Wednesday, November 30, 2011

RBB gets new board‚ NBL to get soon


KATHMANDU: Rastriya Banijya Bank has got a new board under the leadership of Narhari Dhakal.

The new board — appointed by the current government led by Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai — took the oath of secrecy of the office amid a ceremony today.

The wholly state-owned bank, like other government entities, has been a centre for appointment for the cadres of successive governments.

Chairman of the board Dhakal is a development economist, who has more than 25 year long experience in working in financial sector restructuring and establishment across many Asian countries, according to the Rastriya Banijya Bank that has been in search of chief executive since its last chief executive Janardan Acharya’s term expired.

Though the government started the process of new chief executive appointment, the anti-graft body has stopped the process after an unsatisfied candidate complained.

The other members of the RBB board appointed today include Shanta Raj Subedi, Bishnu Das Dangol, Bal Chandra Shrestha and Pitri Bhakta Pokharel.

Similarly, another partly government-owned Nepal Bank Ltd is also gearing up for the change in the board due to the pressure from the government-affiliated union in the bank. At present, NBL’s board is headed by Keshav Khadka with Pramod Raj Sharma, Ramesh Prasad Upadhayay and Surendra Mani Tripathi — who were appointed by the former government of CPN-UML, but with the change in the guard of government, the UCPN-Maoist affiliated union in the oldest bank of the country has forwarded the name of Dr Bharat Shrestha to head the board with Kamala Hyachuri, Dinanath Pathak, Bhawanath Upadhayay.

Michael Jackson's doctor sentenced to 4 years in jail


LOS ANGELES: Michael Jackson's personal physician, Dr. Conrad Murray, on Tuesday was sentenced to four years in jail and denied probation for his conviction on a charge of involuntary manslaughter in the pop star's death.

"Thriller" singer Jackson died of a drug overdose in June 2009, principally from the use of the surgical anesthetic propofol as a sleep aid. That drug had been obtained and administered to Jackson by Murray at the singer's rented home.

Earlier this month, a jury convicted Murray of involuntary manslaughter, or gross negligence, in his treatment of Jackson after witnesses testified propofol should not be administered at home and, even if it is, it must be given only with the proper life-monitoring equipment on hand. It was not.

Dr. Murray had agreed to care for Jackson ahead of the singer's planned comeback concerts in London, and had negotiated a salary of $150,000 per month to care for the singer.

In sentencing Murray on Tuesday, Los Angeles Superior Court Judge Michael Pastor called Murray's actions "money for medicine madness that is simply not acceptable to me."

Murray sat in his chair, dressed in a gray suit and purple paisley tie, and did not express any emotion.

Chopper crashes‚ all safe


SALLERI: A Fishtail Air 9N-AIK helicopter with a crew member and a passenger, an Australian, on Tuesday met with an accident at Khumjung in Solukhumbu. There were no casualties though, said Fishtail Air CEO Suman Pandey. The chopper had failed to take off to a hover at Labuche area at around 1 pm. Bishnu Prasad Dhakal of Eco Lodge in Labuche, an eyewitness, said the chopper lost its balance while Captain Dipak Rana was making an attempt to lift off. The chopper was damaged. Another helicopter belonging to Air Dynasty had later rescued Rana and a co-pilot, who was not on board when the incident occurred. The Australian national, however, refused to return via a chopper and decided to trek to Lukla.

Special security for CA building


KATHMANDU: Special security arrangements have been made in the Capital city with special focus on the Constituent Assembly building following the extension of CA tenure by six months.

Police said the measures were adopted to prevent any untoward incidents based on intelligence that some political parties and groups unhappy with the tenure extension were likely to disturb peace.

More than 1,160 cops, led by Kathmandu police chief SP Rajendra Shrestha, were mobilised in and adjoining areas of the CA building round-the-clock.

Besides Nepal Police, more than 500 elite cops of Armed Police Force are mobilised as back-up.

Sniffer dogs, bomb disposal squads, water cannons and ambulances have been kept ready to cope with any unpleasant situation.

“Security in and around the CA building is our top priority,” SP Shrestha said.

Four major road junctions leading to the CA building are under the surveillance of security forces.

The security measures also coincide with rallies and various means of protests against the extension of CA tenure.

“We have arranged five-tier security for the CA building,” SP Shrestha informed. Earlier, Kathmandu District Administration Office had declared various parts of the Capital city a prohibited zone until further notice in view of the expiry of the CA term.

The prohibited zones cover areas near the Office of the President, Vice-President, Prime Minister, Singha Durbar and the CA building. Police said they had also kept tight vigil on transit points of the Valley. The administration has empowered police to arrest any suspects.

Big 3 agree to form national consensus govt

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Nov 29, UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF) Tuesday agreed to form a national unity government by extending the Constituent Assembly (CA) tenure for six months.

In a meeting held at Singha Durbar, the major political forces also inked a six-point consensus deal and said the parties would begin consultations to form the national unity government.

They also endorsed the report of the joint taskforce which recommended the 6-month extension of the CA tenure.

UCPN-Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’, NC president Sushil Koirala, CPN-UML chairman Jhalanath Khanal, and Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic chairman Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar inked in the six-point deal.

According to the deal, the parties will start political consultations to form a national unity government, the top leaders will meet once a week, the State Restructuring Commission will submit the report within two months, the parties will continuously monitor the implementation of seven-point deal, the Constitutional Committee will submit the calendar of constitution drafting within December 6 and the combatants will be regrouped within December 4.

After the meeting, UCPN-M vice-chairman and Deputy Prime Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha said that the parties agreed to extend the CA tenure for six months and were ready to intensify talks for a national unity government.

He said that the parties were serious to implement the seven-point deal and inked another six-point accord to implement it.

The parties also reached a consensus to start a weekly meeting of top leaders to analyze the implementation of the seven-point deal, Shrestha said.

NC vice-president Ram Chandra Poudel said that the leaders decided to continue the peace and statute writing processes and extend the CA term for six months.

He said that the newly inked six-point deal would help conclude the peace process within the stipulated deadline.

Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Ganatantrik chairman and Minister for Information and Communications JP Gupta said that the parties agreed to conclude the first phase combatants’ regrouping within 4 December.

He said that the leaders also agreed to start a homework to form the national unity government through consensus.

CPN-UML vice-chairman Bam Dev Gautam said that the meeting centered on the direction of the Supreme Court and decided to extend the CA tenure by six months.

NC leader Arjun Narsingh KC said that the parties agreed to continuously analyze and examine the peace and constitution writing processes.

DRI unearths 300 new cases of IC misappropriation


KATHMANDU, Nov 30: The Department of Revenue Investigation (DRI) has unearthed more than 300 new cases of misuse of Indian Currency (IC) by eight Birgunj-based firms.

A team of the DRI and Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) is looking into suspicious withdrawal of IC from three leading commercial banks by those eight firms over the past four months.

The department had dispatched a team to Birgunj last week to further investigate into IC misappropriation racket. It suspects the involvement of customs officials and staff of the banks in IC misappropriation.

“We have found more than 300 new cases of IC misappropriation by the eight firms. They were found to have withdrawn a large amount of IC from Birgunj-based bank branch of NIC Bank, Siddhartha Bank and Laxmi Bank,” Mohan Bahadur Chand, director of the DRI, said

However, the exact amount misused by those firms is still to be ascertained as investigation officials are busy verifying documents.

“Most of the cases are related to Shyam Galla Bhandar that managed to withdraw IC by producing fake documents of dry fruits and groceries imports from India,” added Chand.

About a couple of weeks ago, DRI had said it was near to completing investigation into the IC misappropriation scam that has inflicted loss worth Rs 2 billion to the national exchequer.

Preliminary investigation has showed that IC worth Rs 900 million has been misappropriated by the Birgunj-based firms alone. A joint team from DRI and NRB has found the involvement of Laxmi Traders, Maha Laxmi Enterprises, Rehan Traders, Shyam Galla Store, GS Traders, Mata Di International, Maxwell Computers and Digital World in IC misuse.

The team has suspected involvement of customs staff, employees of around a dozen banks and the traders in IC misappropriation.

Before this latest revelation, DRI had found that Laxmi Trader, Mahalaxmi Enterprises and Rehan Traders withdrew Rs 20 million from Birgunj branch of Laxmi Bank by showing fake documents of potato imports through Chhatyauli small customs under Krishnanagar Customs Office.

Published on 2011-11-30 00:26:18

ANFA ink deal with Dabur Nepal

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Nov 29

ANFA and Dabur Nepal signed a deal to sponsor National football team for SAFF Championship for AFC Challenge Cup on Tuesday in Kathmandu.

According to the deal, Dabur Nepal will provide Rs. 10, 00, 000 and football gears to ANFA. The Cup is scheduled to start from March 3-18 in Kathmandu. President of ANFA Ganesh Thapa and Representative of Dabur Nepal Avaya Gorkhali exchanged the MoU in the function.

In the function, the managing director of Dabur Nepal, Rukma shumser Rana handed over the football kits to President Thapa.

President Thapa informed that the flood light at the Dasarath Stadium will be maintained from Wednesday. "The technicians from China already have arrived in Kathmandu and they will put the lights back into form."

Meanwhile, Nepali football team will leave for India on Wednesday to take part in SAFF Championship that starts from December 2 in New Delhi.

Probe thefts of NA aircraft spare parts, PAC orders govt


KATHAMANDU, Nov 29: Members of parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) on Tuesday lambasted Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) top brass for their failure in safeguarding aircraft spare parts and ordered the government to seriously look into the cases of theft, suspecting possible involvement of senior NAC officials in the loss.

Lawmakers that grilled the NAC officials over recent cases of thefts of spare parts, something which has inflicted millions of rupees in loss to the national flag carrier, even urged the government to take action against persons involved in the theft under criminal law.

"The nature of thefts indicates that there might be direct involvement of senior NAC officials. The government must punish them severely," said lawmaker Lalbabu Pandit.

During a period of less than a year, NAC has reported loss of a fly-away kit and spare wheels of Boeing 757 and landing gears of Twin Otter. The cost of fly-away kit alone is estimated to be around Rs 45 million.

NAC board member Ranjan Krishna Aryal admitted that the equipment were lost because of irresponsibility of NAC officials. He even disclosed that the NAC staff had not cooperated with the investigation team that NAC board formed to dig out facts on thefts of spare parts.

"Internal investigations have not been fruitful because of lack of cooperation by staff themselves. Hence, there is a need to start fresh enquiry under criminal law," he added.

Given that the weight of missing spare parts was more than 150 kg, NAC´s investigation officer Mukunda Joshi said it was impossible for the outsider to steal those parts.

"Handling agency is required to load and unload such bulky equipment. Clearly, a group of people and agencies have been involved in such thefts," he added.

He also pushed for the formation of high-level committee to investigate into the cases.

PAC on the day had summoned tourism secretary Dr Ganesh Raj Joshi, NAC chairman Manarup Shahi, managing director KB Limbu and other officials to enquire about the missing spare parts.

Some of the lawmakers like Kamala Pant attributed the ongoing problem in NAC to the presence of two executive heads. "Until we resolve the controversy of who holds the executive power - chairman or the managing director, problems like these will continue in the corporation," Pant stated.

She also raised question against the NAC management for not punishing the wrongdoers identified by a probe team of MoTCA.

The investigation has shown the involvement of the then director of NAC engineering department A R Pahari along with other engineers R K Manandhar and Rajesh Shrestha in the loss of fly-away kit.

