Nepal Today

Sunday, June 30, 2013

ADD CHAIRMAN REGMI, PRESIDENT MEET Kathmandu, 1 July: Chairman Khil Raj Raj Regmi only briefed the president on political developments Sunday evening. “The president only listened to the briefing. The president didn’t make any comments at today’s briefing,” presidential press aide Rajendra Dahal said. nnnn. NO CLUES ON MISSING NEPALIS IN UTTERKHAND Kathmandu, 1 July: Thirteen days after the flooding and landslides in the Uttarakhand state of India, there is still no clue about the whereabouts of many Nepali pilgrims missing in the incident, Devendra Bhattarai writes in The Kathmandu from New Delhi.. The Uttarakhand government has announced that the death toll of the June 16 disaster could be well over 5,000. Speaker of the Uttarakhand Legislative Assembly GS Kunjawal claimed on Sunday that the number of deaths could cross 10,000. The announcement has rendered the relatives of the missing victims hopeless. Many of them have started returning home. Raju Rana of Rukum, who was rescued out from landslide debris near Kedarnath, said 15 of his friends working as palanquin carriers are buried under the rubble. Rana, whose lower part of body was crushed by the landslide debris, is admitted in a hospital at Dehradun with spinal cord injury on Satruday. Bharat Bahadur Bam of Bajura was admitted to the hospital with leg injury on Sunday. He was caught in a landslide at Gobindaghat area. Bam’s elder brother, Bhim Bahadur, survived the incident. According to the New Delhi-based Nepali Embassy, nearly 50 Nepalis are still stranded in Guptakashi region.Pushparaj Pandey, a rescue volunteer in Haridwar, said rainfall since Sunday afternoon has hindered the ongoing rescue operation. nnnn NSP, TMLP IN UNIFICATION TALKS Kathmandu, 1 July: In view of the Constituent Assembly (CA) election s, Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Anandidevi) and Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party-Nepal have initiated talks for party unification, The Kathmandu Post reports.. In the second round of talks held on Sunday, leaders from the both parties agreed to go for unification “in principle”. “We are very positive about unification,” said NSP (Anandidevi) Chairperson Sarita Giri. TMLP-N leader Dan Bahadur Chaudary said though they held two rounds of talks, they are yet to decide on structure of the unified party. “One of the suggestions from the other side is forming a large central committee until the CA polls and settling issues after holding a joint general convention,” said Chaudary. He said further details will be discussed in the meeting slated for Wednesday. Likewise, Giri informed that her party is also in parleys with Ram Naresh Raiya-led Rastriya Sadbhawana for possible unification. Meanwhile, a party meeting of the Tarai Madhes Loktantrik Party (TMLP) led by Mahanta Thakur is scheduled to meet on Wednesday. In the meeting Chairman Thakur is expected to apprise party leaders of the talks for electoral alliances. The TMLP is said to be holding talks with the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhawana Party and Tarai Madhes National Campaign Coordinator Jay Prakash Prasad Gupta. Nnnn INTERVIEW Since the Khil Raj Regmi government was formed with the mandate to hold elections, the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist has consistently opposed the government and plans to hold elections to a new Constituent Assembly (CA). Among its demands are the dissolution of the technocratic Regmi government and the formation of a party-led government through a roundtable. However, a proposal was tabled at Saturday’s Central Committee meeting in Pokhara outlining plans to boycott elections and step up protest programmes. In such a context, The Post’s Roshan Sedhai and Pranaya SJB Rana spoke to CPN-Maoist Vice-chairman and foreign department head CP Gajurel about the possibilities of going to polls, party unity with the UCPN (Maoist) and their protest programmes. Will you go to elections? Our bottom line to go to elections is that the 25-point ordinance needs to be scrapped as it is the root cause of everything else that came after, including the 11-point agreement and the Regmi government. We have a non-party government in a multiparty system. There are so many political parties and yet, our government is being run by bureaucrats. The main root of this situation is the 25-point ordinance. It paved the way for all this and it allowed something that should never have been done—it scrapped more than 20 provisions of the constitution. The President doesn’t have the authority to do this. He says that he did it on the recommendation of the four parties but who gave the four parties this right? The President is called the guardian of the constitution but he himself has betrayed the constitution. But is it possible to reverse the entire political process? It must be reversed. A blunder has been committed. It amazes me that this current situation doesn’t worry enough people. So much blood was shed for this Interim Constitution and now so many provisions have been scrapped. This is the document that declares Nepal as a republic. What do we have now besides the interim constitution? We don’t even have a Constituent Assembly. Say, the parties are able to bring out a new constitution. The President can easily scrap that constitution too, claiming that he has done it before. This blunder needs to be corrected. If not, the constitution will not be made and even if it is, there will be no meaning to it. How will you oppose the election process? Our opposition doesn’t just mean that we will not vote. We will not go to elections and elections will not be legitimate. We will call on the people to create an environment that will be unsuitable for polls. We will make sure polls will not take place. But we know that this cannot be achieved by taking up arms. The only way is to mobilise the people and bring in as many parties as possible. There is no advantage to us picking up arms again, so why should we do so? But there is a faction within the party that is of the view that the ‘People’s War’ needs to be completed at any cost. It is true that the ‘People’s War’ is not complete. But the context in which we started the war was different. Now is a different time. We contested elections and came through as the largest party. Now we have party wings in all 75 districts. We have great support from people in the cities, which we did not have before. We are recognised internationally; all ambassadors come to meet us. We cannot give all this up and go back to a people’s war. We need to raise the agenda of change from where we stand. This is Marxism. No revolutionary party takes up weapons as the first choice; it is always the last resort. We are proceeding with a peaceful revolution but they are not listening to our demands. But the announced election date has already been forgotten by the people. Very few people in the cities talk of elections, let alone in the villages. In such a situation, elections cannot take place. Why do you say that? Short answer, elections will not take place because the people don’t want elections to take place. We are holding elections to a Constituent Assembly (CA), so all political forces need to be involved in this. But the country is divided. If one faction does not take part in elections, it will not take ownership of the constitution that is drafted. So what then is the significance of that constitution? But we are not opposed to elections or the CA. This was our agenda, not the Nepali Congress or CPN-UML’s agenda. But now Madhav Nepal, Bijay Gachhadar and Sushil Koirala are now inviting us to take part in what was our own agenda! First, they opposed it on all fronts saying a CA would never work in Nepal. They fired bullets and killed people. Now they have taken it up themselves while the ones who raised the issue have been sidelined. What we need now is a new democracy. What will be the character of this new democracy? The new democracy will fundamentally oppose feudalism and imperialism. Democracy was once revolutionary but later, it was taken over by the status quoists, just like the CA was. But how to define democracy? Having elections alone is not democracy. If a bourgeois party or a group that is feudal, imperialistic and will not help the country is not allowed to form then there is said to be no democracy. Look at Nepal now. There are so many NGO and INGOs that interfere in Nepali politics. But if we say that we don’t need INGOs, then they call us evil, dictators and anti-democracy. So this new democracy should be a people’s democracy. You have said that the Regmi government was formed under foreign pressure but should there not be agreement within the country for a political course to move in that direction? The order to form this technocratic government came from across the border. We held a press conference and asked the government not to declare the poll date. That same day, we heard that Manmohan Singh had told Sher Bahadur Deuba that he would be happy if polls were held in November. The government weighed whose voice to heed and they went with India. We are not going to oppose external influence from India; we will do it from Nepal itself. Furthermore, India is acting in Nepal through its agents. Our resistance will be to these agents, these puppets. We are not anti-India. We have good relations with the Indian people. During the years we were underground, the Indian people helped us. There are many in India who still support our revolution. We depend on India for many things, including salt and petroleum. We have a trade and business relationship with India. We only oppose the negative activities of the Indian government. How do you respond to insinuations that there was external pressure on your party to go to elections? This news has been planted as the Chinese State Councillor was just here. I am head of the party’s foreign department and any talks would have gone through me. They have categorically said that right now, they have no programmes to meet with any political leaders or parties. The councillor signed some agreements and went back. There were no talks with our Chairman or our party. As far as Chinese advice goes, before our party split, they had told us to not break up as this would make us weaker. But after the split, they have made a decision to treat both parties the same. There is no question of them telling us to go to elections or ally with any party. We cannot hide these kinds of meetings even if they do take place. These people come here with a strict schedule that says who they will meet and when. On a different note, is there any truth to rumours of party unification? As long the Prachanda and Baburam Bhattarai-led UPCN (Maoist) retains its current ideology and leadership, party unification is impossible. This is a ploy by Prachanda to scare the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML. If they don’t do what he says, he threatens them by saying he will ally with us and flush them away. Of course, there are people in the UCPN (Maoist) who have an affinity for us and the line that we have taken up. There are such people in other parties too. But party unity is a completely different topic. There needs to be agreement on thought, ideology, line, aim and leadership. We came into the peace process with two agendas: peace and constitution. But now, we don’t have peace and we don’t have a constitution. nnnn BRAZIL DEFEATS SPAIN, LIFTS CONFEDERATION CUP Kathmandu, 1 July: Stadium was noisy, hoping for and maybe even anticipating a triumph by Brazil, AP reports from Rio De Janiero . The Selecao rewarded the fans with a comprehensive victory over the best national team of the 21st century, an ego-boosting 3-0 smothering of world champion Spain in the Confederations Cup final on Sunday night. Nice, yes. But Brazil is focusing on the really big prize: the World Cup that it hosts next year. ''We know that the tournament that we will be playing next year will be a lot more difficult,'' Brazil coach Luiz Felipe Scolari said. ''Now we have more confidence. That's what we needed.'' In the stadium that will host the 2014 World Cup final next July 14, Fred put Brazil ahead in the second minute, Neymar doubled the lead in the 44th with his fourth goal of the tournament and Fred added his fifth in the 47th. While there was a crowd of 73,000 in the renovated stadium, outside protesters clashed with riot police on the final night of the two-week prep tournament. '' Brazil has shown to the world that this is the Brazil ian national team and that we must be respected,'' said 21-year-old Neymar, awarded the Golden Ball as the tournament's top player. ''I think that today we had a great victory against the best team of the world, with some of the best players in the world.'' In a matchup of new and old powers, the five-time world champion defeated the reigning world and European champion and ended Spain's 29-game, three-year winning streak in competitive matches. ''We are happy with what we have done over the last few years,'' Spain coach Vicente Del Bosque said. ''But one loss - you have to look at it, but not overreact to it. We are not content with the loss. But when a team is superior, you have to accept it. It was a deserved defeat.'' Brazil won its third straight Confederations Cup and has not lost a competitive home match since 1975. Yet, no reigning Confed Cup winner has gone on to capture the following year's World Cup. Spain, which had not lost a competitive game since its 2010 World Cup opener against Switzerland, had a miserable night. Sergio Ramos sent a penalty kick wide in the 55th and defender Gerard Pique was ejected by Dutch referee Bjorn Kuipers with a straight red card for fouling Neymar in the 68th. ''The first minutes and the last minutes of the halves are critical,'' Spanish defender Cesar Azpilicueta said. ''And they scored their three goals at the beginning and ends of the halves, which is the worst time. Those are the most demoralizing moments.'' Eliminated in the quarterfinals of the last two World Cups, the Selecao entered the tournament having not played a competitive match since the 2011 Copa America. Brazil had slipped to 22nd in the FIFA rankings, between Ghana and Mali. Spain, ranked first for the past 20 months, is the most accomplished national team of recent decades, winning its first World Cup in 2010 between titles in the 2008 and 2012 European Championships. But in the stadium where 170,000-plus watched Brazil lose to Uruguay in the last game of the 1950 World Cup, Brazil dominated La Furia Roja. ''The champion is back,'' the crowd chanted. It also didn't take long before the fans - in a sea of yellow jerseys - started teasing the Spaniards, chanting ''Wanna play, wanna play!? Brazil will teach you.'' Spain had been unbeaten in 26 matches overall, including friendlies, since a 1-0 loss to England in London in 2011 and had outscored opponents 69-11 in competitive matches since the loss to Switzerland in South Africa. But Spain had not played Brazil since a 1999 exhibition, and they hadn't met in a competitive match since the Selecao's 1-0 win in the first round of the 1986 World Cup in Mexico. ''We knew we were going to encounter a physical game with lots of fouling,'' Spanish midfielder Andres Iniesta said. ''We lost to a very strong team, and the small details let us down.'' Fred opened the scoring after a cross into the area by Hulk in the second minute. The ball bounced off Neymar near the far post and Fred, who had fallen while trying to reach for the cross, shot with his right foot while still on the ground. Brazil added to the lead after Neymar exchanged passes with Oscar and then sent a powerful left-footed shot over goalkeeper Iker Casillas. Fred got the final goal from just inside the area, sending a low shot to the far corner. Hulk started the move with a pass to Neymar, but the striker let it go as Fred came running behind him. Spain was awarded the penalty kick after Marcelo fouled Jesus Navas inside the area. Ramos, who skied a penalty kick for Real Madrid against Bayern Munich in the 2012 Champions League semifinals, sent this one wide. Spain's best chance before the penalty came with Pedro Rodriguez in the 41st, when he entered the area clear from defenders on a breakaway. His low shot beat goalkeeper Julio Cesar, but David Luiz came rushing in and slid in front of the goal line just in time to deflect the ball over the crossbar. There were protests outside the stadium during the match, with police using rubber bullets and tear gas to keep demonstrators from getting too close. A wave of anti-government protests has swept across Brazil in recent weeks, and many affected the Confederations Cup host cities as demonstrators complained of the costs of hosting the World Cup. On the field, it was a heated match from the start, with players from both teams pushing and shoving each other a few times. Even the substitutes got into a shouting match. ''We played a very good match,'' Scolari said. ''It allows us to have a better idea about the path ahead of us.'' nnnn

