, adding, “The police office has also been asked to include facts and details regarding any attempts made so far to either influence the case.”

Ending the row over whether the government authorities can initiate investigation into crimes committed during the insurgency, the apex court has said that the court will take up such cases on the basis of “Regular Justice System” until the disputes are settled through Truth and Reconciliation Commission (TRC).

Petitioners welcome court order

Meanwhile, plaintiffs have welcomed the SC order. “We welcome the judgment because it sets the ground for resignation by minister Sapkota on moral grounds,” said Kanak Mani Dixit, one of the writ petitioners, adding, “We are happy because the apex court has set a good precedent to investigate into crimes committed during the insurgency.

FNCCI wants income tax exemption slab raised


KATHMANDU, June 21: Business community on Tuesday urged the government to increase the income tax exemption limit for individuals to Rs 300,000 and families to Rs 350,000 in a bid to relieve general consumers crushed by double-digit inflation.

“It is time for the government to take step in this regard. The lack of adjustment of exemption ceiling and back-to-back double-digit inflation over the last two years has made life difficult for general public,” said Jagadish Prasad Rathi, chairman of Committee of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI).

The raise demanded by the FNCCI stands at Rs 100,000 over the existing exemption slab.

At a pre-budget interaction with top Finance Ministry officials, FNCCI also placed a number of demands to the Finance Minister, mainly seeking income tax holiday, value added tax waiver and downward revision of excise duty.

Referring to the new Anti-Money Laundering (AML) Act, which tags income from undisclosed source as earning from terrorism and anti-social activities, FNCCI also pleaded with the government to unveil a special scheme, allowing all Nepalis to declare their property pledging amnesty of tax and fines for once.

The apex business body argued that amnesty must come if the government is to address the cause of present liquidity crisis at the root and also ensure effective implementation of the AML Act in the future.

“The stringent provisions of the new AML Act have turned both formal and informal sector players wary. The government should open a gateway for formal entry of undisclosed property into the system,” said Rathi.

FNCCI President Suraj Vaidya said the new budget should aim at fostering conducive investment climate and raise confidence of the private sector.

For this, FNCCI has proposed to the government to provide income tax holidays of 5 to 10 years for all industries identified as national priority. “Without such attractive tax incentive, Nepal will fail to attract much-needed fresh investment at this critical juncture of political transition,” said Rathi.

Apart from that, FNCCI has also demanded that the government revise policy and laws related to tax, industries and private sector development in a bid to foster favorable industrial climate. It also stressed the need for harnessing the country´s huge hydropower potential for early end to power crisis.

For exports promotion, FNCCI has urged the government to implement and continue the cash subsidy on third country exports and extend the facility to industries exporting goods to India and receiving payments through banking system. It has proposed that the government develop Nepalgunj, Surkhet and Jumla as herbs collection centers to support value addition and exports of herbal products.

Pushpa Man Shrestha of Nepal Pushmina Industries Association, meanwhile, urged the government to support farmers in high hills to rear sheep and mountain goats so that the country becomes self reliant on wool, pashmina and meat.

“By implementing this program alone, Nepal can effectively displace imports of meat, raw wool and pashmina that run into billions of rupees a year and also help carpet and pashmina industries gain price competitiveness,” said Shrestha.

Budget to focus on investment, social justice: FM

Deputy Prime Minister and Finance Minister Bharat Mohan Adhikari said on Tuesday that the thrust of the new budget will be on promoting investment, raising productions and upholding social justice.

Addressing the business community, Adhikari said the government was initiating pre-budget discussions from Wednesday and planning to announce full-fledged budget on July 13.

“The new budget will be a consensus document of all political parties. It will target to rejuvenate exports, investment, commercialize agriculture sector and manage problems seen in the financial system,” Adhikari said.

He also asked the business community to lobby with the political parties to incorporate a clear provision with the date for budget announcement, irrespective of political instability, in the new constitution.

He also opined that the fiscal years should start from mid-April, instead of mid-July, as practiced in the country since decades.

Air traffic controllers question repeated runway breakdown

KATHMANDU, June 22: Following repeated flaking off of sections of the fresh black-topping over the only runway at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) and consequent flight disruptions, Air Traffic Controllers on Tuesday alleged that there have been serious irregularities in the recently concluded runway overlay works.

“Of irregularities defaming the country, the reconstruction works at TIA is bigger and more serious than the Sudan scam,” charged Murari Prasad Poudel, general secretary of Nepal Air Traffic Controllers Association (NATCA).

International flights were held up for nearly three hours on Tuesday after a section of the 3,050-meter (10,000 feet) runway became unusable with the black-topping flaking off leaving holes between link taxiway 4 and 5.

Three international flights had to be diverted to Lucknow, while departure of two was delayed by nearly three hours from 8 am. It was only after the holes were temporarily patched up that international flights resumed. Domestic flights, which do not need the full runway, were not as seriously affected.

Repeated problem

This is not the first time the new black-topping came off.

A week ago, a similar problem caused a five-hour disruption.

Tuesday´s was the fourth disruption in a month, and there were even more disruptions in the preceding months, according to Poudel, who works as Air Traffic Controller at TIA. General Manager Ratish Chandra Lal Suman of TIA confirmed that the overlay is causing frequent problems.

And it is not just the runway that is having problems. Black-topping of the newly-built helicopter parking area has also flaked off just months after the overlay and construction works at TIA was completed in mid-February this year.

According to Poudel, who has been working as Air Traffic Controller for a decade now, such problems were rare before the fresh overlay.

“As air traffic controllers, we have to give runway clearance to flights,” Poudel said, questioning, “What explanation can we conceivably give to flight operators for these frequent disruptions?”

He added, “Given the repeated problems, NATCA has concluded that the runway overlay and helipad parking area construction does not meet International Civil Aviation Organization standards. NATCA members involved in managing air traffic will not take responsibility for any accident caused by the poor quality construction of runway, taxi way and parking.”

CAAN, TIA management blame single runway and rain

TIA GM Suman blamed the airport´s lack of alternate runway for the frequent runway breakdown and flight disruptions.

“Runways in foreign countries also have such problems. The problem here is the absence of an alternate runway to handle contingency,” Suman said.

The single runway at TIA deals daily with 27 international arrivals and an equal number of international departures, apart from 450 domestic take-offs and landings.
Ram Prasad Neupane, director general of Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), conceded that some sections of the fresh overlay have been problematic.

“An inspection by our consultant and technicians concluded that areas where overlay was done when it was raining are having problems. The problem at the helipad is also rain-related. Water seepage caused the flaking off there,” Neupane said.

A joint venture of China Railway Engineering Corp and Nepal´s Tundi Construction Pvt Ltd were given contract for the works at TIA. The project´s consultant is a Nepali Company named GEOCE Consultants Pvt Ltd.

“The problem is localized to certain sections,” Neupane explained. “The areas are being identified for reconstruction,” he added.

According to Neupane, the fact that the overlay work was done from midnight to 6 am in the morning to prevent air traffic disruptions, and sometimes even under drizzle, resulted in some weak spots.

“But the contactor is still under a one-year liability period when it will have to rebuild the weak sections. Entire sections where problems are reported will be rebuilt within the liability period,” he said.

The previous overlay works at TIA was conducted 12 years ago when air traffic was much thinner and therefore the landing impact on the runway lesser.

Dhruba Bhochhibhoya, director of the runway overlay project, said the problems spots are being temporarily patched up. “As soon as the rainy season ends, entire sections will be replaced with fresh black-topping,” he said.

Friday, June 17, 2011

'Insurance‚ permit a must´


KATHMANDU: The government has made insurance and work permit mandatory for migrant workers, who extended their jobs overseas.

“Every migrant worker should get a new insurance policy and job permission to continue overseas job,” director general of Department of Foreign Employment Chandra Man Shrestha said.

Earlier, the provisions of Foreign Employment Regulation were applied to new overseas workers only. Ministry of Labour and Transport Management changed the provisions last week to provide insurance and other government benefits to all migrant workers.

Insurance hope for journalists


KATHMANDU: Minister for Information and Communication Agni Sapkota today said he would take the proposal of life insurance for journalists to the upcoming cabinet for ‘serious’ discussion.

At a meeting with journalists to discuss future programmes of the ministry, Sapkota said,” We have concluded that there should be life insurance for journalists and we are discussing the criteria for it and I lend all the support for the proposal.”

He also informed that the ministry is in discussion with Nepal Telecom to make a uniform telephone tariff inside the country.

“As a new progamme in the new fiscal the Ministry is also conducting feasibility study to provide Internet facility to schools,” he added.

He further said the ministry would focus on improving NTC service.

New Chinese envoy arriving on Saturday

KATHMANDU, June 17: The newly-appointed Chinese ambassador to Nepal Yang Houlan is arriving in Kathmandu on Saturday to take up his diplomatic assignment here.

