From ekantipur 20 July

Workers prepare to set iron pipes and beams to support monuments of Basantapur Durbar Square area which is damaged by the recent earthquakes in Kathmandu on Tuesday

From the BBC 22 May

Nepal's powerful earthquakes have cast a tragic shadow over this impoverished nation. More than 8,000 people have been killed and thousands of others have been left injured.
Eight million people have been affected by this tragedy, that's a third of the population. The country's worst natural disaster has exposed a desperately poor nation and perhaps more importantly, a fragile government, overwhelmed by the scale of this disaster.

I arrived in Nepal's capital Kathmandu with the BBC News team, less than 36 hours after the first 7.8 magnitude quake, on 25 April. One of the first things I noticed was how eerily quiet it was. The narrow alleyways, bustling streets and markets, full of tourists, were now empty. Kathmandu had turned into a ghost town.
Tremors and aftershocks continued, causing further despair and sending panicked residents onto the streets. Tens of thousands of people couldn't return to their homes, either because they'd been reduced to rubble or they were refusing to go back, fearing another earthquake. Instead they opted to sleep out in the open.
So across the capital, tent cities began to spring to life. In the presidential palace. In the golf course. In parks. Anywhere there was open space. Those who couldn't get their hands on tents, were sleeping under tarps despite heavy rainfall.

As NGOs began to pour into the country, bringing with them aid and supplies, they warned of a worsening humanitarian crisis, especially in the remote, outlying areas. We decided to travel north-east of Kathmandu, to villages close to the Chinese border that had virtually been cut off from the outside world and where help was struggling to get through.

We met 60-year-old Mangali, who has 10 children. Her family have lived in Bahrabise for generations and now they were homeless. She told me only the wealthy and powerful in the camp were getting all the supplies and she had received nothing.
"This is our shelter but it's on someone else's land. If they say 'get out' we have to go tomorrow. We have no place to stay. We have no land and no house. Nothing. Where shall we go? What shall we eat? The only option left is death," she said.
Every night in the village, we felt two or three aftershocks. Very few people slept. There was a constant sense of panic. The people of Bahrabise were convinced there would be another quake.

Then, on 12 May, their greatest fears came true. Just two weeks after the first major earthquake, there was a 7.3 magnitude quake. Bahrabise was close to the epicentre.

We decided to return to the country to find out what had happened to the people we had met. Had they survived? Would they remain in the villages that they had lived in for generations? Whatever buildings remained standing had now also been destroyed. Hundreds more lives were lost.

In the aftermath of two massive earthquakes in the space of three weeks, Nepal is a country coming to terms with loss and devastation.
There are concerns now that the arrival of the monsoon season in a few weeks time could further complicate the already slow relief effort. There are also growing fears of flooding, landslides and the spread of disease. The future for millions of people remains uncertain.

But, despite the pessimistic forecast, what struck me most about the Nepali people was their resilience. Every community and village we travelled to, we found people working together, side by side, promising to rebuild their country.
Nepal: Survivors' Stories with Yalda Hakim is on Our World on the BBC News Channel at 0430 and 2130 BST on Saturday 23 May and 0330 and 2130 BST on Sunday 24 May and on BBC World News at 2330 GMT on Friday 22 May and 1130 and 2230 GMT on Saturday 23 May and later on BBC iPlayer.

From ABC News 19 May

On the edge of a terraced mountainside in the Himalayan foothills, a Nepalese soldier watches through tears as villagers crowd aid trucks bringing blankets.
Ang Jon Sherpa was sent to the Dolakha district, 180 kilometres east of Nepal's capital Kathmandu on the China border, to ensure supplies are not looted.
But he is thinking about his baby daughter – last seen three days ago, when a magnitude-7.3 aftershock unleashed a second wave of destruction across the landlocked country, little over two weeks after it was first hit by a massive earthquake on April 25.
"We were running, and rocks came falling on us," he said.
"My daughter died but I'm here doing my duty. I never stopped working."
Duty aside, Jon said he simply could not afford to stop; having received no aid and needing to rebuild his home, destroyed in the first quake, at the same time as his military paycheque of 15,000 rupees ($184) a month was docked by half, the rest diverted to aid.
Relief has been widely criticised for coming too slowly, and not at all to many in Nepal. Three weeks after the earthquake, isolated villages high up in the Himalayas near China have yet to be reached, and hundreds of thousands of people are living without a roof over their heads.
The death toll from the magnitude-7.8 quake and aftershocks has risen above 8,500, injuring 20,000 people, and wrecking more than half a million houses. Bodies are still being pulled from the rubble.
The United Nations is now warning of "real potential for more deaths", if aid does not get to those living scattered across the mountainous terrain before the annual monsoon – expected in three weeks.
After this, tracks wash away, mountainsides shaken by tremors will sheer off in landslides, and many in the hardest areas to reach will be cut off.
"Have we gotten in touch with everyone? No, I would be lying if I said we had, but every day we are significantly expanding our outreach," said Leszek Barczak, public information officer for the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
The challenge is that while aid has been sent to the 14 most affected districts, within those, 240,000 people cannot be reached by road and 75,000 are beyond even where helicopters can land. "I've seen the way they live, actually, using donkeys and baskets that they put on their back to bring stuff up and down," Mr Barczak said.

From BBC 12 May

A major earthquake has struck eastern Nepal, near Mount Everest, two weeks after more than 8,000 died in a devastating quake.
At least 16 people have been killed and 846 injured, according to Nepal's information minister.
The latest earthquake hit near the town of Namche Bazaar, near Mount Everest. The US Geological Survey said it had a magnitude of 7.3. An earthquake on 25 April, centred in western Nepal, had a magnitude of 7.8. The latest tremor was also felt in northern India and Bangladesh.

In the Nepalese capital Kathmandu, which was badly damaged last month, people rushed out of buildings as the quake struck at 12:35 local time (06:50 GMT). Rescue helicopters have been sent to districts north-east of the capital, that are believed to be worst affected.

From CNN 9 May

The death toll from Nepal's April 25 earthquake now stands at 8,019, the country's National Emergency Operations Center said Sunday.
Also, 17,866 people were injured and 366 are still missing, the center said.
It's been more than two weeks since the magnitude-7.8 earthquake rocked Nepal, and the death toll continues to rise.
Tremors from aftershocks were still being felt as recently as Friday, when a magnitude-4.7 temblor struck south of Kodari, according to the U.S. Geological Survey.
As aid flows in from around the world, officials are trying to get a handle on the scope of the damage. At last count Thursday, the National Emergency Operations Center estimated that more than 10% of the country's homes were destroyed (299,588) or damaged (269,107).

KATHMANDU, MAY 09 posted by

Clearing the street in Kirtipur

The death toll from the April 25 devastating earthquake also known as the 'Gorkha Earthquake' has so far passed 7,900.

As per the latest updates made available by the Ministry of Home affairs, the number of the dead has been counted at 7,913 till Saturday night. Likewise, the number of the injured stands at 17,871.

The death toll in Kathmandu alone is 1,222. Of them, the bodies of 1,200 victims have been handed over to their relatives and the remaining 22 bodies, are yet to be identified. According to the District Disaster Management Committee, Kathmandu, 4,634 people were injured in the quake in the capital. Of them, 2,862 have returned home after treatment.

5 August 2014 Sun Koshi Lanslide Disaster

In the early hours of 2 August 2014, a landslide occurred above Jure village, about 1.4 km upstream from the Sun Koshi Hydropower project’s intake site. In an instant, a 1.9 km long slope of land perched 1,350 m above the river bed collapsed, burying two dozen houses, taking the lives of at least thirty-three people, and injuring many more. Over 150 people are still missing.

The massive landslide created a high dam across the Sun Koshi River. A river gauging station of the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) at Pachuwarghat downstream of the landslide dam showed a rapid decline in water flow three hours after the landslide, after which the flow of water completely stopped for approximately 12 hours (Figure 1). An inflow of about 160 m3/sec of water quickly created a large lake behind the dam. Within 13 hours the newly formed lake – which rapidly grew to a volume of an estimated 7 million cubic metres – extended about 3 km upstream, completely submerging the 2.6 MW Sanima Hydropower station. Had Nepal’s security forces not taken timely action to release some of the stored water through controlled explosions, the backwater would have extended further upstream and caused great damage in Barabise, the nearest upstream town. However, the risk that the dam will breach still remains, bringing with it the threat of a catastrophic flood. The Home Ministry has declared the area a ‘flood crisis zone’, and has issued a warning to communities downstream, with many vulnerable villages being evacuated.

It cannot be predicted when and how the landslide dam will erode and how the stored water will be released. However, it is probable that the Arniko Highway, a major trade link between China and Nepal with exchange that stands at nearly at NPR 38 million per day (nearly USD 400,000), will remain blocked for a long time. This could mean serious medium-term impacts for Nepal. Damage from the landslide has already interrupted power supply from several hydropower plants in the valley, including the Sun Koshi and Bhote Koshi power plants, contributing to the country’s scheduled power cuts.

Figure 2:

Mosaic of Google Earth images showing the landslide, inundation area, and major hydropower installations along the river corridor.

Monitoring Hazards to Prevent Disasters

This is not the first time the Sun Koshi valley has experienced a lethal flood, and this is certainly not the last time. Like many places around the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, the Sun Koshi’s weak geological formation and steep topography combined with frequent intense rainfall events and the increasing impact of climate change makes it prone to different types of water-induced hazards, including landslides.

The valley is also vulnerable to the outburst of growing glacial lakes located in the northern part of the catchment in the Tibet Autonomous Region of China. In 1981, the Zhangzangbo glacial lake located 20 km upstream from the Nepal-China border breached; the resulting flood caused extensive damage in Nepal from the border down to the village of Dolalghat.

Although we cannot control natural hazards like landslides and floods, there are many things that can be done to minimize their adverse impact on lives, livelihoods, and valuable infrastructure. More efforts to map landslide risks are needed, and much more frequent monitoring of potential landslide sites is necessary. Both will help in designing mitigation measures and reducing risks.

In hindsight, photo documentation from 2013 shows a number of scars along the mountain slope in Jure. If there had been an appropriate monitoring mechanism in place, measures could have been taken to raise awareness about the potential of a larger land slip. While the exact timing and size of landslides are difficult to predict, potential landslide areas can be mapped relatively accurately and the approximate size of the potential landslide can be calculated.

Over the last 30 years, the Sun Koshi valley has experienced three major floods. In 1982, a landslide dam outburst flood (LDOF) in the Balephi River, a tributary of the Sun Koshi, killed 97 people. Another flash flood event in 1987 killed 98 people, and a 1996 flood swept away Larcha village, killing 54 people.

Landslides and other natural disasters are also common outside of the Sun Koshi valley. Nepal alone experienced 13 large landslide events between 1967 and 2010, the most recent being the 2010 Madi landslide in Central Nepal. Recent natural disasters across the rest of the Hindu Kush Himalayan region include the Swat valley flash flood and Attabad landslide disaster in Pakistan in 2010, the disastrous 2012 Seti flash flood in Nepal, the Uttarakhand disaster in July 2013, and the landslide in Badakhshan, Afghanistan in May this year.

Figure 3:

A landslide above Jure in 2013; the same landslide after the landslide event on 2 August 2014. Photo on the left: Narendra R Khanal/Photo on the right: Rocky Talchabhadel/DHM

Knowledge and information from past disasters can also support disaster risk management. Regular monitoring of hydrological and meteorological variables generates valuable information that can be fed into hydrological models. These models can be used to provide information about areas at risk of inundation during a flood event, including for potential glacial lake outburst floods. This type of analysis can be used in zoning river corridors and preparing land use plans.

Putting Planning into Practice

While zoning and land use planning are essential elements of risk management, if they are not properly implemented, these efforts are futile. Despite an entire village being washed away by the 1996 Larcha flood, a village has been resettled in the exact same location. With these settlements constructed along the flood plain, many households remain at risk of being destroyed in future floods. Even commercial enterprises are taking calculated risks, with a mini-hydropower project now constructed in Larcha. In areas with significant commercial activity like Khadichaur, the construction of settlements along the flood plain has increased in the past decade.

Figure 4:

Google Earth image of Khadichaur village in the Sun Koshi valley in 2000 (top) and 2012 (bottom). In this stretch of just 1 km, at least 4 settlements were constructed in high hazard zone areas in 12 years.

Across the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, improper or insufficient planning of infrastructure and settlements has put unnecessary lives and investments in harm’s way. It is believed that unregulated and haphazard development is partially to blame for the severity of the 2013 Uttarakhand disaster. During such events infrastructure may also create additional risks, for example when stored water is released from hydropower reservoirs into already full river channels.

Experience from the 1981 GLOF event in the Sun Koshi valley has shown the value of proper planning. Following the 1981 flood, more than USD 3 million was spent to rehabilitate the Arniko Highway. During this process, the 27 km stretch of road damaged by the flood was raised 20-30 m above its previous position, and the three destroyed bridges were replaced with arc structures, both of which reduced the potential losses of infrastructure during future floods.

Enhancing Cooperation to Reduce Risk

Because of the transboundary nature of rivers in the Hindu Kush Himalayan region, events of a large magnitude often impact more than one country. The Government of Nepal has informed the Government of India about the potential threat of flooding should there be a sudden outburst of the temporary lake formed behind the landslide dam. Recognizing the risk for communities downstream, all of the gates of the Sapta Koshi barrage, which is under the control of the Government of Bihar, were opened. The Bihar government has sounded a flood alert in eight districts and have begun the evacuation of nearly 200,000 people living along the Koshi embankment in India.

The governments of China and India have already offered technical support to the Government of Nepal in its response to the Sun Koshi event. China has good experience in managing mountain hazards, including a landslide following the 2008 Wenchuan earthquake that blocked a valley. Their technical expertise would prove invaluable in managing the massive landslide in the Sun Koshi valley. However, this cooperation should be extended beyond this particular event to long-term transboundary collaboration in managing risks, including in regular monitoring and assessment of potential risks and the implementation of early warning systems.

The scale of the Sun Koshi landslide is beyond the capacity of local communities to manage alone. However, national governments must promote the central role of communities in landslide risk management, including preparedness, adaptation, and mitigation. This is especially true in remote areas where limited access can delay the national disaster response efforts.

Consultation with local communities and the use of indigenous knowledge is crucial, particularly in the case of landslides. Use of indigenous knowledge in scientific and technical risk assessments can strengthen the resilience of communities, help communities take decisions informed by their own knowledge, and, when combined with scientific data, correct their own misperceptions about potential risks. This will help communities translate risk perceptions into enhanced preparedness for landslides and other hazards.

A team of ICIMOD experts is visiting the site on 5 August 2014 and this report will be updated as we learn more.

5 June 2014 The Himalayas

The Hindu Kush Himalayan (HKH) region has received much attention as the source of rivers that supply water to 1.3 billion people downstream. It has received far less attention for its role as the recipient of the air pollution originating in the plains.

Across northern South Asia during the dry season, individual plumes from hundreds of millions of cooking fires, tens of millions of diesel vehicles, generators and pump sets, as well as tens of thousands of brick kilns merge together into one thick brown haze layer that extends across international borders from Pakistani Punjab to Bangladesh, penetrating deep into Himalayan valleys. A major constituent of this haze is black carbon.

Black carbon is a carcinogen and has major impacts on people’s health. It is also a ‘short-lived climate pollutant’ (SLCP) – an air pollutant that has significant impacts on local and regional climate. Unlike the greenhouse gas carbon dioxide (CO2), which, once emitted, stays in the atmosphere for centuries impacting global climate, SLCPs have atmospheric lifetimes of days to months.

The good news is that shutting down the sources of SLCPs reduces their climate impact within days to months. Their short lifetime also means that they do not have time to mix uniformly around the globe, and that their greatest impact is near their sources. The bad news is that the HKH region is near a major source region for black carbon: the Indo-Gangetic Plains, where more than half a billion people live along the Indus, Ganges, and Brahmaputra rivers and their tributaries. While globally black carbon has the second biggest impact on climate after CO2, its impact in northern South Asia is much bigger than its global average.

Black carbon contributes to the melting of Himalayan glaciers and snowfields, warms the atmosphere at higher elevations and cools it at lower elevations, affecting atmospheric circulation patterns. It also reduces visibility to the point where snowy peaks are no longer visible from places whose livelihoods depend on selling mountain views to tourists. In addition, it contributes to changes in monsoon clouds and in the timing and intensity of rainfall, with potentially significant impacts on droughts, floods, landslides, hydropower, agriculture and drinking water availability.

While air pollution is severe in some of the larger cities in the plains, such as Delhi, Agra, and Dhaka, it can be as bad or worse in smaller cities within the HKH region, such as Kathmandu, Nepal. The mountains surrounding the Kathmandu Valley, and the airflow they create, confine its local emissions within the valley from early evening until late morning. Field studies during the first half of 2013 found concentrations of air pollutants several times above WHO’s and Nepal’s own air quality standards for extended periods of time.

Emissions within the Kathmandu Valley are not the only source of its air pollution problem. There are also inputs from cooking fires, agricultural fires, and forest fires in the surrounding valleys and mountains, and more importantly, an inflow of air pollution up the Bagmati Valley from the south. While sewage from mountain cities flows down the rivers into the plains and across borders, a reverse flow of air pollution comes back up the mountain valleys. There are around 120 brick kilns within the Kathmandu Valley, less than 800 in all of Nepal, mostly in southern Nepal, but almost 23,000 in the two neighbouring Indian states of Uttar Pradesh and Bihar alone.