However, NAC Chairman Manarup Shahi did not take any action against them, arguing that the ministry´s probe report did not make clear recommendations on actions against them.

Initially, NAC had suspended Pahari, Manandhar and Shrestha, but allowed them to return to work soon after.

Published on 2011-11-29 23:28:05

Largest paper mill closing

CHITWAN, Nov 30: Bhrikuti Paper and Pulp Limited, the largest paper mill in the country based in Gaindakot of Nawalparasi district, will be shut down permanently.

The paper mill is owned by the Golcha Organization. The company was established in 1985 with the support of China. It was privatized in 1992 and Golchha Organization has been operating the factory ever since.

The annual general meeting of the company held on October 24 endorsed the special proposal of the management to close down the factory. Following the approval, its management has filed an application with the government through the Department of Labor (DoL) asking permission to lay off all its staff.

Workers, meanwhile, vented ire against the government and the factory promoters for showing little seriousness in continuing the factory operations. Some of the workers even claimed that the promoter of the factory is planning to develop its land into housing.

The paper factory halted productions in March this year, citing shortage of raw materials, over 16 hours of power-cut, and decline in demand of paper it produced, among others.

The management said the factory was operating undercpacity for years. The factory had an installed capacity of producing 80 tons of paper a day.

The factory is employing 485 workers, including 333 permanent employees. However, after the management realized that there was little chance of reviving the business, it laid off around 150 temporary workers hired on contract.

Following the AGM decision on October 24 that allowed the promoter to permanently shut down the factory after clearing all loans liability, the management on October 30 lodged an application at the DoL, seeking its permission to lay off all remaining staff members.

On November 22, the management further issued a notice that the factory would not be able to pay salary to 333 permanent staff for the period of eight months when it remained out of operation. The announcement, however, has drawn serious protests from the workers.

"The denial of the management to pay salary from the day the machines were turned off is against the existing law," said Ram Sharma, coordinator of Workers´ Protest Committee. The committee has requested the Labor Office to freeze the land owned by the industry until it pays staff´s salary dues.

Prior to the closure, the industry was producing as much as 1,530 tons of paper a month. It was selling paper at around Rs 60,000 per ton.

"The closure of the factory has forced the country to import an additional Rs 90 million worth of paper every month," said an official at the factory, requesting not to be named. Its permanent shut-down would increase the country´s dependence on import to fulfill local demand for paper.

There were altogether six paper mills, including Bhrikuti Paper and Pulp, operating in the country and together they were producing 150 tons of paper every day. The productions, however, was sufficient only to meet half of the demand, which is estimated to be around 300 tons a day.

Published on 2011-11-30 02:10:30

CIAA directs NEA to not implement transfer decision


KATHMANDU, Nov 29: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has on Tuesday directed the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to not implement the decision taken by the officiating managing director to transfer and promote employees.

Officiating Managing Director Rameshwar Yadav has transferred over 70 staffers including some senior officers.

“We have taken up the issue as acting managing director, who is set to retire in one-and-a -half months, has been making massive transfers and promotions. We have directed the NEA not to implement the decisions until we complete our investigations,” Acting Chief of CIAA Bhagawati Kafle said.

The NEA staffers had padlocked the office of the managing director and administration section on Tuesday protesting the transfers made by Yadav.

The CIAA has also ordered Secretary at the Ministry of Energy, who is the ex-officio NEA Chairman, to direct NEA to not make payments for unnecessary purchases Yadav made as the head of Distribution and Consumer Services in the past. The CIAA in its letter sent to NEA and energy ministry has asked them to make payments only after seeking the permission of the board.

The CIAA has similarly directed the energy ministry to immediately initiate the process of hiring its managing director through free-competition. The cabinet has already directed the ministry to hire its head through free competition but the ministry has not sought applications till date, CIAA points.

“The process of publishing advertisement has been delayed as we are working to authorize the managing director to give performance contracts to general managers to make them accountable,” Secretary at the Ministry of Energy Balananda Poudel said. “We will announce vacancy within the next three days,” Poudel assured.

Published on 2011-11-29 21:52:34

Division commanders jostle for post in NA directorate

KATHMANDU, Nov 30: With the PLA integration process making steady headway, senior Maoist commanders have entered a race to become the highest ranking Nepal Army (NA) official from among themselves.

Sources say that is why six of the division commanders have opted for integration, though Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had earlier asked them to make arrangements for integration of only those below the rank of division vice-commander.

“We don´t want to lose the opportunity to become the leading ex-PLA in the directorate. Also, we will otherwise severely weaken our bargaining capacity with the party for better positions,” said a division commander who did not want to be named.

According to sources, each of the six division commanders is using his own political channel and power to influence Dahal to bag the position, and the latter is facing a tough time choosing one of the commanders.

Party insiders say Dahal wants his favorite commander Santu Darai, who is also his security chief, to the leading ex-PLA in the directorate, but he is wary of creating rifts within his own faction, and wants to handle things tactfully. All the division commanders are from the party establishment faction.

Party Military Bureau Chief Barshaman Pun is, however, lobbying for Dhan Bahadur Maski Magar. Deputy Commander Chandra Prakash Khanal, on the other hand, wants to appoint Yam Bahadur Adhikari in the much sough-after position. Similarly, Tej Bahadur Oli is the favorite of party leader Janardan Sharma, who has a good hold over the PLA.

Second Division Commander Suk Bahadur Roka Magar for his part is in the lists of both PLA chief Nand Kishor Pun and Barsh Man Pun.

Interestingly, regional politics is playing a crucial role, as usual, in picking the PLA commander for the NA directorate.

Dahal wants to pick Darai, who is from his home district Chitwan, Sharma wants Oli, who is from his own district Rukum, and Roka Magar from Rolpa is in the lists of both Barshaman from Nanda Kishor, who are also from that district.

Party insiders say there is long-standing enmity between leaders from Rolpa and Rukum districts. Sharma rather wishes Dahal to pick Oli for the position, but not Roka Magar from Rolpa.

Kali Bahadur Kham, Fifth Division commander who was purportedly suspended from his position due to alleged involvement in some criminal cases, is not in the race.

“The chairman has not yet disclosed how many senior positions we will get in the directorate. So we filled in the integration forms for now,” Mahendra Bahadur Shahi, Sixth Division commander, told Republica.

In the first PLA General Staff meeting since the Nov 1 peace deal, Dahal had stated that there would be some ´political appointments´ to senior positions in the directorate, though leaders from the other political parties say they are not aware of any such appointments.

Nep Bahadur Kunwar Magar, Sixth Division vice-commander, argues that there is yet another reason why six of the vice-commanders have filled the integration forms.

“They issued a fiat to the rank and file to opt for integration. So they had to justify that fiat and avoid facing the wrath of low-rank personnel at this juncture,” said Magar.

Published on 2011-11-30 09:18:38

Fishtail helicopter crashes in Solu, all 3 on board safe

A Fishtail Air helicopter crashed in Labuche of Solukhumbu district Tuesday afternoon.

All the persons on board-pilot Dipak Rana, co-pilot Anus and an Australian citizen are safe, according to the Fishtail Air sources.

The Eco Real AAS 350 chopper had taken off for Labuche from Lukla to airlift a sick tourist.

Bird flu found in valley few months after declaration of bird flu free country

A few months after the government declared Nepal as the bird flu free country, cases of bird flu have been confirmed in the valley.

More than 5 hundred chickens have been culled near Jadibuti area of Bhaktapur after the bird flu cases were confirmed, chief of the District Livestock Service Office Bhaktapur Shiva Bahadur KC informed Nepalnews.

Local people had informed livestock office after the numbers of chickens and the ducks died continuously.

Bird flu detection is declared only after the Central Veterinary Disease Control Laboratory gets confirmation from international lab due to the lack of lab facility in the country. The laboratory sends sample to the UK for the final confirmation after conducting preliminary lab test here.

On July 13, the government had declared Nepal as the bird flu country though the cases were confirmed earlier too.

The poultry industry of the country was hit hard due to the outbreak of the bird flu last year.

Bird flu found in valley few months after declaration of bird flu free country

CIAA drags MJF lawmaker Yadav, eight others to court over misuse of diplomatic passport

The Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) Tuesday filed cases against lawmaker Shiva Pujan Raya Yadav and eight others including three government officials at the Special Court on charges of misuse of diplomatic passport and bribery.

Immigration Department officials Devi Dutta Khatri, Ramesh Lamsal and computer operator Indra Sunuwar and five middlemen - Manoj Karki, Devendra Poudel, Santosh Uprety, Dil Bahadur Gharti and Gopal Baniya - were also dragged to the court along with the MJF lawmaker over the misuse of the red passport.

The anti-graft body has demanded Rs. 2.2 million fine from each of the nine accused. Yadav is accused of receiving money from the five middle men for renting of his diplomatic passport with the help of the immigration officials.

CA gets another lease of life as House extends its term for the fourth time

A day before the expiry of its term, the Constituent Assembly (CA) has got another lease of life with the Legislature-Parliament extending its tenure by six more months.

The parliamentary session held today afternoon endorsed the 11th constitution amendment bill proposed by the government seeking a six-month extension of the CA term with a majority vote.

In today's voting, 505 lawmakers voted in favour of 11the constitution amendment bill presented by Energy Minister Post Bahadur Bogati, while three lawmakers representing Rastriya Prajatantra party Nepal (RPP-Nepal) led by pro-monarch Kamal Thapa voted against the bill. Altogether 508 lawmakers were present in the House today.

This is the fourth time that the CA's term has been extended.

The constitution amendment bill had sought amendment in the Article 64 of the Interim Constitution 2007 which is related to the expiry of the CA term. With the latest extension, the term of the CA which was initially mandated for two years to promulgate the new constitution of the country has been extended to 4 years.

Monday, November 21, 2011

Makalu Air plane catches fire in Mugu airport while landing

MUGU: An aircraft of Makalu Airport caught fire while landing at Talcha Airport of Mugu on Monday evening. With eight passengers and two crew members, the 9NAZM plane had took off from Nepalgunj at 4 pm.

Captain PJ Shah and three passengers have been injured in the incident. Preparations are being made to airlift the injured for treatment.

Saguntala Budha and Parshuram Nepali, both of them residents of Roba VDC in the district, have been seriously injured, while the identity of the third person is yet to be known.

According to preliminary information, the aircraft witnessed a brake failure. It skidded off and fell some seven metres down before turn turtling and catching the fire.

Two of the passengers are said to be children. The fire was contained, and the passengers were rescued to a safe place.

Captain Shah has sustained injuries on his right eye.