The envoy Houlan is scheduled to present his credentials to President Dr Ram Baran Yadav at a special function to be held at Shital Niwas on Monday.

China named Houlan the ambassador to Nepal last month as the successor of Qiu Guohong after the latter made premature departure to Beijing on April 8, eight months before the expiry of his three-year term. As a high-profile security expert with the Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs, Yang served as China´s ambassador for Korean Peninsula Affairs before being sent on Nepal assignment.

For the past two years, he was involved in dealings of the Six-Party-Talks, a group of six powerful nations comprising the United States, China, Russia, Japan, South Korea and North Korea, formed to convince North Korea to give up its nuclear ambition. The envoy had served as China´s ambassador to war-ravaged Afghanistan and Saudi Arabia before his appointment for Korean Peninsula Affairs.

Along with Yang, newly appointed non-resident envoys to Nepal Geoffrey Doidge, of South Africa, Javier Elorzsa, of Spain, Dr Nanguyalai Tarzi, of Afghanistan, and Thongphanh Syackhaphom, of Lao People´s Democratic Republic, are also presenting their credential to President Dr Yadav on Monday.

11th national census begins Friday

KATHMANDU, June 17: The most important part of the eleventh national census, the 11 days long counting of the country´s population, is all set to kick off Friday.

The commencement of Census-2011 will be formally announced on Friday morning with the filling out of a questionnaire for President Dr Ram Baran Yadav´s family, said Bikash Bishta, deputy director general of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS). A group of top CBS officials headed by National Planning Commission (NPC) Vice-chairman Dr Dinesh Chandra Devkota is scheduled to reach the president´s official residence, Maharajgunj, to collect the details of the country´s first family.

After starting with the first family, the team headed by Devkota will collect details about the families of Vice-president Parmananda Jha and Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal. “On the first day of the census, district census officers will personally meet local political party leaders and collect their family details,” Bishta said. “All enumerators, thereafter, will go to the field.”

The CBS has mobilized 34,000 enumerators and 8,500 supervisors to carry out the biggest ever exercise for counting the country´s population. As it is poised to take place against the backdrop of a myriad of social changes caused by the decade long conflict, the outcome of the new census is being seen with much excitement. With its most comprehensive questionnaire in place, the new census is expected to reveal a lot of intriguing facts and figures.

The CBS has projected Nepal´s population to reach 28.5 million by 2011. With reports on household listings, conducted between May 15 and June 1, trickling in from all districts, the CBS has noticed interesting migration patterns in the composition of the country´s population. Dr Rudra Suwal, CBS director, says some Tarai districts, like Jhapa and Kailali, appear more populous than projected on the basis of the previous census reports.

“The volumes of census materials that we delivered to census supervisors in different Tarai districts conspicuously fell short,” Dr Suwal said, explaining, “This means lots of families have settled in Tarai districts after selling their properties in the hills. The final census reports will exactly show how widely people have migrated in the wake of the conflict and other unrests.”

CBS says it requires around four months for decoding and analyzing the data collected in the course of the 11 days field work of the census. The preliminary reports of the census are expected to come out later in October.

Saturday, June 11, 2011

Bhatbhateni announces major business expansion; to open three more chains in the capital and Pokhara

Bhatbhateni, one of the leading departmental stores in the capital, is all set to open its third store in Koteshwor, Kathmandu with an initial investment of over Rs. 500 million.

The store which is opening its doors for general people from Saturday will offer some 100,000 products from 600 domestic and international suppliers under the same roof, said Min Bahadur Gurung, managing director of the Bhatbhateni group.

More than 1,000 people are directly employed in the chain of departmental stores owned by Bhatbhateni group and it has been making business transaction worth over Rs. 4 billion yearly, said Gurung.

The Bhatbhateni is also set to open more stores in Boudha and Pulchowk on July 12 and 15th respectively.

Similarly, it is also planning to expand its business outside valley in Pokhara by the end of 2011.

Nepal Trust facing tough time bringing Birendra's assets to use


KATHMANDU, June 11: The Office of the Nepal Trust (ONT) has made public the latest and detailed report of the total property that the trust has acquired so far by tracing and obtaining late King Birendra Shah´s assets in and outside the country.

The government, immediately after overthrowing monarchy after the April movement in 2006, formed the trust with the mandate to acquire all property belonging to late King Birendra Shah, Queen Aishwarya and their family members, preserve it and bring them into proper use.

Brinda Hada, member-secretary of the trust, said it has so far acquired 5,064 ropanis (19.66 ropanies=1 hectares) of land belonging to the late king. The land was found in seven different districts in and outside the Kathmandu Valley.

The trust has also acquired 142,503 units of shares bought in the name of late king Birendra and his family members. “It has been found that Birendra and his family members had bought 120,393 units of shares of Nabil Bank, 6,750 units of shares of Nepal Industrial Development Corporation and 15,360 units of shares of Hotel De l´ Annapurna,” Hada said at a meeting of Public Affairs Committee (PAC) of parliament on Friday.

She also informed that the trust has traced and acquired Rs 7,000 and 43,100 pound deposited in two different banks in Kathmandu so far.

Hada said that the trust´s efforts to find if the late king Birendra and his family members had deposited money in any foreign banks have not yielded results so far. “We have taken initiatives, through diplomatic channels and the central bank, to trace their possible bank accounts in 10 different countries but to no avail,” she said.

Hada, at the parliament committee meeting, said the trust had been confronting challenges using the property and assets acquired by it. “Though the trust has acquired buildings, land and other properties in paper, we have not been able to bring them to use,” she said.

According to her, a building at Maharajgunj being used by the security personnel deployed for the security of former kings, a building and an area of 15 ropanis of land at Chhauni being used by former King Gyanendra´s daughter Prerana Rajya Laxmi Devi Singh and 68 ropanis of land occupied by Tribhuvan Adarsh Secondary School in Pharping have been transferred into the name of trust in paper but the government body has not been able to use them.

Similarly, a building along with a piece of 1,440 square meters of land at Chhauni being used by one Junu Thapa, some buildings and a ropani of land adjoining the Soaltee Hotel at Tahachal have already been transferred into the name of the trust. But the trust has not been able to use them.

Similarly, the trust has faced problems in using land in several districts across the country as land tillers, who have been tenants for many years, have protested against the government decision to transfer the property being used by them into trust.

Friday, June 10, 2011

Water projects suffer after ADB pullout

DADELDHURA, June 9: Drinking water projects worth millions of rupees in Dadeldhura are in a state of limbo after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stopped its funding. “ADB stopped its funding three months ago,” confirmed Aatmaram Koirala, the chief of community drinking water unit.

ADB states that the works on the projects were not moving quickly and lack of transparency in its functioning as the reason of its decision.

Around a dozen of community-run drinking water projects have been cut off as a result of the ADB decision. Chamalek, Pali Bakaya, Dawali, Teamalkatte, Sadani, Salun, Malas, Guyala along with other community drinking water projects were under construction when the funds were stopped.

The discontinuation of funding has raised a question mark on the possible completion of the projects especially as the work of fitting of the water tanks, taps and pipes have yet to be completed. “Till date, Rs 150 million has been spent in the twelve projects,” said the employees of the Drinking Water Office.

More than a dozen of these projects which had been facing problems such as that of neglect ever since it set up its unit office are now in a dilemma with the loss of funding.

According to the locals, the projects have not been completed because of the unruliness of the organizations handling them.

“Since no officers came to the field to advise us the projects have not been successful,” said Anka Singh Dhami, a local social worker. “Since the partner organizations did not work properly it added to the problem,” said unit chief Koirala.

Water projects suffer after ADB pullout

DADELDHURA, June 9: Drinking water projects worth millions of rupees in Dadeldhura are in a state of limbo after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stopped its funding. “ADB stopped its funding three months ago,” confirmed Aatmaram Koirala, the chief of community drinking water unit.

ADB states that the works on the projects were not moving quickly and lack of transparency in its functioning as the reason of its decision.

Around a dozen of community-run drinking water projects have been cut off as a result of the ADB decision. Chamalek, Pali Bakaya, Dawali, Teamalkatte, Sadani, Salun, Malas, Guyala along with other community drinking water projects were under construction when the funds were stopped.

The discontinuation of funding has raised a question mark on the possible completion of the projects especially as the work of fitting of the water tanks, taps and pipes have yet to be completed. “Till date, Rs 150 million has been spent in the twelve projects,” said the employees of the Drinking Water Office.

More than a dozen of these projects which had been facing problems such as that of neglect ever since it set up its unit office are now in a dilemma with the loss of funding.

According to the locals, the projects have not been completed because of the unruliness of the organizations handling them.

“Since no officers came to the field to advise us the projects have not been successful,” said Anka Singh Dhami, a local social worker. “Since the partner organizations did not work properly it added to the problem,” said unit chief Koirala.