BODY OF SLAIN SHERPA FLOWN BACK FROM PAKISTAN Kathmandu, 1 July; The body of Sona Sherpa killed by Pakistan Taliban on the 8000 meters high Nanga Parbat 23 June was flown home Sunday. Relatives received the body of the Sona Sherpa who climbed the 8048 Meters high Mount Everest in Nepal three times. Sona was helping an international expedition scale Nanga Parbat where 10 other foreigners were also killed. Nine Nepali sherpas with the internationalexpedition survived.. MEDIA GOOGLE ‘If the government fails to create conducive atmosphere for agitating parties to join HLPC, then it should be dissolved” (UML senior leader Madha Kumar Nepal, Republica, 1 July).)

CHAIRMAN REGMI, PRESIDENT HOLD DISCUSSIONS Kathmandu, 1 July; Chairman Khil Raj Regmi and the President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav held consultations Sunday evening for the first time after the head of state returned home after medical examination at hospital in Tokyo They reviewed the current situation, including elections, MORE

197 PARTIES GET ELECTION SYMBOLS Kathmandu, 1 July: Election Commission Sunday distributed election symbols to 197 parties Sunday. Altogether 139 parties have sought permission to contest the 19 November second constituent assembly polls. Old parties will get old symbols to identify them with largely uneducated voters. Nnnn 17 PARTIES INVITED BY CONSTITUECY DELIENATION COMMISSION Kathmandu, 1 July: Five- member constituency delineation commission has invited representatives Monday for discussions. The commission has been asked to delineate 240 constituencies on the basis of the latest results of a national census. nnnn CHAIRMAN REGMI CHAIRS NCDB MEET Kathmandu, 1 July:: The 68th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Cooperatives Development Board (NCDB) has been held here today under the chairmanship of Chairman of the Interim Election Council, Khil Raj Regmim RSS reports.. Chairman Regmi, also holding the responsibility of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, is also the Chairman of the National Cooperatives Development Board. The meeting has proposed a budget of Rs. 4.98 billion to run different programmes in the next fiscal year 2013/14. The meeting proposed the budget for running special programmes including strengthening of the Cooperatives Development Fund, industrial development through cooperatives and Nigaul cow farm management. Most of the board members, present in the meeting, stressed that the proposed programmes of the Board should be effective and result oriented, saying the programmes have become more budget-oriented. However, some members complained that the Ministry concerned has not paid attention to invest in the development of cooperatives. Addressing the meeting, Chairman Regmi said that some programmes including cooperatives market management and institutional capacity development are important as all the proposed programmes cannot be fulfilled. He added that priority should be given for the implementation of the programmes. Chairman Regmi stressed that the Board should formulate plans and programmes, and fix budget with proper thinking where it would be more result-oriented while investing. Stating that the achievement would not be result-oriented if engaged in various sectors at a time, he expressed the view that the Board should allocate the budget in order to forward fruitful plans in an effective manner. Similarly, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Rabindra Kumar Shakya, expressed the commitment that the Commission would keep effective and fruitful plans in priority, saying pre-plan and basis for expenditure should be determined while forwarding any programmes. Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank, Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, urged the Board to pay attention on how to forward the cooperatives movement rather than become very ambitious for budget. Co-Chairman of the Board, Saroj Kumar Shahi, stressed that the government should give special priority to the programmes proposed by the Board to initiate cooperative industry in the country, saying the Board is only a body to provide technical and financial support, not the implementing body. Likewise, Secretary at the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Bal Kumar Joshi, said that it was necessary to increase investment in cooperatives market management and agriculture sector. Joint-Secretary at the Finance Ministry, Krishna Prasad Devkota, said that there was no situation to invest again in the industries run by the government as the industries are now in trouble, and accused that the Board's leadership had not followed economic discipline. The Board said that decisions would be made on the proposed programmes and budget after holding extensive discussions. nnnn TU VC UNDER CIAA WATCH . Kathmandu, 1 July: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has initiated action against two dozen officials of the government-owned corporations for indulging in corruption. The action comes hot on the heels of a similar CIAA action against 200 top bureaucratic officials for amassing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, The Himalayan Times reports. According to a highly-placed source of the anti-graft constitutional body, Tribhuvan University Vice-Chancellor Hira Bahadur Maharjan, former dean of Institute of Medicine Dr Arun Sayami, Shashi Shrestha of Nepal Medical Council and former VC Ram Awatar Yadav of Purvanchal University are among those under CIAA scanner. The anti-graft body has also initiated action against health, education and agricultural sector corporations. “A letter has been forwarded to Nepal Rastra Bank to immediately suspend transactions through their bank accounts,” the source said. CIAA has also asked the NRB to circulate its order to all the banks and financial institutions to suspend their transactions. nnnn UNESCO CALLS FOR IMPROVED CONDITION AROUND WORLD HERITAGE SITES Kathmandu, 1 July: UNESCO has suggested the Nepali authority to improve the physical condition of several world heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley, including the Pashupatinath aream The Rising Nepal reports.. The 36th conference of UNESCO, held from 17 to 27 June in Cambodia, suggested the Nepali authority to close the road passing through the world heritage site of Pashupatinath area. Last year, UNESCO during its Moscow meeting had threatened to remove the famous religion site from the world heritage site list if the physical condition of Pashupatinath is not improved Bhesh Naryan Dahal, Director of General of Department of Archeology (DoA), recently took part in the 36th conference of UNECO said that UNESCO had given some time to Nepal to improve the physical condition of the heritage site and therefore it had not put many of such sites of Nepal as threatened sites. “We are able to safeguard our heritage sites from getting into the endangered list,” he said. The open track passing thought the Sleshmantak from Tilganga will be closed after coordinating with Pashupati Area Development Trust, said Dahal. Meanwhile, the tenure of the member secretary and treasurer of PADT has come to its end from Friday, June 28. "Thus, we need to wait for new apportionment to discuss about this matter and solve the problem," he said. He informed that the Department of Roads needs to play vital role to close the road. “We are pressing the department to close the track. However, the road is still in operation”. He further stated that in 2003 UNESCO had put the world heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley under the endangered list and it lifted the endangered tag in 2007. Around five years ago, the track was opened by the then Bagmati and Sewage Project despite objections from UNESCO and DoA. After the strong warning from the UNESCO, the concerned government bodies have bowed to the pressure stopping big vehicles plying in the route, but movement of light vehicles is still taking place on this track. The world heritage site should strictly follow all UNESCO rules and regulations and keep physical condition of these sites in original shape. Prabesh Ram Bhandari, a member of PADT board of directors, said that the decision had been taken to shut down the road during the tenure of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Gopal Kirati but the decision could not be implemented effectively. nnnn BIG PARTIES RESPONSIBLE FOR RISE OF ETHNIC REGIONAL PARTIES Kathmandu, 1 July: The failure of major political parties to address the concerns of regional and ethnic groups has led to an exceptional increase in the numbers of regional and ethnic parties in the country, say experts and political Analysts, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. Of the total 139 political parties that have applied for registration at the Election Commission (EC), a majority are regional and ethnic parties. Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Bhoj Raj Pokhrel said multiple factors have played a role in the increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties. “One of the major reasons is the failure of the big parties to address the aspirations of people at all levels of society,” Pokhrel told Republica, adding, “Also the major political parties have failed to ensure inclusiveness.” Stating that some of the major political parties have applied for registration in the hope of winning a few seats in the upcoming Constituent Assembly election, Pokharel said, “This is one factor that has led to an increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties,” Pokhrel added. The former chief election commissioner believes that their numbers have increased as they have been accord a higher status compared to their strength. Political analyst CK Lal maintains that the marginalized groups have lost trust in the “so-called” national political parties. “Removal of the provision related to eligibility threshold for seats under proportional electoral system has also led to an increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties,” Lal added. Professor Om Gurung argued that political ambition has led to increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties. “It is true to some extent that the major political parties could not address regional and ethnic discrimination properly,” said CPN-UML Spokesperson Pradip Gyawali, adding, “But concerns of external forces in the name of identity have also contributed to formation of regional and ethnic parties in the country.” While the western forces are concerned over identity politics, India is concerned over regional politics, he said. Gyawali stated ideological erosion in the major political parties is another reason. “Some forces have also blown up regional and ethnic issues in a bid to destabilize the country,” he argued. When asked about the implications of the increase in the numbers of such parties, Pokhrel said, “It will be difficult to manage parliament.” Gyawali claimed that there would be negative implication than positive ones. “It can weaken the party system and polarize our community,” he said. However, Lal said that the increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties will inspire major parties to be national parties. Asked about the future of such parties, Professor Gurung stated that only those regional and ethnic parties that would work for the welfare of their respective communities would exist. “Some regional and ethnic parties will merge, others will perish,” he added. Nnnn INDIAN POWER COMPANY TO DEVELOP ARUN III Kathmandu, 1 July:: Indian power developer Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd, which is engaged in the development of Arun III hydropower project, is looking to sign project development agreement (PDA) before its survey license for the project expires on July 15, Republica reports.. Officials of The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) and SJVNL have are holding PDA negotiations for the past two weeks. “The negotiation is moving ahead at a satisfactory pace,” Radesh Pant, chief executive officer of the IBN said. The government had granted survey license to the SJVNL in July 2008. The export-orientated project based in Sankhuwasabha district is being developed pas per the built-own-operate and transfer (BOOT) modality. The government has given the project to SJVNL for 30 years as per the BOOT Act. The SJVNL will not have any difficulty in selling power generated by the project in India as one of its objectives is to address power deficit in India. Officials of SJVNL have said that they would export power to India even if two governments fail to sign power trade agreement (PTA). As there is no problem in market management, the PDA negotiation being held in Kathmandu is gaining momentum. “There lots of terms and conditions to be finalized. We want deal to be in national interest," Pant said. "We also want to ensure that the developer should not feel any obstacles while implementing the project." SJVNL has agreed to provide 21.9 percent of the power generated from the plant free of cost to Nepal. Nnnn MADESHI PARTIES STRIVE TO BE NATIONAL Kathmandu, 1 July:: Madhesi parties are expanding their base in hill districts. Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhavana party is leading the race with 44 district chapters in the hills. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal has expanded its chapters in 15 hill districts. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic has its chapters in 20 hill districts, and Tarai Madhes Democratic party has expanded its base in seven districts of the Hills, Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times.. It seems these parties are eying hill districts mainly to increase their share of proportional representation votes and shed the tag of regional parties. Political scientist Lok Raj Baral said Madhesi parties’ desire to expand their influence in the hills will help bridge the gap between Madhesis and Pahadis. That may be true, but can these Madhesi parties champion regional and national causes simultaneously with equal focus? “Although we are expanding our base in the hills, our main focus is to strengthen our position in Tarai constituencies where we won or lost elections with a small margin,” said MJF-N Central Committee member Arjun Thapa. Madhesi parties face enormous challenges in Madhes this time. Parties like Dalit Janajati Party led by Bishwendra Paswan, and Nepali Janata Dal led by Haricharan Sah, are not regional parties, but they too consider Madhes their vote bank. Besides all major national parties are devising strategies to reclaim their strength in Madhes or expand their bases. Given this situation, Madhesi parties will have to make extra effort to prevent Muslim and Tharu votes from being divided along ethnic lines. One Madhesi leader said if Madhesi parties focus too much on the hills, they will neither gain votes in the hills nor retain votes in the Tarai, their own region. Madhesi forces want to reach out to the hills because they believe indigenous nationalities, Dalits and other marginalised groups which are disenchanted with major national parties will vote for them. Gaining votes in the hills will be difficult for Madhesi parties because ethnic parties of the hills will compete with them. Then there are other national parties that consider the hills as their vote bank. Prof Krishna Khanal said talk among Madhesi parties about expanding their base in the hills is an indication that they lack conceptual clarity and confidence in themselves. “Madhesi parties had won more seats than Rastriya Janamorcha, a national party. So what is wrong with being a regional party? Madhesi parties should not have inferiority complex,” he said. nnnn