महँगो शिक्षा दिने अभिभावकको आयस्रोत खोजिने

एमबीबीएस र नर्सिङमा सरकारले तोकेभन्दा चर्को शुल्क तिर्छन् अभिभावक

काठमाडौं, ४ मंसिर

छोराछोरीको पढाइमा लाखौं रकम खर्चिने अभिभावकको सम्पत्ति स्रोतबारे सरकारले छानबिन गर्ने भएको छ ।

शिक्षण संस्थाले तोकिएको भन्दा चर्को शुल्क असुल गर्दा पनि विरोध जनाउनुको सट्टा मञ्जुरी जनाउँदै छोराछोरीलाई एमबीबीएस अध्यापन गराउने अभिभावक सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण अनुसन्धान विभागको छानबिनमा पर्ने भएका हुन् ।

शिक्षा मन्त्रालयले गत वर्ष एमबीबीएस अध्ययन शुल्क २५ लाख रुपैयाँ तोकेको थियो । तर, अभिभावकले निजी मेडिकल कलेजमा ३५ देखि ३८ लाख रुपैयाँ तिरेका थिए । निर्धारित शुल्क न्यून भएको र कार्यान्वयनमा नआएको भन्दै शुल्क निर्धारण समितिले यो वर्षका लागि एमबीबीएसमा ३१ लाख रुपैयाँ प्रस्ताव गरेको छ । यो पारित हुन भने बाँकी छ ।

त्यस्तै, नर्सिङ शिक्षाका तहअनुसार पहिलो पटक ३ देखि ५ लाख रुपैयाँसम्म शुल्क निर्धारण गरिएको छ । यो शुल्क कार्यान्वयनको विषय संसदीय समितिमा छलफलकै क्रममा छ । नर्सिङ शिक्षाका लागि कलेजहरूले ५ देखि ८ लाख रुपैयाँ शुल्क असुल गर्दै आएका छन् ।

मेडिकल कलेजले आफूखुसी तय गरेको चर्काे शुल्क तिरेर अभिभावकले नै कलेजहरूलाई प्रोत्साहित गर्ने गरेको विभागको भनाइ छ । काठमाडौं मेडिकल कलेजमा छात्रवृत्तिअन्तर्गत अध्ययनरत एक विद्यार्थीका अनुसार गत वर्ष ३५ लाख रुपैयाँ भुक्तानी गर्ने विद्यार्थीको संख्या ठूलो रहे पनि यस वर्ष ३८ लाख रुपैयाँसम्म तिरिरहेका छन् ।

मन्त्रालयका सहसचिव डा. लवदेव अवस्थीका अनुसार शुल्क निर्धारण समितिले मेडिकल अध्ययनका लागि ३१ लाख रुपैयाँ प्रस्ताव गरेर मन्त्रिपरिषद्मा पेस गरिसकेको छ । मेडिकल कलेज सञ्चालक एसोसिएसनका प्रतिनिधिको अनुरोधमा २५ बाट ३१ लाख रुपैयाँ प्रस्ताव गरिएको जानकारी उनले दिए ।

एसोसिएसनका प्रतिनिधिले ३१ लाख रुपैयाँभन्दा कम शुल्कमा अध्यापन गराउन नसक्ने जिकिर गरेकाले समितिले शुल्क वृद्धि गर्ने प्रस्तावमा सहमति जनाएको हो । मन्त्रिपरिषद्ले प्रस्तावित शुल्क पारित गरेपछि मात्र चालू शैक्षिक सत्रमा कलेजहरूले यो शुल्क लिन पाउनेछन् ।

शिक्षामन्त्री दीनानाथ शर्माले समितिको सिफारिसलाई अध्ययन गरेर छिट्टै पारित गरिने जानकारी दिए । उनका अनुसार मन्त्रीस्तरीय छलफलबाट शुल्क तय गरिनेछ । “पारित गरिएको शुल्कको बेवास्ता गरेर अनियमिता गर्ने कलेजलाई नियमअनुसार कारबाही गरिनेछ,” उनले भने ।

पाँच वर्षभित्र तीन किस्तामा शुल्क तिर्नुपर्ने प्रावधान रहे पनि कलेजहरूले एकमुष्ठ असुल गरेर विद्यार्थी भर्ना गर्दै आएका छन् । कलेजले यस वर्ष ३३ देखि ३८ लाख रुपैयाँ एकमुष्ठ असुलेका छन् ।

अभिभावक संघका अध्यक्ष सुप्रभात भण्डारीले आफ्नो निर्देशनको उल्लंघन हुँदासमेत सम्बन्धित निकाय निरीह बनेर मूकदर्शक बनेको आरोप लगाए ।

राजधानीमा सञ्चालित किस्ट मेडिकल कलेजका प्रिन्सपल डा. टीपी थापाले अघिल्लो वर्ष अन्य कलेजको तुलनामा केही महँगो शुल्क लिइएको स्वीकार गरे । सर्वत्र आलोचित हुनुपरेपछि यो वर्ष सरकारले तय गरेको शुल्कमै भर्ना लिइएको दाबी उनले गरे । “अस्वस्थ प्रतिस्पर्धाले नेपालमा मेडिकल शिक्षा महँगो बन्दै गएको छ,” उनले भने, “यसो हुनुमा राज्यको निरीहता प्रमुख कारण हो ।”

मेडिकल कलेजको नियामक निकाय नेपाल मेडिकल काउन्सिल भने शुल्क निर्धारण र अनुगमन गर्ने काम शिक्षा मन्त्रालयको भएको बताउँछ छ । अध्यक्ष डा.दामोदर गजुरेलले कारोबारसँग भने, “शिक्षाको गुणस्तर र कलेजको अवस्था नियमन गर्ने काममात्र काउन्सिलको हो ।”

पाटन स्वास्थ्य विज्ञान प्रतिष्ठानले सशुल्क अध्ययन गर्ने विद्यार्थीका लागि ३० लाख रुपैयाँ शुल्क तय गरेको छ । त्यसैगरी सरकारी स्वामित्वको शिक्षण अस्पतालले १७ सिटमा सशुल्क अध्ययन गर्न २९ लाख रुपैयाँ शुल्क तोकेको छ । त्रिवि चिकित्सा विज्ञान अध्ययन संस्थाका डिन डा. अरुण साय्मिले भने “विदेशीका लागि आरक्षित सिट नेपालीका लागि खुला गर्दै २९ लाख रुपैयाँ तय गरिएको हो ।”

सम्पत्ति शुद्धीकरण अनुसन्धान विभागका महानिर्देशक खुमराज पुञ्जालीले शिक्षा क्षेत्रसँग सम्बन्धित परिवारको सम्पत्तिबारे अहिलेसम्म छानबिन नगरिएको बताए । “अभिभावक र शैक्षिक संस्था विभागको दायरामा नपर्ने कुरै आउँदैन,” उनले भने ।

विद्यार्थीको प्रतिभालाई कदर गर्दै चर्काे शुल्क तिर्न बाध्य परिवारलाई कर छली गर्ने परिवारका रूपमा बुझ्न भने नहुने उनको भनाइ छ । “जानाजान चर्काे शुल्क तिर्ने अभिभावकलाई छानबिन गर्न विभागलाई अधिकार भने छ,” उनले थपे ।

कलेजले निर्धारितभन्दा बढी शुल्क लिने गरे पनि सरकारलाई राजस्व तिर्ने बेला भने २५ लाख रुपैयाँमात्रै देखाउने गरेका छन् । कलेजको लेखापरीक्षण गर्ने एक लेखापरीक्षकका अनुसार विद्यार्थीको कम संख्या देखाएर शैक्षिक संस्थाले कर छल्ने गरेका छन् ।

राजस्व अनुसन्धान विभागले कर छलीको आशंकमा शैक्षिक संस्थालाई अनुसन्धानको दायरामा पार्न सकेको छैन । “शंका लागेको वा उजुरीका आधारमा मात्रै विभागले अनुसन्धान गर्ने भएकाले शैक्षिक संस्था अनुसन्धानको दायरामा नपरेका हुन्,” विभागका उपमहानिर्देशक शिशिर ढुंगानाले भने ।

काठमाडौं विश्वविद्यालयअन्तर्गतका मेडिकल कलेजमा प्राध्यापन गरेका एक पूर्वप्राध्यापकले ‘भीआईपी’का लागि कलेजले निःशुल्क कोटा छुट्ट्याएर राख्ने गरेको दाबी गरे । मन्त्री, सचिव र राजनीतिक दलका नेताहरूलाई भीआईपीको कोटामा राख्ने गरिएको छ ।

मन्त्रालयका अनुसार बीपी स्वास्थ्य विज्ञान प्रतिष्ठान धरान र पाटन स्वास्थ्य विज्ञान प्रतिष्ठानसहित १६ मेडिकल कलेज हाल सञ्चालनमा छन् । ती कलेजमा वार्षिक २ हजार विद्यार्थी एमबीबीएस अध्ययनका लागि भर्ना हुन्छन् । तीमध्ये करिब २ सय ५० विद्यार्थीले मात्र छात्रवृत्ति पाउँछन् ।

Death penalty for Nepali in Saudi Arabia

A Saudi Arabian court has issued death penalty against a Nepali migrant worker, Umesh Yadav, who is doing time in the Jubel-based prison for his involvement in the murder of a Pakistani national, according to a document sent by the country’s Foreign Ministry to the Nepali embassy there.

The embassy said the victim’s personal details such as his address and age and other bits of information such as which court slapped the punishment and when it would be executed were yet to be ascertained. Nepali Ambassador to Saudi Arabia Udayaraj Pandey said his office was inquiring into the matter.

Dahal fails to impress owners of seized land

KATHMANDU, Nov 20: Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal reached Bardiya on Sunday to direct his party cadres to return land seized during the insurgency to their rightful owners, but returned Kathmandu without giving unambiguous directives to the cadres in this regard.

“Our objective is to implement the agreement between the political parties,” he said while speaking at a function held to announce the return of seized properties.

The Maoist chairman, however, added that the landless people should not be forcibly evicted.

“But the families who have been using the land should not be evicted forcibly. The land being used by them should not be seized,” he said.

Dahal was accompanied by UML leader Bamdev Gautam and NC leader Krishna Prasad Sitaula.

Dahal was of the opinion that the issue of seized land should be settled amicably after holding talks with the land grabbers. He asked the people to inform the party central office if problems persist while implementing the deal. The Maoist chairman reached the district as per deal on returning the seized properties reached between the parties on November 1.

As Dahal reached the district for the implementation of the peace deal, some expressed hope that their properties would be returned, while others still had doubts. “Dahal spoke diplomatic language once again. On the one hand, he says the peace deal should be implemented, but on the other adds that the seized land should not be vacated forcefully,” said Saroj Shrestha whose four bighas of land have been seized by the Maoists for a decade.

Before speaking at the function, Dahal had held separate discussions with the party´s district and state committee members.

According to the participants in the discussions, most of the cadres told that they cannot return the seized land which has already been distributed among the peasants. “How can we return the land that has already been distributed among the landless,” said Bardiya district secretary Durga Prasad Tharu.

Some of the party cadres had also threatened to retaliate if the properties were returned to the owners forcefully. Tharu said that the party has not seized private properties since 2006, and argued that such issues, therefore, should not be raised.

The UCPN (Maoist) has captured around 2,000 bighas of private and public land in Bardiya. According to the district administration office, 242 families have registered complaints about seizure of land by the Maoists.

Some civil servants were also confused about Dahal´s ambiguous directive. “If the seized properties are to be returned to the owners, the people who are using the land must be vacated,” said a civil servant.

Insurance Board staff on strike


KATHMANDU, Nov 20: Employees of Insurance Board (IB) launched a protest program from Sunday, which disrupted the day-to-day work at the head-office of the insurance sector regulator.

The employees have put forth 21 demands that include distribution of daily allowance of Rs 150 to each employee, introduction of housing plan for the workforce, and sending each staff member on a 15-day forced leave every year.

Other demands include annual distribution of additional five months´ salary and allowances as festival and vacation expenses, modification in voluntary retirement scheme, and change in organizational structure in view growing workload of the board.