Water projects suffer after ADB pullout

DADELDHURA, June 9: Drinking water projects worth millions of rupees in Dadeldhura are in a state of limbo after the Asian Development Bank (ADB) stopped its funding. “ADB stopped its funding three months ago,” confirmed Aatmaram Koirala, the chief of community drinking water unit.

ADB states that the works on the projects were not moving quickly and lack of transparency in its functioning as the reason of its decision.

Around a dozen of community-run drinking water projects have been cut off as a result of the ADB decision. Chamalek, Pali Bakaya, Dawali, Teamalkatte, Sadani, Salun, Malas, Guyala along with other community drinking water projects were under construction when the funds were stopped.

The discontinuation of funding has raised a question mark on the possible completion of the projects especially as the work of fitting of the water tanks, taps and pipes have yet to be completed. “Till date, Rs 150 million has been spent in the twelve projects,” said the employees of the Drinking Water Office.

More than a dozen of these projects which had been facing problems such as that of neglect ever since it set up its unit office are now in a dilemma with the loss of funding.

According to the locals, the projects have not been completed because of the unruliness of the organizations handling them.

“Since no officers came to the field to advise us the projects have not been successful,” said Anka Singh Dhami, a local social worker. “Since the partner organizations did not work properly it added to the problem,” said unit chief Koirala.

Simara Airport to operate nighttime flights

SIMARA, June 10: Simara Airport at Bara is all set to operate nighttime flights from the upcoming fiscal year.

Bikram Raj Gautam, the chief at airport said that the preparation for the nighttime flights is at the final stage. “If everything goes as planned, we will begin the extended service from June 15 of the new fiscal year,” Gautam told Republica.

He said the “navigation instrument” have already been put in place for resumption of the service. “We have received all the equipment necessary for ground light and are preparing to install them in the ground blocks,” he added.

Airport officials said Indian tourists and businessmen will benefit the most after resumption of the service as the airport is near the major trade point between Nepal and India.

Yuvaraj Poudel, president of Simara Chambers of Commerce and Industry (SCCI) said that the locals in the area will also benefit from the nighttime air service.

According to a source at the airport, Buddha Air and Guna Air are planning to operate eight to 10 flights from the airport. Agni Air is planning to operate its flights from the airport very soon.

Apart from the central airport in capital, the airports of Biratnagar, Nepalgunj and Bhairahawa have been operating nighttime flights.

Bhat-Bhateni to employ 50,000 people in 15 years


KATHMANDU, June 9: Bhat-Bhateni Group, a leading supermarket and departmental store chain in Nepal, has said it would provide employment to 50,000 individuals in 15 years.

Speaking at a press meet organized in the capital to brief about the opening of its third store on 11th June in Koteshwor, Min Bahadur Gurung, executive director of Bhat-Bhateni Super Market and Departmental Store, said that the company which is currently employing over 1,000 individuals plans to provide employment opportunity to around 50,000 individuals in 15 years.

“The company plans to attain the objective of employing 50,000 individuals by creating employment opportunities for rural masses,” said Gurung.

Bhat-Bhateni´s third outlet at Koteshwor that is opening on Saturday is built with an investment of over Rs 500 million and will feature kitchenware, foot wears, apparels, electronic appliances, fresh fruits and vegetables, grocery items and furniture products imported from Thailand and Malaysia.

Gurung said that the group is also opening its other two outlets in Bouddha and Pulchowk on 12th July and 15th July respectively. The company has sought technical support from China for setting up the layout and service delivery at all the four stores.

“In the first phase, we are expanding our business in three different places in the valley and we plan to open our first outlet outside the valley in Pokhara by the end of 2011,” Gurung further added.

Bhat-Bhateni group started its operation in 1993 with a store spread over an area of 3,000 square feet and currently has a yearly transaction of Rs 4 billion by selling Fast Moving and Consumer Goods (FMCG).

The group sells fruits and vegetables worth Rs 300,000 on daily basis. Bhat-Bhateni´s two stores at Bhat Bhateni and Maharajgunj currently sell over 100,000 products from 700 local and international suppliers. According to the company, more than 10,000 people visit its stores daily.

तीन महिनामा पाँच वित्तीय संस्था संकटमा

सुदर्शन सापकोटा, काठमाडौं, जेठ २७- रकम अभावले समस्यामा परेको भिबोर विकास बैंक उकास्न राष्ट्र बैंकले बिहीबार ५० करोड रुपैयाँ ऋण सहयोग दिने निर्णय गर्‍यो। तीन महिनायता निक्षेपकर्ताको पैसा फिर्ता गर्न नसक्नेगरी आर्थिक संकटमा फसेको यो पाँचौं वित्तीय संस्था हो।

यसअघि युनाइटेड विकास बैंक, सम्झना फाइनान्स, गोर्खा विकास बैंक, नेपाल सेयर मार्केट्स एन्ड इन्स्टिच्युसन र पिपल्स फाइनान्स समस्यामा परे।

संस्थागत निक्षेपकर्ताहरूले एकैचोटि ३२ करोड झिकिदिएपछि संकटमा परेको भिबोरका अधिकारी सहयोग माग्न साँचो बोकेरै बुधबार बिहान राष्ट्र बैंक पुगेका थिए। 'कि पैसा देऊ, नभए व्यवस्थापन लिइदेऊ' भन्ने उनीहरूको आग्रह थियो। बिहीबार बसेको राष्ट्र बैंक सञ्चालक समितिको आकस्मिक बैठकले सहयोगको हात बढाउने निर्णय गरेपछि भिबोरको संकट टर्‍यो।

निक्षेपभन्दा बढी कर्जा प्रवाह गरेकाले वित्तीय संस्था धमाधम समस्यामा परेका हुन्। राष्ट्र बैंक, सेनालगायत संस्थागत निक्षेपकर्ताले आफ्नो पाकेको मुद्दती खाता बन्द गरी पैसा फिर्ता लिएपछि समस्या थप बल्भि्कएको छ।

'सञ्चालकहरूको बेथितिले डुबेकाबाहेक एकपछि अर्को संस्था तरलता अभावकै कारण ढलेका हुन्,' बैंकर्स संघका अध्यक्ष अशोक राणाले नागरिकसँग भने, 'सरकारले खर्च बढाउन थाले तरलता सहज हुन्छ।'

समस्याको कारण जेसुकै भए पनि वित्तीय संस्थाप्रति सर्वसाधारणको विश्वास धर्मराएको छ। आफूले पैसा जम्मा गरेको संस्था डुबिहाल्ने हो कि भन्ने डरले कतिपय सरकारी बैंकतिर सरेका छन्। यसले वित्तीय संस्थालाई थप जोखिममा पुर्‍याएको छ।

यो समस्यामा बल पुर्‍याएको केही हदसम्म राष्ट्र बैंकले हो।

दुई साताअघि राष्ट्र बैंकले विभिन्न विकास बैंक र फाइनान्स कम्पनीबाट आफ्नो निक्षेप फिर्ता लिएर ११ वाणिज्य बैंकमा सार्‍यो। अरू संस्थागत निक्षेपकर्ताले यही सिको गरे। बिमा संस्थान, नेपाल टेलिकम, नेपाली सेना, कर्मचारी सञ्चय कोष, नागरिक लगानी कोषलगायतले विकास बैंक र फाइनान्स कम्पनीबाट पैसा झिक्न थालेका छन्। हुँदाहुँदा यो क्रम अलि ठूला सर्वसाधारण निक्षेपकर्तासम्म आइपुगेको वित्तीय संस्थाका सञ्चालक बताउँछन्।

'मान्छेहरू एउटा संस्था संकटमा परेको देखेपछि आफू सुरक्षित हुनतिर लाग्छन्,' भिबोरका कार्यकारी अध्यक्ष अजय घिमिरेले भने, 'यसले पूरै क्षेत्रलाई समस्यामा पार्छ।'

समस्याको सुरुवात
वित्तीय संस्थाको समस्या तरलता अभावबाट सुरु भएको हो। बैंकरहरू यो अभाव राजनीतिक संक्रमणसँग जोडिने बताउँछन्।

राजनीतिक संक्रमणका कारण विकास खर्च हुन नसक्नुले बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थामा रकम अभाव छ। आएको बजेट पनि खर्च नहुँदा अर्थतन्त्र गतिशील हुन सकेको छैन। वाणिज्य बैंकको दायरा र पुँजी आधार फराकिलो हुने हुँदा चाँडै समस्या आइहाल्दैन। थोरै पुँजीमा खेलिरहेका वित्तीय संस्थाबाट ठूलो रकम बाहिरिनेबित्तिकै दैनिक कारोबारमै पैसा खाँचो हुन्छ।

'अहिलेको समस्या प्रणालीगत असर हो। धेरै कुराले एकैचोटि गाँजेकाले एकपछि अर्को समस्या देखियो,' राष्ट्र बैंकका डेपुटी गभर्नर महाप्रसाद अधिकारीले बिहीबार नागरिकसँग भने, 'सम्हालिनेगरी कारोबार गरिरहेका संस्थामा समस्या छैन।'