BAN ALL AND NOT ONLY SOME CONVICTED FOR CRIMES FROM CONTESTING POLLS Kathmandu, 30 June:: The Office of President and other bodies concerned have to tender clarification to the Supreme Court in relation to the June 14 ordinance on Constituent Assembly members' election, RSS reports.. In response to a writ petition filed last Tuesday by advocate Ramchandra Poudel challenging the promulgation of the ordinance, a single bench of Court Justice Tarkaraj Bhatta issued a show cause notice in the name of the defendants. The petition has named the Office of President, the Chairman of Council of Ministers, the Prime Minister and the Office of Council of Ministers, Ministry of Law, Justice, Federal Affairs and Parliamentary Affairs and Election Commission as the defendants. They have been asked to be present before the Court within the next 15 days along with a written reply on the same. The petitioner has argued that either all those convicted of criminal offence should be barred from taking part in the election or all the accused should be disqualified from taking part in the election since all sorts of criminal charges are punishable. nnnn

CPN MAOIST GOING FOR POLL BOYCOTT SAYS SPOKESPERSON Kathmandu, 30 June: UCPN Maoist central members have supported Chairman Mohan Baidhaya’s proposal to boycott the 19 November second constituent assembly elections, Spokesperson Phampa Bhusal said in Pokhara Sunday, Fiofty members commented on a political report of chairman on the second day of the central committee meet in the resort town. The committee meet concludes Tuesday. Bhusal said the party will boycott the polls. “… we appeal to all the democratic forces not to participate in the election process.” she called in an appeal. A report on party organization of General Secretary also received support, she said. The central committee meet resumes Monday. Nnnn YADHUBANSA JHA JOINS UML Kathmandu, 30 June: CPN (UML) senior leader Madhav Kumar Nepal has said that understanding among the political parties was needed to conduct Constituent Assembly (CA) poll in the slated date, RSS reports from Janakpur.. At a programme here Sunday, leader Nepal suggested the Election Commission (EC) to conduct the election in a free and fair manner. The UML leader was of the view that people should analyze the character of the Madhes-centric parties that are serving as crutches for the Maoists. Also speaking at the programme, UML General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel claimed that UML was not against Madhes and federalism, adding that federalism should be carved out by accepting the Nepal´s own reality. During the programme, Acting Chairman of CPN (ML-Socialist) Yadubansa Jha joined the CPN (UML) today. UML leaders Nepal and Pokhrel welcomed Jha in the UML, pledging to offer ´appropriate´ position in the UML nnnn

UPDATE DIFFERENCES IN UCPN MAOIST AGGRAVATE; DIFFERENCES TO BE TAKEN BY BY EXTENDED CENTRAL COMMITTEE Kathmandu, 30 June: UCPN Maoist Office bearers Sunday Decided to convene a meeting of the extended Central Committee in the capital 19 July to discuss appointments to key positions in party. Differences broke out as members opposed appointments proposed by Chairman Prachanda last week and former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai Saturday even resigned from party positions he held. Bhattarai, is vice-chairman; Prachanda recommended the name of Hishila Yami Bhattarai’s wife,as treasurer. Bhattarai, at meetings of various bodies Sunday, took firm in his design to resign even as he was asked to withdraw his resignation. Following a meeting of office bearers, Sunday morning, Chairman Prachanda convened another joint of party office bearers, former standing committee members and chiefs of state committees where differences weren’t resolved. A signature campaign against proposed nominations by establishment and a call for elections of candidates have also been pushed. nnnn

UPDATE STRIKE BY WATER SUPPLIERS WITHDRAWN Kathmandu, 3- June: A strike by bottlers and water tanker operators in the Valley was called off Sunday after talks with government. Government agreed to form a task force to resolve demands of suppliers within one month. Water delivery was immediately resumed following the agreement. nnnn

ELECTION COMMISSION TO EXTEND DEADLINE TO REGISTER PARTIES FOR NOV. ELECTION Kathmandu, 30 June: Election commission is to extend time for registration of political parties, commission sources said Sunday. Altogether 139 parties registered when the first deadline ended. CPN Maoist hasn’t registered for the 19 November vote as its allies threaten a boycott as well. nnnn BHATTARAI ASKED TO WITHDRAW RESIGNATION Kathmandu, 30 June: UCPN central committee will resume discussions Sunday following a meeting of office bearers in the morning. The discussions at the officers bearers’ meet will be the basis for continued discussions at the central committee/, General Secretary Post Bahadur Bogati said. Former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, who is vice-chairman, was asked to withdraw his resignation from party positions. Top leaders are seeking appointments to key position in the party. Chairman Prachanda consulted top organization chiefs at the meeting session. Responsibility sharing has created deep divisions in the party. nnnn WATER SUPPLIERS CALL OFF STRIKE UPDATE Kathmandu, 30 June: Water suppliers have withdrawn their four-day strike. Government will consider demands. Consultations were held Sunday between government and suppliers of bottled Water and tanker operators. MORE

. FOREIGN MIISTER LEAVES FOR GENEVA TO PARTICIPATE IN A UN MEET Kathmandu, 30 June: Foreign Minister Madhav Prasad Ghimire flew for Geneva Saturday in his first foreign outing after assuming office more than three months ago, He will hold consultations UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon on the sideline of the Substantive session of the UN Economic and Social Council (ECOSOC) scheduled to be held between 1 to 4 July, the foreign ministry said. Nepal was elected member of ECOSOC six months until 2015. Minister Ghimire is scheduled to participate in the General Debate of the High Level Segment on Tuesday, where he will deliver a statement. He will also participate in other roundtable meetings and High Level policy dialogues. Minister Ghimire left for Geneva Saturday as head of a five-member delegation. The UN ECOSOC annual Substantive Session will run till 26 July 26. nnnn

COMMISSION SEEKS SUGGESTIONS Kathmandu, 30 June: A constituency delineation commission which has established its office at Naya Baneshwor has sought suggestions from the general public. The commission is consulting political parties Sunday/Monday. The body has to draw 240 electoral constituencies following results of a fresh census. Nnnn DRUG USE AMONG YOUTH PROBEMATIC Kathmandu, 30 June: Metropolitan Police Commissioner, Additional Inspector General of Police Nawaraj Dhakal has said that around 9.2 million youths are drug addicts in Nepal, RSS reports from Bhaktapur.. Inaugurating a training workshop against drugs in Bhaktapur today, AIG Dhakal stressed on the need of saving the children from drug addiction by organizing public awareness programmes in respective neighborhoods. The programme was jointly organised by the Community Development & Service Centre, and Community Police Service Centre, Gatthaghar. Dhakal pointed out that all the bodies concerned should be united to fight against drug addiction as evils and aberrations have increased due to the use of narcotics. Stating that guardians should also monitor activities of their children as they use drugs swayed by others in the society, he said that it was necessary for parents to scrutinize habits, and daily activities of their children. Similarly, Superintendent of Police at the Metropolitan Police Range, Dilip Kumar Chaudhary, said that people from an age of 12 to 28 years of Bhaktapur are drug users Nnnn . LNDSLIDE KILLS TWO IN DARCHULA Kathmandu, 30 June: Two women foraging were buried by a landslide at Chhapari VDC in Darchula Sunday. Two others were injured.