Air pollution crosses borders daily. Shutting down all of Nepal’s brick kilns will not stop the pollution arriving from the ones south of the border. Bhutan has no brick kilns. It imports its bricks as well as black carbon from brick kilns.
Creating effective air pollution policies to reduce people’s exposure to high levels of air pollution and to reduce its impacts on climate requires detailed scientific understanding of the links between sources and impacts, as well as regionally coordinated science-based policies. What fraction of the black carbon arriving on Yala Glacier in Langtang is from nearby households, from Kathmandu, from the Nepali Terai, or from India or beyond?

Effective policy making at the local and national levels requires detailed maps of emissions sources, atmospheric modeling systems that simulate the fate of emitted pollutants, connecting sources to impacts, as well as a network of measurement stations that provide real-time data to the public and policy makers and inputs to atmospheric models. It also requires free flow of data across borders, and regionally coordinated responses to high air pollution episodes. Ultimately, cleaning up air pollution in northern South Asia and reducing its impacts on the HKH region requires a strong push towards cleaner, less polluting technologies, including clean cooking, clean brick production and clean transportation.

(Arnico Panday [] is ICIMOD’s Senior Atmospheric Scientist and the coordinator of ICIMOD’s Atmosphere Initiative.)

24 May 2014 Connecting terrestrial ‘islands’ to promote biodiversity -

This year, the UN has declared ‘Island Biodiversity’ as the theme for celebrating International Day for Biological Diversity. The world’s islands are home to about 600 million people – 10 per cent of the world’s population. These islands are also home to some unique species of plants and animals that are found nowhere else in the world. For example, the kangaroo is found only in Australia, the flightless kiwi bird is found only in New Zealand, and the now extinct dodo – another flightless bird – was found only in Mauritius. Australia, New Zealand and Mauritius are all island countries.

‘Islands’ – the word generally conjures images of areas of land surrounded by water. For conservationists, islands take on another meaning when pockets of pristine land areas rich in biodiversity exist amidst intensive areas of human settlements, agriculture or industrialization. These ‘islands’ are generally home to numerous species of plants, birds, insects and animals. At a larger scale, many of these ecologically significant islands have been set aside as areas to protect plants and wildlife.

Animals, particularly large animals, must move, and thus require large areas of habitat for their survival. Often, when animals travel outside their ‘islands’ of protected areas, they enter human settlements and destroy crops, livestock, and even human life, resulting in what conservationists term ‘human-wildlife conflicts’. Humans generally respond to such wildlife intrusions by exterminating them through various means – a process termed as ‘retaliatory killing.’

One of the methods by which the habitat of large animals can be increased is by connecting protected areas through wildlife ‘corridors’. These corridors can be instrumental in connecting fragmented habitat islands and thereby facilitating wildlife movement. Corridors also promote interbreeding, which results in genetic diversity within the wildlife population.

The Kanchenjunga Landscape is one of seven landscape initiatives in the Hindu Kush Himalayas where the ecosystem approach is being used with a focus on connecting islands of protected areas through conservation corridors. This initiative is a trans-boundary program involving the governments of Bhutan, India, and Nepal. The program aims to develop connectivity between the 20 isolated protected areas in the landscape through a network of conservation corridors extending from eastern Nepal, through the states of Sikkim and northern West Bengal in India, to western Bhutan. These corridors will facilitate the movement of species, such as the endangered snow leopard at the higher elevations, and Bengal tiger and Asian elephant at the lower elevations.

The Kanchenjunga Landscape is part of the Eastern Himalaya ‘Biodiversity Hotspot’ where there is high level of biodiversity, much of which is facing severe threats from humans. The landscape hosts a significantly high number of plants and is home to at least six species of endangered animals including the snow leopard, Himalayan musk deer, Bengal tiger, Asian elephant, and one-horned rhino, among others. The trademark plant species of the landscape is the rhododendron – at least 45 species of which are found in the landscape. The landscape is also home to approximately seven million women and men, some of whom belong to distinct ethnic groups, such as the Lepchas and the Walungs.

Despite the ecological significance of the Kanchenjunga Landscape, there is much we need to know about the biodiversity and socio-economy of the region. During a recent review process for understanding the state of knowledge on biodiversity in the landscape, about 850 published and unpublished documents were recorded. The first recorded study in the landscape was conducted more than 170 years ago on the Lepchas of Sikkim by Archibald Campbell, the British political agent to Sikkim and Darjeeling in the East India Company. This was followed by the work of the notable British naturalist Joseph Dalton Hooker, who published an account of his botanical expedition in the Kanchenjunga region in two volumes of The Himalayan Journals in 1854. Subsequently, research interest in the Kanchenjunga landscape increased significantly only three decades later in the 1980s. Much of the information gathered in the area was focused on animals and plants, with the red panda being the most researched animal species in the landscape. Over 80 per cent of the research has been conducted in the Indian portion of the Kanchenjunga Landscape, only 9 per cent has been conducted in Nepal and just 4 per cent took place in the Bhutan portion of the landscape.

Why is it important to know about the biodiversity in the Kanchenjunga Landscape? There are an estimated 8.7 million species of organisms in the world. Among these, only 1.2 million species have been identified till date – representing only 14 per cent of the total biodiversity in the world. Accordingly, we have probably identified only a third of the total number of species in the Kanchenjunga Landscape. Much of the gaps in our knowledge exist in relation to species other than plants and animals, i.e. on fish, amphibians, insects, fungi, and bacteria. Not much has been done to know the status of these relatively neglected life forms.
Knowledge about biodiversity is crucial to understanding their roles in the ecosystem and therefore for their effective management. Biodiversity is a natural capital that provides a number of ecosystem services in the Kanchenjunga Landscape, including providing food, timber, fiber and medicines – all things we depend on. It is also an important source of income for many local people living in the landscape. Therefore, gaining in-depth knowledge on biodiversity and associated ecosystem functions is extremely important for the well-being of the communities within the Kanchenjunga Landscape, as well as for the global community.

Janita Gurung ( is Biodiversity Conservation and Management Specialist and Pratikshya Kandel ( is Research Associate for Biodiversity at the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD).

7 March 2014 Fine tuning Nepali Development from

Now is the time for Nepal to prove itself a successful Asia-Pacific democracy which can also deliver on the people’s economic aspirations. It is time to leave politics aside since the Second Constituent Assembly-Parliament is finally in place though it has yet to deliberate on a host of national issues starting with the country’s constitution. Sushil Koirala from NC has been unanimously elected Nepal’s 37th Prime Minister and appears serious on writing the Nepali Constitution vetted by the Nepali people, though no one has any clue on its content, structure, form and timeline. It is also time to start rethinking and to focus on NEPALI DEVELOPMENT as with the Nepali Constitution.

The international community’s development voice, particularly strengthened by the recent two day visit of Dr. Rajiv Shah, USAID’s Administrator, seem to want a concrete “new” Nepal Government initiated development business plan where the latter takes initiatives to lead all-round participatory public-private initiatives, unheard of in Nepal before. The focus shift seems to be from politically stabilizing Nepal to making it a more vibrant people oriented democracy that has also an overarching economic happiness component built into it especially for those trapped in poverty. This development sutra seeks to focus on the Nepali people’s development aspirations whereby they serve as the innovative springboard of ideas.

So what if the fragile NC-UML coalition decided to toast one another before pulling up 10 cabinet ministers’ names each for the Nepal Government ? According to close observers it was like “O.K bhai, let us share everything 50:50, let us work as buddies to write the new Nepali Constitution as mandated by the Nepali people which is our sole responsibility”. In short yester year’s political thinking. Was this correct? Dead wrong! The Nepali people voted the two largest parties, NC and the CPN-UML, back to Singha Darbar because they wanted steadfast democratic adherence, economic progress, peace and a sense of overall personal security tied down to concrete economic performance results. There is no way NC and UML can renege on this and other unfulfilled promises made to the Nepali people who voted them to power in the first place.

It seems it is not only Nepali people who are asking for a road map of current progress, namely a concrete Nepal Government initiated development business plan. The international donor community is too. It has been four months since Nepal successfully conducted the Second CA Poll on November 19, 2013. It was supposed to usher in a new era of development and economic progress for Nepal as the international community supported the Nepali people’s democratic aspirations then as now. The recurrent Nepal visits of British Minister for International Development, Alan Duncan to Nepal to discuss Anglo-Nepal development ties and its potentially powerful future is just an example of how a close G-8 friend helps Nepal with its economic and democratic commitments. The Anglo-Nepal relationship has a 200-year old rich history that spans continents and cultures. The other good illustration of a friend calling in with sensible advice and good offers of bilateral assistance is of course USAID’s Administrator Rajiv Shah who during his recent two day Nepal trip met key political, business, NGO and other leaders and repeatedly emphasized the need for Nepali economic growth that can involve multiple partnerships – the government, civil society and the private sector - so that development’s impact is maximized and the people benefit most.

Raj Shah (as he is known to close friends) in his Nepal visit highlighted an important aspect of the Obama administration’s commitment to promote innovation, science, technology and partnerships with the Nepal Government. From Kathmandu, Raj announced more than $100 million in U.S. aid commitment to Nepal over the next few years. Such as, US$ 70 million for Community Resilience Program for disaster risk reduction and climate change adaptation, US$ 20 million support to the National Early Grade Reading Program, US$ 4.1 million for Business Literacy Project to be operated in twenty Terai and lower hill districts; and, US$ 10 million for a partnership between USAID, DFID and the Nepal Government to better access family planning services for some of Nepal’s most excluded households. He also pledged US$ 500,000 to the Innovative Early Warning Flooding System to help protect communities from flooding in the Mid- and Far West regions.

In the highly competitive Nepal aid sector, where donors often vie with one another for a strategic hold on Nepal through geographically focused projects, there is often an built-in foreign policy component that seeks to increase a country’s political prowess in this sensitive trans-Himalayan corridor that has immense potential as a free economic trade zone between India and China. For instance, in the case of Nepal’s two immediate big neighbors, geo-strategic access to Kathmandu power centers solely focused on long term harnessing of Nepal’s hydro electricity potential besides preserving their own political and security objectives is well known. However for the U.S. and G-8, Nepali development enthusiasts consider it highly commendable that Rajiv Shah had a different message to give, one where donors selflessly proposed supporting the Nepal Government in its own plans based on concrete development policies that would help the Nepali people utmost, not solely based on their individual foreign policy thrusts, which often vie with India and China elsewhere in Asia.

Speaking to the Kathmandu media recently, Raj said, “We believe strongly that the days when the World Bank or USAID and other development partners simply paid for large infrastructure projects are over. There is a new model of development that needs to be pursued in which countries themselves create a plan for the future.” Dr Rajiv Shah’s visit could have come at no other opportune time, since the current government’s future is tied to successfully drafting a new constitution, and has neither made any visible effort to live up to the people’s economic aspirations by unfurling new economic policies or development plans as initially promised. Thus, what the Koirala led government will do in the coming months in providing a development response solution to the international donor community will impact on its image abroad and also influence the future of Nepali livelihoods particularly in the rural areas. This probably is the reason why Rajiv Shah from USAID has urged the Nepal Government to come up with policies that encourage private sector investment that also boost the agriculture and energy sectors.

As Raj again stated to the Nepali media, “This government has a unique opportunity to establish a vision for economic growth and development. They can help end Nepal’s extreme poverty, solve Nepal’s energy crisis and double or triple Nepal’s food production…The world is watching to see how aggressive this new government would be in seizing this opportunity. I am making this visit now because now is an urgent and special moment…. My biggest single takeaway is whether it is the members of government or leaders of private sector, everyone is looking right now to the new government to see how able it will be to prioritize economic development and growth….The decision the government makes in the next few weeks to months will show its seriousness and determination.”

During his Nepal visit, Shah also presented the USAID Pioneers Prize to the Nepal Government for a significant public health achievement, namely simple application of a low-cost antiseptic, chlorhexidine, which has lowered the risk of death in newborn Nepali babies by 23 percent. The Ministry of Health led project is one of seven to receive the award globally, honoring excellence in the use of science, technology, and innovation to solve development challenges.

Rajiv Shah speaking for Nepal’s oldest development partner, the United States, made it clear that ‘partners like the US will bring all of our tools and capabilities including our own companies and capacities to invest in Nepal’s future” although he was also of the opinion the Nepal Government has to make the “right decision about pursuing certain types of reforms.”

Nepal’s strong bilateral relationship with the United States started with an assistance agreement signed on January 23, 1951 which quickly laid Nepal’s first road systems, a working telephone exchange system (phones included!), eliminating malaria from the Terai, enabling agriculture using terrace farming such as in the in the hilly regions, increasing universal literacy rates, and reducing child mortality. The U.S. has also significantly contributed towards peace and national reconciliation through strengthened public diplomacy and a proactive working partnership with all democratic political parties in Nepal to achieve long term national peace and geopolitical stability. Similarly, former U.S. President Jimmy Carter through the Carter Center’s visible presence in Nepal, and his own numerous high level visits, had helped guarantee the impartiality of Nepal’s first and second Constituent Assembly Polls. Carter is deeply revered by all Nepali people for helping promote Nepali democracy within the country and publicizing its results abroad.

In context, USAID in Nepal is also blessed to have an experienced new mission director, namely Beth Dunford, who brings with her concrete leadership experience having worked with the likes of late Ambassador Richard Holbrooke, former Secretary of State Hillary R. Clinton’s Special Representative for Afghanistan and Pakistan, whom everyone misses at the U.S. State Department, by providing crucial strategic direction and implementation guidance to reorient development programs in Afghanistan and Pakistan in support of the U.S. President’s counterinsurgency objectives. Beth also served as a Team leader for Afghanistan on the U.S. Central Command Assessment established by now retired Army Gen. David Petraeus (who led the U.S. Forces in Afghanistan and who was later promoted to CIA Director by President Barack Obama.)

The Nepal Government has many challenges at the moment and it still ranks in the last quarter of the global Human Development Index with a highly visible percentage of people still living in poverty. Sixteen hour load shedding is common in Kathmandu though the country has 83,000 MW hydroelectricity potential, something economically rising China and India are visibly interested in to meet their own future energy and power sector needs. But the major challenge for Nepal still remains taming its ideologically polarized political parties which have been unable to forge a united development agenda for the country or write a concrete constitution since the last successful one promulgated in 1990.

At the same time, Nepal recently took over the chair of the Bay of Bengal Initiative for Multi-Sectoral Technical and Economic Cooperation in Myanmar and is preparing to host the next SAARC Summit in Kathmandu later this year, all portending it is willing to take the diplomatic leadership challenge within South Asia and move forward with laudable constructive international aid assistance. It would be equally wise on the Nepal Government’s part to also adapt constructive international advice such as Rajiv Shah’s who made it amply clear: For democracy to triumph in Nepal the government must also be able to come up with concrete development policies and plans that are people oriented. This in turn must be matched by public accountability and good governance. Coincidentally, the first Nepal Economic Summit that recently concluded in Kathmandu under the active leadership of Suraj Vaidya from FNCCI also emphasized an environment of policy stability that would enable attracting foreign investment to Nepal. The Nepal Government must clearly understand that Nepalis live in an increasingly globalized economy hinged between the world’s two fastest rising economic giants, China and India, but is also considered a reliable strategic friend of the U.S. and G-8 for decades. This is why its government must be complacent to the changes happening around the Asia-Pacific neighborhood every day and fine tune Nepali development to suit the country’s democratic image abroad. One reckons Sushil Koirala and his cabinet will pay close heed to this message.

Surya B. Prasai has written extensively on Nepalese peace and reconciliation efforts. He can be contacted at

3 January 2014 - - Dr Basnet The Power Game Politics and Leaders

Our second Constituent Assembly (CA) election has been successfully completed. However, the post-election political developments in the country do not look as sound and promising as people had expected. In the seven weeks that have passed nothing has been achieved apart from meetings and talks between some political parties and their big bosses in luxurious hotel rooms in the name of ‘political agreement’. The so-called winners of the election, the NC and the UML, are fighting with each other in power grabbing bids. Surely the political parties should be acting much more speedily in negotiating power sharing, forming a new government and sorting out the presidential issue? Surely the national interest should at all times dominate the politics and be the central element of any debate? Yet the major parties appear to be continually obsessed with fighting over trivial issues.

The actions and omissions of the parties demonstrate that they have still to learn the lesson that the last five years were fruitless because of their wild lust for power aimed at satisfying their own personal, political, and ideological interests. A broader political consensus on major issues still seems elusive in our context. Why? Why the delay in forming a new government? What should be the role of the new Assembly in the changed political scenario?

The whole country – not to mention the international community and our many well-wishers around the world – is dumfounded by the undemocratic and negative attitude of the political parties especially the recent election winners. Everyone is asking the million dollar question today: why the delay calling the session of the new Assembly? Many further questions need to be considered in addressing the current needs of the country. What is the point of having an assembly if a few big bosses can still decide issues in the name of ‘political agreement’? Should every national issue and problem not be discussed and approved within and by the new Assembly? Does the delay not show great disrespect for the fresh mandate of the people? Why do the political parties, or a few so-called big leaders, still bargain for political bhagbanda? Have we not learnt anything from our past mistakes? Should the national interest not be the top priority, and should the making of the new constitution not be the overwhelming aim and ambition of the new CA and government? I wish to suggest a few actions that we should now be undertaking.