निर्यातका तुलनामा आयातमा उच्च वृद्धि भई शोधनान्तर घाटा बढ्नु र रेमिट्यान्स वृद्धिदर घट्नुले पनि बैंकिङ क्षेत्रको निक्षेपमा असर परेको हो।

चैतसम्म मुलुकको शोधनान्तर घाटा १४ अर्ब ६९ करोड रुपैयाँ पुगेको छ। विदेशबाट आउने रेमिट्यान्सको वृद्धिदर ११ प्रतिशतमा सीमित छ। गत वर्ष २३ प्रतिशत थियो। सरकारी खर्च नहुँदा विदेशी सहायता पनि प्रभावित भएको छ। सरकारलाई ९९ अर्ब रुपैयाँ सहायता प्राप्त भए पनि जम्मा २३ अर्बमात्र खर्च गर्न सकेको छ।

विगतमा बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्थाले सर्वसाधारणको विश्वास गुमाउनु रकम अभावको अर्को कारण हो।

'अघिल्लो वर्ष दसैंमा नगद अभाव हुँदा सर्वसाधारणले बैंकबाट चाहेजति भुक्तानी पाएनन्,' वित्तीय कम्पनी संघका अध्यक्ष राजेन्द्रमान शाक्यले भने, 'आफ्नै खाताबाट चाहेका बेला पैसा झिक्न नसकेपछि सर्वसाधारणले बैंक वा वित्तीय संस्थाको सट्टा आफैंसँग राख्न बढी सुरक्षित ठाने।'

सरकारका विभिन्न नीतिगत परिवर्तनले पनि बजारको पैसालाई बैंकसम्म पुग्नबाट रोकिरहेको छ।

एक वाणिज्य बैंकका प्रमुख कार्यकारीका अनुसार माओवादी नेतृत्वको सरकारले स्वयंकर घोषणा र सम्पत्तिको स्रोत खुलाउनुपर्ने प्रवाधान ल्याएपछि सर्वसाधारण सशंकित भए।

'बैंकमा १० लाख रुपैयाँ जम्मा गर्दा स्रोत देखाउनुपरेपछि घरमै राख्ने वा सुन किनेर, जग्गा किनेर राख्ने क्रम बढ्यो,' ती बैंकरले भने, 'त्यसपछि जग्गामा पनि निश्चित कारोबार बैंकमार्फत गर्नुपर्ने प्रावधान आयो। यसले पैसा लुकाउने क्रम झन् बढ्यो।'

यी वाह्य कारणसँगै बैंक तथा वित्तीय संस्था आफैं पनि यसमा जिम्मेवार छन्। तरलता व्यवस्थापन गर्ने आफ्नै रणनीति नहुनु समस्याको आन्तरिक कारण हो।

राष्ट्र बैंकले कर्जा-निक्षेप अनुपात तोकेको हुन्छ। धेरैले जानीजानी यसको बेवास्ता गर्दै आएका छन्। कति चाहेर पनि त्यो सीमाभित्र आउन सकेका छैनन्। राष्ट्र बैंकले सय रुपैयाँ निक्षेप संकलन भए ८० रुपैयाँसम्म कर्जा लगानी गर्न निर्देशन दिएको थियो, जुन धेरै वित्तीय संस्थाले पालना गरेका छैनन्।

'कर्जा-निक्षेप अनुपात तोकिएको सीमामा राख्न नसक्नु कम्पनीको कमजोरी हो,' मेगा बैंकका प्रमुख कार्यकारी अधिकृत अनिल शाहले भने।

राष्ट्र बैंकको भूमिका गहन
बैंकर्स संघका अध्यक्ष अशोक राणाले एकपछि अर्को वित्तीय संस्था समस्यामा पर्ने यो क्रम थप अगाडि बढ्न नदिन राष्ट्र बैंकको भूमिका गहन भएकाले सहयोगको खाँचो पर्ने बताए।

कतैबाट पनि पैसा नआएको अवस्थामा राष्ट्र बैंक 'बैंकहरूको बैंक' भएकाले उसैले तरलता प्रवाह गर्नुपर्ने बैंकरहरूको राय छ। 'अप्ठेरो अवस्थामा राष्ट्र बैंकले आर्थिक रूपमै सहयोग गर्नुपर्छ, हामीले यसबारे छलफल गरिरहेका छौं,' एक बैंकका प्रमुख कार्यकारीले भने।

राष्ट्र बैंकका अधिकारी भने यसमा सहमत छैनन्। 'कसैले यतिउति पैसा दिएका आधारमा संस्था चल्दैन, संस्था चल्न सर्वसाधारणको विश्वास चाहिन्छ,' डेपुटी गभर्नर अधिकारीले भने।

बैंकिङ क्षेत्रको विश्वास बढाउन राष्ट्र बैंकले पनि आफ्नो तर्फबाट कदम चालिरहेको उनले बताए। कुनै एउटा संस्था समस्यामा पर्दा त्यसको असर 'प्रणालीगत' हुने भन्दै राष्ट्र बैंकले यसलाई हल गर्न समिति बनाएको उनले जानकारी दिए। 'समितिबाट आएको रिपोर्टका आधारमा हामी अगाडि बढ्छौं,' अधिकारीले भने।

बैंकरहरूका अनुसार समस्याको सहज हल समयमै बजेट ल्याउनु पनि हो। चार आर्थिक वर्षदेखि समयमा बजेट आउन नसक्नुले विकास खर्च प्रभावित भएको छ। यसकै असर बैंकिङ क्षेत्रसम्म आइपुगेको उनीहरू बताउँछन्।

दलहरूले बजेटमाथि राजनीति नगरेर समयमै जारी गर्ने र समयमै खर्च गर्नेबित्तिकै बैंकिङ प्रणालीमा पैसा आउन थाल्ने र तरलताको अभाव टर्ने बैंकरहरू बताउँछन्।

'सञ्चालकहरूको मनोमानीका कारण डुबेकाबाहेक वास्तविक आर्थिक कारण र तरलता अभावले समस्यामा परेकालाई यसले ठूलै राहत दिनेछ,' एक बैंक कार्यकारीले भने।

NRB issues Vibor Rs 500m 'last resort' loan

KATHMANDU, June 10: Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) on Thursday provided a short-term loan of Rs 500 million to liquidity-strapped Vibor Bikas Bank (VBB), in response to calls for urgent support from the central bank to avert a looming collapse.

An emergency board meeting held at NRB on Thursday decided to extend the conditional loan for a period of six months,under its ´lender of last resort´ policy. NRB took the extreme measure mainly because it feared that adversity at the national-level development bank could leave a systemic impact.

Two days after People´s Finance Limited shut down operations due to a liquidity crunch, top brass at Vibor, similarly bogged down by liquidity crunch, had requested NRB on Wednesday for a management takeover.

“The situation was pressing. Hence, we decided to swing into action immediately,” said a senior NRB official. “The bank needed cash, not a management takeover. So we chose to pledge it a loan instead of taking over its management,” he told Republica.

Along with agreeing to a set of tough conditions, the troubled VBB has pledged a number of collaterals for the loan, including good loans worth Rs 700 million and a plot of land worth Rs 350 million at Kamalpokhari.

That is not all. NRB has also instructed Vibor to take a number of corrective actions such as appointment of separate individuals as chairman and chief executive. Currently, the bank was operating with Ajaya Ghimire as chairman and CEO. The central bank also decided to send VBB into forced merger and asked it to sign a merger MOU with some other financial institution within the next three months.

“We have issued strongly worded instructions to Vibor to instantly find a partner and undergo merger,” said the source. The instructions were issued as per the recently enforced merger bylaw, which authorizes the central bank to force banks and financial institutions (BFIs) to merge in case their health deteriorates badly.
The central bank has also sought a liquidity management plan, an asset disposal plan and cuts in staff expenses.

NRB officials agreed that Vibor plunged into a mess largely due to poor liquidity and risk management. “Its weakness was it had not worked out alternative plans to arrange funds despite knowing that large fixed deposits were maturing soon and might not be renewed,” said the source.

Officially, Vibor has blamed its crisis mainly on withdrawal of deposits worth Rs 270 million by NRB and Rs 50 million by the Nepal Army Welfare Fund about a week ago. “Records show the bank has suffered massive withdrawals of about Rs 500 million in around a month. Any bank will turn cash-strapped after such withdrawals,” said a banker.

Despite its troubles, officials said Vibor was still a solvent bank. Its deposits presently stand at around Rs 300 billion, whereas its loans and advances total Rs 2.30 billion. The bank has investments in about half a dozen assets-related projects.

“The health of the bank now depends on how fast it disposes of its assets and cuts expenses,” said NRB officials. The bank said it will recover in one-and-a-half months if everything goes well.