UPDATE SHARE PRICES SLIP 2.41 POINTS Kathmandu, 30 June: Nepse closed at 493.13 points after a drop of 2.41 points. Share prices of companies of all sub-groups, except insurance fell; insurance shares gained 2.6 points. Altogether 331,083 shares were traded for Rs.60.450 million in 1183 transactions. nnnn

VISULLY IMPAIRED TEACHER TO ATTEMPT EVEREST Kathmandu, 30 June: A visually impaired teacher of Baglung district Amit KC is to climb the Mt. Everest next year, RSS reports from Bagling. KC, 30, a resident of Sarkuwa- 2 of the district and teaching in the district headquarters, made his plan public by organizing a press conference Sunday. If his plan goes successful, he will be the first blind to climb Mt. Everest. Earlier, American blind Erik Weihenmayer had climbed Mt. Everest in May, 2001. Amit said he planned it to give a message that the disabled also can do something if they get opportunity. He is now doing exercises for physical and mental preparations for climbing and took one month training of rock climbing in Pokhara, Nagarjun and Thamel of Kathmandu. The physical exercise still remains, but mental exercise has been completed, KC said, adding the next training will be for 31 days from August in Langtang. He will be assisted by Pasang Tendi Sherpa in the climb. Likewise, the Inclusion Empowerment Centre of Pokhara has been helping him in his training. He is also assisted by an US citizen, Cleff. Amit said his expense will be more as compared to others as it takes more for disabled persons. He said he will need one million dollars to materialize his plan. If all processes are completed, he will climb Everest within 2014 or by June of 2015 Mmmm

MASTERMIND OF JHUMKA PRISON JAILBREAK ARRESTED IN BIHAR Kathmandu, 30 June: Dhiredra Yadav, a notorious Indian criminal who masterminded a jailbreak at Jhumka in Sunsari eight months ago was arrested across the border. Three other Indians were also arrested. by Indian police in Birpur Area of Supaul district in Bihar state. Nearly a dozen inmates escaped, including Bangladeshis. nnnn

Saturday, June 29, 2013

SHARE PRICES FALL OF FIRST DAY OF WEEKLY TRADING Kathmandu, 30 June: Share prices fell soon after market opened for trading on the first day of five-day weekly trading Sunday. Equity shares fell 2.65 points dragging Nepse down to 429.89 points. Prices of all stocks op all sub-groups fell. nnnn

GOLD PRICE RECOVERS Kathmandu, 30 June: Gold price recovered Sunday after Friday’s massive fall of Rs,1,400 per tola. The yellow metal price recovered Sunday by Rs,400 per tola. It was trading for Rs.48,500 oer tola. Silver gained Rs.24 per tola and was trading for Rs.815 per tola. Nnnn TRANSPORT WORKERS DEMAND SALARY HIKE Kathmandu, 30 June: The transport workers of Janakpur have demanded that their salary be increased. They drew the attention of the stakeholders today in this regard saying that their salaries and facilities were not increased though the transport entrepreneurs have increased the fares after price hike in petroleum products time and again, RSS reports from Janakpuir.. The government had decided to increase the salaries of the transport workers as recommended by the Nepal Transport Independent Workers´ Union, but the decision has not been implemented so far. The transport workers have also demanded not to implement the provision of delegation of rights of traffic fines and 15 per cent encouragement allowance by the government, and requirement of educational certificate to receive new license and renewal of the old one. nnnn

ALTOGETHER 12 MILLION VOTERS REGISTERED Kathmandu, 30 June: Altogether 12.million persons have registered as voters until Saturdaym Narad Gautam writes in Gorkhapatra. Voters numbering 10.89 million has registered until Mangshir 2069. Joint mobile teams have been sent to districts to issue digitalized voter ID cards. nnnn

GOVT. INVITES WATER SUPPLIERS FOR TALKS Kathmandu, 30 June: Government is holding talks Sunday with water suppliers to end a strike that has aggravated water shortage in the Valley. The strike by tanker owners and bottlers pressing 20 demands, including tax concessions, entered its fourth day Sunday. nnnn WITHOUT RECORDS, DIFFICULT TO ESTABLISH FATE OF NEPALIS IN UTTARKHAND Kathmandu, 30 June: Owing to the lack of records of Nepali pilgrims ’ entry to, and exit from, Uttarakhand, family members of the missing flood victims are going through hard times coping with the police and other government bodies in carrying out efficient search operations, Devendra Bhattarai writes in The Kathmandu Post from New Delhi.. “Officials ask for the record of the entry of my parents to Uttarakhand, and their last traced location,” said Krishna Chalise, whose parents Kritinath and Jamuna, in pilgrimage to Uttarakhand, went missing in the flood. “But we don’t have any such documented report to submit. I don’t really know where they went missing from.” Chalise’s parents have been missing for the last 13 days. According to him, he is preparing to go back to Kathmandu as all the search operations have turned futile. Families of a dozen Nepali nationals who have gone missing in the flood are facing similar problems. Pushpa Raj Pandey, manager of Anandamayee Aashram at Haridwar, has similar plight. According to him, Nepali nationals who come to visit Uttarakhand are not registered in any of the government agencies. “They don’t have passport, the citizenship certificate or any other document,” he said. Many have pointed fingers at the open Nepal-India border behind the problems relating to the lack of proper accounts of those crossing the border. “This has resulted in difficulties for the Nepali nationals not only in search operations but also in claiming relief packages from the Indian government,” said Narayan Panthi, a social worker based in Haridwar. Raju Rana from Rukum district, who was admitted to the Dehradun-based Jolivent Hospital on Saturday, had similar hardship. “He was never registered with the government and no one really knows how long he has been here,” the hospital management said. Rana has sustained injuries in the spinal cord. According to the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi, over 100 Nepalis have reported to the Embassy saying that their relatives had been missing. However, none of the reports is an authentic account of the missing person’s arrival in India. “This has taught both the countries a lesson,” said Surya Bikram Shahi, chairman of the Gorkha Democratic Front in Dehradun. “Both the governments should keep records of every individual crossing the border. Open border does not necessarily mean unaccounted entries.” nnnn- WORK TO BRING BACK LOST, STOLEN IDOLS Kathmandu, 30 June: Nepal Police , in coordination with the Department of Archaeology (DoA), has initiated a process to collect evidences to reclaim Nepali antiques being sold at Christie’s, a fine arts auction house based in the United Kingdom and the United States, Ankit Adhikari writes in The Kathmandu Post. The first of its kind, the coordinated approach follows a recent recovery of three rare hand-written manuscripts dating back to the 12th century, which were up for auction at the Christie’s. The auction house has already returned the documents to the Nepali Embassy in the US after the National Archives, under the DoA, wrote to the Christie’s, putting forth microfilmed evidences of the manuscripts. The manuscripts include handwritten book covers of Bishnu Dharmachar, Baishnav and Shaiva and they were priced at US$150,000 (Rs 14.4 million). According to senior archaeologist Prakash Darnal, who heads the archival section at the DoA, the manuscripts will soon be brought to Nepal and restored at the National Archives. The recent government actions follow a series of news reports published in the Post since August 2012. Darnal said the recovery of the manuscripts is a huge achievement. Although Nepali antiques have landed back home from private collectors in Europe and the US several times in the past, this is the first time the government has reclaimed the assets. “The process should keep rolling,” he said, calling for support from all government agencies and stakeholders concerned. “We are looking for evidences to reclaim other artefacts that have already been sold in the auction,” police spokesperson DIG Nawa Raj Silwal said. “The evidences, if we find any, will be relayed through the Interpol.” A few noted artefacts sold so far include a 15th/16th century black stone stele of Vishnu, Laxmi and Garuda, 15th/16th century wood figure of Tara, Bronze figure of Vasundhara, 15th century gilt-bronze figure of Shakyamuni Buddha, Bronze figure of Padmapani from the Lichchhavi period, 15th/16th century black stone stele of Chakrasamvara and Vajrayogini, a gilt bronze figure of Indra, 14th century black stone stele of Durga, 17th century bronze figure of Tara, 18th century gilt-bronze figure of Buddha and 21st century Bronze statue of Syamatara. According to Darnal, evidences other than images can come from the source of a particular artifact’s creation and placement and an account of the statue’s leftovers in Nepal. A UN convention, to which Nepal is a party, states that any country can claim its cultural property from another UN member state that has ratified the convention. As per the ‘Convention for the fight against the illicit trafficking of cultural property’ adopted by the UN in 1970, Nepal can reclaim its artefacts by producing evidences. According to ‘Recovered Images of Nepal’ (Vol 1), a journal published by the DoA, British nationals William Kirkpatrick and Brian Hodgson are believed to be the first known foreigners who took away Nepal’s ancient coins, icons, manuscripts and art works. With the arrival of the popular hippie culture in the 60s and 70s, illicit trafficking of cultural property got a new facet. Due to lack of awareness among the people, smugglers eyed on the temples, bahas and other monuments, especially in the Valley. nnnn