Firstly, the new CA must be the ultimate authority as far as decisions on any national issues and problems are concerned. It holds a fresh mandate specifically to decide on such issues. Its role is to provide the final verdict – legitimately, constitutionally and politically. The nation therefore must demand an immediate session of the CA. It is an urgent matter, and if there are any legal or practical obstacles preventing this, the focus of the political process must be to solve them without delay. All political discussion must take place in the Assembly and be approved there. We must not let the new body become the hostage of a few party leaders. What is the point otherwise of holding a hugely expensive election in our country? What is the point even having the Assembly at all? What, context is the constitutional legitimacy of any political agreement reached between a few political dons outside the Assembly? Why should we accept anything of that nature?

Secondly, we must prepare for the election of local bodies as soon as possible. Local governance is a fundamental norm of participatory democracy, of the rule of law and of responsible government. Local bodies represent an essential milestone in the bottom-up approach to proper democratic practice. To address the new political scenario and the expectations of the people, the local bodies also require a new mandate. For too long, our’s have lacked proper people’s representation, and no local election has been conducted in nearly a decade. The bodies are run through political bhagbhanda. Corruption is high in the bodies, and open corruption is reported throughout the VDCs and municipalities. We need to establish a proper investigation mechanism to flush out the truth and to punish the wrongdoers. No one should be allowed to grab tax-payers’ hard-earned cash and resources. We need to ensure that local bodies are more transparent, informed and accountable. Local elections for local bodies will provide the impetus for newly elected local leaders to take full responsibility for local governance.

Thirdly, the time is right for the establishment of the long overdue Truth and Reconciliation Commission to address war-era abuses. It is vital to establish the rule of law to overcome lawlessness and the culture of impunity but, most importantly, to establish a durable peace throughout the country. War-era criminals, no matter who they are and no matter how powerful they are, must be brought to justice as soon as possible. Now is the time for this, and the people through their vote showed their approval. It was and remains the demand of the people. Criminals already convicted by the Supreme Court as murderers and who still roam freely under political protection should be arrested immediately and imprisoned.

Some political leaders who were involved in gross human rights abuses in the wartime era and who should be tried for crimes against humanity, openly challenge the government to have them arrested and tried. I strongly believe that the government must do just that. No one should be above the law in this country, and no one should have the right to kill others in the name of politics or ideology. The government, if there is to be one, must convey a strong message that violence is never the answer, that killing is never the answer, and that there is one thing above all our citizens and that is the law or the rule of law.

Alongside the establishment of a proper Truth Commission, we must make our criminal laws more effective and efficient. Nothing should stop the state arresting and investigating any alleged abuser of human rights during the ten-year civil war. No one should be allowed to escape in the name of the so-called ‘Peace Accord’. The government must prove this time that life is not cheap in our country. At the same time, the government must prepare to ratify the Statute of the International Criminal Court in case our national mechanisms fail to punish such culprits. They should be made to know that there is no escape and that surely one day The Hague will be the final destination for many of them.

Finally, the anti-corruption movement must be given priority in our nation. The anti-corruption body itself must be made more effective and granted greater powers. We may need a new face to head this office - one who is clean, motivated, qualified and not related to any particular political party. It is widely reported that we have political leaders who are the most corrupt in the whole of South Asia. Their dramatic change in life style from rags to riches overnight is evidence of this. How did they achieve such astoundingly fast success? The whole nation is looking for an answer, and a proper investigation should start immediately.

There is, too, an unholy nexus between politicians, mafia dons and businessmen in this country. All of these should be part of the same investigation, and nobody should be spared. It is vital to give our people a sense of change in governance because until now the voice of common people has remained unheard except when it has suited the politicians.

Our country is passing through the most critical political phase since it entered into the peace process. Our aim must be to end the transition as soon as possible for we cannot go on like this forever. Alongside the above points, the real focus of the government has to be to draft a constitution. We need not start from scratch: that would only take up time unnecessarily. Agreed points from the previous CA can be recompiled and approved by the new, and only disputed issues from the last Assembly need be debated again and then approved by wide political consensus. At long last it is time to give democracy a proper chance. It will be seen to pay handsome dividends in the end.

Dr Basnet is a Researcher and Lecturer in International Human Rights Law & Constitutional and Human Rights Law Lawyer in the Supreme Court of Nepal.

22November 2013

Japanese EOM congratulates Nepali people for successful CA election; says it was peaceful, free and fair The Election Observation Mission (EOM) of Japan has congratulated the people of Nepal on successful conduct of the the Constituent Assembly election, and commended the efforts toward the election made by all the stakeholders, such as the Government of Nepal, the Election Commission of Nepal, and the Party representatives.

5 June 2013 - - Dr. Arjun Bahadur KC Hydroelectric Power and Nepal's Energy

Nepal is experiencing an extreme shortage of electricity despite having an enormous hydropower resources potential for development not only for domestic consumption but also for export. The development of hydropower that started some hundred years ago has not been very encouraging, averaging about roughly 6 MW per year despite being touted of its theoretical potential. The hydropower development has been seriously affected by the inefficiency, politicization and mismanagement in state owned electricity utility-(Nepal Electricity Corporation/NEA) as well as in its line ministry. Neither NEA, nor its line ministry has ever created an investment friendly environment to foster a private as well as community development of hydropower in Nepal. Moreover, Government of Nepal lacks serious vision for the short-term as well as long term hydropower development in Nepal.

In addition, wrong information about the hydropower potential in Nepal is being disseminated to the students and the common people of Nepal. The rhetoric claiming Nepal as "second richest country" in the world after Brazil in hydropower potential has never been proved. With no surprise, Nepal's power potential is even smaller than our both neighbours, India and China. It is the time to change the course books of Nepal that claims Nepal to be the second richest country in hydropower globally. Nepali people, especially those young students who could be the agents of change need true information. This article presents a clear position on the real hydropower potential in Nepal.

Some half century ago, water resources expert Dr. Hari Man Shrestha conducted an academic research for his Ph.D. degree in Russia, which revealed that theoretically Nepal could generate 83,000 megawatts hydropower, of which 42,000 megawatts was economically and technically feasible. This estimate was made at a time when very little river water discharge data was generated by very few measuring stations. Dr. Shrestha also used average runoff dischange that includes the flood water as well, making the study to be only a very high level approximation. That however could have been considered the only possible way to estimate the hydropower potential where not much measuring stations were available during that time.

A recent study conducted by the team of Institute of Engineering, Tribhuwan University Nepal and led by Prof. Narendra Man Shakya has shown that Nepal has a total potential to generate 53,000 megawatts of hydropower in Nepal. This team's estimate was based on the latest water discharge data available with the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, using Geographic Information System (GIS). Unlike Dr. Hari Man Shrestha's study, this team estimated the hydropower potential excluding the flood water from the discharge data, making this study more reliable. However, the estimate of potential entirely depends on what type of models are used and what kind of assumptions are made while developing various scenario. This study however, does not tell what is the maximum generating potential in terms of electrical energy (GWh) based on wet as well as dry season flow durations. The author assumes that the team is in the way to estimate this as well.

The global theoretical hydropower potential is estimated to be 38,606,913 GWh while the technically feasible potential is 14,604,209 GWh annually (Hydropower and Dams, World Atlas, 2009). All the theoretical and technical capacity cannot be exploited because of the geographical, dry season flow available and economical reasons. It has been estimated that the global economically feasible hydropower potential is 8,771,502 GWh annually. Continentally, Asia has the highest economically feasible hydropower resource of 1,107,055 GWh followed by Europe (771,408 GWh), North and Central America (688,873 GWh), South America (641,216 GWh), Africa (102,107) and Oceania (41,886 GWh) annually. China and India have the largest economically exploitable hydropower resources in Asia. In terms of theoretical potential, China has the highest theoretical hydropower resources globally followed by Brazil, India, Russia, Indonesia, Canada and the USA. Figure 1 below shows the top 13 countries in the world with their gross theoretical hydropower potential (WEC, 2010).

Figure 1. Top 13 countries in the world with highest hydropower generation potential (gross theoretical GWh/Yr

The Jalsrotoi Vikas Sanstha (JVC) in 2004 reported that based on the 83,000 MWh theoretical capacity at 95% exceedance flow, the electrical energy generation capacity is approximately 145,900 GWh per year. As 50% of this is considered technically and economically feasible, the maximum electrical energy generation could be approximately 73,000 GWh annually even if we assume Dr. Shrestha's estimate were correct. The estimate provided by Dr. Shakya's group is approximately 64% of what Dr. Shrestha estimated. If we take the scenario that 50% of the potential estimated by Dr. Shakya is economically feasible for electricity generation, it will be approximately 47,000 GWh per year. Between these two estimate, Nepal's hydropower potential could be estimated to be between 47,000 GWh and 73,000 GWh annually. If we assume that Nepal's economically exploitable hydropower potential is about 50,000 GWh annually, this will rank in the 30th position in the global ranking. The World Atlas 2009 "Hydropower and Dams” states that Nepal's economically exploitable hydropower potential is 14,772 GWh annually, which puts Nepal on the 50th position in global ranking. Globally available economically exploitable hydropower resources for the top 50 countries are presented in Figure 2 below.

Figure 2. Economically exploitable hydropower resources in to 50 countries in the world.

In addition to the theoretical and economically exploitable hydropower potential, other misunderstandings time and again has surfaced in the public and government level is that only the development of big hydropower plants can rescue the current poor energy supply situation in the country. In the last 2-3 decades, we spent significant time and efforts talking about the development of big hydropower projects such as West Seti, Arun III, Pancheswor etc. However, we have not moved forward for several reasons. We not only lack the capacity and experience to manage very big hydro projects, we do not have mechanisms to manage the environmental impacts and human impacts arising from such big projects. These all drag hydropower development to be unsustainable. To meet the present power deficit, our focus should be in the implementation of small and medium -sized projects in fast track basis to meet national power demand. Once the national power demand is met, large sized export-oriented projects need to be developed, which will practically take next 20-30 years at today's rate of development.

In conclusion, it does not matter wherever the Nepal's ranking on global stage is, it matters what information we provide to the public should be based on the scientific evidence. All it matters is whether we can exploit our economically feasible hydropower potential for the socio-economic development of the country or not. We have significant economically exploitable hydropower resources for our consumption as well as for export. The only way forward is to have small and medium sized projects implemented to meet the national demand for all sectoral energy consumption in short-and medium term. Until Nepal meets its national power demands, talking about the hydropower export does not sound to be a practical proposition.

(KC works as an energy and climate change expert in western Canada and can be reached at:


Himalayan Times 15 April 2012: Some thoughts on the Nepalese Economy by Professor Dahal

Nepalese economy is passing through the downswing phase circumscribed by poverty and stagnation with moderately high level of inflation and a diminutive growth rate confined to 3.5 per cent, the lowest in the South Asian region. Its economy is conspicuously trailing behind other member countries in the SAARC region and, most unfortunately, is listed as one of the poorest countries in the world.

Nepalese economy is largely characterized by high-cost economy, subsistence agriculture and alarmingly increasing dependence attributed to widening trade deficits with minimal contribution of the manufacturing sector to GDP. This is further engulfed by prolonged transition, unclaimed status of constitution making and peace process, lack of investment-friendly environment especially to attract FDI, and the sinking public enterprises, dwindling financial sector with relatively low M2/GDP ratio, and volatile share market with rapidly falling NEPSE Index below 300 in comparison to more than 900 plus during FY 2008/09.

The Nepalese economy suffers from structural constraints and growth is compressed by critical limits comprised of: (a) extremely inadequate infrastructure with terribly high extent of power-shedding, dilapidated roads and poor water supply facilities; (b) frequent disruption in the supply and critical shortage of petroleum products including cooking gas; (c) fragile industrial relations; (d) wastage of huge funding through loan, subsidy and transfer payments from treasury to a large number of state-owned enterprises; (e) decelerating traditional exports with comparative advantages and competitive edges such as carpet, garments, handicrafts and pashmina; (f) small quantum of FDI and under-spending of capital expenditures; (g) growing stagflation adversely affecting the poor; (h) inordinately low investment in agriculture confined to 3.2 percent of GDP; (i) extremely limited priority areas for economic development comprising hydropower, tourism, biodiversity and agriculture, and human resources to expedite remittances through foreign employment; and (j) growing inefficiency, rampant corruption, and poor governance.

Considering the existing political and economic vulnerabilities, it is imperative to enforce the “Ten Commandments” to restore the economy to normalcy during the short-run and move towards a take-off, and further to a great leap forward in the long run. This requires: (1) scrapping existing plan and budget with declaration of Plan Holiday until the emergence of a democratically elected government after the promulgation of a new constitution under the federal democratic republic order; (2) formulating an emergency annual plan-cum-budget with a pragmatic action plan to implement for sustaining economic growth with poverty reduction during the short-run; (3) reordering of priorities to mobilize and attract both FDI and indigenous investments ensuring peace and stability through bilateral, regional and global cooperation at the initiation of private sector; (4) improving the capacity of government to effectively spend capital expenditures on a greater scale on infrastructure such as hydropower, road, water and communications; (5) negotiating urgently trading of 200 MW electricity with India for gradually reducing power-shedding that adversely affected the performance of manufacturing sector; (6) withdrawing all but targeted subsidies to population below the poverty line including poor and marginal farmers only for consumption of kerosene, fertilizer and interest on loan, and fully rebuffing the practice of extending loan, subsidy and transfer payments to state-owned enterprises (SOEs) with speeding up the process of privatization through employing various alternative modalities such as company limited, PPP, foreign collaboration, and liquidation; (7) liberalizing the market by opening up of imports of petroleum products to private sector and multinationals; (8) strengthening economic ties and initiating efforts moving towards “Zero Tariff Regime” especially with India and China and also US, Euro-zone, Asia Pacific region, and Scandinavian countries by 2017 as per WTO, SAFTA and BIMS-TEC provisions; (9) introducing “meritocracy” in all spheres with induction of policy toward reservation to protect the interest of weaker sections of the society.

The application of “meritocracy” would certainly help combating corruption through improving efficiency and governance; and (10) constituting a high level powerful “Economic Commission” with a view to expose the “White Paper” on the current status of Nepalese economy with identification of master-bottlenecks facing the economy earliest possible.

It is also significant to induct the doctrine of “interdependence” in conformity with the spirit of globalization and liberalization and devise strategy to refurbish the economy for preparing a take-off during the short run, and achieve GNI per capita income at par with middle-income countries approximately US$ 3,000 by 2025, and to proceed for a great leap forward finally to build Nepal as the “Switzerland of Asia” by 2050.

Professor Dahal is Chairman, Mega Bank Nepal Ltd., Kathmandu



KATHMANDU: Himalayan Times 26 March 2012 Water supplies

People living in Milan Chowk, Sangam Chowk and Madhya Marga in the Capital were delighted yesterday to have water in their taps after about a week, but what they experienced promptly threw cold water on their enthusiasm.

There was filth, mixed with human excreta, coming out of the taps instead of what was supposed to be drinking water supplied by Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Ltd, said locals.

Chitra Dhungana, a Sangam Chowk resident, said she could not even go near the tap as the filthy mixture flowing out of it stunk up the whole area. “It was not fit for even animal consumption,” she said in disgust. Ram Datta Joshi of Milan Chowk said taps in the houses in the area had been dry for more than a month, and ‘what we got yesterday was filthy water!’. “But even before the taps went dry, the water supplied was no good; it used to be murky and dirty,” he said.

When contacted, Umesh Babu Marahattha, chief of KUKL branch in Baneshwor, claimed that the water was supplied after laying new sets of pipes in the area. Refusing to accept the fact that the water supplied in the Madhya Baneshwor area yesterday was undrinkable, Marahattha said, “If that’s the case people should come to KUKL office and lodge a complaint.”

But Joshi said KUKL has failed to respond to locals’ several complaints in the past. Locals here, like in other areas where the taps run dry, have been dependent on water supplied by KUKL tankers.

Kathmandu is a water-starved city with the population of more than 1.5 million, and according to KUKL, the daily water demand in the Kathmandu Valley is more than 300 million litres. KUKL has been going through fire and water to meet the demand, as it is only able to supply 70 million litres in the dry season and 120 million litres during the wet season.

Nonetheless, locals of Madhya Baneshwor yesterday heaved a sigh of relief after about an hour and a half, not because clean water started to come out from the taps, but because the taps ran dry again, saving them from the stench of filthy water.


1 February 2012 from

Nepali girls 'wed' god in ancient ritual
Nine-year-old Bhintuna sat smiling in jewellery and a red and gold brocade bridal dress as she held a tray of offerings, waiting for her turn to take part in the ritual that would wed her to a god.

Ihi or Bel Bibaha, is a unique Newari tradition of marrying girl child to the bel fruit before she attains puberty. Photo courtesy: Demotix

The schoolgirl is just one of hundreds of Nepali girls set to take part in the rite that weds them to the god Vishnu over the coming month, a symbolic time of weddings according to tradition in this deeply religious, majority Hindu nation.

"It is fun. I am happy to wear new clothes and be with so many friends," Bhintuna told the Reuters news agency.