“We have been asking the management to introduce these changes for the last two years and include them in the Employees Regulation, which is being amended. But the management has forwarded the regulation to the Finance Ministry without holding discussions with staff members,” said Purna Bahadur Thapa, president of Employees Association of Insurance Board.

He said the employees will exercise utmost flexibility while negotiating with the management and have not been pressing the IB to fulfill all the demands. The employees had first placed these demands two years ago. At that time, the management had agreed to address them gradually.

But after the board failed to make any changes for a year, the employees held a protest last November, which was called off later following promises from the management to fulfill them soon. “The protest that is being held now is the continuation of what was organized last year,” Thapa said.

The protest program designed by the employees´ association for this year includes three-day-long ´pen down´ program, which basically means employees will stop work until Tuesday. If their demands are not fulfilled by that time, the employees will organize a sit-in in front of the office of IB chairman for another four days.

Published on 2011-11-20 23:24:22

Makalu Air mishap in Mugu


JUMLA, Nov 21: A Cessna Caravan aircraft of Makalu Air met an accident at the Talcha Airport of Mugu district late Monday afternoon.

Pilot Captain Pradip Jung Shah was seriously injured in the mishap while two passengers sustained minor injuries.

The brakes did not work during landing in the chartered aircraft, according to Chief District Office Surya Bahadur Khatri.

The aircraft, call sign 9NAJN, took off from Nepalgunj at 4 pm with 11 onboard.

A medical team has been dispatched from headquarters Gumgadi, two hours on away on foot, for his rescue.

Security forces and locals put off the fire on the front of the aircraft after the mishap, according to airport chief Bhim Dutta Pant.

Published on 2011-11-21 17:19:32

Madhesi Front agrees on SRC

The Madhesi Front has decided to go with the previous agreement to form the State Restructuring Commission (SRC) to work out the country's federal model.

A meeting of the constituents of the Front Monday afternoon decided to go for the SRC. A meeting of the three major parties and the Front earlier today ended inconclusively after some of the parties in the Front expressing dissatisfaction at the decision to give up idea to form an expert committee instead of the SRC.

The meeting of the Madhesi parties also concluded that the composition of the SRC should be in accordance with the representation in the Constituent Assembly.

As per the agreement signed the big three parties and the Front Friday midnight, the names for the SRC are to be finalised today.

Switzerland agrees to provide Rs. 446 m to Peace Fund

The government of Switzerland has agreed to provide a grant assistance of Rs. 446 million (Swiss Francs 5.0 million) to the government of Nepal as a contribution to support activities of Nepal Peace Trust Fund (NPTF).

The agreement to this effect was signed between Joint Secretary at Ministry of Finance Lal Shanker Ghimire and Ambassador of Switzerland to Nepal Thomas Gass on behalf of their respective government at the Ministry of Finance, Singha Durbar, Kathmandu on Monday.

The grant assistance will be utilised to finance the activities in the five thematic areas, such as Cantonment Management and Integration/Rehabilitation of Maoist Combatant, Assistance to Conflict Affected Persons/Communities, Reconstruction of Public Infrastructure, Promotion of Security and Transitional Justice, and Support to Constituent Assembly, Election and Peace Building Initiatives at national and local levels.

Specific projects in the NPTF pipeline also include the implementation of Nepal’s National Action Plan on UN Security Council Resolutions 1325 and 1820 regarding on Women, peace, and security, and confronting sexual violence in conflict and post-conflict situations.

The NPTF was created in February 2007 when a group of donors (Denmark, Finland, Germany, Norway, Awitzerland, UK and later the European Commission) agreed to financially support Nepal effort to implement the CPA Commitments.

मकालु एयरको जहाज दुर्घटना, पानी हालेर निभाइयो

सुशील भट्टराई/तुफान न्यौपाने, काठमाडौं/जुम्ला, मंसिर ५- नेपालगञ्जबाट मुगुको ताल्चा गएको मकालु एयरको जहाज दुर्घटनामा परेको छ। ताल्चा बिमानस्थलमा अवतरण गरेपछि जहाज धावनमार्गबाट बाहिर पुगेको सम्बद्ध एक अधिकारीले जानकारी दिए।
सिंगल इन्जिन जडित उक्त जहाजले चार्टर्ड उडान गर्दै ताल्चा गएको थियो। दुर्घटनामा मानवीय क्षती भएको छैन।
मुगुमा विमान दुर्घटना, पाईलट घाईते
९ एन ए जे एन कल साइनको उक्त जहाज नेपालगञ्जवाट चार्टर फ्लाईटमा ९ यात्रु बोकेर ताल्चा उडेको उक्त विमानको अवतरणका क्रममा ब्रेक नलागेर दुर्घटना भएको मुगुका प्रमुख जिल्ला अधिकारी सुर्य वहादुर खत्रीले जानकारी दिए।
सुर्खेतवाट ४ बजे उडको उक्त विमान साढे ४ वजे दुर्घटना हुँदा क्याप्टेन प्रदीप जंग शाह गम्भीर घाइते भएका छन्। विमानमा अर्का पाइलट एस लामा ९ यात्रु सहित ११ जना सवार थिए। घाइते क्याप्टेनको उपचारका लागि सदरमुकाम गमगढीबाट चिकित्सकहरुको टोली पठाइएको छ। सदरमुकामवाट विमानस्थल पुग्न २ घण्टा लाग्छ। ढुंगामा ठोक्किएर जहाजको अगाडिको भागको पंखामा क्षति पुगेको छ। दुर्घटना पछि विमानमा आगो सल्किएको थियो। धावनमार्ग नजिकै भएका कारण सुरक्षाकर्मी र स्थानीयले गाउँलेका घरबाट पानी लिएर आगो नियन्त्रणमा लिएको ताल्चा विमानस्थल प्रमुख भिम दत्त पन्तले जानकारी दिए। २ जना यात्रुलाई चोट लागेको छ भने अन्य यात्रु सकुशल छन्। चोट लागेकाहरुलाई पनि सामान्य मात्रै चोट लागेकाले हिँडडुल गर्न सक्ने अवस्थामा रहेको विमानस्थल प्रमुख पन्तले जानकारी दिए ।

Makalu Air plane 'crash-lands' at Talcha airport

A Makalu Air aircraft crash-landed at Talcha airport in Mugu district at 16:40 pm Monday.

Captain P.J Shah and ten passengers including a minor were injured in the accident, an official at the Tribhuvan International Airport told Nepalnews.

The single engine aircraft, which had taken off at 15:52 pm from Nepalgunj, skidded off runway of Talcha airport. It is also reported to have caught fire, but the details were sketchy.

Sunday, November 20, 2011

Sept quake damage bill Rs 5 billion


KATHMANDU: Property worth Rs 5 billion was damaged by the September 18 quake, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works said today.

The ministry, which has finished assessing the extent of the damage caused by the temblor, said it will need Rs 1.8 billion to carry out reconstruction work.

Property, including public and private buildings, was damaged mainly in the Eastern Development Region of the country by the 6.9 magnitude temblor, which claimed seven lives.

The government has already distributed immediate relief packages. “We have begun reconstructing public and private buildings,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the ministry. “Reconstruction will be completed within two years,” he added. “A panel working on reconstruction met for the first time on Thursday.”

The ministry has decided to demand Rs 1.8 billion from the Ministry of Finance for reconstruction work. “Around Rs 800 million will be necessary to reconstruct government buildings, mainly schools. An additional Rs 1 billion will be disbursed as soft loan or as grant to reconstruct private property,” he said. “Modalities for grants and soft loans are yet to be finalised.”

The government is considering a proposal to spend Rs 150 million to run an awareness campaign for construction workers, the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works said.

“They will be taught how to build quake-resistant buildings and what to do during quakes,” said Sitaula. “As soon as the Ministry of Finance allocates budget, reconstruction work will begin.”

K-town sways with MLTR


KATHMANDU, Nov 20: As the winter dusk settled in Tundikhel, the historical parade ground came alive to the electrifying music of Michael Learns To Rock (MLTR), 6:45 pm Saturday.

The restless crowd united in welcoming the Danish soft rock ensemble consisting of vocalist and keyboardist Jascha Richter, drummer Kare Wanscher and guitarist Mikkel Lentz.

Formed in 1988, the band has produced seven studio albums as well as several live and greatest hits albums and has sold over 10 million records worldwide, mainly in Asia.

With a heavy emphasis on lyrics, chorus singing is key to almost all the songs of MLTR like Actor, Breaking My Heart, Take me in your heart, 25 minutes and Wild Woman which were aided by the audience that belted along to their classic pieces.

“We’re so happy to be here in Nepal for the first time. We can’t believe we’re here. Thank you for having us here,” said Richter who serenaded the crowd with a mix of their greatest and latest songs in a show that lasted an hour and 45 minutes.

On a raised stage with a backdrop of LED screens, the performance was enhanced by the lights which gave the crowd another reason to be psyched about the show.

Singing every song word by word was a 23 year old Kathmandu native, Binita Shrestha. “I started listening to MLTR when I was just five years old. I love all of their songs and my friend Sajani and I love ‘Take Me To Your Heart’ a lot.”

“As you see, we are only four guys on the stage. By the way, let me present to you a guy called Lars,” said Richter as he introduced their bassist who was performing with them for the first time.

Along with their greatest hits, the four entertained their fans with new songs from their album which is yet to be released.

“We’ve been working on this brand new record and it’s going to be released in spring. We have been busy shooting footage for one of the music videos here in Nepal. So how about you guys help us? Right now,” asked the band members.

The enthusiastic crowd responded by screaming and waving hands and fists high in the air.

After bidding adieu to the adrenaline fed fans, MLTR reappeared to sing three of trademark songs, That’s Why (You Go), Paint my Love, and the much requested Someday which was backed by their music video.

Bringing the climax down with a killer riff, Mikkel closed the show to shouts of ‘encore’ from a crowd that just couldn’t get enough.

Before the headlining act hit the stage, the music lovers were entertained by homegrown local talents – Sabin Rai, the folk instrumental ensemble Kutumba and rock outfit Mt 8848.

Put together by ODC Network and their India-based partners, Engage, the gig marks the second mainstream music act to hit the Valley after Bryan Adam.

With classic artists who are still local favorites, Nepal has piqued international artists and bands who are penciling Kathmandu into their itineraries.

Published on 2011-11-20 10:54:10

Mukherjee arriving on Nov 27


KATHMANDU, Nov 20: Indian Finance Minister Pranab Mukherjee will visit Nepal on November 27 and sign the new Double Taxation Avoidance Agreement (DTAA), an accord which will enable Indian investors and traders enjoy tax credit in India once they pay taxes in Nepal.

"It will be a daylong visit. Mukherjee will arrive in the morning and leave in the afternoon after signing the DTAA,” said a source.

Once signed, the agreement will supercede similar Treaty on Avoidance of Double Taxation and the Prevention of Fiscal Evasion in Respect to Taxes on Income that the two countries signed in 1987.

The new DTAA between the two neighbors has embodied modern principles for creating a better investment environment and reducing the cost of doing business. Hence, it is believed to boost investors´ confidence, thereby helping Nepal attract more investment from the southern neighbor.

Nepal had actually expected the DTAA to be signed during the visit of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to India last month.

However, as India wanted to add one more clause to the draft DTAA that the Nepal cabinet had endorsed, the two sides failed to finalize its texts till the last minute.