GOVT. AGREES TO ESTABLISH INDIAN IMMIGRATION CHECKPOINTS AT LUMBINI, PASHUPATINATH Kathmandu, 30 June: The election government has agreed to an Indian proposal to establish immigration checkpoints for information and intelligence exchange, Gunaraj Luitel writes in Annapurna Post They will be set up at Lumbini and Pashupatinath. This was agreed at the just concluded meeting of home secretaries in the capital. nnnn RUKUM QUAKE DAMAGES MORE THAN 60 HOUSES Kathmandu, 30 JUne: More than 60 houses have been damaged by Friday’s quake that hit Rukum, Naya Patrjka reports. Data is being collect by district police and education offices.. nnnn

FORMER KING CALLS FOR IMPARTIAL AND UNRIGGED ELECTION Kathmandu, 30 JUNE: Former King Gyanendra Friday called for an impartial and unrigged vote, Naya Patrika reports, Bhuban Sharma writes in Naya Patrika.. “I found people desire the election should be impartial and unrigged,”: he said Asking everyone to participate in elections.. “The country’s situation is worrisome. The general public is frustrated.. This can be seen on their faces. The situation can be judged by visiting villages instead of staying in Kathmandu,” he told reporters at a programme organized by Himani Trust that has called for donations to held flood and landslide victims. The then king contributed Rs.2.5 million. He said relief should reach the people. Nnnn /. INDRA INFORMED JATRA HAS CONCLUDED Kathmandu, 30 June: Traditional messages were sent Saturday to heaven and hell informing the chariot festival of Machindranath and Minnath has concluded, Kantipur reports. The messages were sent by releasing a pair of fish in Saptapatal pond adjacent of Ashok Supta in Lalitpur. A pair of sparrows was also released informing Naagraja in Naaglok. nnnn

CHIRMAN OF SIDDHARTHA DEVELOPMENT BANK ARRESTED Kathmandu, 30 June: Chairman of Siddhartha Development Bank Shekhar Aryak was arrested Saurday from the capital. Aryal was arrested by Central Investigation Bureau Saturday for banking irregularities. He’s suspected of extending loan by overvaluing collateral. nnnn OPINION APPRAISING AVERAGE INDIAN AND US Kathmandu, 30 June: Breaking out of our cross-institutional indignation in the aftermath of last week’s devastating floods in western Nepal, it’s hard not to feel for the average Indian, Maila Baje writes in Nepali Netbook., The Indian Embassy rejected the mounting contention from our political class that the floods in Mahakali River were caused by release of excess water from Dhauliganga Dam in India’s Uttarakhand state. Significantly, Nepal’s top bureaucrat, Lila Mani Poudel, after inspecting the area with Interim Government Chairman Khil Raj Regmi, appeared to back the original Nepali stance. “Since the matter was related to a project in a friendly country, the chairman didn’t make any comment (on the accusations),” Chief Secretary Poudel said. He, of course, hastened to add that his comments were based on the local people’s views. Still, when Nepali civil servants begin expressing such candor, regardless of the immediate veracity of the claim, you get a greater sense of the sordidness of the bilateral state of affairs. To the average Indian citizen, our political-bureaucratic-popular contention must have sounded particularly inopportune. For one thing, Indians are also the victims of the recent regional floods. For another, this caustic outspokenness comes barely days after former prime minister Sher Bahadur Deuba’s high-profile visit to New Delhi, during which he assured Indian journalists that no widespread anti-Indian sentiment prevailed in Nepal. While we have long complained about India’s constant meddling in all aspects of our national life, the average Indian has remained flustered by the sheer lack of gratitude on our part. During times like these, even Maila Baje cannot help commiserate with the average Indian. Think of it this way. We hardly seem to recall that it was the Indians who gave us our first airport and first highway and a plethora of other things. Those who do remember are more likely to see the airport as a carefully contrived tool of ensuring more direct Indian interference. The highway? Well, we are apt to say, the Indians built it in a way that would increase consumption of Indian products and parts. Remittances started flowing into Nepal long before we discovered the Gulf countries. The sheikhs hold on to our passports, while the Indians do not require us to even possess one. Big brothers do recognize the disadvantage that comes with size. But they don’t like having to apologize for it. In fairness, even they were capable of grasping how prickly their very preponderance is for the little guys, there is scarcely anything they – or we – can really do about it. But sometimes we make matters worse. Infuriated by Indian assertions of ‘special relations’, we do not hesitate to beseech India to bail us out from our inherently internal predicaments. When the Indians do so, they proceed in accordance with their own national interest. So when Nepal’s political future is charted in the Indian capital in 1951 or 2005, the nature of the political structure advanced is secondary to the understanding of how that structure advances India’s broad national interests. In their exuberance, our leaders rush to explain that India’s role in advancing Nepali democracy should not be considered detrimental in any way. The duly anointed new regime sets out to work as if there is nothing more to do. Their failure to deliver, so obvious to so many Nepalis so soon, begins to rile their Indian patrons. New Delhi can’t go back, so it starts picking and choosing leaders within parties; those sidelined are the first to start blaming India. This cycle is perhaps understandable to the average Indian. He or she probably also recognizes how successive governments in New Delhi have contributed to botching relations. When they see RAW – a pale shadow of Pakistan’s ISI in the annals of international espionage – blamed for everything that goes wrong in Nepal, the average Indian probably tends to blame his or her own government. Presumably, the average Indian – global in approach and ambition – is more tolerant of Nepal’s quest for sovereign existence. If official India tends to equate every Nepali assertion of its sovereign rights as anti-Indianism, then average Indian might perhaps be tempted to hold New Delhi answerable for a lot. But then he or she sees us rooting for Pakistan in sporting events. We seem to be opposed to India’s permanent membership of the United Nations Security Council not because we don’t think India possesses the requisite qualifications, but because of some quirk in our collective national DNA. If a Bollywood flick makes a slight misstep in terms of history or geography, the distinction between cinema and subversion disappears. Bilateral relations are capable of withstanding all manner of pressure as long as the people are able to rise above their respective governments’ shenanigans. The average Indian might still ask his or her government for answers. Will he or she be able to do so without turning against the average Nepali, though? Nnnn POLITICS OF INTERIM GOVT. Kathmandu, 30 June: Now in the fourth month in office, the partyless government of basically retired bureaucrats has emerged as a subject public indifference at best. On the surface the nine-member interim cabinet, constituted to conduct elections either in April-May or November, consists of neutral members. The fact, however, is that most of the ministers are known to have been nominated by the four “major” parties notorious for their authoritarian style of functioning, Trikal Vastavik writes in People’s Review.. This author has come to know of ministers being under enormous pressure from the political parties that nominated them to the cabinet. Will they oblige the political bosses? A prominent minister is learnt to have maintained, “We will be here for only a short while. We, therefore, should worry about our public image. But we are facing so much political pressure.” The Khil Raj Regmi-headed interim cabinet hobbled from the start when the four-party syndicate’s leaders made a volley of speeches asserting that the new cabinet was an outcome of compulsion. The quartet, which has so often and arbitrarily misused its position in dictating terms to the people whenever it wanted a dubiously convenient escape route required by difficult situations of its own making, failed to come at a consensus as to who should lead the election cabinet. Ridiculously, the four parties could not trust one another but they wanted the rest of the Nepalis to meekly accept what got imposed by the syndicate. The Regmi cabinet is the result of the syndicate’s “compulsion.” If the four party bosses, who claim to possess the key to the conduct of the Regmi, sound not to be enthusiastic about the interim government, how can the vast majority of Nepalis be satisfied with either the puppets or the puppeteers? Against a background of the opposition of the day in all past multiparty elections complaining of poll rigging, the challenge for the basically retired bureaucrats-filled dispensation nominated by the syndicate is clear. The Nepal Communist party-Maoist rejected the interim cabinet which is described as “an illegitimate child of the four-party syndicate.” Who holds the reins of power during elections has always mattered a lot in Nepali party politics. The Nepali Congress of B.P. Koirala in 1958 agreed to the Constitution announced by King Mahendra. This violated the NC’s demand for a constitution written by people’s representatives, that is, a constituent assembly. However, King Mahendra threw a carrot at the party that was at the head of the 1950-51 democratic movement, which received a big boost and active blessings from King Tribhuvan, by installing Subarna Shumsher Rana to head the interim government whose task was to conduct the 1959 multi-phase general elections. Unable to resist the royal allurement, Koirala and his party gave the nod. Fearing that the palace and the NC would benefit the most from a boycott, the communists and others also reluctantly agreed to join the fray. More than 60 percent of the eligible voters stayed away from the polls. Of the total votes cast, the NC obtained less than 40 percent but this sufficed it to secure two-thirds majority. On the strength of mere numbers, without heeding what the popular votes reflected, the subsequent Koirala-led government acted indifferently with the opposition parties and, more importantly, failed to maintain law and order. Looting incidents at various parts of the country and killing of civilians during demonstrations against an already unpopular government aggravated the atmosphere. The manner in which the general public, particularly in Kathmandu Valley, greeted the dismissal of the NC government echoed popular sentiments. King Mahendra’s action of dismissing the Koirala cabinet was not very unpopular. The people were indifferent even to the dissolution of the parliament. What made many sections unhappy and, later, angry was the ban on political parties. King Birendra, responding to a wave of demonstrations in May 1979, announced a national referendum with the choice before the voters being panchayat with suitable reforms and multiparty system. The leftist groups wanted a completely neutral government if a cabinet consisting of representatives of the previously banned parties was not possible. Realizing that the king would not agree to someone from the NC to head the election government unlike the 1959 elections, Koirala’s party, with its overrated clout as the “first elected government” and hangover from the 1959 victory, agreed to “liberal pancha” Surya Bahadur Thapa heading the election government. How Thapa obliged the multiparty proponents in the run-up to the referendum, which gave its verdict to the panchayat (55 percent of the votes going for the panchayat and 45 percent to the multiparty side), is well-known. To his credit, Koirala accepted the referendum verdict “although inexplicable.” He had endorsed the result in order to avoid looking ridiculous for having supported Thapa so relentlessly. But the NC leader was bent on pushing forth his agenda for party system. He failed to achieve in his lifetime what a variety of factors, mainly support from the Rajiv Gandhi government in New Delhi that tried to throttle the supply line of essential goods to landlocked Nepal, enabled the restoration of multiparty system in 1990. The subsequent interim government headed by NC president Krishna Prasad Koirala created confidence in the party, although nominees from communist groups were also in the cabinet. In the 1991 elections, the NC won a majority of seats but well short of the landslide majority it had won 32 years earlier. The NC was, however, unhappy that the CPN (UML) won 69 seats in the 205-seat House of Representatives, which it attributed to the communists’ inclusion in the election cabinet. That the CPN (UML) emerged as the largest party in the 1994 general elections is another story. Girija Prasad Koirala had, to satisfy his ego, arbitrarily called for a mid-term election, an announcement that was criticized by his own party members. His gross failure to assure the people that his was not a partisan and incompetent government turned voters away. Had the NC government not been in power, the party that led the 1990 movement for restoration of multiparty system would have suffered far heavier losses. The NC has come to the conclusion that leading an election team has many advantages to the ruling party. Either such a position helps the party to emerge as the largest group in parliament or at least help drastically reduce the number of seats it otherwise would have suffered. Other parties, too, calculate that NC in the past was the biggest beneficiary of heading an election government. There are no known active party leaders in the Regmi-led cabinet, whose antecedents are, however, being gradually discussed in not so pleasing terms for the team. nnnn