Thursday, June 9, 2011

Sinking Vibor Bank seeks mgmt by NRB

KATHMANDU, June 9: In yet another spate of financial turmoil, Vibor Bikas Bank (VBB) -- a national level development bank -- has become the latest financial institution to seek emergency management takeover by the central bank, Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) to avert a looming financial meltdown.

A delegation of Nepal Bankers Association and Vibor Bank´s CEO Ajaya Ghimire formally approached two Deputy Governors of NRB Gopal Kafle and Maha Prasad Adhikari on Wednesday and requested for management takeover.

Refusing to take over the troubled bank, the NRB suggested to the members of the NBA to help Vibor by resuming stalled inter-bank lending.

The bankers refused to buy the idea. “The bank is seriously in crisis. Who will risk themselves by providing loans to it against land or house, which are not selling these days?” said a banker.

The bankers had left the NRB after the central bank officials assured them of taking concrete decision on Vibor on Thursday.

Earlier on Tuesday, the Vibor officials had approached the NBA, of which it is a member, requesting support for a bail out. During the emergency board meeting of NBA yesterday, central bank officials had suggested the association to take steps to rescue the bank.

However, bankers refused and argued that there was only one solution for Vibor: to ask the NRB to take over its management.

The trouble

Though the development bank has attributed its trouble to worsening liquidity crunch, sources closely watching the affairs in the bank said it has deeper problems related to corporate governance, mainly imprudent real estate investment decisions.

Officially, Vibor has blamed the crisis to withdrawal of deposits worth Rs 270 million by NRB and Rs 50 million by Nepal Army Welfare Fund about a week ago.

“Sudden siphoning out of Rs 320 million from the bank pushed it to an illiquid situation, whereby it now has no cash to pay money back to its depositors,” said an official at the bank.

But this is not all the trouble confronting the bank. It is facing problems in recovering loans, a major chunk of which has gone into the real estate business. “And it has no room for re-injecting liquidity through refinancing because it had taken 180 million from the central bank about 10 days ago,” said a member of Nepal Bankers Association (NBA).

The development bank was relying heavily on inter-bank lending to fulfill its obligations for the last one week. However, over the last few days, the banks too refused to lend to it, precipitating immediate crisis.

Latest financial situation

The latest financials of the bank shows that its deposits stand at Rs 3.57 billion as at mid-April 2011. Its loans and advances stand at Rs 2.30 billion.

Of the total loans, Vibor has Rs 522.44 million (about 23 percent of total loans) exposed in the real estate sector, including business complex and residential apartment loans (Rs 72.19 million), income generating commercial complex loan (Rs 109.95 million) and other real estate loan, including land purchase and plotting (Rs 235.67 million).

It has also issued Rs 839.96 million in overdraft, which officials said has largely gone to the real estate loans to avoid loan loss provisioning, something which could have squeezed its profits. In mid-April 2010, its overdraft loans was just Rs 383.95 million.

Despite such efforts, its provision for possible loan loss had doubled to Rs 101.95 million and the bank was operating with a net loss of Rs 88.44 million as of the end of the third quarter of this fiscal year. In the same period last year, the bank had announced that it earned a profit of Rs 129.56 million.

Tuesday, June 7, 2011

Rift in CIAA delays Sudan scam case

KATHMANDU, June 7: A rift between Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Secretary Bhagwati Kafle and two investigation officers has delayed bringing the Sudan scam case to the Special Court on Monday as planned.

CIAA officials had formally asked Special Court Registrar Dhir Bahadur Chand over the phone on Monday afternoon to wait till the last moment (of office hours) as they were filing case.

"CIAA spokesperson Ishwori Paudel phoned me to say they were filing case by Monday evening (before 5 PM)," said Chand, adding, "Paudel phoned again at 5 PM and said sorry for keeping me waiting."

The question arises why the anti-graft body could not file case at the Special Court even after informing in advance that it would do so? Was it due to inadequate time to prepare a charge sheet as claimed by CIAA officials or was it serious differences that obstructed them?

A source at the CIAA claims that the charge sheet is already ready. However, they are delaying the case due to serious differences between Secretary Kafle and investigation officers Dilli Raman Acharya and Ishowri Paudel over the names and numbers of those they want to indict.

"Secretary Kafle has been trying to indict nearly two dozen officials ranging from inspectors to former police chiefs," the source said, adding, "Kafle is so adamant that the two investigation officers are in a dilemma."

Filing of the case was further delayed Monday as a new dispute arose regarding the involvement of incumbent AIGs--Kalyan Timalsena and Arjun Jung Shahi.

According to the source, a document showing a slight involvement of the two AIGs in the decision making appeared abruptly at the commission Sunday evening from some ´unknown source´. Matters then took another turn, the source added.

The source at the anti-graft body claims Kafle is hell-bent on indicting the two AIGs also while the investigation officers argue that the AIGs were not responsible in the scam. "The two AIGs´ role was not crucial," the source quoted the two officers as telling Kafle.

The CIAA has been probing irregularities in the procuring of armored personnel carries (APCs) and other logistics for Nepali peacekeepers in Darfur, Sudan.

According to the source, the commission has already concluded that Rs 300 million, out of the Rs 440 million involved in the procurement deal, was embezzled.

Besides three former police chiefs ---Om Bikram Rana, Hem Bahadur Gurung and Ramesh Chand Thakuri and some other senior police officers, the anti-graft body has already decided to file case against Michael Rider, director of London-based Assured Risks company that supplied the APCs and other logistics, and Shambhu Bharati, local agent of the company.

People's Finance stops transaction

KATHMANDU, June 7: Bogged down by liquidity crisis, People´s Finance abruptly shut down its transactions on Monday, without informing even the regulatory authority -- Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB).

The company was reeling hard under cash crunch mainly after the central bank withdrew a portion of its fixed deposits (about Rs 70 million) at the company which matured in mid-May.

The company had repeatedly requested the central bank to renew the deposits. Apart from that, corporate depositors too have been pressing for the payment of their matured deposits.

“The company was facing problem to repay the depositors since last couple of weeks,” said an NRB official, adding, “As its executive chairman and board of directors too preferred to remain out of contact, the deputy chief executive and the management team decided to close transactions on the day.”

Despite repeated efforts, Republica could not contact Keshav Prasad Bhattarai, deputy chief executive of People´s Finance, as his cell phone was switched off. Nonetheless, NRB officials confirmed that Bhattarai approached NRB on Monday to inform the central bank about his company´s situation.

Although rumors were rife that executive chairman Chhabi Lal Bhusal is absconding, Bhattarai informed the central bank that he was on leave since two days to attend marriage of close relatives.

Officials of the Nepal Finance Companies Association - the umbrella organization of Category ´C´ finance companies - told Republica that Bhattarai had approached the central bank officials, seeking their advice, mainly after senior players in the sector suggested him to do so. “He agreed to consult with NRB after officials of the association cautioned him that sudden closure of the service without due information and approval of the central bank could hurt the company badly, eroding its credibility,” said a source.

The company closed its head office in Tripureshwar and a branch office in Bhairahawa, pasting a notice which said ´transactions have been stopped due to technical reasons´. The notice neither disclosed when it will resume transactions, nor explained the nature of the technical problem. This had left its clients in the lurch.

NRB officials said the company was excessively relying on institutional deposits to manage its sources of fund. “The trouble surfaced when institutional depositors preferred to withdraw their deposits,” the source elaborated. The central bank still has deposits worth Rs 100 million in the company.

Records show, the company´s deposits stands at about Rs 890 million, while its loans and advances stand at Rs 1.04 billion. Of the total credit, more than Rs 800 million has gone in real estate and housing.

NRB team to dig out facts

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) on Monday sent a team of monitoring staff to People´s Finance Ltd to take stock of its accounts and financial position.

"We have deputed a team to dig out facts about the company as it did not disclose details of its situation,” said NRB Spokesperson Bhaskar Gyawali.

Sources at NRB said the sudden closure of transactions by the company has raised doubts in the central bank as well. "Hopefully we will get the real picture when the team submits its report on Tuesday," said Gyawali.

Monday, June 6, 2011

´Insurance‚ permit a must´


KATHMANDU: The government has made insurance and work permit mandatory for migrant workers, who extended their jobs overseas.

“Every migrant worker should get a new insurance policy and job permission to continue overseas job,” director general of Department of Foreign Employment Chandra Man Shrestha said.

Earlier, the provisions of Foreign Employment Regulation were applied to new overseas workers only. Ministry of Labour and Transport Management changed the provisions last week to provide insurance and other government benefits to all migrant workers.

Singha Durbar to be plastic-free zone


KATHMANDU: The government has decided to make Singha Durbar — the administrative headquarters — a plastic-free zone.

Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal today directed authorities to implement the plastic-free-zone concept from tomorrow itself.

“From tomorrow onwards, plastic bags of less than 20 micron will be prohibited on Singha Durbar premises. The government will extend the drive across the country,” said PM Khanal.

Plastic bags less than 20 micron thickness are non-reusable.