“We have sorted out the differences on the text of Article 30 of the agreement -- the sole factor that affected its signing in October. The cabinet this week endorsed the revised texts as well,” said the source.

India has long been persuading Nepal for the revision of the agreement, mainly as growing electronic and new forms of transaction and payment channels in recent years called for the inclusion of new measures to prevent tax evasion, among others.

Though Nepal responded to the call positively and the two sides finalized the new accord almost a year ago, it could not be sealed so far because India wanted it to be signed along with Bilateral Investment Protection and Promotion Agreement (BIPPA). BIPPA, however, was signed during the PM´s visit in October.

Published on 2011-11-20 03:30:57

Yadav for early consensus govt


BUTWAL, Nov 20: Madhesi People’s Rights Forum Nepal (MPRF-N) Chairman Upendra Yadav on Sunday called on the political parties to engage themselves in discussions to form a national consensus government by November 30.

Speaking to the media in Butwal this morning, Yadav citing the past experience ruled out the new constitution without formation of a national consensus government. "We know this from the experience of the last four majority governments."

He also expressed his displeasure over the ‘lack of serious dialogue’ on settling outstanding issues related to state restructuring, electoral system and forms of governance.

“The parties have totally thrown themselves into power game. And this has superseded the statute writing task,” Yadav said, adding, “This time around, we should extend the Constituent Assembly tenure only after reviewing the past.”

On the occasion, Yadav blamed a series of disintegration of his party in the aftermath of the Madhes movement on party leaders, who he said were ‘greedy for powers’.

“I could not make all of them ministers. Consequently, they started being involved in forming and toppling governments, without worrying about larger national causes” Yadav said, referring to Bijaya Kumar Gachchhadar and GP Gupta, who broke away from the mother MPRF party to launch their own outfits.

Yadav also said India could play a supportive role for a consensus government in Nepal and asked all not to doubt about the role that the southern neighbor could possibly play in that regard in the future.

"It is useless to be skeptic about the intention of who plays a supportive role," Yadav said.

Just some time ago, Yadav, whose party is not included in the incumbent coalition government, had lambasted Nepali leaders for their India visits, sarcastically saying their trips to New Delhi were what Muslims´ pilgrimage to Mecca and Madina.

Published on 2011-11-20 13:00:46

PAC directs authorities to demolish under-construction overhead bridges in Kalanki, Balaju

The Public Accounts Committee (PAC) of the parliament has directed the government authorities and the concerned construction company to demolish the overhead bridges that are under construction at Kalanki and Balaju in Kathmandu.

A meeting of the PAC gave the instruction Friday, concluding that the overhead bridges are being constructed by violating the building standards.

"The construction is not going according to the standards. It is also inappropriate in view of the ongoing expansion of the Ring Road," PAC chairman Ram Krishna Yadav said.

The PAC direction comes at a time when the contractor, Innovative Concept Pvt Ltd, has already finished more than half of the construction works in both the projects.

The Kathmandu Municipality had launched the bridge project to ease the traffic congestion caused by pedestrian movement and to minimize traffic hazards.

IRD slaps over Rs. 3.50 billion as fines to some 405 VAT bill defaulters

The Inland Revenue Department (IRD) has slapped Rs. 3.58 billion as fines to the firms who have involvement in the use of fake value added tax (VAT) bills to evade taxes.

Of the total 518 cases, the department has finished investigation of over 405 firms and confirmed their involvement in evading taxes through the use of fake receipts.

However, the Inland Revenue Offices are still investigating on the remaining suspected cases of VAT bill scam.

The government had unveiled the names of suspected 385 VAT bills defaulter on October 30, 2011. By that time, the government had also already slapped Rs. 3.45 billion fines to defendants in 365 cases who have been found involved in the VAT bill scam out of 518 cases.

Maoist chair, NC leader heading to Bardiya to start returning seized property

The long-awaited process to start returning property seized or occupied during the conflict period by the then CPN (Maoist) party is set to start from Sunday as per the recent 7-point agreement among the major parties.

UCPN (Maoist) party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and Nepali Congress general secretary Krishna Prasad Sitaula are leaving for Bardiya district shortly to kick start the process

Bardiya district had seen the largest seizure of public and private property during the conflict period.

According to Maoist leaders, the public and private property seized or occupied by the Maoist party will be immediately returned to their rightful owners while decision on properties already distributed among farmers and landless peasants will be taken after further discussion with other political parties.

As per the 7-point agreement of November 1, 2011 among the parties, the public and private property seized during the conflict period will be returned by November 23.

The Maoist party has already issued a circular to the party's lower organisations directing cadres to assist in the process of returning seized property, while the home administration has also started necessary preparation to create an enabling atmosphere for the same.

However, the Maoist hardline faction led by Vice-chairman Mohan Baidya and party establishment camp are at odds over returning property seized or occupied by the party.

The Baidya faction has said it will resist every effort that is made to take away the land from the poor farmers and the landless.

Friday, November 18, 2011

Rallies bring traffic chaos to City roads


Rallies and protests brought vehicular movement in different parts of the Capital city to a halt on Thursday.

A rally was organised by Metropolitan Traffic Police Division (MTPD) on the occasion of the 6th anniversary of Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office. Participated by police personnel, government officials and students, the rally rounded different places.

Another rally was taken out on the occasion of the 14th anniversary of Inland Revenue Department. Akhil Nepal Sukumabashi Sangh also organised a protest rally. All these rallies resulted in traffic chaos.

Inspector Abhay Bikram Shah of MTPD said the rallies affected vehicular movement for several hours in Bagbazar, Putalisadak, Padmodaya, Singha Durbar, Bhadrakali, Asan, Bhotahiti, New Road, Lazimpat, Maharajgunj, Gaushalla, Koteshwor, New Baneshwor, Kalimati, Kalanki and in some other places.

The protest organised by Sukumbashi Sangh created more traffic snarls, said Shah, adding that rallyists passed through the middle of roads not leaving space for vehicles.

Not only vehicles, public movement was also disturbed by the rallies and protest. “Why do they disturb others to fulfil their own vested interest?” asked Shyam Lama, a resident of New Baneshwor, referring to the difficulty he faced while trying to negotiate the rallies at Babarmahal.

Posted on: 2011-11-18 09:13

Donors unhappy with project chiefs' transfer


KATHMANDU: Donors, including the Asian Development Bank, UNDP, DFID, JICA and the EU, have expressed concern about the government’s failure to check corruption in development projects and opposed frequent transfer of chiefs of development projects.

Fiduciary risk and corruption are increasing in Nepal, Robert Piper, UN Resident and Humanitarian Coordinator, said today, calling on the government to enforce measures to check corruption.

Though the government has agreed not to transfer chiefs of development projects for at least three years except in cases of proven misconduct or non-performance, it has transferred chiefs of projects twice in a year, the donors said, adding the transfers coincide with change in government. “We encourage government to implement the deal,” ADB officials told this daily, adding that they are not happy with frequent transfers of chiefs of ADB-funded projects. The ADB’s contribution to ongoing projects in Nepal amounts to $ 1.230 billion.

The first-class officers generally get transferred in January-February after serving a department or division for at least two years, according to the Civil Service Act. However, Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hridayash Tripathi recently transferred seven joint secretaries by interchanging projects, divisions and departments.

Hari Prasad Sharma, appointed executive director of the Melamchi Drinking Water Project about two years ago, got transferred to Monitoring Division of the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works despite the Civil Service Act provision that bars the transfer of officials retiring in a year. Sharma is retiring in 10 months.

Krishna Prasad Acharya, appointed Director General of the Department of Drinking Water about eight months ago, has landed in the Melamchi project.

A mission from the Manila-based ADB Headquarters had visited Nepal on September 21-25 and requested the government to retain chiefs of ADB-funded projects describing their ‘performance as satisfactory.’

Tulasi Presad Sitaula, secretary at the ministry, defended the transfers and said, “We have brought better performers in the


Counterfeit notes worth IRs 32.7m seized in one year


KATHMANDU: The Metropolitan Police Commissioner’s Office (MPCO) and its subordinate units have confiscated fake Indian currency notes worth IRs 32.7 from mid-November 2010 to mid-November this year, nearly double the haul of the corresponding period last year.

MPCO, presenting its annual progress report on the occasion of the sixth Metropolitan Police Day, said the seizure of fake Indian currency notes jumped from IRs 16.5 million in 2010 to IRs 32.7 million in 2011. It said the smuggling of fake currency notes into India through the porous Indo-Nepal border continues unabated during the period.

SSP Rabi Raj Shrestha, the MPCO spokesperson, said proactive policing and deployment of detectives for intelligence gathering had made the haul possible. In the same period, police seized fake Nepali notes amounting to Rs 39,600 and IRs 32.7 million in the Valley and arrested at least 25 racketeers and mules, SSP Shrestha informed. “We filed 14 charges against the accused as per the chapter of Counterfeiting Currency of the Civil Code.” Of the arrested, 15 are Pakistanis, one is Thai national and the rest of them are Nepalis, according to statistics.

DIG Narayan Prasad Bastakoti, chief of the Airport Security Guards, said they are keeping round-the-clock vigil at the Tribhuvan International Airport to check the smuggling of fake Indian currency notes. Airport police had, on November 1, arrested Pakistani national Mohammed Salim (45) with fake Indian currency notes having the face value of IRs 3.9 million.

During the same period, police arrested 7,999 people for murder, abduction and possession of drugs as well as illegal weapons. According to MPCO, 831 criminals are still at large.

Officers awarded

KATHMANDU: MPCO on Thursday conferred the ‘Best Circle In-charge’ award on DSP Tek Bahadur Tamang, chief of the Kalimati Metropolitan Police Circle, and adjuged the metro police unit the ‘Best Metropolitan Police Circle for its top-notch performance in the Valley’.

DSP Uttam Raj Subedi and Inspector Bhisma Humagain got the award of best operation officer and best police investigator as part of sixth Metropolitan Police Day celebrations. Inspector General of Police Rabindra Pratap Shah gave away the awards at a special function organised in the Capital. Civil society members were also honoured for contribution to crime investigation.

Excess wealth: 86 officials under the CIAA

Over seven dozen high-ranking government officials, politicians and police officials are under the scanner of the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) for amassing properties disproportionate to their sources of income.

The CIAA officials said they have started investigation into the property details of these officials following serious complaints about their possible involvement in irregularities during their tenure in different government offices. These officials, many of them have already retired, worked in the ministries of Home, Commerce, Education, and Nepal Police, Armed Police Force (APF) and other government offices such as the Inland Revenue Department (IRD).

Though there were over three hundred complaints lodged at the office by the end of August, the anti-graft body picked 86 “most compelling” cases. “These are the cases we are trying to investigate at the first stage. The remaining and the new complaints would be handled gradually based on their priority,” said CIAA Spokesman Ishwori Paudyal.

The number of complaints, he said, is growing by the day. “Since we started our probe into property details about two months ago, the rate of registering complaints about graft has dramatically shot up,” he said.

The small CIAA team seems to be grappling with complaints. “It’s getting increasingly difficult to handle all the complaints, especially given the small number of staff at our disposal,” said an official. In a bid to bring efficiency to its work, the CIAA has assigned heads of 10 separate departments under it—each focusing on a particular area of investigation— with the task of looking into the complaints.

Currently, the officials are busy collecting property details of the suspected officials through a 13-page questionnaire.