The ritual, which takes place before a girl reaches puberty, is one of three weddings that girls from the Newar community, which dominates the Kathmandu valley that houses the Nepali capital, undergo in their lives.
In a later ceremony she will "wed" the sun by spending 12 nights in a darkened room at the age of 11 or 13, a rite that earns her additional protection. Her final wedding will be to her real, human husband, usually around the age of 25.
The origins of the tradition are obscure but Rajendra Rajopadhyaya, the priest who conducted the ceremony, said it dated back at least several centuries.
One tale has it that parents of a girl were afraid that a lewd entertainer in the court of the god Vishnu, known as the god of protection, would flee with her, so they married her off to Vishnu to keep her safe.
Hundreds of onlookers thronged the copper-roofed temple in Kathmandu, lit by butter lamps and filled with incense smoke, as 80 girls between the ages of six and nine awaited their turn for the ceremony, draped in long strings of yellow glass beads and other finery.
Many held trays of auspicious offerings such as rice, bananas and vermilion powder as they sat on the laps of their parents before being "married" to the fruit of the wood-apple tree, a representation of Vishnu.
After the ceremony the bride is offered a meal of rice with buffalo meat and the home-brewed liquor called "aela," which is like vodka.
Bhintuna's mother, 36-year-old Sirjana Sakya, sat at her daughter's side and said she was reminded of her own childhood, when she too performed the rite.
"I think my daughter will be emotionally independent and capable of taking care of herself under the protection of her divine husband," she said.

"I feel good because we are saving our culture."

Nepal officially became a secular nation and abolished its Hindu monarchy in 2008, but the majority of its 26.6 million people remain deeply religious.


31 January 2012

When politics is mixed with ethnic identity the outcome could be catastrophic.

Debates on state restructuring, number of federal provinces and form of governance have deservedly sharpened, as exercises to delineate the contours of new Nepal are picking up the pace. It is but natural for people at such point in time to want to demonstrate their taste for new things and new ideas for new Nepal. As expected, some of these debates are sound, balanced and informed; the others are, sadly, characterized by excessive emotion, sentiments and carry heavy ethnic overtones. Arguments for identity- dominant provinces, with preferential political rights, together with increased quota reservation are some of the examples. Interestingly views of prominent intellectuals, civil society members, social scientists, development experts and leaders of political parties, too, are sharply divided over these issues.

The second set of arguments may have some justifications in the context of creating a level-playing field for the ethnic minorities, dalits and other highly marginalised groups. The caste-based discrimination, denial of access to opportunities for their overall socio-economic and cultural wellbeing perpetuated against them for centuries are extremely obnoxious and need to be rectified in the new Nepal. But one fails to understand how the creation of ethnic-dominant provinces with prior political rights can eliminate those prejudices. Rather, as has been rightly pointed out by many, such a system may alienate the majority of other ethnic and social groups within the province and prove to be a potential ingredient for ethnic conflict in the long run. Naturally, under such a system, they will feel excluded from the mainstream of political and administrative decision making processes that matter most to them.

I think, the present clamour for ethnic-based provinces, the insistent on preferential political rights, the persistent demand for increased reservation quotas in government services are largely the echoes of unfounded fear, fear of domination yet again from other groups, notably the bahaun-chhetrys. Madheshis are fearful of the pahades ( bahun chetrys’) domination, Tharus are deeply apprehensive of the madhesis, the Rajptus, Yadavs, Kayasthas, Jhas and other ethnic groups, and so on. Fear, as is obvious, is the worst enemy of reason. Even the wisest of peoples under grip of fear would lose their ability of creative and rational thinking. And when fear assumes collective form its outcome could be disastrous. George Bertand Russell has so aptly epitomized the danger of collective fear when he said, “Collective fear stimulates herd instinct and tends to produce ferocities toward those which are not regarded as members of the herd”. Needless to say, this collective fear mania seems to have made a deep inroad into the psyche of our intellectuals, social scientists, political parties and their leaders. The Maoist Party first applied with precision the instrument of fear as an ultimate means to achieve their “state capture” end. Through intimidation, extortion and even physical elimination of those who dared to challenge them, they were successful in instilling fear and terror into the minds of people across the nook and corner of the country. As a matter of fact, If we take a close look at the periods before, during and after the Janaandolana-2, unfortunately, fear seems to be the predominant factor moving the societies, politics and political parties in Nepal: Fear of the Monarchy trying to covertly subvert the CA elections, followed then by a morbid fear of the Nepal Army supposedly staging a coup during CA’s decision to abolish Monarchy. There was hope that the country would shake off the fear phobia, once the institution of Monarchy was consigned to the pages of history. But sorry to say, that expectation, too, proved to be illusionary. The Nepali congress, the UML and other smaller parties began to feel mortally afraid of the Maoist, when it emerged as the largest party after the CA elections. The Maoist party similarly began to be unnerved as it thought the rest of the parties in tandem with international community were ganging up against it. This gave birth to a politics of fear, which continues to haunt the parties and deepen the fear psychology. Inability to finish the peace and constitution writing processes has to do with the mutual distrust and fear. And these processes will never be completed until fear continues to grip the psyche of our leaders.

Danger of identity politics

The issue of identity is important, indeed. It is but natural, thus, to see various ethnic groups trying to assert their identity so as not be left out in the on-going state restructuring exercises. It is heartening, too, to witness the growing awareness among them to want to protect and promote their identities. But when politics is mixed with ethnic identity the outcome could be catastrophic. It may bred inter-ethnic intolerance, abhorrence and ultimately may lead to ethnic conflicts. History is replete with horrendous ethnic conflicts, such as the one in Rwanda between the Tutsus and the Hutus, in Kosovo and in Sarajevo, in Sudan and elsewhere. Adolf Hitler’s ambition for German empire was founded on the notion of ethnic superiority of Aryan race and pathological hatred against the Jewish and the gypsy communities. He was said to be under constant fear of possible conspiracy being covertly hatched by the affluent Jewish community to unseat him from power. He saw their total elimination as a safeguard . In our recent time, mass killings of southern ethnic Sudanese perpetrated by the northern ethnic Arabs led to the disintegration of the country. Interestingly, the credit of sowing the seeds of ethnic politics in Nepal goes to none other than the Maoist party leaders. In an attempt to gain support of various ethnic groups during the height of insurgency, they promised to divide the country into several ethnic provinces. Now, they are made to taste the medicine of their own making; the spectre of ethnic-based politics has begun to haunt them right under their nose. They have seen the dangers inherent in the identity politics if at all allowed to go ahead unrestrained. The identity politics has become so pervasive that some madhesis in the tarai region are wanting one Madhesh one pradesh, the tharus, on the other hand want a separate Tharuwan province within Madhesh. The Kirants, the limbus in the east are demanding separate Kirat and Limbuwan provinces with preferential political rights, and the Newars from Kathmandu valley want a separate Newa province. Meanwhile, the Bhahun and the Chetriys are on the streets for having sidelined them as “others” in the social groups identification and categorization processes. Worst, no dominant ethnic groups speak seriously for the right of the minorities, the dalits and other backward social groups. Nepal cannot afford and hence must guard itself seriously from falling into the possible quagmire of ethnic conflagration. We must delink ethnicity from politics to avoid such an eventuality.

Form of governance

Many development planners, social scientists, independent thinkers and political parties have expressed their serious objection to the creation of too many federal provinces, which they contend, will not be economically sustainable and politically stable. I think they are right in their arguments; that there shouldn’t be more than six to seven provinces, that the delineation must be north-south oriented , that people, resource and geography must be the major consideration and that these three elements be fairly matched and balanced in the ongoing province delineation exercises. I tend to agree that the clamour for ethnic federal provinces is mere attempts at narrowing the ethnic circles at a time when the need for enlarging the circle to accommodate all ethnic and social groups in it is quite pressing. Those social groups left out of the circles may feel alienated and excluded. They may not be willing to accept ownership of, and actively participate in, the newly created province for that very reason. Once the federal provinces lose the ownership of other social groups within the provinces it may have a deleterious impact on the longetivity, integrity and cohesiveness of such provinces. It may unleash eventually ethnic hatred and violence between the resource-rich and resource-strapped provinces. I think, there is no need, similarly, to be overly concerned about, and enamoured of, any particular governance system; Presidential or Parliamentary, so long as it is embedded with the universal values of democracy. However, whatever form is agreed upon at the end of the day, the tested and failed geriatrics political leaders from the NC, the UML and the Maoist and all other political parties must yield places for the young and promising youth leaders. If that is not done, there will be no material difference whether we opt for one or the other form of governance.


The country is indeed going through a critical time. There is a need for clear-headed thinking, particularly by the leaders of the major political parties. First, they should get out of the present fear mindset, through dialogues, understanding and compromise. Secondly, they should place the welfare of the country and the people above their party and their personal interests. “To say “we’’ and mean “I” has been one of the recondite evils” of our political parties. They should eschew that hypocrisy. They should realize that democratic values, fairness, reason and rationality, instead of fear and reprisal, must be the underpinnings of new Nepal. Indeed, dovetailing of different ethnic identities for a harmonious, tolerant and multicultural and multi-ethnic society should, therefore, be the overarching objectives of the state restructuring. The foundation of new Nepal, we must bear in mind cannot be built by annihilating all the virtues of the past. In other words, we must not shy away from owning- up and inheriting some of the best features of our societies. There is no denying that tolerance and understanding, demonstrated by our people since time immemorial have largely kept our nation and people from falling apart and falling- out. One may like it or not, the past rulers did encourage this inter-cultural and religious harmony to perpetuate, regardless of their failure to create inclusionary societies. That was the reason why Nepal has never had to bear the brunt of communal or ethnic violence. Individual culture, religion and customs have never been the bone of contention in Nepal. True, if the contour of new Nepal is founded on fear, if federalism is meant only to settle scores by some ethnic groups against the other, then the dream of a peaceful prosperous and democratic Nepal may have already doomed. Therefore, echoes of fear, political opportunism, score- settling and ethnic politics should in no way be allowed to prevail. These are mere slogans pushed by a few well -fed, well-clothed, well-educated and affluent leaders of some ethnic groups, simply to perpetuate themselves in power and position in the future also just in the same manner as they have been doing now

(Gopal Thapa is former Chief of Protocol, Ministry of Foreign Affairs.)


17 November 2011 from the Kathmandu Post

Local people smeared soot on a Dalit teacher's face in Kaski reportedly for protesting mistreatment against Dalits.
The soot-smearing matter came to light after Karna Bahadur Nepali, principal of Ghandruk-based Talbarahi Primary School, lodged a complaint with the police demanding action against the guilty. He said some local people from the Gurung community smeared soot on his face and rounded him the village in response to his request to let Dalits participate in a feast organised on the occasion of inaugural of a drinking water project. "When they tried to prevent Dalits from entering the programme, I strongly opposed it. They later beat me up and smeared soot on my face," he said.
In the complaint, Nepali has mentioned names of eight persons involved in the incident.

A Happier event from two months ago


Locals of Nuwakot district have presented an example by keeping jamara for both the people of dalit and Bramhan communities in the same place at a time when human violence and various types of discriminations have gripped the society due to the caste system.
According to priest Ishwor Poudel, people of dalit, indigenous and bramhan communities have jointly grown jamara, shoots grown of seeds of various grains used in the Dashain festival, at the temple of Niranjana Bhagawati in Belkot VDC-3 on the first day of Dashain. Around 100 households have sown jamara by offering sacrifices of billy goat to the Bhagawati.Locals said they have kept jamara jointly at a place to give a message that caste makes no difference in this age, and this has increased joy among the people.
Meanwhile, jamara has been kept at three places on Wednesday from government level in the district. Jamara has also been kept at the Seven Storied Palace National Museum and the Taleju temple.

Click here to read another article from a recent edition of the Kathmandu Post


1 August 2011 from the guest column of
By Gyan Basnet Ph D International Human Rights Law Lancaster University UK

Never before have so many people in the world been aware that they are individual holders of fundamental rights, and it is this awareness and the general recognition of such rights that characterise the dawn of the 21st century. Today human rights and fundamental freedoms are continually being shaped by overlapping trends in trade, technology, globalisation, urbanisation, and the resultant break down of communities and cultures. These factors have prompted the creation of an entirely new dimension in human rights and freedoms based on personal autonomy, dynamics and self-regulation. Supported by rapid advances in information and communications technology, these trends have meant that parts of the world such as Asia, Africa, and Central and Latin America have been drawn into the global economy at a fast rate. In the new global society the individual may for the first time identify himself with regional, trans-national and international entities and associations be they religious, business, ethnic or cybernetic. Such an individual may at any time choose to link to such entities or associations thus expanding his identity beyond the natural boundaries of his birthplace.

In recent history, Nepal has passed through a series of extreme political phases and experiences. Despotic Rana rule gave way to a single party Panchayat system under a monarch in 1951. In 1990 a popular revolution brought the first shoots of democracy, but this was followed by fifteen years of civil war resulting in the abolition of monarchy and the birth of one of the world’s newest republics. The country’s political processes evolved around feudal and paternalistic hubs leading to centuries of domination by a small ruling class. More than a century of rule by an oligarchic Rana autocracy saw the consolidation of power through the suppression of internal dissent, and the exploitation of the nation’s wealth for family enrichment. Dissent was ruthlessly controlled while the population was effectively shielded against all modernising and progressive external influences. The people had no control over their own destiny. The wishes of the Ranas were supreme, and people were denied all political and civil liberties. Anything approaching today’s concept of freedom and human rights was totally unknown in Nepal.

The democratic movement launched by the Nepali people at last succeeded in overthrowing the despotic Rana regime in the 1950s. The relief and expectations of the people instantly grew, and democracy, liberal values, and progressive thinking began to have an influence. However, political instability, frequent government changes, and a watering down of revolutionary principles meant that very limited time and energy became available for economic development that might improve people’s lives. In 1959 a second Constitution was formulated and the first general election held. New directions were set and hopes aroused. The constitution was not only a full-fledged one but also the first truly democratic one. It guaranteed fundamental rights of the people of Nepal with a view to establishing a welfare state. Without discrimination on grounds of race, religion, gender, caste, or tribe the country’s citizens were guaranteed modern fundamental rights, such as personal liberty, equal protection in law, and the right to constitutional remedies. However, opposition to the constitution from those with a vested interest in the old bureaucracy and from feudal elements, together with in-fighting among the political parties meant constitutional failure. Mass discontent and disillusionment resulted from the growing gap between public expectations and the limited resources made available to the government. In the following year, the King took direct control of the government, dissolved the parliament and suspended the constitution, including all provisions relating to fundamental rights. Authoritarian rule was established which was to last thirty years. In 1962, a third constitution was promulgated under the rule of the King. By this the King became the sole power in the kingdom: political parties were banned, and the press became strictly controlled. People’s civil freedoms, such as freedom of expression, the right to information, the right to form an assembly or union, and the right to privacy were much curtailed, and there was little hope of broader participation by the people in any decision making with regard to development policy.

The years 1989 and 1990 saw dramatic political change. The democratic movements of 1990 not only established a Westminster-style parliamentary structure, but also caused a power shift from an authoritarian regime to a form of open and democratic governance, with sovereignty of the people recognised, a constitutional monarchy, and guaranteed personal freedom. People’s political rights and civil liberties were guaranteed for almost the first time, allowing people to express freely their desire for their cultural and social rights to be respected. The Constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal 1990 was promulgated with a preamble stating: “The source of sovereign authority of independent and sovereign Nepal is inherent in the people.” Most countries have provisions in their constitutions or other legislation relating to fundamental rights that reflect the Universal Declaration of Human Rights 1948, the International Covenant on Civil and Political Rights (ICCPR), and International Covenant on Economic, Social and Cultural Rights (ICESCR). Nepal’s Constitution of 1990 also provided for most basic human rights as enshrined in such international human rights documents. These included the fundamental rights to equality, freedom, information, property, privacy, and religion, as well as cultural, economic and social rights, rights against preventive detention and the right against exploitation and exile. The Constitution provided for the independence of the judiciary, and it incorporated effective constitutional remedies in support of these fundamental rights. Such rights are essential in providing for Nepali citizens an autonomous personality by which they are able to participate freely in public life with their rightful claim to universality, a “realization of their homo politicus status”. Despite a guarantee that civil and political rights were fundamental human rights, the constitution failed to classify economic and social rights also as being fundamental. Instead, they were placed under ‘Directive Principles and Policies of the State’, making them unjusticiable and therefore unenforceable in any court until progressively realised and implemented by subsequent legislation as national resources and means permitted.

Most of these constitutional provisions were in accordance with concepts outlined in key international human rights instruments, to the drawing up of which Nepal had been a party. One positive development after 1990 was Nepal’s signing and ratification of almost all international human rights treaties and conventions including not only the ICCPR and ICESCR but also the Convention against Torture and the Geneva Conventions. Under these latter conventions, Nepal was obliged to respect fundamental rights against arbitrary deprivation of life, against torture and against the enforced disappearance of any of its citizens even in a state of emergency or in efforts to end the armed insurgency. The governments have, however, been much too slow in fulfilling these obligations. Without their effective acceptance and the imposition of national standards, the obligations have remained largely unrealized. The ten year long Maoist insurgency was painful, costly, and devastating for Nepal. It weakened the country economically, took militarism to unprecedented levels, and caused much misery and human cost. Emergency, insurgency, instability and lack of credible government advanced the human rights crisis. If individual autonomy within society is considered to be ‘the capacity of a human being to determine what he is and to shape his life in accordance with his convictions’, Nepal’s situation with regard to personal freedoms and liberties is a depressing story that is full of oppression, exploitation and domination. Government officials and the police have seldom been charged with violations of rights. The country, therefore, has made next to no headway in human development, its social harmony has been sacrificed, and with that its peace. Human security has fallen to an all-time low. The country’s failure to enforce human rights provisions, together with poor human rights education, has undoubtedly hindered the consolidation of its democracy. The widespread poverty of its people, the low level of literacy, and a lack of state institutional support are, moreover, huge obstacles to the establishment of the rule of law and to furthering democracy and human rights in Nepal.