TWO RIVAL MAOIST PARTIES RESUME DISCUSSIONS AT THEIR CENTRAL COMMITTEES Kathmandu, 30 June: Officials of UCPN Maoist meet Sunday morning ahead of a central committee meeting for the third consecutive day to discuss and approve a report on the organization presented by Chairman Prachanda. The report has created deep division and rift in the party with former Prime Minister and party Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai resigning from party positions. Central committee members dissatisfied with establishment plans to award responsibilities are demanding elections to party positions. Officials will take up differences at the central committee before it resumes discussions. The proposed appointment of Hishila Yami, the wife of Bhattaraai, has been fiercely opposed and Madeshi top leadership also say they have bee sidelined. New entrants are also dissatisfied. In Pokhara, CPN Maoist central committee resumes discussions of a proposal to boycott the 19 November second constituent assembly elections. Nnnn NEPAL EMBASSY IN UK NOT GIFTED ATHMANDU: It was long believed that Great Britain had gifted the property owned by Embassy of Nepal in London. Now, it has come to light that Nepal had paid a hefty sum for the Victorian-era building in the heart of London, Lekhnath Pandey writes in The Himalayan Times.. The UK government was paid 400,000 Pound Sterling as non-refundable premium by Nepal government in October 1980, when the property’s lease agreement was renewed for another 99 years. Many were of the belief that the embassy at the Kensington Palace Garden was gifted to Nepal in recognition of the contribution of Nepalese Gurkhas to the British military in the mid-1930s. In their writ petition filed recently against government intention to sell the mission building in the Supreme Court, the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Organisation (GAESO) had said the property was a gift. The Supreme Court had stayed the government move to sell the mission property in April, after GAESO’s application. However, a 22-page document received by THT clearly states that the property was attained on lease, for which Nepal had paid a hefty premium. It is also paying nominal lease. As per the agreement signed by then Ambassador to Britain Jhanendra Narayan Singh and Patric Sydney Bolshaw, a representative authorised by the Crown Estate Commissioner on October 9, 1980, Nepal needs to pay 500 pounds annually for the first 25 years, 1,000 pounds annually for the next succeeding 25 years, 1,500 pound annually for another 25 years and 2,000 pounds annually for the remaining period. Besides, Nepal needs to bear the costs of repair and maintenance and private roads and the lights of the Victorian-era building, which was constructed between 1863 to 1865. In its report, the High Level Committee formed by the erstwhile Baburam Bhattarai-led government to recommend whether to sell or maintain the dilapidated building, also emphasized the premium amount and suggested that the UK government could ask for millions of pound as premium in 2079, when it is time to renew the lease agreement. But, Major (retired) Dambar Ghale, coordinator of the Civil Campaign for Protection of the Embassy Building, formed by the Non-Resident Nepalese Association-UK Chapter, states that the lease could not have been such a minimum if it was not a gift from British royalty. According to him, the current annual lease amount of the building could be over one million UK pounds. He charged that some greedy people in the government and in political circles were trying hard to sell the building for the sake of hefty commissions, showing the building’s dilapidated condition, instead of repairing it as per the agreement. “We are ready to collect the necessary money for maintenance of the embassy building. Around one-and-a-half lakh Nepali people in the UK are ready to donate,” he told THT over phone. “But, our money should not be misused.” Nnnn KARNALI FLOOD VICTIMS LEFT IN LURCH Kathmandu, 30 June: After the raging Karnali River rendered her homeless, Fulrani Chaudhary has been sheltering at the local Janajagriti Higher Secondary School for the past nine days, The Himalayan Times reports from Tikapir.. Her condition is deteriorating by the day, thanks to government apathy. Out of utter distress, Fulrani has urged the authorities either to shoot her to death or fling her into the River. She complains that government negligence has left flood victims high and dry. As many as 30 families of Tikapur Municipality Ward 2 are sheltering in the school. They have demanded safe settlements as their houses have been washed away. Flood victim Narayan Chaudhary said the school had asked them to leave. “Where shall we go?” he asked. Chaudhary accused the Municipal Development Committee and local political parties of doing nothing. Nepal Red Cross Society’s Tikapur Disaster Rescue Committee Coordinator Dharmaraj Sharma said the government has to provide settlements for victims on high land so that they do not fall prey to floods every year. Tikapur Municipality executive officer Narayan Bahadur Bista said his office could not provide land as the municipality lacked open land. Naresh Kumar Khatri, chairman Tikapur chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry has asked the government to launch a comprehensive embankment project to control the Karnali River in Bardiya and Kailali districts. After the floods in Karnali wreaked havoc, Interim Election Council Chairman Khil Raj Regmi visited flood-affected areas and pledged to collect details of the damage and provide relief at the earliest. His, assurances, however, have not materialised a week after the floods. When Irrigation Minister Umakant Jha arrived in Tikapur and Bardiya’s Rajapur areas five days ago, Jay Bahadur Khatri had begged him to save his house. Jha had assured that something would be done. Five days have passed, but nothing has happened. Floods in Karnali have displaced thousands of people from Tikapur, Narayanpur, Dhansinghpur and Bardiya’s Rajapur. Floods swept away 100 houses at Tikapur Municipality . More than 498 households were affected by the floods in Dhansinghpur. The government had launched the Peoples’ Embankment Programme three years ago to contain the Karnali River. But, locals say floodwaters gush into human settlements every year due to weak embankment structure. Prem Bahadur Darlami of Tikapur Municipality says they had expected the embankment to control the river but it still swept away houses. “The floods this year changed the village into islands,” Darlami said. Villagers blame negligence on the part of the contractor responsible for embankment construction for their present state. “We are suffering due to contractor’s negligence,” says Shankar Rawal, a local. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “UML is ready to accommodate the demands of leaders like Mohan Baidhya and Upendra Yadav in the previous 25-point and 11-point deals if they participate in the CA election.” (UMLl General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel in The Himalayan Times, 30 June) nnnn

WHY BHATTARAI RESIGNED Kathmandu, 30 June : Amid a row over nominations to the party central committee (CC), UCPN(Maoist) Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai has threatened to quit his post, Kiran Pun writes un Republica.. During the ongoing CC meeting at party head office, Parisdanda on Saturday, he announced his resignation from the post of vice-chairman, arguing that the leadership should start making sacrifices by giving up their respective posts. He claimed that he had decided to resign from his post after no other leader seemed ready to leave his post or remain in a lower rank in the party. After the resignation announcement, Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal called a joint meeting of party office bearers, former standing committee members and chiefs of state committees at Parisdanda. But the meeting failed to find any solution. “The discussion is ongoing. We will resolve things tomorrow,” spokesperson Agni Sapkota told Republica. Why Bhattarai announced resignation What is the reality of the resignation? Is it really just the sacrifice he has mentioned in his speech or is there something more to it? Maoist leaders from the Dahal and Vice-chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha factions are not ready to accept what Bhattarai claims as his sacrifice. They said Bhattarai has announced he is quitting just to save the nominations of his faction leaders which Dahal has proposed but those in the Dahal faction have strongly object to. The Dahal faction leaders have been indicating him in their objections. “The Dahal faction was coming down heavily on the Bhattarai faction and Bhattarai has announced his resignation in retaliation,” said Suk Bahadur Roka Magar, a party CC member. The Dahal faction said Bhattrarai was afraid to face criticism, and he wanted to be leader of just his faction, not of the party. “Going by his speech, he has announced his resignation just to save his faction leaders,” said a leader close to Dahal. According to him, Bhattarai had said that he has recommended just Devi Khadka and Balkrishna Dhungel. “Who does Bhattrarai think he is? He also has to listen to criticism the way Dahal does,” added a leader close to Dahal. Not only the Dahal faction, the Bhattarai faction also said that Bhattarai´s resignation is connected with saving the leaders of his faction. “Bhattarai announced his resignation following strong criticism from the Dahal faction that Dahal´s proposal favored the Bhattarai faction,” Khagaraj Bhatta, a proposed politburo member close to Bhattarai, told Republica. Leaders close to Dahal alleged that those in the Bhattarai facation had been leap-froged over others in the proposed nominations. Bhattarai´s wife Hisila Yami is proposed for treasure among party office bearers, directly from the party politburo level. Office bearers are two steps higher than politburo members. Similarly, Top Bahadur Rayamajhi is proposed as secretary, Debendra Paudel as party standing committee member and Ganga Shrestha as politburo member. They are close aides of Bhattarai. More than one and half dozen leaders are proposed from the Bhattarai faction for the 151-member full CC. Leaders close to Bhattarai say that he was humiliated in the party for years. They say that at times he was accused of being connected with India and ´RAW´. “The party [Dahal faction] treated Bhattarai in step motherly fashion for 20/25 years,” said a leader close to Bhattarai. But even his own faction also blamed Bhattarai for neglecting his faction leaders who had made sacrifices for him during crises. “When Bhattarai became prime minister, he was not able to see anyone except his own relatives, Gorkha district and those in his periphery,” added Bhatta. Those in Madhes, Seti-Mahakali and others are also not satisfied. They said “Dahal, Bhattarai and Shrestha are all the same when it comes to humiliating Seti-Mahakali. They have the same mindset when looking at the western regions,” added Bhatta. The leaders also said that announcement of resignation is an old Bhattarai habit. They say that he had from time to time threatened the party leadership with resignation from his post. He would say he wanted to write a book or publish a magazine. What does resignation indicate? The announcement by Bhattarai shows that the rift between the factions in the Maoist party has come to the surface and also proves that announcements time and again by Dahal, Bhattarai and Shrestha that the factions are all dissolved are simply false. Nnnn 2000 VOLUNTEERS CLEAN BAGMATI Kathmndu, 30 June:: In what turned out to be an unprecedented event of this kind, over 2,000 people came together to clean the Bagmati River on Saturday. Wearing white disposable gloves, masks and gum boots, they cleaned the river in Tilganga area as part of the Bagmati Sanitation Grand Campaign (BSGC), Prathuva Bawal writes in Republica.. According to the organizing committee of the BSGC, over 2,000 volunteers took part in cleaning the river, the highest number of participants ever in the campaign that began six weeks ago. The campaign started on May 19 with the initiatives of Advertising Association of Nepal (AAN), Film Artist Association of Nepal (FAAN), Gayatri Pariwar Kathmandu. Later, several colleges, schools, NGOs, government organization also joined the campaign. “The number of volunteers is increasing in every campaign which is really commendable,” said Raj Kumar Bhattarai, president of the AAN. “Their huge presence shows their love and concern toward our holy river.” According to Bhattarai, people are themselves responsible for the misery of the river and they themselves have to clean it rather wait for the government to take action. “We will continue with our campaign probably for a year,” said Dipendra KC, member of Gayatri Pariwar Kathmandu. “Cleaning the river alone is not sufficient. We must preserve it. Otherwise, it will again fall back to its initial condition.” The campaign began its work from the Guheshwari Temple area. Then, it moved to the Aarya Ghat at the Pasupatinath Temple and then to the area near Tilganga. Huge presence of volunteers in every campaign showed that people really want to clean the river. People of different age groups joined the effort and made the BSGC campaign successful. Saraswati Dhital, 58, has been one of the regular participants of the campaign. She says she wants to see the river as clean as it was when she was a kid. “People must be aware of what they are doing,” she said. “People are using the river as dumping site. They have forgotten its importance." nnnn