Sources said among the officials under scanner are former secretaries and joint secretaries in the ministries of Agriculture and Cooperatives, Commerce and Supplies, Education, and IRD officials. Some APF AIGs and former chief district officers of Kathmandu are also under the CIAA investigation. One former CDO of Kathmandu, for instance, has been charged with allowing some businessmen to construct buildings against the criteria set by the Kathmandu Metropolitan City for bribe.

Posted on: 2011-11-18 09:13

Its Baby girl for Aishwarya

Bollywood’s light-eyed beauty Aishwarya Rai Bachchan, who was admitted to Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai on Monday for the birth of her firstborn, has finally delivered a baby girl on Wednesday.

Abhishek Bachchan broke the news to the world on Twitter as he tweeted: ‘IT’S A GIRL!!!!!! :-)))))’. While

grandfather Amitabh Bachchan tweeted, "I AM DADA to the cutest baby girl !"

Hospital sources said the delivery was normal and came a few minutes before 10 a.m. The Bachchan and Rai families were present for the momentous occasion.

Aishwarya, 38, developed labour pains around 4 a.m. and was taken to the labour room where the delivery took place after nearly six hours.

The actress is on the fifth floor of the luxury private hospital in Andheri east.

The hospital had booked three rooms on the floor -- one for Aishwarya, the other for the Bachchan family and the third for the Rai family. The entire floor was kept out of bounds for all except the two families.

The hospital has been under tight security for the past three days in expectation of the youngest member of the Bachchan family.

Aishwarya was admitted to the hospital Monday night, according to her spokesperson.

The Bachchan family had been waiting for the baby’s arrival for a few days and preparing for the child’s welcome.

The girl is Amitabh and Jaya Bachchan’s third grandchild, after Agastya and Navya Naveli -- children of his daughter Shweta and son-in-law Nikhil Nanda.

Aishwarya tied the knot with Abhishek in April 2007 and rumours about her pregnancy had been doing the rounds ever since.

In June this year, when Amitabh announced her pregnancy through Twitter, it grabbed the headlines.

A 10-point advisory by the Broadcast Editor’s Association (BEA) reportedly asked TV channel heads to curtail media coverage regarding the high-profile delivery.

PM proposes CA term extension for six months ‘Situation demands extension of CA tenure’

By A Staff Reporter

Kathmandu, Nov 17, Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai Thursday proposed for extension of the Constitution Assembly (CA) tenure for another six months to promulgate the new constitution after the expiry of its current tenure on November 30.

He informed the three-party meeting held at the Ministry of Peace and Re-construction, Singha Durbar that the government was mulling over the term extension.

"The Prime Minister told the meeting that the situation demanded extension of the tenure of CA," UML leader Bhim Rawal told The Rising Nepal after the meeting.

Rawal said NC and his party leaders told the PM to wait until their parties decided on the matter.

Nepali Congress leader Arjun Narsingh KC told journalists that NC and UML replied to the PM that it was not the time to discuss the issue.

"We said to the PM that the extension will depend on the progress in the peace process and the return of the seized property as per the seven point agreement," he said.

Earlier, the CA tenure was extended for three times.

However, the meeting failed to garner consensus on proposed experts panel in the place of the State Restructuring Commission by amending the interim constitution.

The ruling UCPN-Maoist, main opposition Nepali Congress and CPN-UML high level leaders decided to sit again on Friday to finalize the TOR of the proposed experts’ panel.

NC vice-chairman Ram Chandra Poudel informed that the next meeting would give the finalise the issue of interim constitution amendment.

UML leader Surendra Pandey said the TOR of the proposed experts’ panel would be prepared tomorrow before the scheduled parliamentary meeting.

"The TOR will include the concerns, amendment proposals in the House and the CA committee’s reports," he said.

However, UCPN-Maoist faction of Mohan Baidhya said the meeting could not reach any conclusion.

"We will not accept the amendment proposal bypassing the CA committee reports," he said.

The Baidhya faction lawmakers affiliated to Janajati caucus, among others, had registered amendment proposal on the 11th amendment bill that authorises the Constituent Assembly to form a panel of experts to seek advice on the restructuring of the state.

The lawmakers fear that the constitutionally recognised experts’ panel could nullify recommendations made by the CA Committee on Restructuring of the State and Devolution of State Powers.

On Thursday, leaders of NC and UML held talks prior to the three-party talks. UML leader Surendra Pandey informed that his party would withdraw its amendment proposal.

NC general secretary Krishna Sitaula informed that the proposed experts’ panel should give suggestions on state restructuring keeping in mind the constitutional sprit.

Leaders hold hectic discussions ahead of voting on statute amendment bill

Senior leaders of the three main parties - UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and UML - held hectic discussions from the morning today in an attempt to reach agreement on the mandate of the expert committee to be formed to suggest on state restructuring ahead of a voting in the parliament on the constitution amendment bill which will pave the way for formation of such a committee.

At a meeting held in Singha Durbar in the morning, the three parties agreed to pass the constitution amendment bill. They also agreed to determine the mandate of the expert committee by considering issues raised by the lawmakers representing different sections including women and indigenous communities.

The leaders are to hold talks with women lawmakers and representatives of the group of lawmakers from indigenous communities.

The parliament is set to vote on the bill seeking amendment to the Interim Constitution today.

No transformation of present govt into nat'l consensus one:Pokharel


DANG, Nov 18: Secretary of the CPN-UML Shankar Pokhrel said the rationale of the present government will be ended after November 30, adding that transforming the present government into a national consensus government is not possible either.

Speaking at an interaction organized by the Reporters Club of Nepal, Dang, in Tulsipur, on Friday, he said the government is formed on the base of the four-point agreement, therefore, unless the agreement was scrapped with political consensus, no national consensus government was possible.

UML Secretary Pokhrel claimed the present government had failed to play its responsible role, that´s why it could not be changed into a national consensus government.

He criticized Prime Minister Dr. Baburam Bhattarai for forming a jumbo cabinet though he talked about austerity by boarding a Mustang car.

Pokhrel said the government should be more serious for returning the captured land and property, and stressed on the need of concluding the regrouping of the Maoist Combatants within November 30.

Published on 2011-11-18 13:05:58

Govt makes important appointments, transfers 10 secys

The government has appointed Jiba Nath Dhital as chairman of Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse).

A meeting of the Council of Ministers held in Singha Durbar on Thursday also appointed Upendra Sharma and Binaya Karna as chairman of Citizen Investment Trust and chairman of management committee of Rural Housing Scheme respectively.

Meanwhile, the cabinet decided to transfer 10 secretaries, Minister for Physical Planning and Construction Hridayesh Tripathi informed media persons after the meeting.

Shankar Koirala has been transferred from industry ministry to Election Commission and Kishor Thapa from Election Commission to education ministry while Umakanth Jha has been moved from agriculture to industry ministry,

Likewise, Shankar Prasad Pandey has been shifted from education ministry to the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers. Pramod Karki has been shifted from culture ministry to Nepal Law Commission and Suresh Man Shrestha from Mid-western Regional Administrative Office to information and communications ministry.

Sushil Ghimire has been transferred from local development ministry to auditor general’s office and Nathu Chaudhary from information commission to agriculture ministry, Bishnu Prakash Pandit from Far-western Regional Administrative Office to water resources and energy ministry while Shital Babu Regmi has been transferred from water resources ministry to local development ministry,

Similarly, the name of Hari Kumar Shrestha, a career diplomat, has been recommended as ambassador to Bangladesh.

Five houses gutted in fire in Tatopani

Five houses were gutted in fire in Tatopani-1 Kodari of Sindhupalchok district, near Nepal-China border, Friday morning.

The houses have been completely damaged in the fire that started from the house of local Khadga Bahadur Khadka at around 9.30 am due to the cooking gas leakage, according to the police.

A team of the police and local people with the help of fire brigade vehicles extinguished the fire at around 11.30 am.

Tripathi 'richest' minister of Bhattarai cabinet

Physical Planning Minister Hridayesh Tripathi apparently looks the richest member of the Baburam Bhattarai cabinet with his property report putting his fortune at tens of millions of rupees.

Hridayesh Tripathi
According to the property details submitted by him to the Office of the Prime Minister and the Council of Ministers, Tripathi's possessions include 190 tola gold apart, 2002 tola silver, 7 Ropani and 2 Aana land plots at Bhainsepati, Balaju and Bansbari in the Kathmandu Valley, a house at Bhaisepati, two Japanese Prado jeeps, one Wagoner car, a tractor and a scooter.

Similarly, he owns land plots in Bhairahawa and his home district Nawalparasi. Additionally, he has bought stocks of Prime Bank (350 units), Bank of Asia (500 units) and Nepal Telecom (worth Rs 1.86 million). He also has Rs 600,000 deposit in his Everest Bank account.

The properties are in the name of minister Tripathi, his wife Sobha and daughter Pallavi. According to the property document submitted by him, the gold and silver and some other properties came through his earning, dowry and presents.

Minister Tripathi is also heavily into bank loans. The report shows he has taken Rs 33.57 million loan from different banks and finance companies.

Minister Tripathi, a senior leader of Terai Madhesh Loktantrik Party who held cabinet berths twice in the past, is among 21 ministers who have submitted their property details to the PMO.

Thursday, November 17, 2011

दुई सरकारी बैङ्कको मर्जर प्रक्रिया अघि बढ्यो

कात्तिक २९, काठमाडौं । सरकारले आफ्नो स्वामित्वका दुई बैङ्कको मर्जर प्रक्रिया अघि बढाएको छ । राष्ट्रिय वाणिज्य बैङ्क र एनआईडीसी बैङ्कको मर्जरका लागि अर्थ मन्त्रालयले तयारी शुरू गरेको हो । अर्थमन्त्रीको संयोजकत्वको उच्चस्तरीय वित्तीय क्षेत्र समन्वय समितिको मङ्गलवारको बैठकले मर्जरको प्रक्रिया अघि बढाउने निधो गरेको हो । ‘छिट्टै यी दुई बैङ्कको मर्ज गर्न आवश्यक प्रक्रिया शुरू गरिएको छ,’ अर्थ मन्त्रालयका सहसचिव वैकुण्ठ अर्यालले भने, ‘मर्जरको काम छिट्टै टुङ्गिनेछ ।’ बैठकले यी दुई वित्तीय संस्था मर्ज गर्न एनआईडीसीलाई अर्थ मन्त्रालयमातहत ल्याउने विषयमा राय माग्दै उद्योग मन्त्रालयलाई पत्र पठाएको छ । एनआईडीसी उद्योग मन्त्रालयअन्तर्गत छ । वाणिज्य बैङ्क अर्थ मन्त्रालयअन्तर्गत भएकाले शुरूमा एनआईडीसीलाई पनि अर्थ मन्त्रालयअन्तर्गत नै ल्याउनुपर्ने भएकाले उद्योगको राय मागिएको हो ।