Today Nepal stands at a crossroad in re-defining its political, social and economic structure and for years it has been involved in drafting a new constitution. Human rights and freedoms, including the rule of law, can be protected only when there is a legal system that is able to respond to problems in a fair, non-discriminatory and effective manner. Nepal has already ratified all major international human rights instruments. In the Constitution of 1990 there was provision for all the major fundamental human rights including abolition of the death penalty. The Interim Constitution of 2007 went even further by providing rights to environment and health, women’s rights, and a right to social justice. However, those are past constitutions. Today, throughout the world fundamental human rights are accepted as being indivisible, interdependent and interconnected, embracing civil and political rights as well as economic, social and cultural rights including the right to development. The forthcoming constitution needs, therefore, to move beyond the constitutional provisions of the past by incorporating fundamental human rights including full economic, social and cultural rights in addition to civil and political rights. The past constitutions over-emphasised the civil and political while dumping the economic, social and cultural under the heading of ‘Directive principles and Policies of the State’ thus making them unenforceable in a court of law. A hungry stomach cannot serve a nation: a hungry stomach cannot participate in the greater political, social and democratic decision-making process. A person without access to sufficient basic necessities, such as food, shelter, clothing and housing, can contribute nothing to the wider society. The right to vote, freedom of expression and the right to assembly are incapable of solving the hand-to-mouth problems of the masses. Thus, the new constitution must aim to fulfil those basic needs and to make them enforceable in a court of law. Political freedoms without sufficient economic prosperity are myths and fantasies. Therefore, the new constitution must address the indivisibility, interdependence and interconnectedness of all human rights. There should be no compromise on these issues among the political parties. Their utmost duty is to ensure that the new constitution provides for full fundamental rights including both the civil and political and the economic, social and cultural, e.g. the right to food, the right to health, the right to drinking water, the right to housing and right to development for all citizens.

Human rights, as expressed in national constitutions and in laws, directly influence government agencies, as well as institutions and individuals, in the shaping of policies and practices. However, a catalogue of rights and freedoms expressed in the constitution, no matter how extensive, is insufficient unless those rights and freedoms are supported by strong liberal legislation, firm enforcement mechanisms, and by an independent judiciary able to interpret their provisions. At the same time, that judiciary cannot be independent unless the constitution provides for a system of fairness in the appointment of its judges and they are given adequate resources. A human rights culture needs to be established at every level, both within the political parties and within civil society. To strengthen the human rights system and to promote fundamental constitutional rights there needs to be a system of full accountability and transparency at every level of governance – and that includes within the police and security forces and within the everyday administration of government.


An outsider’s take on Nepali politics from 7 June 2011

An outsider's view of Nepali politics

It seems to me that the general public in Nepal believe that striking is the only way to influence the government.

By Alice Verheij

This is the second time I am visiting Nepal this year with the certainty of other visits coming up next year, not as a tourist but as a writer and filmmaker. The main area of interest for me is the situation of the Bhutanese refugees living in Nepal and in the resettlement countries. But this beautiful country does not allow me to close my eyes for the everyday reality that is not so beautiful.

First of all, let me make this clear I am totally in love with Nepal even as I am yet to get a chance to get trekking in the famous mountain trails. My travels have taken me to eastern Terai apart from Kathmandu. Nepal is an amazing country with beauty all around. But it's also one of the poorest countries I have ever visited with all the social effects poverty brings. Secondly, I have deep respect for the religious nature of this Himalayan country even though I myself am not bound to a single religion of live philosophy. The problems in Nepal are of such an enormous magnitude that it is unimaginable that these can be solved in just a few decades. Seeing Nepal change in as safer and less poor society is something that cannot be achieved overnight.

Having said that it's important to list the most important challenges that Nepal faces. The country suffers under a poor physical infrastructure like bad roads, not always and everywhere available electricity and telecommunications, bad fuel and gas distribution and lack of sanitation. All lacking even the basic networks that would meet the needs of the society. As far as organizational infrastructure is concerned the country is the contrary. For just about everything in life there is a multitude of governmental and non-governmental organizations that try to manage things. The multitude is just too much for a flexible and efficient society. Nepal could do with much less red tape and government involvement in everyday life but to get to that point a very important thing would have to go through a major change: the mental infrastructure of the Nepali society.

Nepal is a young federal democratic republic that is run by successive weak governments. The frequent changes in the composition of the ruling coalition have left Nepali politics more unstable.

Being an ex-Hindu kingdom Nepal is still in its core a very traditional society. The position of women in society is still not good. Emancipation and equal rights might be on the political agenda, the Nepali society in general is yet to be fully prepared for major changes in that area. Women still are generally submissive to their male counterparts. They have no equal rights in many aspects of life. Violence against women is still common and the treatment to widows and victims of rape and trafficking are rather shocking. Another core problem of the inequality is because of the caste system that still is in place in most areas of the country.

Lack of education for many, the caste system, the traditional society, inequality and lack of able government that can bring continuity in policies hold the country in a grip. More than 1700 non-governmental organisations from all over the world that work in this country cannot change it. The real change has to come from within, a process that will cover generations to show real progress. Nepali society is frequently hijacked by all kinds of interest groups that use the powerlessness of the government as a reason to inflict bandhs (strikes) that paralyse the country’s economy. The country comes to a creaking standstill on the strike days that can be organised even by a very small minority. It seems to me that the general public in Nepal believe that striking is the only way to influence the government. In reality it only pushes the country backwards. The government can simply not change everything overnight and the desires of the society cannot be met easily. The problems are simply too many and too big to handle in the timeframe that governments usually think and act.

Does that mean that Nepal is a hopeless case? No, not at all. In the past months I have met many young and older people that are doing everything they can to improve the society in the area that they can influence. If and when the quarreling politicians sit together and agree on a joined effort to rebuild the country there will certainly be progress. To get there some things need to be done first. The re-integration of the Maoists into the society (and army to keep the peace), the finishing of the new constitution and establishing a stable political constellation are the first steps to be taken. Everyone knows that -- most certainly the intellectuals, journalists and politicians. But that first major step seems to be so huge to take.

The postponing of the new constitution, the uncertainty about peace process and the shaky government are signs that do not leave much room for hope, at least for now. But let’s hope those who command political power in Nepal will one day wake up and become the change agents the country needs so badly.

(Alice Verheij is an independent Dutch writer/filmmaker currently working in Nepal.)


From the Himalayan Times 29 April 2011

KATHMANDU: Nepal Oil Corporation, which has slashed fuel import by 40 per cent, is on the verge of running out of its diesel and petrol stock, informed sources revealed to The Himalayan Times today.

NOC’s Thankot depot, country’s second largest storage facility, is left with mere 1,100 kl of petrol and 1,800 kl of diesel.

The stock is barely enough to meet the need for the next two days before hitting, what NOC officials, call the ‘dead stock’ — the last 600 kl of petrol and 800 kl of diesel that cannot be pumped out for distribution and use.

But NOC officials privately confided to this daily that they had internally communicated, by word of mouth, to downplay the stock that is the lowest since 1990.

According to NOC sources, the looming fuel crisis is due to the government’s apathy. The state oil monopoly says it cannot ensure smooth supply unless it either receives loan from the government or the state raises the price of petroleum products substantially. But the Finance Ministry is saying it cannot give more loan to NOC at present, rather it may strictly ask the state oil monopoly to repay its loan.

“The Finance Ministry is writing to all public enterprises to pay their loans that have crossed the committed deadline,” revenue secretary Krishna Hari Banskota told THT. NOC owes Rs 11.14 billion to the ministry, he said. “The government has released Rs 2.63 billion loan this fiscal year alone. Since the ministry is facing a hard time to meet the revenue target, we are left with no other option than to ask NOC to repay the loan,” added Banskota. On the other hand, Ministry of Commerce and Supplies is seeking additional loan ‘to ease the supply’. “We are optimistic about receiving the loan from Finance Ministry,” said MoCS Secretary Purushottam Ojha.

However, a committee formed to study the price adjustment has not taken any decision fearing public protests. “If the government fails to take decision on reviewing the prices, it will further hit the state coffer,” said Banskota.

Meanwhile, leaders of the main opposition Nepali Congress today expressed concern about the scarcity of petroleum products. A group of NC leaders, including Nabindra Raj Joshi and Pramila Rai, who visited NOC, dubbed it a ‘centre of corruption’..


From the Himalayan Times 21 March 2011

KATHMANDU: Chitwan Medical Collect has called on all public to remain alert against dengue disease on time.
At a press meet organised by the medical college here on Monday, it was informed that dengue, an infectious disease transmitted by mosquitoes, could turn into an epidemic if not taken precaution on time.
Dr. Sheetal Adhikari of Chitwan Medical College said no work was carried out from the state side this year against the disease and urged the government to immediately make an arrangement of appropriate resources and materials.
As mosquito bite spreads dengue, the state and commoners should jointly work to kill infectious mosquitoes, he said.

Dengue was seen for the first time in Chitwan in 2004 and the disease took an epidemic course in 2006.
According to doctors, dengue causes severe fever and can lead to vomiting, nausea and body rash as well as it can cause severe pain in the joints and internal bleeding and death.

Note - Our medical costs for Nov-Jan2011 were partially caused by paying for treatment for a person who caught this disease and was seriously ill, near death. Click here to view expenses


From 16 March 2011

Unrest in the Middle-East and Impact on Nepal

The devastating consequences of a full-blown political upheaval in the middle-east does not auger well for us from any angle of analysis. By Nishchal N. Pandey

One of our worst nightmares may be coming true. The colour revolution sweeping North Africa and Middle East may now be hitting Bahrain, Saudi Arabia and the Persian Gulf. This is a critical region for Nepal as we have almost a million strong Nepalis working in the area that are sending remittance back home. This remittance is not only sustaining the national economy but can even be termed as its main anchor. Any disturbance in the area, potential backlash against 'foreigners' as it regularly happens during demonstrations or revolutions obviously makes us jittery over the events in the Arab world. Our ordinary families can ill-afford to lose remittance sent by their sons, brothers and husbands. Our housing and banking sector already hit hard by economic recession, faulty government policies and political instability may go in a deeper scaling-down if immediate and concrete measures are not taken from the highest political leadership. The industrial sector already limping with 16 hours of load shedding cannot afford crude oil if it crosses US $ 120 a barrel, a point that it has already touched last week.

Our remittances rose from Rs. 47.5 billion in 2001/02 to Rs. 142.7 billion in 2007/08. Moreover, the share of remittances coming through the official channel has been going up. The share of remittances in total current account receipts, increased from 33.6 percent in 2001/02 to 50.8 percent in 2007/08. The direct negative impact could be faced by the banking sector, construction especially housing, retail and family income. Remittance in our context is a more constant source of income than official development assistance or FDI and other private flows. Of late, remittance has been a new strategy for poverty alleviation as it goes directly to the low and middle-income groups in the far-flung areas of the country.

The oil-rich Gulf states employ more than 11 million expatriate workers, of whom an estimated 8 million are from South and Southeast Asian countries. Nepal has not only labourers, drivers, cooks, plumbers but airline crew, even airport immigration staff and managers in the Gulf Cooperation Council nations of Bahrain, Kuwait, Oman, Qatar, Saudi Arabia and the United Arab Emirates. No credible figure is available on how many Nepali men and women are in the area as many have flown their illegally through India and Bangladesh.

For our under-budgeted Embassies even sending dead bodies of Nepali citizens is a big burden. Our Ambassador in Riyadh has been recently recalled allegedly for corruption. We only have five missions in the region and none of them have more than four or five staff members each. We have already witnessed the Herculean task of bringing Nepali workers from one single country of Libya which is only hosting a tiny fraction of the total Nepalis in the region!

If this would spread like wild-fire, the Nepal government neither has the capacity nor the resources to rescue hundreds of thousands of people back to Kathmandu not to measure the audacity and politically idiotic venture of bringing in young, unemployed youths at a time of great political unease and restlessness within the country. Worse, most of them have gone there after taking hefty loans and mortgaging land which they have to ultimately pay. Here we don't have a full-fledged Constitution, the government is yet to take its full-shape, both the Home and Foreign ministries are without ministers and people's frustration is about to erupt like a volcano generated by insecurity, scarcity of drinking water and power shortage. The devastating consequences of a full-blown political upheaval in the middle-east does not auger well for us from any angle of analysis.

Tunisia and Egypt did not bother us much but Bahrain and Oman should have, certainly Jordan and Bahrain and of course Saudi Arabia. On March 10, after a rally against the regime in the heavily Shiite-populated city of Qatif in Saudi Arabia's oil-rich Eastern Province, the Saudi authorities injured a few demonstrators. The major oil transit pipelines that supply oil port of Ras Tanura - the world's largest, with a capacity of 5 million barrels per day - go directly through Qatif. Hundreds of Nepalis are in the city of Qatif itself.

There is not much we can do but watch people's power sweeping the Middle East. But we can immediately decide on a few critically important policy options: First and foremost an emergency operation room can be established in our mission in Abu Dhabi - manned by the senior most Joint Secretary of the MoFA in order to oversee the events in the Kingdoms, report daily to the government and coordinate with airlines, banks, hospitals and insurance companies. In my recent visit to the region, I found expat Nepalis terrified with the provision of having to declare the source of more than 10 lakhs rupees deposit in any Nepali bank. Others were frightened over the rumor that Nepal's Tax Office regularly checks private accounts of families that receive regular remittance earnings. This is silly, probably false but needs immediate reassurance otherwise we are in a double-cross of having a full-blown crisis in the Middle East yet the money that our workers earn may not be coming home. In these times, perceptions are greater than reality.

In the longer term, we can mitigate risk by arranging alternative sources and placements for our workers like additional number in Japan, Korea, Malaysia, etc. But this is not going to be easy.
The overall direction needs to come, as usual, from the top. It is indeed a tweak of history that this author had the privilege to edit the first book analyzing the increasingly important area of manpower in Nepal's international relations exercise entitled, 'Labor Issues and Foreign Policy' published by the Institute of Foreign Affairs (IFA) in 2004. A chapter in that book was authored by Jhal Nath Khanal when he was neither chairman of his party nor a member of parliament.
As our Prime Minister in these uncertain times, I am optimistic that he will take immediate measures to ensure that this bedrock of Nepali economy and social balance will remain intact whatever form and color the revolution takes in the Middle East.
(Pandey is a strategic analyst and can be reached at:


From 7 February 2011

USAID recently began two new projects directly with two local Nepali organizations to improve access to water, sanitation, and hygiene for more than 65,000 people in Nepal's mid- and far-western region, a US Embassy press release said Monday.
The first project - School-Led Safe Water, Sanitation and Hygiene Improvement project - (SWASTHA) will benefit approximately 45,000 people in the mid-west. The second - Safe Practices on Water, Sanitation and Hygiene project (Safe-WASH) - will improve access to safe drinking water and sanitation facility and provide training on environmental sanitation, personal hygiene, irrigation and kitchen gardening to 27,000 rural people in the far-west, according to the release.
Regarding the launch of the two new programs, Jed Meline, Acting Mission Director of USAID/Nepal, remarked, "The socio-economic development, including access to water and sanitation, of these two regions lags far behind the rest of the country. New reforms at USAID, called USAID-Forward, encourage us to work directly with local organizations. These two projects are excellent examples of how local expertise and buy-in will ensure a better development outcome when working in these particularly challenging areas with some of the poorest and most vulnerable people."

The poor situation of sanitation and health, particularly in the mid-western region, was exposed in 2009 when a cholera epidemic claimed the lives of more than 300 people. These two projects will help prevent such epidemics in the future, in addition to improving the well-being of some of the most vulnerable rural Nepalese, the release added.

The $345,200 SWASTHA program includes an integrated community-based water, sanitation and hygiene campaign to achieve "SWASTHA" communities, where all households have toilets, use household water treatment systems, and practice hygienic behavior.
In addition to the 45,000 people that will benefit, 54 schools will also benefit from improved child-friendly and gender-sensitive water, sanitation and hygiene facilities. This program will be implemented by the Environment and Public Health Organization (ENPHO), which will contribute approximately $33,200 of its own funds.

According to the release, the goal of the $449,900 Safe-WASH program is to contribute to the well-being of rural communities through equitable access to and efficient use of water resources and safe hygiene practices. The program will be implemented by the Social Empowerment and Building Accessibility Centre Nepal (SEBAC), which will contribute approximately $40,900 of its own funds.


HIMALAYAN NEWS SERVICE 2 February 2011 KATHMANDU: The government’s negligence of schools in remote areas was further revealed when officials showed they were ignorant that 12 school buildings had been constructed by Italy-based organisation Hanuman Onlus in remote districts in the last decade.

At the tenth anniversary of assistance to Nepal, chief guest Director of Department of Education Balaram Timilsina today said the government did not have any record of Hanuman Onlus.

A group of Italians with the motto of serving needy children had come to Nepal in 2001 and started to support schools by providing assistance to make school infrastructure and provide scholastic materials and full scholarships in remote districts. The group has already completed 12 school buildings in Sindhupalchowk, Dhading, Chitwan, Ramechhap and provided 55 scholarships, each funded by 55 interested Italians.

Chairman of Nepal National Teachers Association Baburam Adhikari called on the Ministry of Education and DoE to coordinate with such donors. Director of Hanuman Onlus Meneghello Francesca said some 30,000 students had benefited through their support programmes.

A visiting group from Italy is going to hand over a school building in Ramechhap tomorrow.