TWENTY CDOs TRANSFERRED Kathmandu, 30 June: Twenty CDOs were transferred by the home ministry mainly to hill districts. The move comes as election commission prepares to enforce a code of conduct for government and parties ahead of the 19 November second constituent assembly elections. The code bans transfers bans of officials ahead of elections which has been officially announced. Government is preparing for the vote by enforcing a code and updating a voters’ list while issuing citizenship certificates.

COL. KUMAR LAMA GRANTED CONDIIONAL BAIL BY BRITISH COURT Kathmandu, 30 June: A Nepalese army officer has denied two charges of torture allegedly committed during the Himalayan nation’s civil war, AP reports from London. Kumar Lama, 46, was arrested in January in the English town of St.Leonards-on-Sea….. He was granted conditional bail at a hearing Friday. nnnn WATER SUPLIERS STOP DELIVERY FOR FOURTH DAY Kathmaandu, 30 June: Water supply situation in the capital has aggravated as private suppliers stopped delivery of water for the fourth day Sunday pushing 20 demands. Tankers and bottlers have stopped deliveries of water threatening not to resume deliveries until demands are met. The strike has created severe shortage even as the monsoon has begun. Nearly 700 tankers and more than 150 bottlers have demanded withdrawal of taxes. Nnnn SEVEN ARRESTED ATTEMPTING TO SMUGGLE RED SANDALWOOD TO TIBET Kathmandu, 29 June: Seven persons, including Maoists, were arrested Saturday in Rashuwa attempting to smuggle red sandalwood to Tibet where there is a big demand. Four were arrested from the border village of Timurae and three from el in Safrubeshi trying to smuggle 39 logs hidden in a container truck.. DETAILS OF CPN MAOIIST CENTRAL COMMITTEE MEET Kathmandu, 29 June: Chairman Mohan Baidhaya Saturday presented a political report and General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa another report on organization at the central committee that began in Pokhara . The meeting was called to formulate official party position on unity with UCPN Maoist and the boycott of 19 November second constituent assembly elections. Baidhaya in his political report urged the vote boycott. A politburo meeting un the capital couldn’t adopt official lune on the two issues in the capital. The committee will resume discussions Sunday. They party is also discussing merger with other like-minded parties, nnnn

FAIR, FREE ATMOSPHERE NEEDED FOR VOTE SAYS KAMAL THAPA Kathmandu, 29 June:- Chairman of the Rastriya Prajatantra Party-Nepal, Kamal Thapa , has said that the election held in only free and fair atmosphere would result in true people's mandate and help in strengthening people's sovereignty, RSS reports.. Addressing a programme organised by the party to welcome newcomers, Chairman Thapa pointed out for the need of unity among the nationalist forces to end growing foreign interference. Further, he said none could thwart the CA polls as the people's enthusiasm has grown positively towards election . As many as 70 persons from different parties entered the RPP-N.Chairman Thapa welcomed them in the party. Nnnn UML’S OLI SAYS NOBODY CAN OBSTRUCT VOTE Kathmandu, 29 June: Senior CPN-UML leader KP Sharma Oli has said that none could obstruct the Constituent Assembly election s slated for November 19m RSS reports from Biiratnagar.. Talking to media persons in Biratnagar on Saturday, leader Oli said Nepal Army would be mobilised in the election to hold it in a peaceful atmosphere. Election would not be thwarted merely because of some few parties objecting to it, he said, adding only election could institutionalise the democracy. If we fail to hold election on the slated date, the country would face bigger crisis, he said and urged all parties not to make any decision that hinders electoral process. Responding to a query, leader Oli said that the High Level Political Committee formed to hold the election could not be dissolved till the election was held. There would be no compromise on election government, he stressed. On a different note, he said his party had no dispute about its general convention. R nnnn

WILD MUSHROOM KILLS TWO CHILDREN IN ROLPA Kathmandu, 29 June: Two children died after eating wild mushroom Saturday in Rolpa. A third fell seriously at Rangsi VDC. nnnn

BHUTANESE REFUGEES DEMAND REPATRIATION Kathmandu, 29 June:: The Bhutanese refugees residing in different camps in eastern Nepal have asked the Nepal government to keep their repatriation mission open. Some 10,000 refugees have expressed their willingness to return to their home in Bhutan, RSS reports from Damak. A 21-member delegation of the Elderly Citizen Repatriation Committee has submitted a memorandum to the government officials on Saturday demanding to support Bhutanese refugees´ repatriation efforts. In the memo, the Committee has claimed that different donor agencies have forced the Bhutanese refugees for third country resettlement. Spokesperson of Committee Santa Bir Ghale also said that number of forced divorcees has shoot up overnight in the name of third country resettlement. The Committee has also urged not to play against the interest of Bhutanese refugees by encouraging their family members for third country resettlement. Nnnn RAM CHANDRA POUDEL OFFICIATES FOR SUSHIL KOIRALA Kathmandu, 29 June: June 29: Acting President of Nepali Congress has attended a paddy seedlings plantation programme at Dandathok of Lamatar in Lalitpur district on Saturday afternoon, RSS reports from Lalitpur. On the occasion, Poudel said that modernization and commercialization of agriculture was needed to take the country towards economic revolution. Saying that agriculture, hydropower and tourism were bases of Nepal´s prosperity, Poudel added, "We will make Nepal a haven within 10 years through development of agriculture, hydropower and tourism." He also stressed for developing a new culture of respecting agriculture occupation by reversing the age-old wrong conception about agriculture and farming. Poudel said Nepal´s poverty and unemployment should be ended through adoption of new technology and commercialization of agriculture. nnnn

UPDATE BHATTARAI RESIGNATION Kathmandu, 29 June: Vice Chairman of the Unified CPN (Maoist), Dr. Baburam Bhattarai, speaking in the ongoing Central Committee (CC) meeting of the party here on Saturday, underlined the need for developing a sense of sacrifice at all levels of the party and that he would himself start this, RSS reports. Putting forth his views in writing, Dr. Bhattarai said that although what post one holds does not matter much in a communist party, many people were vying for the posts in the recent days, and that he would relinquish his post, according to party Spokesperson Agni Sapkota. Sapkota said, "Dr. Bhattarai said that since there were more aspirants for the party posts and as this culture is wrong and that he was ready to give up his post if need be. He has not resigned." "He [Dr. Bhattarai] put forth his views in a positive way urging all to sacrifice indicating that rather than seeking only posts for building the party one should also be ready to make sacrifices. Its intent is to move the party ahead," Sapkota said. Stating that the party was univocal regarding the party´s tactics and strategy, Spokesman Sapkota said the leaders in the CC meeting had underlined the need for forging a clear view on organizational matters also. Party Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal had proposed in the CC meeting on Friday for a nine member officials´ body and a 25-member Standing Committee including seven alternative members. Similarly, he had proposed forming a 51-member politburo including 14 alternative members, and 151-member full central member body. He had also proposed that there would also be alternative central members as per the need. Thirty-one leaders put forth their views on Dahal´s proposal in the CC meeting today. Spokesperson Sapkota informed that the meetings of party office-bearers, former standing committee members, bureau in-charges and state committee members will take place to draw conclusions on various issues including organization by adjourning the ongoing central committee meeting. UCPN (Maoist) leader Khim Lal Devkota said that the debate and discussion was to bring the party to right track. There was no dispute within the party and the meeting was extended to hold discussion for establishing system in the party. Nnnn WE WILL MAKE NEPAL HAVEN IN A DECADE: NC ACTING PRESIDENT POUDEL; PAUDEL PARTY CHIEF IN SUSHIL KOIRALA’S ABSENCE Kathmandu, 29 June: Acting President of Nepali Congress has attended a paddy seedlings plantation programme at Dandathok of Lamatar in Lalitpur district on Saturday afternoon, RSS reports from Lalitpur. . On the occasion, Poudel said that modernization and commercialization of agriculture was needed to take the country towards economic revolution. Saying that agriculture, hydropower and tourism were bases of Nepal´s prosperity, Poudel added, "We will make Nepal a haven within 10 years through development of agriculture, hydropower and tourism." He also stressed for developing a new culture of respecting agriculture occupation by reversing the age-old wrong conception about agriculture and farming. Poudel said Nepal´s poverty and unemployment should be ended through adoption of new technology and commercialization of agriculture. nnnn

BABURAM BHATTARAI RESIGNS AS PARTY VICE-CHAIRMAN UPDATE Kathmandu, 29 June: Baburam Bhattarai, a former prime minister, resigned as vice-chairman of the UCPN Maoist following differences at the central committee meeting Saturday on sharing of responsibilities. He submitted a written resignation at the meeting where he submitted his views on differences and said he will continue to work as ordinary member. Te meeting was adjourned until Sunday. Serious discussions of organization started Friday. Chairman Prachanda has proposed appointing Hishila Yami, wife of Bhattarai, treasurer. MORE

Friday, June 28, 2013

DETAILS OF REGMI, PRACHANDA MEET Kathmandu, 29 June: Government Chief Regmi and Prachanda’s discussions centered party opposition to elections and ways to break it. Government chief regmi also held discussions with former Speaker Taranath Ranabhatt. Saturday Regmi and UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal held discussions Friday on the situation of political parties, current political situation, preparations for constituent assembly elections and other isues. Khanal told Regmi talks with opposition against a vote are progressing. nnnn