तर, उद्योग मन्त्रालय भने मर्जरका लागि त्यति सकारात्मक नभएको स्रोतको दाबी छ । ‘उद्योग मन्त्रालयले मर्जरको प्रस्ताव मात्रे सम्भावना कम छ,’ स्रोतले भन्यो, ‘तर, उच्चस्तरीय समितिले नै मर्जरको प्रक्रिया अघि बढाएकाले दबाब थेग्न गाह्रो छ ।’ नेपाल राष्ट्र बैङ्कले सरकारी स्वामित्वका बैङ्कहरूको मर्जर प्रक्रिया अघि बढाउन अर्थ मन्त्रालयसँग प्रस्ताव गरेपछि मर्जरका लागि मन्त्रालयले पहल शुरू गरेको हो । केही दिनभित्रै यसको ठोस प्रस्ताव तयार गर्ने समितिले निर्णय गरेको छ । अर्थ मन्त्रालयले चालू आर्थिक वर्षभित्र सम्पत्र गर्ने कार्यक्रमको सूचीमा पनि सरकारी बैङ्कहरूको मर्जरलाई प्राथमिकता दिएर कार्यविधि सार्वजनिक गरेको थियो । चालू आवको बजेट भाषणमार्फत अर्थमन्त्रीले सरकारी बैङ्कहरूको वित्तीय स्थितिमा सुधार गर्न पुनः संरचना र आवश्यक पूँजीकरण गर्ने घोषणा गरेका थिए ।

दुवै बैङ्कमा सरकारको स्वामित्व भएकाले मर्जर प्रक्रिया सहज हुने अनुमान पनि छ । राष्ट्रिय वाणिज्य बैङ्कमा सरकारको पूर्ण स्वामित्व छ भने एनआईडीसीमा ९९ दशमलव २६ प्रतिशत स्वामित्व छ । राष्ट्र बैङ्कले धेरैओटा कमजोर संस्थाको विकल्पमा बलियो संस्था चलाउन मर्जरको प्रस्ताव गरेको हो । सरकारी बैङ्कहरू नै आपसमा मर्ज गराएपछि निजी बैङ्क तथा वित्तीय संस्था पनि मर्जरका लागि प्रेरित हुन सक्ने राष्ट्र बैङ्कको विश्वास छ । मर्जर नभए वाणिज्य बैङ्कमा तत्काल थप पूँजी वृद्धि गर्नुपर्ने अवस्था छ । वाणिज्य बैङ्कले पूँजी थप्न अर्थ मन्त्रालयलाई लगातार प्रस्ताव गरिरहेको छ ।

गत आवसम्ममा वाणिज्य बैङ्कको सञ्चित नोक्सानी ९ अर्ब ३७ करोड रुपैयाँ छ । अर्थ मन्त्रालय तत्काल वाणिज्य बैङ्कमा पूँजी वृद्धि गर्ने मानसिकतामा छैन । त्यस्तै, एनआईडीसीको सञ्चित नोक्सानी अघिल्लो आवसम्म १७ करोड ९४ लाख रुपैयाँ रहेकोमा चालू आवको नाफाबाट सञ्चित नोक्सानी परिपूर्ति गरी नाफामा जाने बैङ्कको लक्ष्य छ । यी दुई संस्था मर्ज गरेर ऋणात्मक नेटवर्थ धनात्मक बनाउने उच्चस्तरीय वित्तीय क्षेत्र समन्वय समितिको तयारी छ । वित्तीय सुधार कार्यक्रम लागू गरिएको वाणिज्य बैङ्कमा अपेक्षित सुधार हुन नसकेपछि राष्ट्र बैङ्क र अर्थ मन्त्रालय दुवै यसका बारेमा गम्भीर बन्दै आएका छन् । खराब कर्जा झण्डै ७२ प्रतिशत रहेको एनआईडीसीले सोबापत हर्जाना व्यवस्था भने गरिसकेको छ । यस्तै, वित्तीय क्षेत्र समन्वय समितिले नेपाल बैङ्क लिमिटेड र कृषि विकास बैङ्कको शेयर बेच्दै जाने प्रक्रियाका विषयमा पनि छलफल शुरू गरेको छ । सबै सरकारी लगानीका बैङ्क तथा वित्तीय संस्थाको शेयर स्वामित्व कम गर्दै लैजाने सरकारी तयारी छ ।

Final verdict on CA extension on Nov 25


KATHMANDU: The Supreme Court today set the date for the final hearing on the 10th amendment to the Interim Constitution, which has given the Constituent Assembly a three-month extension that expires on November 30.

After a hearing, a five-member special bench under Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi scheduled the final hearing on the case for November 25.

The bench is tasked with deciding whether repeated extensions of the constitution-making body’s term are in line with the doctrine of necessity based on which the apex court issued a verdict on May 25 stating that CA’s term cannot be extended by more than six months from its original two-year tenure except during a state of emergency or any other special circumstances as per the doctrine of necessity, for up to six months.

Accusing the government and the Parliament of misusing the doctrine of necessity repeatedly to give the CA extensions, Balkrishna Neupane and Bharat Jangum had moved the court seeking its intervention. The May 25 verdict states that repeated amendments to the statute to extend the CA term, are against the constitution and popular will. It says any amendment to the constitution is subject to judicial review.

Set deadline: Lawyers

KATHMANDU: Pleading on behalf of the petitioners, the Nepal Bar Association and the Supreme Court Bar Association, about a dozen advocates and amicus curiae today asked the apex court to set the deadline for constitution-writing.

Burglars target house of President's niece


KATHMANDU: A gang of robbers yesterday night broke into a house in Reliable Colony in Bhainsepati, Lalitpur and made away with cash and valuables worth over Rs 8 lakh, police said.

The burgled house belongs to Rekha Yadav, niece of President Dr Ram Baran Yadav, and her husband Bishnudev Yadav, an employee at Nepal SBI Bank. It was not known whether the robbers deliberately chose to burgle the house of kin of the President, but the incident has once again exposed Valley’s security situation. What is more insulting for the red-faced police is the house is just a stone’s throw away from the house of SSP Kedarman Singh Bhandari.

Lalitpur Police Chief SP Bhog Bahadur Thapa said the robbers wielded sharp weapons and pistols and held family members and two private security guards hostage for more than 45 minutes before raiding the house at around 12.45 am. “They forced the Yadav family to open the safe,” he said.

Investigating official ASI Bharat Bajgain said the robbers made away with Rs 1 lakh cash, 10 tolas of gold, one kg of silver, one movie camera, one digital still camera, four wrist watches and one mobile phone set.

The robbers had first tied hands of private security guards and warned them not to resist. Rojin Rai (24) of Dhankuta, one of the guards, said, “The robbers had their faces covered. ”

A police source said there were two Nepali Army soldiers ‘deployed’ in the house of the Yadavs. “They were unarmed,” said the source but failed to explain for what purpose they were there. He added that police were clueless about their identities as well, as the Yadavs ‘did not cooperate with the investigating officials’. “The family did not even want us to make the incident public,” he said. The burglars are said to have warned the family of ‘dire consequences’ if they informed police. When police reached the incident site at around 2am, the robbers had already fled the scene. Security guards had tried to stop police from entering the colony, saying it was an order from SSP Bhandari.

Police have detained two security guards. The burglars are at large.

Over 1,000 tourists again stranded in Everest region

Tourists returning to Kathmandu from Solukhumbu district have been stranded after cancellation of flights from Tenzing Hillary Airport and Faplu of Khumbu area of the district on Wednesday due to unfavorable weather condition, RSS reports.

According to the Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal, Lukla and Faplu offices, as many as 930 tourists are stranded in Lukla and more than 70 in Faplu as they could not return to Kathmandu due to adverse weather.

Office of the Civil Aviation Authority, Lukla, informed that some private airlines companies including Fishtail, Dynasty, Mountain and Simrik have rescued stranded tourists from Tenzing Hillary Airport, Lukla, and Surke.

Chief of the Office, Utsav Kharel told RSS rain and snowfall at Lukla from this morning have made problems to helicopters that have been deployed for rescue of tourists.

Local Surya Thulung said normal life in Lukla is being chaotic day by day and price of goods have also increased following the disruption of air services.

Some of the tourists have gone to Jiri of Dolakha from Lukla today on foot after seeing no improvement in the weather, informed trekking entrepreneur Lapsang Sherpa.

Similarly, tourists, who have been stranded at Faplu following bad weather, have now been waiting for helicopter.

Proprietor of Tip and Top Trekking, Nima Sherpa said although a helicopter has been called in, no helicopter could make flights following the unfavorable weather.

Office of Civil Aviation Authority, Lukla and Faplu, informed that the weather in Solukhumbu is likely to be as it is for about three days.

Minister sought Rs 800,000 to 1m for DFO transfers

KATHMANDU, Nov 17: Forest and Soil Conservation Minister Mohammad Wakil Musalman is found to have been demanding Rs 800,000 to 1 million each from two dozen district forest officers (DFOs), enticing them with transfers to lucrative districts, it is confirmed by multiple sources.

According to knowledgeable sources at the Forest Ministry, Minister Musalman transferred 11 DFOs to various districts on Tuesday and has been preparing to transfer 13 more shortly despite serious objection from Forest Secretary Keshav Bhattarai and other senior officials.

"The minister himself, his aides and some of his relatives have been demanding Rs 800,000 to 1 million if a DFO wants to get transferred to districts notorious for timber smuggling," confirmed three ministry sources. One of the DFOs who was invited to the minister´s quarters Monday and asked to pay for his transfer also confirmed that the minister sought money from him.

"You have to pay money to support my party if you want to get transferred to a lucrative district," the DFO quoted Musalman as saying at his quarters.

The minister´s decision to transfer DFOs flouts the existing Civil Service Act, which does not allow him to transfer DFOs or other government staff before the end of a two-year term. The minister also flouted legal provisions by not seeking prior consent from the Ministry of General Administration (MoGA) before reaching such a decision.

Additionally, the minister has also not taken any prior consent from the MoGA in the case of the 13 DFOs whom he wants to transfer soon.

Sources divulged that the minister´s personal secretaries are also bargaining with the DFOs over money.

Meanwhile, disgruntled with Forest Secretary Bhattarai, Minister Musalman is all set to transfer him from the ministry. Secretary Bhattarai and other senior officials had requested him not to transfer any DFOs in contravention of the law or take other controversial decisions.
Minister transfers 11 DFOs, flouting Civil Service Act
Preparing to transfer another 13 DFOs
Minister, aides demanding up to Rs 1 m from DFOs willing to get transferred
I challenge you to show evidence: Minister
Minister admits preparing to transfer secretary
Minister Musalman, however, said the allegations against him were baseless. "I have not asked DFOs to pay me for their transfers," he said, adding, "I am ready to face action and even quit if anyone shows solid evidence of my involvement in bribe taking. I also challenge you (Republica) to show evidence regarding my involvement in demanding such bribes."

He, however, admitted that he is not fully satisfied with Secretary Bhattarai. Asked why he wants to transfer his secretary despite Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai´s public commitment not to transfer secretaries without assessing their performance, Minister Musalman added, "Transferring secretaries has long been a tradition in our country. A minister can transfer a secretary if he doesn´t receive proper support from the secretaries concerned."

Minister Musalman failed to specify in which matter Secretary Bhattarai failed to cooperate with him.

Asked why he transferred 11 DFOs in contravention of the Civil Service Act, Musalman said, "The decision to transfer them was taken as they were not given their responsibilities for so long."

He transferred DFOs posted in Jhapa, Shankhuwasabha, Surkhet, Rautahat, Kaski, Nuwakot and Dang on Tuesday.

According to sources, Musalman has prepared a list of lucrative districts to transfer DFOs to. As per the list, Dadeldhura, Kailali, Bara, Makwanpur, Sindhuli, Udayapur and Argakhachi are among the lucrative districts. "He has been seeking money from those wishing to get transferred to these districts," the sources added.