HETAUDA: Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal today claimed that the country would get a consensus government under his party leadership within five days. “The chances of the Maoist-led consensus government within five days are high. There is sufficient ground for this,” the Maoist chief told mediapersons at a conference organised by Revolutionary Journalists’ Union in Hetauda today.
The other two major parties — CPN-UML and the Nepali Congress — are positive towards the Maoist-led government, he claimed.
On a different note, the UCPN-M chairman said the transfer of the PLA combatants from the Maoist party to the Prime Minister-led Special Committee had stunned the world. “The handover of the Maoist combatants to the SC has turned down the allegations that Maoists are against peace and statute-writing processes. Instead, it has paved the way for taking the peace process to a logical conclusion,” added Dahal. The Maoist boss also made it clear that the PLA personnel were no longer his party combatants.
“As the single largest party in the Constituent Assembly, UCPN-M has democratic and legal rights to stake claim for the government leadership,” asserted Dahal, hoping that new statute could be drafted by May 28 if his party got the chance to be at the helm. In a response to the media query who would be his party’s prime ministerial candidate if the Maoist got a chance to lead the new government, Prachanda said the party had already finalised the candidate.
On the occasion, he glossed over the internal rift in the party pertaining to the PM candidature and said the latest Central Committee meeting had resolved minor ideological differences that had surfaced lately.

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



The wait is finally over. The much-hyped Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011 officially begins on Friday with hopes of welcoming a million tourists.

Taken as an opportunity to refurbish Nepal’s image as a safe and adventurous tourist destination, NTY is indeed a milestone for Nepali tourism which began modestly in the 50s. Domestic tourism industry that suffered from a decade-long conflict was looking for a catalyst that could propel it to a new height. The NTY could become that provided that the country’s politics remains stable.

With a record number of tourists arriving in 2010, NTY stakeholders are optimistic that the target of 1 million tourists can be achievable.

“We received 610,000 tourists in 2010 by air and land,” said Yogendra Shakya, national coordinator of the NTY Implementation Committee. “With proper promotion, there is no reason why we can’t achieve the 1 million target.”

Tourist arrivals in Nepal by air reached an all-time high of 448,769 in 2010. Shakya believes NTY would maintain this momentum. However, things don’t look as rosy as claimed by the NTY people. NTY’s international promotion is yet to kick off, the national flag carrier’s fleet expansion plans are still uncertain and the country’s only international airport suffers from insfrastructural bottlenecks. As the arrivals go up, congestion has become routine. NTY has not been promoted sufficiently in the global tourism market, thanks to the delay in budget allocation. It was only after late November that NTY got Rs 230 million for marketing, resulting in a delay in promotion campaigns in India and China, the two major markets identified for 2011. Around 400,000 tourists are expected to visit Nepal from these two fast growing economies.

The possibility of a political crisis, given the widening polarisation between the major parties, is a major concern. Though the parties have pledged that there will not be any banda and strikes from their part in the Tourism Year, there are increasing doubts on whether they would honour their commitments. “Yes, it is a worrying factor,” said Shakya. “One of the reasons why tourist arrivals surged last year was the pledge by parties not to organise banda in 2011. I don’t think they would breach their commitments.”

Despite this scepticism, the private sector, mainly the hotels, has invested over Rs 500 million in upgrading its infrastructure, more international airlines are starting their direct services and domestic airlines are also expanding their fleets.

A similar campaign in 1998 (Visit Nepal Year) helped tourist arrivals to cross the 400,000 mark in 1999. However, it took another 11 years since to cross the 400,000-mark once again. Thanks to a 10-year civil conflict. While Visit Nepal Year (VNY) was a purely tourist promotion programme, NTY is using tourism as a vehicle for economic development. Shakya believes NTY has changed the whole attitude of private entrepreneurs that tourism as business has to be to at the grassroots.

Currently, tourism’s contribution to the GDP is 1.8 percent. If a million tourists arrive in 2011, it would go up to 3.6 percent and the country could earn $600 million.”

Nepal Tourism Year 2011



KATHMANDU: The contributions of Prithvi Narayan Shah, who unified tiny states to form Nepal, were recalled today on the occasion of his 289th anniversary.

Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal said Shah should be remembered with due respect for his role in unifying Nepal at a RPP-N organised programme.

The intellectual community and civil society, have of late, been raising voices to revert to the practice of celebrating National Unity Day on Shah’s anniversary to recognise his contribution to modern Nepal. The practice was scrapped after Jana Andolan II. However, this might not happen soon as the government is not mulling over it. Meanwhile ministers, lawmakers, representatives of various organisations and the general public paid their respects by garlanding his statue at Singha Durbar.

Speaking at the gathering, Minister for Law and Justice Prem Bahadur Singh opined that Prithvi Narayan Shah’s contribution should be recognised. Campaign coordinator and historian, Buddhi Narayan Shrestha, said that Prithvi Narayan Shah’s contribution to modern Nepal is unparalleled. “Shah should be recognised as the symbol of unity not as a member of the Shah dynasty,” said Shrestha. Shrestha also demanded that Mangsir 1 be declared ‘Nepal Day’.

PN Shah declared the entire territory won by him as Nepal on Mangsir 1, 1826 BS after victory over the then Kantipur state.


From Women News Network
(September 2009)
Click here for an article on how computer learning is bringing girls empowerment and education


From 8 December ( the guest column)

Wildlife genetics and its applications for snow leopard conservation in Nepal
By Dibesh Karmacharya

As they gracefully navigate through the high Himalayan mountain landscape, the elusive and endangered snow leopards exemplify nature’s greatest gift to all of us. Snow leopards are found throughout the Himalayan region. These magnificent creatures are the quintessential top carnivore, often the main balancing factor for all the downstream preys; sustaining the fine ecological balance.

Nepal’s high Himalaya region provides excellent refuse to snow leopards. It is estimated that there are close to 400 snow leopards in Nepal spread throughout pockets of various conservation areas. But the exact number of this species in Nepal remains to be studied. There are various reasons why experts believe the exact number of snow leopard found in Nepal could be much lower than the estimated number. Snow leopard’s long-term viability has continuously been threatened by conflict with locals because of livestock depredation-sometimes resulting in retaliatory killings. Loss of habitat and declining prey numbers due to their preferred grazing areas being encroached for livestock usage are also some of the major contributing factors for snow leopard’s declining numbers.

Furthermore, there is active illicit trans-border market for wildlife animal parts in the northern frontiers of Nepal and Tibet; as a result poaching has become widespread. As substitute to tiger bones and other tissue parts, Asian traditional medicine market has an increasing demand for bones and other tissue parts of endangered felids such as snow leopard. This has exacerbated the threat of snow leopards in Nepal.

Prior to any effective conservation strategy being designed and implemented, it is crucial to gather reasonable data on estimation of existing abundance and distribution of snow leopard in Nepal. However because of elusive, solitary nature of snow leopard and its rugged rocky terrain habitat, information available is sparse and inadequate on their actual distribution and population status.

Majority of snow leopard studies have consisted of surveys that relied upon sign (e.g. pugmarks, scrapes and scats), interviews with local inhabitants, and camera trapping. However, these approaches have several disadvantages including the need for extended time in the field (>40–50 days), the difficulty of setting camera traps in snow leopard habitat, and the high cost of field work in remote areas. Hence additional methods to supplement sign surveys and camera trapping therefore become essential for effective monitoring of snow leopards.

Genetic analysis has become an effective and popular method and is used in all aspects of wildlife biology and conservation. Since portions of genome of every individual is unique; use of genetic tools yield highly specific information which in turn can be used in various aspects of wildlife biology such as migration rates, population size, bottlenecks and kinship. Genetic analysis can also be utilised to identify species, sex and individuals; and provide insight on its population trend as well as to gather other taxonomic level information. Since it is infeasible to enumerate populations of low density, wide-ranging and elusive species like snow leopards, non-invasive methods of detecting snow leopards by using scat or fecal sample have been frequently employed to infer estimations on the number of individuals in a certain area; moreover, this method has also been favoured for eliminating the need for direct interactions (invasive) that could potentially have adverse effects on animal welfare.

Most of the non-invasive wildlife genetics methods involve extracting genetic material (DNA) from the fecal matter, and then subjecting that DNA for species and sex identification molecular assay-mainly Polymerase Chain Reaction (PCR). Same DNA can also be subjected to DNA fingerprinting assay to derive individual identification and characterisation. Phylogenetics can also be carried out to draw evolutionary relatedness among populations found at different areas, thereby helping us draw “genetic movement map” and figure out whether there is any gene flow between separate populations. So with the molecular or genetic technique, not only we will be able to tell whether fecal matter or any biological sample belongs to certain species, say snow leopard, but also we will be able to tell whether it is male or female and also whether two samples are from the same individual or are coming from different individuals.

The applications and utilisation of such information are not only confined to population estimation and trend analysis, but they can also be used to draw complete genetic relationship maps between various populations and thereby help us comprehend wildlife habit and habitat of endangered species like snow leopards in landscape level- this whole new field of wildlife biology is also known as Landscape genomics. Molecular based wildlife forensics can be a very effective tool to fight against poaching. DNA fingerprinting as it is commonly known can be used to identify an unknown tissue or any animal part and see if it belongs to any endangered species.

Currently, efforts are underway to initiate genetic based wildlife research in Nepal. The Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal, based in Kathmandu, has embarked into this field in collaboration with various wildlife conservation related governmental and non-governmental organisations. It is very important that our policy makers, academicians and conservation enthusiasts are all on board to review our current conservation efforts more closely and utilise new upcoming technologies to gather accurate information, which in turn will help us in designing effective conservation strategies. In that context, the currently available wildlife genetics tools can be polished to fit Nepal’s needs in her conservation efforts.

(Dibesh Karmacharya is the International Director of the Center for Molecular Dynamics Nepal )


From 18 November

A much anticipated meeting of the three major political parties in the Constituent Assembly (CA) - Unified CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC) and UML - on Thursday failed to arrive at an understanding on key issues including the formation of new government.

Maoist vice chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha said after the meeting that the parties could not agree on any of the agendas.

Today's meeting was expected to make some headway in the ongoing three-party negotiations as the meetings are unlikely to resume before the Maoist extended plenum starting November 21.

Nepali Congress leader Sushil Koirala arriving at the Ministry of Peace...
Today's meeting started after 11:45 am at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

The three parties had held the first round of talks at Hattiban Resort and the next two rounds at Gokarna Forest Resorts.

While arriving for the meeting, leaders said the talks would focus mainly on government formation. Four options for government formation have surfaced and the parties have already expressed their position on the options.

Among the four options - unity government led by UCPN (Maoist), majority government sans UCPN (Maoist), unity government with rotational leadership and a presidium system - leaders are more positive to the rotational system, a source said.

NC has already agreed to the rotational system provided it gets to lead the government first. UML has supported the idea.

NC-UML have had a tentative agreement not to let the UCPN (Maoist) lead the government in the first and the third turn.

The first and the third terms are particularly important as the army integration and arms management takes place in the first term, while the constitution will be promulgated in the third round.

Although, UCPN (Maoist) has agreed to the rotational system, it has not agreed to giving up leadership to NC in the first term.

However, UCPN-M is likely to be flexible as it has been saying it is open to options.

Although, parties have been in serious dialogue for two weeks now, no major breakthrough, apart from the decision to bring budget for the full year, has taken place.

On Monday, the parties had decided to present the budget approved by a three-member panel with one representative from each party by making necessary amendments in the existing statute


From 17 November

About 70 domestic flights taking off from Kathmandu were cancelled without prior notice on Tuesday due to the departure of billionaire prince of Saudi Arabia.
Domestic flights scheduled for Tuesday morning were postponed due to poor visibility.
However, none of the regular and the delayed flights took off in the afternoon even after the weather cleared, at the instruction of airport authorities for 'security reasons.'
Saudi Arabian Prince Alwaleed Bin Talal, who was on a visit to Nepal since past three days, was leaving on a private aircraft from Tribhuvan International Airport, Tuesday.
Some 70 domestic flights including seven of Yeti airlines, 15 of Buddha Air and 35 of Tara Air were cancelled as the airport closed for over six hours for the VIP departure.
Passengers were stranded at the airport terminal as there was no prior information of flight cancellation.


From Himalayan Times 2 November

BHAKTAPUR; Chandika Prajapati teaches Science to 10th graders of Ganesh Secondary School, Sipadole-9, according to the District Education Office. Jamuna Koju teaches Our English for the 10th graders of the same school.

But ask the 30-odd students preparing for the SLC exams taking place sometime in March who their Science and English teachers are. They would name Sunita Shrestha and Sunil Magaju as Science and English teachers.

“We have not even heard the names of these teachers,” said a 10th grader of the school when asked whether Chandika Prajapati and Jamuna Koju were teaching them Science and English. “Sunita Shrestha and Sunil Magaju have been teaching us these subjects,” he informed.

Shrestha and Magaju are the proxy teachers working for original teachers Prajapati and Koju. There are five proxy teachers in the school.

Primary level teacher Kancharam Sukubatu has not been attending school for about three years. With the help of Headmaster Narayan Bahadur Duwal, Prajapati, Koju and Sukubutu have maintained their attendance. Duwal submits fraudulent documents for their salary.

Duwal said, “We have to run the school with few staffers. Therefore, we have hired more teachers with the money paid to them. We have hired about five teachers by managing funds on our own.”

School Supervisor Mina Thapa and Resource Person Sabitri Baral are expected to monitor and supervise the school activities every month.

However, Baral said she has not visited the school for two months. Baral said she had no knowledge about the presence of proxy teachers in the area, though sources said proxy teachers have been working there for the last three years.

On his part, Director of the Department of Education Khagaraj Baral blamed the school supervisors and Resource Persons for this malpractice.

He added, “It is the corruption by school supervisors and resource persons. We will direct the DEO to take action against the parties involved in the case. The headmaster will be punished for producing fraudulent documents apart from the teachers, who are not doing their duty.” DEO officer Sunder Man Shakya said they would probe the case and take action against such practices. He conceded that the practice of hiring proxy teachers was prevalent.

DEO claimed it cannot take action when somebody teaches in the guise of appointed teacher and documents are prepared as real. The school is just three kilometres away from the DEO.

Under Secretary at the education department Rajen Niraula said they would probe the case and block bank transaction of the school at first and would take departmental action against the headmaster who produced fraudulent documents to the DEO.

Sources said headmaster and school management committee are paid some money for managing this.


From 27 September

Western hilly districts face food shortage ahead of Dashain

Hilly districts in the mid and far western region including Humla, Mugu, Bajura and Bajhang are reeling under acute food shortage ahead of an important Nepali festival Dashain.

Reports say, although there is enough stock of rice in Nepal Food Corporation (NFC)'s regional stores in Nepalgunj and Dhangadi it has not been transported to the hilly districts due to lack of road access and lack of funds to transport by helicopter.

NFC's district depots in Simikot of Humla, Gamgadhi of Mugu and Kolti of Bajura, among others have been without rice for weeks. Hundreds of people throng the food depots in the hope of getting rice, but return empty handed on hearing fresh stocks of rice have not been brought.

NFC has not been able to transport food to the districts as roads connecting the districts have been obstructed in various places due to the rains and the government has not sanctioned money for transporting rice by helicopter.

The western hilly districts face food shortage every year. The shortage of food materials in the districts is likely to sour this year's Dashain in the western hilly districts.

NFC officials in Nepalgunj and Dhangadi say, they are striving to transport food to the districts before Dashain by asking the government to sanction funds for helicopter charges.


From the Himalayan Times 21 August 2010

Kathmandu Metropolitan City has established ‘Child Friendly Society’ with a view to raising awareness about child rights among street children and domestic child workers of Ward No 29. Sanu Shrestha, secretary of the ward, said the awareness campaign is mostly focused towards the protection of child labour and street children in the area.

The number of street children and child labour is in high number, so we are taking the initiative for their protection, added Shrestha. “In the first phase, we are providing education to 20 such children along with health and education facilities at Gongabu Residential area,” said the secretary.

Other two NGOs are supporting Kathmandu Metropolitan City.

Shrestha further informed Kathmandu Metropolitan City and the partner organisations were going to aware these children about their rights.

Kathmandu Metropolitan City working to establish them as part of the society where they are mostly discriminated and are vulnerable to violence.


From 2 August

A comment

In my opinion, today’s political leaders are just trying to grab the power for the shake of social status, prestige and their personal economic gain. They don’t have time to think about the nation and its people. So I guess, we are going backward and it’s not good for the development of our nation

Shreeya Poudyal, Media personality



From 7 July

Still waiting for the formation of government

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav has extended the deadline he had given to the political parties to form a national unity government by five days.
CPN-UML chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, acting NC president Sushil Koirala...
The President extended the deadline after the leaders of parties represented in the Constituent Assembly (CA) met him at Shital Niwas Wednesday evening, making a formal request to extend it by five more days.
Earlier today, leaders of the 25 political parties had decided to request the President to extend the 7-day deadline, which expires today.
The all-party meeting held at the CA hall, New Baneshwor in afternoon reached a decision to this effect.
Earlier in the morning, top leaders of the three major parties - Unified CPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) - had decided to formally request President Dr Ram Baran Yadav to extend the July 7 deadline after consulting with the 25 political parties.
Talking to media-persons after the meeting, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal and UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal said that the political parties are engaged in serious homework for the formation of a national consensus government and need few more days to finalize that.
As per the Interim Constitution (IC), the President can call upon the parliamentary parties to form a majority government if all efforts to form a consensus government as prescribed by the IC fails.

A comment

You know you should ask this question to the leaders - who knows better than them? They are just making fools of the Nepali people. It is impossible to form a new unity government because no political parties want to do so.