Khanal also directed authorities to launch a special programme to increase greenery in the Valley. The prime minister, who spent almost the entire day at different programmes in Kathmandu to mark World Environment Day -2011 today, made some other environment protection commitments.

Speaking at a science students’ conference, Khanal urged all students to do their bit to save the environment.

Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation Bhanubhakta Joshi hailed the PM directive for launching the greenery programme.

“We will move further to implement the concept and submit a proposal to the cabinet soon,” said Joshi.

“Twenty years ago, when I was minister for forests and environment, we promoted community forestry. The bid has now proved one of the best conservation examples. Now, we must promote private forestry and encourage each family to plant trees around their houses,” Khanal said.

Meanwhile, marking the day, the Ministry of Environment honoured individuals and organisations working in the environment sector.

Abdullah Miya of Radio Sagarmatha, Gopimaya Gurung of Choyatar Community Forest User’s Group and Khop Narayan Shrestha of Manahari Development Institute were honoured in recognition of their contribution to the environment.

Likewise, Thaneshwor Dhungana, organic vegetable farmer from Pokhara, and Khadananda Acharya, an exemplary waste management initiator from Parbat were also honoured.

Also in the honour list was Eco Friends Nepal, an NGO that organised tree plantation at Indreni Community Forest in Tokha marking the day. Another NGO Small Earth Nepal also organised a students meet on climate change

Lawmakers okay project financing in BAFIA


KATHMANDU, June 5: A sub-committee of Parliamentary Bills Committee Sunday decided to add a new clause in the amendment to Banks and Financial Institutions Act (BAFIA) that allows BFIs to sanction loan against any project as collateral.

Ekraj Bhandari, member of the committee, told Republica that the sub-committee agreed to include a provision in BAFIA that allow BFIs to sanction loans against projects without furnishing additional collaterals.

“Though the decision has yet to be drafted, we have agreed to include the provision in BAFIA,” he said. He, however, added that the provision will not compel BFIs to sanction such loans.

“BFIs will have full authority to decide wether or not to grant loan even after the new provision comes to effect.”

Commenting on the development, bankers said such provision was not necessary. Suman Joshi, CEO of Laxmi Bank, said the new provision will not have much impact as banks were already providing loan to companies having reliable balance sheet without additional collaterals.

“Even if there is a provision in BAFIA, banks will not take risk by sanctioning loans to companies that do not have sound balance sheet,” added Joshi.

After preparing the final draft, the sub-committee will forward it to the parliament for approval. Bankers have been opposing the amendment to BAFIA, saying that the amendment, if endorsed, will devastate the banking sector.

Dahal bids adieu to PLA security guards

KATHMANDU, June 6: In an emotionally-charged environment at his residence in Nayabazaar on Sunday, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal faced a tough time convincing the PLA personnel that the party has not deviated from the goals of revolution.

But the “rhetoric" that Dahal would not betray the “dreams of the martyrs” hardly assured the politically indoctrinated combatants, who were sent back by Maoists headquarters to the cantonments where they were registered by United Nations Mission in Nepal.

“The party has played frivolity on our lives and future. The leaders have kept us in the dark by playing dirty politics,” a participant quoted one Ramita, a member of the PLA from the seventh division, as saying at the closed-door function organized to bid farewell to the PLA personnel.

In reply, Dahal told the combatants that he took decision to send them to the cantonments to create an atmosphere of political trust for the sake of peace and constitution.

“I have taken the risk for peace. I am the chairman of the largest political party and it is the responsibility of the state to make arrangements for my security,” a leader quoted Dahal as saying.

Dahal said he felt bad to bid adieu to the PLA personnel who were with him for years.

“We have been together for the last 10 years and we ate food in the same plate. Having to part with you has made me emotional,” a PLA member quoted Dahal as saying in his typical style.

The PLA personnel stated that they would abide by the party´s decisions, but stated that they felt bad for being considered “redundant”.

“We think we no longer enjoy the party´s trust on us. After so many years we are no longer in the service of the party,” stated a commander at the function.

The Maoist chairman stated at the gathering that he had no option other than ending the dual security to take other political parties into confidence.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal with PLA security details at his residence, Nayabazar, on Sunday before they were sent back to their respective cantonments as per an agreement to end dual security arrangement for Maoist leaders. There were a total 106 PLA guards providing security to Maoist leaders.

The combatants, however, stated that they have doubts if the party would fulfill the dreams of those “martyred, injured and disappeared during the People´s War.” A combatant stated that he felt the aim of revolution has suddenly received a blow after he submitted his weapons at Nayabazaar.

“I felt as if someone suddenly snatched my weapons that were gathered through the sacrifices of many of my colleagues. I don´t know why I felt so. Perhaps, I felt so because I had to lay down the arms before realizing the goals of revolution,” said Narayan Adhikari who was in the security of party spokesperson Dinanath Sharma.
After the interaction program, Dahal posed for pictures with the combatants for more than 30 minutes and bid them farewell.

Some 60 PLA personnel, deployed for the security of senior party leaders, participated at the function early morning. Only low rank personnel had spoken at the program. They are returning to the cantonments with weapons after the party´s top office bearers decided to end the dual security for the leaders to implement the five-point agreement inked before extension of the CA term on May 29. The party would also send the 94 guns, including GPMG, AK-47 and SLR, to the Shaktikhor cantonment.

“Forty armed personnel returned to the cantonments Sunday and 66 personnel under my command would return on Monday,” said brigade commander Yuvaraj Dulal from the Third Division.

Baidya faction opposes party decision

Around two dozen PLA personnel deployed for the security of the leaders from hard-line faction led by Senior Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya boycotted the function terming the party decision to end the “dual security” illegitimate. They stated that they would not return to the cantonments until the party´s Central Committee (CC) takes a decision in this regard.

“We would return only if the CC takes such a decision,” said a combatant deployed in the service of a leader from the hard-line faction. They are also not submitted their weapons at Nayabazaar.

The Baidya faction has stated that the party´s decision to end the security being provided to senior leaders by the PLA is tantamount to surrender.

“These leaders damaged our lives. They traded our blood, sweat and sacrifice for money and power. But they will not be at peace as they have betrayed the martyrs,” said a commander who is close to Baidya.

Friday, June 3, 2011

Maoist terminates dual security arrangement

Kathmandu, June 1 - The meeting of UCPN-Maoist office-bearers Wednesday decided to terminate the dual security arrangement used by the Maoist leaders.

The meeting held at the party’s chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda’s residence in Naya Bazaar also decided to convert the temporary registration number plates of the vehicles used by the party leaders into red-coloured private registration plate and those used in the cantonments by the combatants into white-coloured government number plates.

Party vice-chairman Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai said that the meeting took the decision to end the double security enjoyed by the Maoist leader as a part of implementing the five-point deal signed on the eve of the extension of Constituent Assembly’s term on May 28.

Today’s decisions will be formally approved by the party’s Standing Committee meeting slated for Friday.

Dr. Bhattarai said that his party would honestly implement the deal in order to conclude the peace and statute writing processes within the next three months.

The five-point deal stresses, among others, on ending the double security provision of the Maoists, management of the arms and combatants, finding modality for the integration and rehabilitation of the combatants, and fixing the numbers of combatants to be integrated into the security agencies.

Meanwhile, Nepali Congress (NC) and UCPN-Maoist leaders Wednesday made their claim to forming national consensus government under the leadership of their respective parties.

NC leader Dr. Ram Saran Mahat said that the Maoists were ready to accept the leadership of his party in the new government formed on the basis of national consensus while the Maoist politburo member Devendra Poudel claimed that party’s vice-president Dr. Babu Ram Bhattarai was almost confirmed as the new PM.

They made their claims at an interaction organised by Reporters Club Nepal in the capital.

"The party decided to form the government led by Dr. Bhattarai long time ago," Poudel said.

He said that PM Khanal should quit paving the way for the formation of national consensus government.

"PM Khanal is violating the five-point agreement by saying that he would resign only after the roadmap for the consensus is built," he blamed.

He argued that the management of arms and combatants should go side by side.

"It is not possible to submit arms to the state. This will be tantamount to admission of defeat, and against peace agreement," he maintained.

NC leader Dr. Mahat said that the CPN-UML completed its turn to lead the government while the Maoists cold not lead the government until they fulfilled certain conditions.

"Therefore, the chance of NC to lead the government is high.

He said that Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal should tender his resignation immediately to implement the five-point deal so that it would pave the way for the formation of national consensus government.

Dr. Mahat said that the parties needed to resort to quiet diplomacy to settle this row.

If they engage in quarrel over the implementation of the deal, it will hamper the whole political process, he added.

"The Maoists have big responsibility to implement the deal. It is the litmus test for them and they must rise above the prejudices and petty interests," he added.

As per the agreement, the Maoists should end double security arrangement and hand over their arms to the government within June 3 and the Army Integration Special Committee would take 28 cantonments in control by mobilising the additional manpower, he claimed.