Published on 2011-11-17 03:00:43

Draft regulation on Microinsurance Fund ready


KATHMANDU, Nov 14: The government is all set to create a pooled fund to facilitate implementation of microinsurance program, which is expected to help low income group purchase cheap policies on life, health and sources of livelihood.

Dubbed the Microinsurance Fund, the fund will be formed under the chairmanship of a board member of the Insurance Board (IB) -- the insurance sector regulator -- with representatives of selected insurance companies as members.

This fund will basically provide compensation to policyholders who have bought microinsurance products sold by various insurance companies. It will also take the responsibility of reinsuring the products sold by insurers to divert risk created by settlement of insurance claims.

A draft regulation on Microinsurance Fund that will soon be forwarded to the cabinet for approval says the fund will be created through contributions made by the government and insurance companies.

Currently, the IB is planning to contribute Rs 10 million to the fund. “The IB is also mulling over asking all member insurance companies of the fund to chip in another Rs 15 million,” a senior official of the IB told Republica on Sunday.

According to the draft, all non-life insurance companies are eligible to become members of the fund. “If the fund deems it necessary, it may also direct life insurance companies to accept membership. These members will be asked to deposit certain amount of income generated through sales of microinsurance products at the fund, which will be used to compensate victims and manage other risks,” the draft says. “The members of the fund may also be asked to make additional financial contribution, in case the fund is unable to compensate the victims.”

But in case the government decides to dissolve the fund, all members will have equal right on the fund´s assets, according to the draft.

“We hope these provisions are enough to successfully run the fund that is necessary to launch the microinsurance program immediately,” said an official of the IB, which will monitor the activities of the fund.

To kick-start microinsurance program in rural markets, the government has currently identified six microinsurance products which could be sold for a couple of hundred rupees and provide coverage of up to Rs 100,000. One such product is livestock insurance under which only dairy cattle would be insured in the initial phase. Health insurance is another product identified by the IB, which covers hospital bills of policyholders, whereas personal accident insurance policy provides compensation in case the policyholder dies or becomes disabled because of accidents.

The government has also floated self-employment insurance scheme which provides compensation in case the source of livelihood of policyholders, such as tea shops, are destroyed by fire, floods or earthquake. Other products include endowment and term-life insurance policies that provide a lump sum in case of policyholder´s death or after maturity of the policy.

The government had earlier asked insurance companies in the country to launch these products voluntary. But after they started dilly-dallying, the government is planning to make it compulsory for all insurance companies to have their presence in the microinsurance sector.

Published on 2011-11-14 00:45:02

Proposal on earthquake insurance coverage gathers dust

KATHMANDU, Sept 22: The Insurance Board, regulator for the insurance sector, has been lobbying the Finance Ministry to make it compulsory for all residential and commercial complexes located in municipalities to insulate themselves with earthquake-damage insurance coverage for the last two years.

The regulator´s proposal has been gathering dust for the last two years but the Finance Ministry has not taken any initiative to turn the proposal into a law.

“The last time we had sent a formal request was during the time when the government was preparing the budget for this fiscal year,” an Insurance Board official, who is familiar with the issue, told Republica. “But we haven´t heard from them.”

The Insurance Board had floated the proposal of mandatory coverage for earthquake damage after Nepal´s capital topped the 2001 list of world´s most earthquake-vulnerable cities. A 2004 study said if a tremor of magnitude more than 8 on Richter scale hits Nepal, six out of 10 buildings in Kathmandu would collapse.

A one-and-half-minute teaser was witnessed last Sunday when an earthquake measuring 6.8 on the Richter scale shook the country, causing more than 150 buildings to collapse and develop cracks in even the so-called sturdiest structures in Kathmandu.

Considering this, the possibility of buildings turning into rubbles in case the country is hit by an earthquake of bigger intensity cannot be ruled out.

“We were lucky that the damage caused by Sunday earthquake was minimal,” the Insurance Board official said. “But we can´t be lucky all the times as we know our country lies in one of the most seismically active zones in the world.” That´s why, he said, Insurance Board has been pushing to make insurance coverage for earthquake damages compulsory.

In the initial phase, the board has proposed that the coverage be extended to houses, residential and commercial complexes located in municipalities, where density of such structures is high. In these areas, losses can reach millions, if not billions, of rupees in case of a catastrophe.
“Who will provide compensation under such circumstances as the government won´t be able to cover losses of this magnitude,” the official asked, signaling urgency of the matter.
Currently, insurance companies include the quake-damage coverage in the fire-risk insurance bundle. But since it is not compulsory, many just purchase fire-risk insurance and avoid earthquake coverage.

Two insurance companies - Nepal Insurance Company Limited and Sagarmatha Insurance - told Republica that more than 95 percent of people who buy earthquake damage coverage are those who have acquired home loans as mortgage lenders force them to do so.

“Other individuals simply opt out assuming chances of a quake destroying their houses are remote,” Chandra Singh Saud, Deputy General Manager of Nepal Insurance Company Ltd, said.

This is despite the fact that earthquake-damage insurance costs about Rs 1.25 per year for property worth Rs 1,000. In other words, an individual who owns Rs 2-million house has to pay a premium of Rs 2,500 per year.

Saud said: “If Rs 2,500 per year can prevent losses of Rs 2 million, it should be considered rational investment. But most of the people don´t understand this.”

Insurance Board official called these people ´ignorant´. “It´s because of people like them that earthquake-damage coverage has to be made compulsory,” he said.

Published on 2011-09-22 01:45:42

IB to bring NGOs conducting micro-insurance business under its ambit


KATHMANDU, Nov 17: The Insurance Board (IB) is soon coming up with a directive that will oblige all non-government organizations (NGOs) and other firms operating microinsurance businesses to work as agents of government-authorized insurance companies.

Currently, dozens of NGOs, community groups and microfinance companies are selling microinsurance policies that among others provide coverage to life, health, cattle, crops and even small teashops and workshops.

The insurance sector regulator has termed activities of these organizations ´illegal´ as many of them have not obtained license from the IB to operate their businesses.
“What many are doing is against the law,” Fatta Bahadur KC, chairman of the IB, told Republica. “They should either obtain license from the government or register themselves as agents of insurance companies.”

The Insurance Act 1993 clearly states that companies involved in insurance business must obtain license from the IB. The Act also states that anyone found violating this rule can be fined up to Rs 10,000.

But so far the government has turned blind eye to the activities of many social organizations as they have not created a situation of moral hazard. However, the government has now argued that the possibility of such a situation cannot be ruled out as many social organizations do not have adequate capital to cushion huge losses.

“For instance, organizations that are currently providing compensation in case of death or injury of one or two cows may not be able to settle claims if all cattle in an area die because of outbreak of some disease,” a senior official of the IB told Republica. “In such circumstances, policyholders may not be able to receive compensation despite having paid premium on time.”

This is the reason why the IB has refused to define their nature of business as ´insurance´.

“What they are basically doing is giving assurances to policyholders to provide compensation in case they incur losses. Assurance is not the same as insurance,” the IB official said, justifying the need to bring organizations conducting microinsurance businesses under the legal ambit.

“Once these organizations affiliate themselves with insurance companies, they will have a cushion to fall upon as the insurer, and not the organization, will be responsible for settling all the claims, whether big or small,” the official said. “This will ensure policyholders will get compensation even in case of a disaster.”

The government is soon launching microinsurance program in rural markets in cooperation with insurance companies. Currently, the IB has identified six microinsurance products which could be sold for a couple of hundred rupees and provide coverage of up to Rs 100,000.

The government has also floated self-employment insurance scheme which provides compensation in case the source of livelihood of policyholders, such as tea shops, are destroyed by fire, floods or earthquake.

Other products include endowment and term-life insurance policies that provide a lump sum in case of policyholder´s death or after maturity of the policy.

Published on 2011-11-17 07:30:03

Wednesday, November 16, 2011

Norway Crown Prince‚ UNDP chief set to visit Nepal


KATHMANDU: Accompanied by Norway’s Crown Prince Haakon, the United Nations Development Programme (UNDP) chief and chair of the UN Development Group Helen Clark is set to arrive in Kathmandu for a four-day official visit on Monday. Crown Prince Haakon is a UNDP goodwill ambassador.

The UNDP leader and the Norwegian crown prince will jointly meet President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav and other senior government officials, the UNDP’s office in Kathmandu said.

Big three reassert agreement on expert committee

The three major parties - UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) - have reasserted their previous agreement to form an expert committee to suggest on state restructuring, and to amend the constitution to replace the provision for State Restructuring Commission (SRC).

In the meeting held at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction in Singha Durbar Wednesday morning, top leaders of the three parties decided not to make any changes in the draft bill prepared by the government for constitution amendment.

They also turned down the proposal of Maoist vice chairman Mohan Baidya not to give strong mandate to the expert panel.

At the meeting, Baidya argued that the experts committee should not be given the same mandate as an independent commission.

The meeting came ahead of a voting in the parliament on the bill to amend the Interim Constitution to incorporate the provision for the expert committee by replacing the provision for SRC.

Aishwarya Rai gives birth to baby girl


MUMBAI, Nov 16: Bollywood´s golden couple, Aishwarya Rai Bachchan and her husband Abhishek, became proud parents for the first time on Wednesday with the birth of a baby girl.

Former Miss World Rai Bachchan, 38, gave birth at the private Seven Hills Hospital in Mumbai, hospital staff told AFP.

"IT´S A GIRL!," Abhishek, 35, wrote on his Twitter account, @juniorbachchan, without giving any further details.

Bachchan´s father, Bollywood legend Amitabh, tweeted his joy at the new arrival: "A dada ji (a grandfather)...Ecstatic!", calling his new granddaughter "the cutest baby girl".

Rai Bachchan and her husband are Hindi-language cinema A-listers and -- with Amitabh and his actress wife Jaya -- are considered to be Bollywood´s "first family".

Amitabh, the family patriarch, is already a grandfather as his daughter, Shweta Nanda, has two children.

Bachchan senior -- a compulsive blogger and tweeter of his thoughts on life -- has had a prickly relationship with the media in the past and has criticised outlets that misrepresent him or intrude on his family´s privacy.

Before the birth, Indian broadcasters agreed on an unprecedented series of measures, including not to trail the event in advance or even run the announcement on "breaking news" captions.

Outside broadcast vans would not be sent to his home or the hospital and no astrology shows, which are popular in India to forecast future fortunes, would be aired.

Stories on the subject would also be restricted to between one minute and ninety seconds.

Indian television news channels on Wednesday appeared to be upholding the agreement, with muted coverage.

Aishwarya Rai Bachchan took the Miss World crown in 1994 and made her debut in Bollywood in the late 1990s. She has since gone on to star in more than 40 Indian films.

She was most recently seen in the South Indian film blockbuster "Endhiran" (Robot) with the Tamil-language superstar Rajinikanth, which broke box office records in India.

She has also appeared as a jewel thief in Steve Martin´s "The Pink Panther 2". Her other English-language films include "Bride and Prejudice" (2004), by "Bend It Like Beckham" director Gurinder Chadha, and "The Last Legion" (2007).

Before her pregnancy was announced, Rai Bachchan was at this year´s Cannes film festival to promote her latest project "Heroine".

Filming had been due to start this year but in June its producers said the movie had been put on hold because of the pregnancy.