Babita, Student

From 23 June

Leaders and political parties are really making our country useless. I don’t know what is needed to form the new unity government after agreeing on May 28. Delay in the formation is all about the chair power. They do not care about the future of Nepal; they are just trying to secure their own future. Pawana Budhathoki, Housewife

12 June 2010 from

A recent report of Transparency International (TI) has shown Nepal as the most corrupt country in South Asia. TI's anti-corruption index for year 2009 released Friday lists Nepal as 143rd corruption-free country in the world. There are 180 countries in the list. Nepal slipped five notches below last year's position of 138th corruption-free country in the world. The report shows New Zealand as the least corrupt country and Somalia as the most corrupt in the world. In South Asia, Nepal is the most corrupt country while Bhutan is the least corrupt, according to the TI report. The report has held Nepal's government bodies responsible for increasing corruption in Nepal

From the Himalayan Times

Residents of three villages in Hemantawada VDC have been reeling under an acute shortage of water as there is only one water tap in the area. Local women have no time for other household chores as they have to spend most of their time fetching water. The water shortage has also affected schoolchildren. Lining up for water in serpentine queues, they hardly get to attend classes.The water woes go back to the year 2000.

Of the 12 water taps constructed in Hemantawada, Ketuwada and Rokawada in 1985, 11 went dry during the insurgency in 2000 after the Nepali Army tapped the source to supply water to its Pankot camp, says chairman of the local drinking water users’ committee, Nar Bahadur Chauhan. Since then, around 400 households of the villages have been relying on the single tap.

“We queue up at around 4:00 am, but get the chance to fill our pales at around 12:00 noon,” Parbati Oli says. According to Oli, the water shortage has affected all households.

While Naresh Khadka says the water woes will be a thing of the past if the NA manages an alternative source. Locals lament that authorities have turned a deaf ear to their repeated pleas to address the problem.

Drinking Water Division Bajhang has pledged to commission another water project in the area, provided a source is found. That’s hardly assuring for the parched people of the three villages.

10 June 2010 from

Nepali Congress (NC) acting president Sushil Koirala has threatened to take action against those leaders who form or support a youth squad in the party as such move would promote violence and would be against the party policy. Talking to party workers who had gone to his residence in Maharajgunj Friday morning to submit a memorandum about internal dispute in the party, Koirala said, he would initiate action against those involved in forming a youth squad. Saying the formation of a youth squad would promote violence, Koirala added, any activity that promotes violence is unacceptable to a democratic party like NC. Koirala's remarks comes as some NC leaders are preparing to make public a youth squad in combat dress in Barhabise of Sindhupalchok. NC leader of Sindhupalchok Mohan Basnet is preparing to make public some 500 youths in combat dress in presence of party leaders Sher Bahadur Deuba and Khum Bahadur Khadka in Barhabise, Saturday. Some NC leaders including Khadka have been advocating for a youth squad for self-defense against attacks from Unified CPN (Maoist) youth wing Young Communist League (YCL) and UML youth wing Youth Force

28 May 2010 from

Launching its global annual report "the state of the world's human rights-2010" on Thursday, the Amnesty International (AI) said human rights situation in Nepal has deteriorated.
The report points out to hundreds of killings and abductions by state forces and armed groups that have contributed to the deterioration in the rights situation. Public insecurity, AI report said, has escalated with growing number of armed groups taking to violent action against civilians.

The police used unnecessary and excessive force to dispel political and right-based demonstrations, and there have been many incidents of torture to the prisoners, according to the report

The global report, which was made public in Kathmandu by its AI Nepal chapter in a press conference Thursday, further said the commitment made in Nepal's 2006 Comprehensive Peace Accord to uphold civil, political, economic and cultural rights remained unfulfilled.
It has also blamed political division and proliferation of armed groups for the rise in human rights violations.

Women rights defenders were threatened, assaulted and killed during the reporting period. "There has been continuing violence on dowry deaths and sexual violence."

Amnesty International Nepal chairman Hem Kumar Khadka said the government stalled ratification of the Rome Statute of the International Criminal Court despite a commitment from Nepal's then minister of Foreign Affairs.
The AI-Nepal has already submitted more than 13,000 appeal letters to the minister of Foreign Affairs, calling for the government to proceed with ratification, but it didn't see any progress made though the minister has agreed to begin the process.

The report was prepared after study on torture or other ill-treatment in at least 111 countries, unfair trials in at least 55 countries, restrictions on free speech in at least 96 countries and prisoners of conscience in at least 48 countries.

19 May 2010 from the Himalayan Times


Unified CPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has reached Dwarikas' Himalayan Shangrila Resort in Dhulikhel Wednesday morning to work out future strategies for the party. The Maoist chairman is known for his knack for peaceful getaways when he has to prepare important strategic decisions.
Dahal arrived at the resort along with Politburo member Agni Sapkota, who is the chief of Tamsaling state committee, and son Prakash. There was sheer presence of local journalists, but Dahal preferred to maintain a distance from them. The Maoist strongman's search for a solitary place to devise future strategies comes two days before a crucial central committee meeting of the party begins.

Maoists are facing pressure for supporting the bill presented by the government in the parliament for extension of the Constituent Assembly's term, failure of which will mean dissolution of the CA. Similarly, the party has already announced to declare its own constitution on May 29 if Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal did not resign.


Nepali Congress has rejected the proposal forwarded by the Unified CPN (Maoist) to create a new security force by merging personnel from Army, Police and the Maoist combatants. The informal meeting of the NC officials held at the personal residence of the party’s acting president Shushil Koirala on Wednesday morning resolved that Maoists must determine the number of combatants to be integrated into security forces first.

On Tuesday, Maoist leaders had proposed for creating a new security forces by merging some personnel from the existing security forces in their effort to find a safer heaven for the combatants. The party has also reiterated its earlier stand not to change the government unless the Maoists agree to implement the past agreements, turn itself into a ‘civilian party’ and return the seized properties. NC said the integration must be held in presence of the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN).


Two skydivers, one foreigner and one Nepali, skydiving in tandem from a height of 27000 feet in Everest region, Solukhumbu, as the 3rd edition of Everest Skydive 2010 organised by Explore Himalaya kicked off on Sunday, 16 May 2010. The skydivers led by world champion Wendy Smith of New Zealand landed at Syangboche airstrip (12500 feet).

16 May 2010 from the Himalayan Times

With the onset of monsoon season, humanitarian aid agencies have urged the government to implement stronger water and sanitation preventive measures to check the outbreak of waterborne diseases. They also stressed on effective awareness campaigns.
Nepal witnesses a surge of waterborne diseases-related deaths in monsoon season every year. Twentysix districts across the coun try are prone to diarrhoea outbreak.
Richard Regan, country representative of World Food Programme (WFP), said on Friday that awareness programmes should be launched among the community to reduce the risk of diarrhoeal outbreak. Regan was briefing the UN Office for the Coordination of Humanitarian Affairs.
According to statistics of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD), western Nepal alone witnessed 370 diarrhoeal deaths in 2009. More than 67,000 cases of diarrhoea were reported last year, most of them in 18 districts of the total 75. Even before monsoon, 15 people have already died of waterborne diseases in the last two months in five districts of western Nepal.
Meanwhile, Nepal Red Cross Society (NRCS) expressed concern that the last year’s mistakes — improper distribution of medicines, untimely reporting of cases and lack of coordination of the centre with re mote districts — must not be repeated this year. “The government’s priority is to be prepared for taking the preventive measures. However, it should show its presence in the region of outbreak,” said Pitamber Acharya, director of NRCS Disaster Division.
He said the government needs to invest more on hygiene, water purification and safe drinking water supplies — the lack of which are the root causes of diarrhoeal outbreaks every year.
According to the latest UN Millennium Development Goal statistics, 89 per cent of the populace have access to improved drinking water sources — piped water, dug well, rainwater and bottled water — and 27 per cent have access to clean sanitation. The Home Ministry’s Disaster Risk Management Unit said the government has maintained a good stock of medicines and has formed rapid response teams in vulnerable districts to cope with the outbreak.

15 May 2010 from

Unified CPN (Maoist), Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) and nine smaller parties in the Constituent Assembly (CA) have concluded that extending the CA term before the formation of a unity government would be meaningless. They arrived at this conclusion during a meeting held at the Maoist central office, Paris Danda, Saturday afternoon.

Speaking to reporters Nepal Sadbhawana Party (NSP) president Sarita Giri said extending the CA term without forming a consensus government would only mean giving continuity to the current government and that there is no possibility of political consensus unless the Madhav Nepal-led cabinet steps down. According to her, the participants of the discussion were convinced that constitution-drafting and peace process would remain incomplete as long the current coalition is there.

Parties participating with discussion with the Maoist leadership included MJF, NSP, Rastriya Janamorcha, Sanghiya Loktantrik Rastriya Manch, Nepal Pariwar Dal and Nepali Janata Dal.

And problems with food and rising prices

The World Food Programme (WFP) has said that the poor summer crop production in 2009-10 and winter snowfall negatively affected the food supply in markets especially in remote districts across the country.
Some 45 percent of mountain markets and 10 percent of hill markets reported insufficient supply of key commodities said a WFP report.

The annual national food price inflation has emerged as a matter of serious concern in the recent months. Nepal Rastra Bank’s March data indicates that recent year-on-year food price inflation is over 18 percent.

Even though the price of staple food grains has remained relatively stable over the past quarter because of the summer harvest, coarse rice prices are up by eight percent as compared with the same time last year. Similarly, national wheat prices have also risen by 13 percent, and broken lentil is up by 18 percent, according to the report. The food prices are anticipated to increase until the next harvest. In February, the government of Nepal negotiated the procurement of 50,000 metric tonnes of wheat from India that has imposed various restrictions on food grain exports since October 2007. The partial lifting of the ban on wheat exports to allow this inter-government transaction indicates the government of India’s confidence about the upcoming wheat harvest.

More than half of all the monitored markets have reported disruptions and temporary closures due to politically motivated strikes and protests. In March, transportation union led bandhs forced market closures in at least 18 districts hitting the supply of food. Similarly, Nepal Oil Corp lifted the price of fuel twice in March fuelling the transportation costs that have pushed the prices up.

Between January and March the food security situation has worsened - as expected - in Mid - and Far-Western Hill and Mountain districts. This has much to do with to the poor summer crop production last November-December. “In highly and severely food insecure areas, households have depleted their food stocks and basic food prices have increased by 20 percent or more compared with the same time last year,” added the WFP report. “Under-and unemployment is a huge problem in these areas with very little opportunities for income generating activities.” In the central, western and eastern regions, food security situation has remained stable. Although the summer crop production in 2009-10 was reduced by 11 percent for paddy and four percent for maize, the population in these regions has alternative livelihood options available including sale of cash crops and wage labour.

14 May 2010 from the Himalayan Times

The umbrella organisation of Nepali private sector has given 48-hour ultimatum to the political parties to forge political consensus.
"Otherwise we will be compelled to go to the streets mobilising the masses throughout the country," Kush Kumar Joshi, president of the Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry said here today after an emergency meeting of the district chambers, associate members and commodity association.
"If the political parities did not come with a clear road map by Sunday morning, the private sector will not give donation to any political party, nor will it pay taxes to the government. Though we don't want to take such harsh measures, don't push us too hard to take such a step," he warned. Joshi said the business fraternity was neutral. "Both the government and the opposition have bad words for us," he said, adding that the business community should not be the target of any party. "We are concerned about the peace process and drafting of the constitution," he added. He said the private sector wanted to see an economically prosperous and peaceful Nepal. "However, the parties are buying time for their vested interests," he added.

"The CA members wasted two years doing nothing. Why shouldn't they be blacklisted," Joshi wondered. "Political parties must be held responsible for the state of affairs. If not, a new force will emerge," he warned. The business fraternity wants peace and prosperity of the country and it cannot remain a mute spectator, while the country is reeling under crisis, he added. "If the parties did not forge a consensus before Sunday, there will be a constitutional crisis," Joshi said. "To extend the term of the Constitution Assembly, the parties must move a motion before the CA on Sunday," he told the gathering that saw 54 district presidents , more than 300 associate members and more than 10 bilateral associations. There has been a political deadlock among the three major parties -UCPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress and CPN-UML -in taking the peace process, power-sharing and constitution drafting to a logical conclusion. The FNCCI has assumed the role of a peace-broker. "We want peace and don't want strikes in this country," Joshi said, asking the CPNUML and NC to respond positively. FNCCI also urged the business community to unite to pressure the government to pave the way for the formation of a national unity government.

and a break from politics-a new future for railways in Nepal

It was during the British regime in India seventy-three years ago that Nepal began operating a railway line. The country, however, neither has a Department of Railway (DoR) nor has it extended rail service by adding new routes.
Railway transportation came into operation in 1937, covering an area of 81 km in the Tarai districts. According to the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works (MoPPW), out of the 52 km Jayanagar-Jaleshwor route, only 29 km—from Jayanagar in India to Janakpur in Nepal—is operational at present. The remaining 29 km section from Amlekhgunj (India) to Birgunj (Nepal) is nonexistent at present.
Railway is the cheapest means of transportation. Especially for goods, it is easily the most economical. "Most countries in the world have given top priority to development of railway networks. However, we are yet to establish a DoR," said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, joint secretary at MoPPW. "That's why we've begun the process of setting up a DoR and it's now inthe first phase," he added.
Madan Kumar Shrestha, an engineer at Mechi-Kali and Kathmandu-Pokhara Electric Railway Project, which is in the pipeline, says that the railway department isn't very different from the Department of Roads and it's absolutely necessary to plan railway development and services. "If there's an umbrella body for railway development in place, it would help systematise work," he said.
The MoPPW has been carrying out feasibility studies on the 1,100 km Mechi (Kakarbhitta)-Mahakali (Gaddhachauki) and the 200 km Kathmandu-Pokhara railway projects.

The Government of India has given assurance that it will construct the JaleshworBardibas, Jogbani-Biratnagar, Bhairahawa-Nepalgunj and Siliguri-Kakarbhitta railway lines. "Six other link sections from the Indian border to the East-West railway are in the offing," said Sitaula.

Ministry sources said the issue of setting up a separate railway department had been raised with the National Planning Commission (NPC) and the Ministry of Finance (MoF) in the past, but they were not ready to address the issue. "We have asked them to give continuity to the present railway service, which is on verge of collapse," Sitaula said. "The NPC, MoF and the Ministry of General Administration should give priority to set up a railway department," he said.
Development of railway in Nepal was put on the backburner after the Ministry of Transport was established by splitting the Ministry of Construction and Transport in 1997. The Ministry of Transport and Labour Management has charge of the existing railway service in the Tarai, which, thanks to years of neglect, is in pathetic condition today.

Although construction of a rail route costs five times more than concrete roads, once the rail system is in place costs are minimised. "Though at first we will have to depend on foreign aid for its development, it will be easy for the country to maintain later," said Sitaula. "But, the private sector will not get a chance to play in this sector as it has with regard to bus transportation," he added.

12 May 2010 from
Constituent Assembly chairman Subash Chandra Nemwang has conferred with opposition leader Unified CPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal on issues related to current political deadlock at the latter's residence in Nayabazaar, Kathmandu, Wednesday morning. Nemwang told journalists after the meeting, he requested Dahal to make special efforts to end the present deadlock as a responsible opposition as time is running out for a consensus. According to Nemwang, Dahal has assured him of a consensus and outlet to the present political deadlock within two days. Dahal also told Nemwang that his party was averting talks with the government and not with the political parties in the government. CA chairman Nemwang has said, he will intensify consultations with top leaders of the all parties to pressure them for a consensus.

NC leaders meet Dahal

Meanwhile, Nepali Congress (NC) leaders including Krishna Sitaula, Narahari Acharya and Chakra Prasad Bastola also met Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal at his residence in Nayabazaar, Wednesday morning. NC leaders met Dahal to continue dialogues for consensus on contentious issues as the Maoist has decided not to hold formal talks with the government until the PM resigns.

NC youth leaders held discussions with Maoist leaders at various levels for consensus on Tuesday, too.

A picture from the Himalayan Times


11 May 2010 from the Himalayan Times
Press Freedom
Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal today said the government is committed to protect press freedom and will create a conducive environment in this direction. A press statement issued by National Photojournalists' Forum (NPJF) mentioned that Nepal had shown commitment to creating an environment for development of independent and professional press. Photojournalists had reached the Prime Minister's Office to draw his attention to the Maoist attack on photojournalists during the picketing of Singha Durbar by the UCPN Maoist on Sunday. P h o t o j o u r n a l i s t s Praveen Maharjan and cameraperson of Avenues Television Rabindra Shrestha had been seriously injured when Maoist cadres attacked them at Maitighar and smashed their cameras. NPJF has demanded provision of insurance for life and equipment of photojournalists, initiative to curb attacks against the press and provision of action against persons involved in such attacks. They also demanded free medical treatment for the injured and compensation. NPJF has also demanded establishment of 'Photo Journalists Relief Fund'. "Every democratic government respects press freedom" said the PM, who read the statement. Prime Minister Nepal also urged the parties not to motivate their cadres to attack the press. Meanwhile, National Network of Nepalese Print Media and Broadcasters' Nepal has also shown serious concern and demanded their professional security.


I think the media community must be able to put pressure on to protect the press freedom. There should be tougher laws to discourage attacks on media outlets and journalists. In the present context, especially the Unified CPN (Maoist) must learn how to behave with the media.