NC softens tone on PM resignation issue

The central working committee (CWC) of the Nepali Congress Thursday decided to take initiative for the implementation of the recent five-point agreement, but hinted that it would not press for immediate resignation of the Prime Minister Jhala Nath Khanal.

NC vice chairman Ram Chandra Poudel said after the CWC meeting that the party would start talks for the implementation of the five-point deal.

"We have concluded that the agreement should be implemented to resolve the problems," said he.

The CWC meeting also endorsed the five-point agreement and concluded that the new agreement has turned the earlier UML-Maoist seven-point deal completely redundant.

According to a source, a number of CWC members said at the meeting that the party should not cling on to the demand for immediate resignation of the Prime Minister since the latter has already expressed readiness to quit and that the party should focus on the implementation of the five-point agreement altogether.

On Wednesday, in his address to the nation, Prime Minister Khanal said he would step down if the NC suggested "an alternative based on consensus".

Real Estate Expo in August


KATHMANDU, June 2: Nepal Land and Housing Developers Association in association with Direction Nepal is organizing second Real Estate Expo from 25th to 28th August at Exhibition Hall, Bhrikutimandap.

The second Real Estate Expo is being organized with the motive of showcasing latest innovation in land and housing sector as well as to give emphasis on policies relating to the development of land and housing sector in Nepal.

Icchya Raj Tamang, the president of Nepal Land and Housing Association, informed the exhibition will not just focus on housing sector but also work out for the formulation of better land and housing policy. "We expect that the exhibition will turn out to be a great platform to make land and housing business more dynamic," Tamang said.

The organizers of the event in a media briefing held in the capital informed that the expo will be taken to a higher level by promoting it among Non Resident Nepalis (NRN) as well.

The association is working in coordination with Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI) and NRN´s for the purpose.

The three day expo is also expected to raise awareness on the importance of earthquake resistant housing technology among customers.

The expo will house over 200 stalls showcasing developed plots, community housing and apartments as well as various other housing related products. Stalls at the exhibition will also showcase payment plans, financing models, on the spot banking services, interior and exterior decoration items and electrical equipments among others.

The organizers further informed that the expo will only showcase projects that have received authorization from the government.

The organizers have expected more than 50,000 visitors at the expo.

Govt's political status is caretaker: PM


KATHMANDU, June 3: Prime Minister Jhalanath Khanal said at a meeting of the CPN-UML on Thursday that his government is politically a caretaker one but has a constitutionally full-fledged status, following the signing of the five-point deal among major political parties.

Addressing the Central Committee (CC) meeting of the CPN-UML, Khanal, who is also party chairman, urged the party´s CC members not to waste too much energy lobbying for or against the issue of the prime minister´s resignation, saying that he was ready to act as per the deal.

"Since we have already reached a political agreement I am very clear that my government´s status is politically that of a caretaker but constitutionally that of a full-fledged one and I am not in favor of prolonging my stay in office just to enjoy state facilities in that capacity," a senior UML leader close to the prime minister quoted him as saying.

The prime minister, according to the UML leader, made the statement after some of the leaders demanded that he make his position clear as contradictory interpretations were being made of point number 5 in the deal, which concerns the prime minister´s resignation. While leaders close to Khanal argued that the agreement meant he would step down only after the major political parties were ready with another prime ministerial candidate, members from the rival faction argued that the prime minister was bound to step down beforehand to pave the way for the formation of a new government.

"This is exactly the same statement I gave last year concerning the previous government after a similar deal was reached and I am firm in my conviction that the present government also has the same status," said the prime minister at the meeting. "Friends don´t need to argue and counter-argue in this connection since I am in serious discussions with Prachandaji and Sushilji [Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress President Sushil Koirala] over the matter."

According to the UML leaders, the prime minister tried to convince the CC members that he was not going to cling on to office once the major parties came up with an alternative candidate for prime minister but he would not also quit the post in a situation that would cause a political void.

According to CC member Karna Thapa, many leaders emphasize that the five-point deal should replace the controversial seven-point agreement reached between Khanal and Maoist Chairman Dahal just ahead of Khanal´s election as prime minister. Altogether 24 members aired their views at the meeting.

"Since the five-point deal has clearly mentioned that the prime minister should pave the way [for the formation of a new government] after the minimum ground for forming a national consensus government is ready, and this has been endorsed by parliament, we urge one and all not to drag this issue into controversy but to concentrate all their efforts on accomplishing the peace process," a statement issued by the party said.

The party´s all-powerful body, CC, endorsed the five-point deal and recommended to party leaders to give utmost priority to utilizing the extended three-month term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) for preparing a draft of the new constitution and accomplishing the fundament tasks of the peace process.

The UML has passed a special proposal saying that the tasks of fixing the number of Maoist combatants to be integrated into government security agencies and those to be rehabilitated should be fixed within the period of a week. Likewise, the UML has said that rank harmonization, the formation of a separate force following integration, ending of dual security for top Maoist leaders and preparing a package for Maoist combatants opting for rehabilitation in society, should all be accomplished within a week.

जीवन बीमाको गलत बुझाइ र यसको प्रवर्द्धन

ईश्वर सेडाईं
आमरूपमा जीवन बीमालाई मरेपछि पाइने सम्पत्तिका रूपमा बुझ्ने गरिन्छ । त्यसैले भन्ने गरिन्छ 'आफूले बीमा गरेको रकम आफैले उपभोग गर्न पाइँदैन भने बीमा किन गर्ने ? मरेपछि डुमै राजा ।' बीमा बुझ्ने र जान्ने मानिससमेत जीवन बीमामा लगानी गर्न अनुचितझैं ठान्छन् । लामो समयको अन्तरालपछि लगानी फिर्ता पाइने र सम्पत्ति प्राप्त हुने अवस्थासम्म बुढेसकालले घेर्ने हुनाले त्यसको खासै प्रयोजन नहुने उनीहरूको तर्क छ । यस्ता असान्दर्भिक तर्क जीवन बीमाको वास्तविक उपलब्धिलाई सही रूपमा बुझ्न नसकेर मात्र भइरहेका छन् ।

जीवन बीमामा गरिएको लगानीको प्रतिफल बाँच्दा पनि र मृत्यु हुँदा पनि पाइन्छ । जीवन बीमालाई जीवनको आवश्यकता ठानेर सही समयमा बीमा गर्ने हो भने न लामो समयको अन्तराल नै कुर्नुपर्छ, न बुढयौली उमेरको नै अनुभव गर्नुपर्छ । युवावस्थामा नै बीमामा गरेको लगानीको प्रतिफल प्राप्त गर्न सकिन्छ । कतिपय मानिस मृत्युपछि आनन्द हुने ठान्छन्, तर जीवनको मूल्याङ्कन जीवन रहँदा मात्र हुने हो । त्यसैले हरेक व्यक्ति वा परिवारले युवावस्थामा अझ भनौं बालबच्चाको हकमा जन्मेपछि बीमा गर्नेतर्फअग्रसर हुनुपर्दछ । खासमा जीवन बीमाका लाभलाई सही रूपमा बुझ्न सकिएमा त्यसबाट बीमाको आवश्यकता महसूस हुन्छ ।

जीवन बीमामा लगानी गर्दा बीमा गर्ने व्यक्तिको मात्र होइन, समस्त परिवारको व्यवस्थापन गर्न सकिन्छ । किनभने जीवन बीमा राम्रो आर्थिक योजना हो । बीमामा कुनै ठूलो रकम एकमुष्ट लगानी गर्नुपर्दैन । थोरै रकम निश्चित अवधिसम्म किस्ताकिस्तामा तिरे पुग्छ । पछि गएर सोही रकम अपत्यारिलो आम्दानी बन्नपुग्छ । त्यो रकम पारिवारिक व्यवस्थापन गर्ने दरिलो आधार बन्छ । साथै, बीमामा गरिएको सानो लगानीले आशातीत पूँजी जुटाउने कार्यमा सघाउ पुग्दछ । त्यसैले जीवन बीमामा लगानी गर्ने हरेक व्यक्तिको आर्थिक भविष्य सुरक्षित भइरहेको हुन्छ ।

आम मानिसलाई सोध्नुस्, जीवनको मूल्यवान् सम्पत्ति के हो ? धेरै मानिसको जवाफ आउँछ, बैङ्कमा भएको निक्षेप, घर, कार, सुन, चाँदी आदि । मेरो विचारमा यो जवाफ त्यति तर्कसङ्गत छैन । मुख्य कुरा त मानिसको आम्दानी गर्ने क्षमता सबैभन्दा ठूलो सम्पति हो । मानिसले जति सम्पत्ति जोडेको हुन्छ, त्यो उसको आम्दानी गर्ने क्षमताको कारणले हो ।