GOVT. ASKS CPN MAOIST TO JOIN TALKS FOR A VOTE Kathmandu, 29 June: Government has asked political parties, civil society and other sections of society to make the 19 November constituent assembly free, fair and reliable in a statement. It asked political parties to join the election fray and admitted no talks have bee held with CPN Maoist “Despite several attempts, CPN Maoists have not joined formal talks<” the statement said adding government feels all parties should participate ion the vote. Government is creating an atmosphere for the vote. The government invited CPN Maoist to join talks for a vote. nnnn WILD TUSKER WILL WOMAN IN SARLAHI Kathmandu, 29jUne: A wild elephant killed a woman at Lalbandi VDC in Sarlahi overnight. Another woman was injured Saturday. Naina Devi Rai of Hempur VDC-5 has been injured in the attack Saturday. Nnnn

PRESIDENT UNDER OBSERVATION SAYS PERSONAL PHYSICIAN’ MEDICAL BOARD ASKED TO RECOMMEND SENDING PRESIDENT ABROAD Kathmandu, 29 June: Dr.Yadav Dev Bhatta, personal physician of the ‘ president, says Dt. Ram Baran Yadav, is under observation for ‘inflammation’ of the intestine in which there was no lump following extensive tests carried out at a Tokyo hospital, Naya Patrika reports Its not harmful now but can be problematic of the situation aggravates. A CT scan will be conduced six months later in Nepal. A lump was seen because of a fold in the intestine, according to the Japanese hospital. Medical board was asked to recommend sending the president for medical treatment following consultations between senior physicians and the president after a scar was found in the head of state’s large intestine and gland in his lungs. Japanese government suggested the hospital where the president should be admitted.. The president now is under see and watch. He has diabetes, prostrate and eye problem. The president diets and exercises. nnnn

GOVT. CHIEF REGMI, PRACHANDA MEET Kathmandu, 29 June: Chairman Khil Raj Regmi Saturday is holding discussions wIth Maoist Chief Prachanda at Baluwatar. They are discussing elections and creating an atmosphere for it. Other issues are also being taken up at the meeting. nnnn

WATER SHORTAGE HITS CAPITAL Kathmandu, 29 June: With private water suppliers bringing water supply in the Kathmandu valley to a complete halt, the city has started reeling under an acute shortage of drinking water, Sanjeev Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post.. A large section of valley denizens, who are compelled to survive on water supplied by the private firms, were on Friday seen struggling even to meet their daily needs. Educational institutions, hospitals and offices were not faring well either. Saying that the government remained apathetic to their demands, private water suppliers on Thursday cut off the supplies in the Valley for an indefinite period. Private water suppliers have completely stopped production and distribution of drinking water that was available in 20-litre and 1-litre bottles and halted supplies through tankers. Against the average daily demand of 370 million litres of water in the Valley, the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) has been supplying just 140 million litres. Private firms claim that their supplies from tankers account to around 90 million litres a day. One Uttam Giri of New Baneshwor said his family has been drinking water from the tube well since Thursday evening. Many others in his area are doing the same, he said.Surendra Dhakal, a retailer at Dhapasi, said 50 percent of his customers looking for jar water had to return empty handed. “Since we keep a limited stock, we are selling the jars only to our regular customers,” he said, adding that the stock in his store is likely to deplete by Friday evening. “We were compelled to come up with this stern move, as the government turned a deaf ear to our demands,” said Dharmananda Shrestha, president of the Nepal Bottled Water Industries Association (NBWIA). “If the government fails to react by Sunday, we will stop water supply throughout the country.” Five associations concerned—Valley Drinking Water Source and Tanker Entrepreneurs’ Association, Nepal Bottled Water Industries Association, Valley Drinking Water Tanker and Boring Entrepreneurs’ Association, All Nepal Transport Workers Association and an independent drinking water supply firm are protesting since June 9. They have submitted a 20-point charter of demands to the government, which includes resumption of closed borewells and drinking water supply industries, renewal of their licences, formation of a monitoring team to inspect the quality of water supplied by private suppliers, systematic management of the existing water industries and implementation of a single-tax rate mechanism. The private firms had been supplying 120,000 units of 20-litre water jars and 100 million litres through over 700 tankers every day. According to the NBWIA, there are around 200 businesses involved in the business in the Valley. “We have invested millions in this sector. Entrepreneurs, too, are losing around Rs 10 million every day,” Shrestha said. Spokesperson of the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board, Yogendra Bom, said they have urged the suppliers to come for talks. “We are hopeful that the issue will be resolved by Saturday,” he said. nnnn

COMPLETE REPORTS OF QUAKE DETAILS IN RUKUM YET TO COME Kathmandu, 29 June: First reports said 20 persons were injured in stampedes following an earthqjake at 5.25 Friday with its epicenter at Rukumkot in Rukum where houses have developed cracks. Fifteen districts in the mid and far-West were hit by Friday’s quake, according to police. Additional police have been deployed to determine casualties and damage. The quake hit the area just as early monsoon broke; the annual rain killed at lkeast 39 persons triggering floods and landslides. Nnnn TEMPERATURE ON A CLOUDY SATURDAY MORNING IN CAPITAL 21 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 29 June: The capital’s Saturday morning temperature was 21 degrees elsius. Mercury on rainy day is expected to rise to 29 degrees Celsius. Altogether 2.5mm rainfall was recorded Friday. Nnnn ADB PASSES BUCK TO GOVT. Kathmandu, 29 June: In its first official reaction over the controversy surrounding the specifications of the national ID cards, the Asian Development Bank (ADB) has said that the Nepal government will go ahead with rebidding for the national ID card project if it is established that the tender specifications has favored any one company, Kosh Raj Koirala writes in Republica.. Altogether 49 international companies have shown interest in undertaking the project. “They [the government officials] informally told us that they will reject the entire bid if only one company qualifies in the final bidding. The bidding process will be redone after that,” ADB Country Director Kenichi Yokoyama told Republica. In an exclusive conversation with Republica on Friday, Yokoyama also defended the National Identity Management Center (NIDMC) and said that the database management system and biometrics aspects of the national ID cards were not compromised in the recent amendments made to the project specifications. “You have raised a concern that database specifications were removed [from the tender specifications]. But it is not like that. It is just that additional specification [of the database management] were removed. It is wrong that the total database procedures were removed,” Yokoyama told Republica referring to the story carried by Republica on Thursday that by removing the minimum specifications for Database Management System the government was treading a dangerous path as it could make the data in delivery of public services vulnerable. However, the amendment notice issued by NIDMC on May 15 clearly states: “In the Section VI (Schedule of Requirements), the heading 6.2.12 Database Management System minimum specifications and all the contents of page no. 6-102 and page no 6-103 have been removed.” ADB is providing a grant assistance of US $ 8 million to execute the first phase of the US $ 117 million project to distribute biometric cards to over 20 millions Nepali nationals, who are over 16 years of age. Yokoyama, however, shed direct responsibility of the project and said, “We only provide the funding to the government. It is the government´s responsibility to implement this project.” He added, “But of course, we have asked the government to ensure efficiency, transparency, economy and quality in the procurement process.” “We have at least looked at the initial tender document. In a sense, we have our concurrence to the bidding documents,” he further said. Referring to the complaints sent to ADB by some prospective contractors, he said, “Complaints are received by the government. So the government is in a position to respond to all these complaints and provide clarifications. It is the government´s job.” The government´s multi-million dollar project to distribute biometric national ID cards courted controversy after nearly a dozen aspiring international bidders lodged complaints claiming that the tender specifications were manipulated to suit the interests of one specific company. An internal investigation by MoHA suspended a technical official involved in the manipulation of the specifications and also made amendments to some of the specifications made in the original tender invitation. Though ADB has defended NIDMC amendment in Database Management System minimum specifications, experts say that by dropping the database requirement, the home ministry will lose control over the database management system as a third party will not only create but also control the data. Concerned database experts, who did not want to be named, told Republica that data is a core component of the national database project, thus the tender must specify the requirement of having a robust database platform, which is scalable enough to cater for current and future needs of the country. The pilot project caters to 110,000 citizens´ data, and there is a question of ensuring that the same database platform will be scalable enough to cater to the need of the subsequent phases of the project. Importantly, a citizen´s data captures key information of a person and securing data thus becomes very critical. There must be a requirement to ensure that the data remains secure by encrypting the critical information all the way from data storage till disaster recovery sites along with strong backups. In a non-secure database, database deployment and system administration will automatically get access to update, view, delete or tamper with all the records. Nnnn CHOPPER USE WILL STILL VIOLATE ELECTION CODE Kathmandu, 29 June: If political parties do have their say when it comes to chartering helicopters and planes for their election campaigns, the affair will be an expensive one, subsequently violating the proposed poll code of conduct, Bhadra Sharma writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Election Commission (EC) officials say the use of helicopters and planes will violate the code in two ways. While on one hand the hefty amount needed to charter flights would mean crossing the campaign expenditure ceiling set by the EC, on the other, it would encourage collection of forced donations. The EC, which has banned collecting forced donations, has not allowed a candidate contesting under the First-Past-the-Post electoral system to spend more than Rs 1 million for the campaign. This amount is double the amount during the 2008 CA elections. Major political parties, mainly the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties, have been strongly opposing the EC’s proposal to ban the use of chartered planes and helicopters, while the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML are silent on the matter. Even former senior officials of the EC have rejected the idea of the parties using aircraft during the elections, arguing that it would be an expensive affair. “If leaders complain against the ban on chartered flights, it indicates that they are not in sync with the financial reality of the country,” said former Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokharel. According to helicopter owners, an hour of chartered flight in a 24-seater MI 17 helicopter costs up to US$7,000 (Rs 672,000; current exchange rate), while the same for a six-seater chopper costs US$1,800 (Rs 172,800). Chartering a Jet Stream aircraft costs US$ 3,700 (Rs 355,200) per hour, while the rate for a 19-seater Dornier aircraft is US$2,400 (Rs 230,400) per hour. Parties chartering aircraft have to rely on private air companies as the state-owned Nepal Airlines Corporation does not offer charter services. Nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “We will hold talks with the army chief and remind him that such a move will only invite confrontation. Does the Nepali Army belong to four forces only? Was the army created to shoot the political parties not taking part in an election?” (CPN Maoist Vice-chairman CP Gajurel, The Himalayan Times, 29 June) nnnn