तपाईं कल्पना गर्नुस् त, यदि तपाईंको जीवनमा प्रतिकूल अवस्था आयो र आम्दानी ठप्प भयो भने के हुन्छ ? जीवन सञ्चालनका लागि भएभरको सम्पत्ति बेच्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । त्यसबाट जीवन नै डामाडोल हुन पुग्दछ । त्यसैले जीवनमा आम्दानीको क्षमतालाई ऊर्जाशील र भयमुक्त बनाउन जीवन बीमा अपरिहार्य आवश्यकता हो । किनभने जीवन बीमाले जोखिमविरुद्ध संरक्षण प्रदान गर्छ भने मृत्युपछि पनि लाभदायक परिणाम दिन्छ ।

मानिसको जीवन सधैं एकनासले चल्छ भन्ने छैन । जीवनमा अनेक उतारचढाव आउँछन् । जीवनमा कतिपय अवस्थामा अकल्पनीय घटनासमेत हुन सक्छ । एक व्यक्तिका कारण परिवारका सम्पूर्ण सदस्यलाई आर्थिक समस्याले पिरोल्न सक्छ । यस्तो बेलामा जीवन बीमा गरिएको छ भने आर्थिक समस्या टार्न बीमा रकमले ठूलै राहत प्रदान गर्छ । दुर्घटनामा परिहाले बीमा रकमका अतिरिक्त सोहीबराबर थप रकम परिवारका व्यक्तिले प्राप्त गर्ने हुनाले बाँच्नेहरूको भविष्य अनिश्चित हुन पाउँदैन ।

तर, यसका लागि बीमा गर्ने व्यक्तिले केही कुरामा भने अवश्य ध्यान दिनुपर्दछ । सक्षम र उत्कृष्ट व्यवस्थापन, सरल दाबी भुक्तानी, लगानीकर्ताहरूको व्यावसायिक प्रतिबद्धता, बीमा गर्नेहरूप्रति सरल र इमानदार व्यवहार, कानूनी व्यवस्थाको सही रूपमा र संस्थागत सुशासनको निष्ठापूर्वक परिपालना गर्ने जीवन बीमा कम्पनी तपाईंले छनोट गर्नुपर्छ । मुख्य कुरा सेवाको प्रभावकारिता सँगसँगै सुविधा र सरलीकृत योजना भएको कम्पनी छनोट गर्न सकिएमा मात्रै बीमा गर्नेको वास्तविक हित हुन्छ । बीमाका मूल्यमान्यताहरूप्रति प्रतिबद्ध कम्पनीमा गरिएको जीवनबीमा लगानीले तपाईंलाई सदैव खुशी र आर्थिक भविष्यको सुमार्गमा उभ्याइरहेको हुन्छ ।

हामीले बुझ्नुपर्दछ कि जीवन बीमाले मृत्युलाई संरक्षण गर्न सक्दैन तर आर्थिक सुरक्षा भने अवश्य प्रदान गर्छ । आफ्नो आम्दानीलाई संरक्षण प्रदान गर्छ । जीवन बीमामा गरिएको लगानी कुनै पनि अवस्थामा जोखिममा पर्दैन । जीवन बीमाको एउटा योजनाले बहुलाभ प्राप्त भइरहेको हुन्छ । जस्तो कि- कर लाभ, ऋण सुविधा, आर्थिक सुरक्षाको प्रत्याभूति, जाखिम हस्तान्तरण आदि ।

जीवन बीमाका लाभलाई आम मानिसको पहुँचमा पुर्याउन बीमा कम्पनीहरूले विविध प्रकारका योजना अगाडि ल्याइरहेका छन् । ती योजना बालबच्चा, युवा, वयस्कसम्मका लागि परिलक्षित छन् । यस्ता योजना एकल रूपमा मात्र नभएर सामूहिक र संस्थागत आधारमा समेत तयार गरिएका छन् । जुनसुकै वर्ग र हैसियतका मानिससमेत यस प्रकारको योजनामा सहभागी भई लाभ लिन सक्छन् । यस्ता लाभ छोटो र लामो दुवै समयका लागि लिन सकिन्छ ।

बीमा योजना सरल, किफायती र लाभदायक हुँदाहुँदै पनि आम मानिसको ध्यान यसतर्फ प्रभावकारी रूपमा तानिन सकेको छैन । स्वतःस्फूर्त रूपमा जीवन बीमा गर्नुपर्छ भन्नेहरू औंलामा गन्न सकिने होलान् । अहिलेसम्मको अवस्था हेर्दा जीवन बीमामा देखिएको न्यून उपलब्धि बीमा कम्पनीको प्रयासले मात्र सम्भव भइरहेको छ भन्दा उचित नै हुन्छ ।

जीवन बीमाको वर्तमान अवस्थालाई हेर्दा जीवन बीमा कम्पनीहरूको व्यवसायका लागि मात्र हो भन्ने देखिएको छ । जीवन बीमा गर्नेहरूलाई बीमाकर्मीहरूले विश्वस्त तुल्याएर आकर्षित गर्नु परिरहेको छ । जीवन बीमाको आवश्यकताबोध गराउन बीमाकर्मीहरूले निकै प्रयत्न गरिरहेका छन् । तर पनि, बीमा गर्नेहरूले बीमा आफ्नो हित र फाइदाका लागि हो भन्ने अनुभूति गर्न नसकिरहेको देखिन्छ । यसो हुनुमा केही कारण छन्: पहिलो, जीवन बीमाको सन्दर्भमा राज्यले अनुकूल र यथोचित् नीतिगत व्यवस्था नगर्नु, दोस्रो, आम जनमानसमा जीवन बीमाप्रतिको सचेतनाको अभाव, तेस्रो, जीवन बीमाको क्षेत्रमा विदेशी कम्पनीको अनधिकृत प्रवेश । यस्ता कारणले नेपालका जीवन बीमा कम्पनीहरूले समस्या
झेल्दै आएका छन् ।

'बीमा म र मेरो परिवारको सुखद भविष्यका लागि' आवश्यक हो भन्ने महसूस गराउन सक्नुपर्ने दायित्व बीमाकर्मीहरूको हो । बीमाकर्मीहरू आफ्नो व्यावसायिक क्षेत्रमा निकै सक्रिय भएर लागेका छन् र केही हदसम्म उपलब्धि पनि हासिल गरेका छन् । मुख्य कुरा राज्यले नीतिगत तहबाट प्रभावकारी व्यवस्था गरी अनुकूल परिवेश तयार गर्नुपर्ने हुन्छ । त्यसो त बीमा व्यवसायको नियमनकारी निकायले बीमा कम्पनीलाई निर्देशित गर्ने मात्र होइन, यो व्यवसाय प्रवर्द्धनका निम्ति कानूनी तहबाट सुधारको पहल पनि गर्नुपर्छ । साथसाथै आम जनमानसमा बीमा सचेतना जगाई जीवन बीमातर्फ आकर्षित गर्ने कार्यक्रम अगाडि ल्याउनुपर्छ । किनभने बीमाप्रति मानिसको लगाव र विश्वास बढ्नु भनेको जनताको सुरक्षा र समृद्धि कायम हुनु हो ।

आम नागरिकको आर्थिक सुरक्षाका लागि जीवन बीमा प्रभावकारी बनाउने दायित्व राज्यको हो । नागरिकलाई आर्थिक असुरक्षाको महसूस हुन नदिन र निर्बाध रूपमा जीवनयापन गर्ने परिस्थिति तयार गर्न जीवन बीमाका हितकारी कार्यक्रम राज्यले ल्याउनैपर्ने हुन्छ । जीवन बीमा कम्पनीहरूलाई नागरिकको बीमा गर्ने अनुकूल कानूनी वातावरण तयार गर्ने दिशामा राज्यले ठोस कार्ययोजना अगाडि ल्याउनुपर्छ ।

जीवन बीमाप्रति राज्यको स्पष्ट दृष्टिकोण बन्न नसकिरहेका कारणले आम मानिस बीमाप्रति आश्वस्त हुन सकिरहेका छैनन् । जीवन बीमालाई राज्यले नीतिगत रूपमै सम्बोधन गरेर दूरगामी कार्यक्रमहरू ल्याउनुपर्छ । साथै, राज्य त्यस्ता कार्यक्रमको कार्यान्वयन र संरक्षणका लागि अग्रसर हुनुपर्छ । आर्थिक उन्नतिको महत्त्वपूर्ण आधार जीवन बीमा हो भन्ने कुरालाई राज्यले आत्मसात् गर्नुपर्छ । कम्तीमा पनि राज्यले जीवन बीमालाई आम जनताको पहुँचसम्म पुर्याउने व्यवस्थालाई नीतिगत तहमै व्यवस्था गर्न सक्ने हो भने त्यसबाट आमजनता जीवन बीमाको बृहत् क्षेत्रभित्र आबद्ध हुने कुरामा दुईमत छैन ।
लेखक अधिवक्ता हुन् । उनी सूर्य लाइफ इन्स्योरेन्स कम्पनीसँग आबद्ध छन् ।

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