Debaki Bista, Photo Journalist, Yo Sata weekly

Proposal to extend CA term
The government is preparing to unilaterally table a proposal to extend the term of the Constituent Assembly (CA) even if the Unified CPN (Maoist) does not agree to it. Sources at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers said, the government will table a proposal to extend the CA’s term if a consensus is not forged within May 17. The CA’s term will end on May 28.
The duration of the extension has not been determined. The government will propose for an extension for either six months or one year. Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal’s party CPN (UML) has suggested the government to take the proposal for an extension of one year.
UCPN (Maoist) has said, it will not cooperate with the government to extend the CA’s term if the present government does not step down.
The proposal cannot be passed if the Maoists do not support it. The Interim Constitution needs to amended to extend the CA’s term. A two-thirds majority is required to amend the constitution and a two-thirds majority is not possible without the support of the Maoists.

And at least the sun keeps shining! From the Himalayan Times

09 May 2010 from
The trouble continues despite calling off the indefinite strike
Thousands of cadres affiliated to the Unified CPN (Maoist) have gathered around Singha Durbar, the administrative hub of the country, and staged demonstrations chanting slogans against the present government, Sunday.
Unified CPN (Maoist) cadres staging a sit-in protest at Padhmodayamod in the course of their programme to picket Singha Durbar, Sunday, May 09, 2010.

Maoists have picketed Singha Durbar as part of its fourth phase agitation against the government. The party called off its indefinite general strike on Friday and decided to picket Singha Durbar Sunday. Maoist cadres are also picketing District Administration Offices (DAO)s of all 75 districts, Sunday. Cadres who had come to Kathmandu from various districts for the agitation and those in Kathmandu have assembled in various spots around Singha Durbar including Kalikasthan, Bhadrakali, Padhmodayamod, Maitighar and Anamnagar for the demonstrations.
The Maoists are picketing Singha Durbar and all DAOs aiming to prevent ministers and government employees from entering their offices and bring all administrative work to a halt.
About a dozen ministers and some high-level government employees entered Singha Durbar in the morning before the Maoists started picketing.
Due to the large number of Maoist cadres around Sigha Durbar and Kathmandu DAO in Babarmahal, traffic in downtown Kathmandu has been adversely affected.

Other news

Over a dozen injured in Maitighar scuffle At least a dozen Maoist cadres and three policemen have been injured in clashes between the agitating Maoists and the police deployed at Maitighar, Kathmandu on Sunday morning.


Nepal Army has opened fresh recruitment while there are reports of the Maoists giving 'military trainings' to their cadres in different parts of the country. Nepalnews asks people on the streets how they view these developments.

Comments from a couple of young people

In my opinion it’s is about creating crisis and problems in our country and moving towards civil war. I suggest both should stop this and follow the mandate of the peace process and the agreement

Anju Sharma, Student




I guess this is a very serious problem. I don’t know what is happening? Both should realise that our country is very small and we should instead move towards development. I suggest them to stop this and focus on the new constitution

Raju Shrestha, Restaurant Owner






And from the Himalayan Times

A day after withdrawing its general strike, Unified CPNMaoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ today told the ruling parties the ball was now in their court; and served a two-day ultimatum that they better fulfill his party’s demands in the next two days. “The football is now in the coalition’s court. We will respond only after it comes back,” said Prachanda addressing a mass meeting after six days of strike, at Khula Manch. He warned the parties to respond within the next two days or it would be too late.
“We will come up with stern programmes,” he said adding, “The strike was only a rehearsal. We will show you the entire drama before May 28 if our demands are not met.” He tried to convince cadres that the party had not stopped its movement. It had only changed the course of struggle, as the ministers were saying they could allow such peaceful strikes to continue throughout the year.
“We felt the pressing need, as a responsible and the largest party, to be sensitive to the plight of people as the government had remained indifferent.” Prachanda said his party was waiting to see how the government and other parties would respond to his party’s demands.

He said the party would not sit for talks with other parties right away. Instead, it would wait and watch their reaction.

He also appealed to the international community to create pressure on the coalition partners to become accountable to the people.

Prachanda claimed that the coalition partners were against federalism and secularism, that were integral to the new constitution, and were trying to sabotage the Constituent Assembly because the Maoists have the largest presence there. Claiming that organisers had failed to control yesterday’s peace rally, he said the government had thanked vigilantes who chanted slogans against the Maoists.
He also came down heavily on the middle class for speaking derisively about people who had come from outside the Valley to participate in the movement. “People will pay back,” he warned.

Tens of thousands of Maoist cadres and supporters from different parts of the country, who had been brought to participate in the general strike, attended the mass meeting.
After six days of stringent general strike that brought the nation to a virtual standstill, the Maoists called off their agitation late Friday evening.
Meanwhile, the party has decided to picket Singha Durbar on Sunday from 9:00 am onwards.



A meeting of the ruling coalition partners today welcomed the Maoist decision to suspend their indefinite general strike terming it a positive move towards consensus.
The meeting, held at the prime minister’s official residence in Baluwatar, requested the UCPN-Maoist to withdraw all protest programmes and sit for dialogue to resolve contentious issues.
The meeting asked the Maoists to present themselves with honesty to settle issues related to peace and the constitution. It expressed gratitude to those who peacefully defied the strike and showed support for peace through Friday’s peace rallies. The government thanked security personnel, civil servants and the people for helping it maintain peace and security during the six-day strike.

The ruling parties regretted the Maoist attacks against participants at yesterday’s peace rallies across the country.

UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal said, “All the parties should be sensitive towards Maoist demands. We should now settle all issues through dialogue.” Senior Nepali Congress leader Sher Bahadur Deuba termed the Maoist decision ‘prudent’. “The move has opened the way for addressing issues related to peace and the constitution through consensus and cooperation.” RJP Chairman Surya Bahadur Thapa said, “Although, we have crossed a difficult turning-point in our journey, we have a long way to go. So we should find solutions at the earliest and national agendas should not be made issues of give-and-take like someone’s private property.” NC spokesperson Arjun Narsingh KC said implementation of past agreements and follow-up of work on the interim constitution comprised the bottomline of forging consensus for a national unity government.

07 May 2010 from the Himalayan Times

The indefinite general strike has stirred Valley denizens into defiance. Hundreds of people from all walks of life took out rallies across Kathmandu and Lalitpur shouting anti-bandh slogans today, demanding that the Maoists respect the people’s rights to free movement and work. In Budhanilkantha, Jorpati, Kapan, Sinamangal, Basundhara, Kirtipur, Golfutar, Galkupakha, Pulchwok, Dhobighat and Patan hundreds of local residents, professionals and civil activists participated in the protest rally. Antibandh protesters clashed with the Maoists at Chapalichowk of Budhanilkhantha for advancing to Ring Road. Sunil Bhandari (30), a local resident and Ganesh Shrestha (38), a YCL cadre, were seriously injured in Budhanilkhantha clash. They were taken to TU Teaching Hospital. Locals of Dhapasi and Balaju also resisted the bandh. Police reinforcements were sent to the area after the situation took an ugly turn. The security forces had to use moderate force and fire five rounds of teargas shells as the bandh enforcers tried to break through the security cordon and hurled stones at the agitating locals, leaving nine-year-old Roshan Magar injured. The police took him to TU Teaching Hospital. YCL has accused Youth Force of capturing more than 20 of its cadres. A YCL cadres was hurt in the clash. In Jorpati, hundreds of local peo ple took to the streets and clashed with the bandh enforcers. Maoists hurled stones at anti-bandh demonstrators and beat up a shopkeeper. At least nine persons, on both sides, were hurt in the clash. Five of the injured have been sent to Nepal Medical College, Attarkhel. The YCL cadres also vandalised a vehicle parked in Aarubari. The Maoists vandalised a water truck in Jorpati and thrashed Sanjeev Tamang, Tashi Sherpa. Situation deteriorated after the Maoists sent reinforcement with iron rods and batons to the main junction leading to Chabahil and Sundarijal. In Dhobighat of Lalitpur locals pounced upon YCL activists for seeking donation. Kumar Rishal, a local resident was injured while on way to office. He was admitted to Alka Hospital and discharged later. The locals of Basundhra took out a protest rally asking the Maoists to immediately call off their strike. Five persons from both sides were injured in a brief clash. Security forces struggled for hours to take the situation under control as the rival groups defied the police order to disperse. Golfutar, Galkupakha, Pulchowk and Patan witnessed spontaneous rallies to protest Maoist excesses. The Maoists intervened in a peace rally organised by the locals of Jhamsikhel, Lalitpur. Maoists vandalised two motorcycles in Tripureshwor and Kesharmahal today. Brish Bahadur Pariya, a Maoist cadre from Tanahun, was injured when he fell off an underconstruction house in Kuleshwor.

And from

A peace assembly to pressure the political parties to come to a consensus to end the current political impasse' has concluded in Basantapur, in the heart of Kathmandu, Friday morning. Tens of thousands of people turned up to participate in the peace assembly organized by Professional Alliance for Peace and Democracy (PAPAD), an alliance of various professional bodies including Nepal Bar Association (NBA), Federation of Nepalese Chamber of Commerce and Industries (FNCCI), Nepal Chamber of Commerce, Nepal Teachers' Association, National Private and Boarding Schools' Organization of Nepal, Nepal Medical Association, Human Rights Organization of Nepal (HURON) including civil society leaders, professors and media persons. People participating in the assembly voluntarily took out a peace rally immediately after the conclusion of the assembly. PAPAD had decided to organise the peace assembly today to exert pressure on the political parties to forge consensus for timely constitution and peace. Our correspondents at the site said that people from all walks of life - industrialists, entrepreneurs, businessmen, artists, lawyers, journalists,doctors, teachers, students, human rights activists and ordinary people -showed encouraging participation in the mass assembly and that the mood was upbeat with people praying for lasting peace in the country. Buddhist nun and singer Ani Choying Dolma pleased the crowd by singing songs of peace and harmony while famous comedian Hari Bansha Acharya andMadan Krishna Shrestha including other actors hoped that better judgment will prevail among the politicians and they be able to esolve the present crisis. Representatives of various professional organizations also addressed the peace assembly. The organizers said that participation of thousands of people in the mass assembly clearly reflects the aspiration of peace among the countrymen. They said the programme is meant to exert pressure on the political parties to forge consensus among themselves to find a way out to the deepening political crisis in the country. The organizers also said that the mass assembly has been organized not to oppose any particular party. Still, Maoist demonstrators out in the streets to enforce the bandh called by their party had obstructed people going to the peace assembly in various places like Ratnapark and Kupondole. Meanwhile in some districts, the peace assembly has been postponed due to unfavourable law and order situation and pressure from the Maoists. In Bhaktapur, the peace assembly has been cancelled due to pressure from the Maoists. The peace assembly has been cancelled in Dhankuta, too, citing unfavourable security situation. Maoists have vandalised the office of Surkhet Chamber of Commerce and Industries to disrupt the peace assembly.

02 May 2010 from

The nation has come to a halt Sunday with vehicles off the road, and marketplaces, factories, offices and education institutions closed due the general strike called by Unified CPN (Maoist) as part of its four phase agitation. Maoist cadres are staging demonstrations in capital Kathmandu and other parts of the country. In Kathmandu, large number of Maoist cadres have assembled in places like Gongabu, Chabahil, Kalanki, and Lagankhel. In some places they are demonstrating with dances and songs while in other places they are chanting slogans against the government. Vehicles of essential use such as press, ambulances, garbage collectors, and vehicles of diplomatic agencies have been allowed to run. The ongoing board exams of grade 12 has also been affected due to the bandh.Exams in some of the centres of Kathmandu have been postponed.

Large number of security personnel have been deployed on the streets in view of the bandh. The government has asked all four security agencies to remain in high alert. It has deployed about 15000 security personnel in capital Kathmandu. Nepal Army is providing security in sensitive areas like airports and industries

UCPN (M)'s May Day demos conclude peacefully, Dahal describes protests as 'final push'
In a show of strength, the Unified CPN (Maoist) organised a mammoth mass meeting at Khula Manch, Kathmandu, following rallies from different parties of Kathmandu Valley Saturday. The party also organised rallies in major cities across the country.Despite widespread fears of violence, the Maoist demonstrations and mass meeting ended peacefully. Khula Manch and nearby streets were all packedby Maoist supporters. Marketplaces remained closed in Kathmandu while vehicles remained off the road due to the Maoist demonstrations.
Addressing the mass meeting, Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal said the May Day demonstrations and the general strike stating from Monday were meant to ensure peace and constitution and that the demand for a national unity government is not a primary one. He said the upcoming protests would be peaceful, but warned the government "not to make a mistake of suppressing them". Dahal also said that the government's plan to mobilise the security forces to clamp down on the protests would not succeed, adding that the Nepal Army had accepted the change and that it would not follow every order of the current coalition government.
The Maoist strongman argued that the ruling parties took his party's flexible approach as its weakness and were not ready for consensus duringthe series of negotiations, but this time the party was going to make a final push. "We are not going to give in this time," said he.
Alleging the government of being controlled from "foreign masters", Dahal said Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal started talking about mobilising the security forces against the Maoist protests immediately after returning from Thimpu, Bhutan. PM Nepal had met Indian PM Man Mohan Singh on the sidelines of SAARC summit in Thimpu and got assurance of continued support to the current government.
Dahal further said his party wanted good relations with India, adding that Indian leaders would be making grave mistakes if they try to act against the wish of Nepali people.
Other senior Maoist leaders including Mohan Baidya, Dr Baburam Bhattarai, Narayan Kaji Shrestha and heads of various organisations affiliated with the party were present at the mass meeting.

And from the Himalayan Times

Even as UCPN-Maoist leaders warned rom Khulla Manch that the indefinite general strike from May 2 onwards would cripple the country, people from all walks of life called their warning a ‘ploy’ to regain power. Shutting the country down for one day means incurring a loss of up to 2 billion rupees. Pay cuts for workers and disruption in tax collection are only two contributors to this loss. Most people said if such strikes hit the nation frequently, the country would have to bear dire consequences.
The Maoists’ mass demonstration today to mark the 121st Labour Day and the indefinite general strike to follow, certainly indicate that the country might plunge into deep crisis. Addressing throngs of cadres, most of whom were ferried to the capital forcefully, Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ warned turmoil would be inevitable if his party wasn’t allowed to lead a new government.
A 47-year-old woman expressed her distress at Khulla Munch, “I was forcefully brought to Kathmandu for the demonstration,” she said requesting anonymity. “I was not interested.” She said she knew nothing about May Day or toppling the government. Fearing that untoward incidents might take place at the demonstration, she did not let her husband enter the Valley and came instead. She doubted the Maoist commitment that they would take her back to her place. “If the general strike continues from tomorrow, we will suffer.” she said.
Dipen, a sixth-grader from a shool in Ramechhap, expressed disappointment at the general strike. "The Maoists lied to us when they told us they would take us back after the May 1 demonstration," said Dipen, who is in Kathmandu for the first time. Likewise, a grocer who was forced to donate food stuff to Maoist cadres, said he had a hard time feeding the mass. "Donation drive has instilled fear in the business community," he said requesting anonymity. "The general strike might cause the nation huge loss." He said that the three political parties-UCPN-Maoist, NC and CPN-UML-were making fools of ordinary people.
Kul Devi Baral, a student of Central Department of Education, Tribhuvan University, said the strike, supposedly for the benefit of commoners, would in reality bring trouble. “Due to the strike, we have to bear the brunt of hike in the price of daily commodities,” said Baral. “Besides, we have to face problems while commuting.” Baral urged political parties to strike a deal soon. He said the strike would disrupt exams and students might have to lose a year of study.
Rupesh Dahal, a ninthgrader from Occidental School, Anamnagar was more joyous than annoyed. Though the strike affects our studies, it provides us leisure time to play. Goma Timilsina, a vegetable seller from Tukucha, was worried that she would not be able to earn her daily bread. “We depend on daily income to eke out a living.” she said. Krishna Paudel, a fruit seller, echoed the same worry. Whoever is calling the strike should respect people’s right to work, they said.

27 April 2010 from

UNICEF and Save the Children in Nepal signed a Memorandum of Understanding in Kathmandu Tuesday committing to working more closely together on programmes and projects of mutual interest.

Save the Children and UNICEF have been working in Nepal to advance children's rights to survival, protection, development and participation, and are guided by the United Nations Convention on Rights of the Child (CRC). The two agencies have agreed, among other things, to support and promote the realisation of children's rights in the country.

"We have been encouraged with the positive developments in Nepal with regard to child rights and the implementation of the CRC" said Gillian Mellsop, UNICEF Representative to Nepal. "The inclusion of child rights as a fundamental right in the constitution drafting process is very encouraging too, though much still needs to be done and we are joining
hands to better impact on the quality of life for Nepali children."

In the three year agreement signed today, Save the Children and UNICEF will conduct joint advocacy initiatives and campaigns to promote and defend children's rights and increase collaboration during emergencies. The agencies, guided by the CRC and in close cooperation with the Government of Nepal, will undertake initiatives to help strengthen the capacity of government networks and civil society to promote, fulfill, defend, and monitor the rights of children in Nepal.

The partnership will seek to create spaces and opportunities to strengthen children's rights to participation in an appropriate manner. Similarly,the two agencies will focus on sharing information and experiences that will lead to the development and implementation of tested and effective actions to benefit children.

"This memorandum of understanding underscores our strong belief that international organisations must cooperate and collaborate in the best interest of children," said Brian J. Hunter, Country Director of Save the Children in Nepal. "We can and should do more to complement each other's efforts and those of the government and civil society to achieve real and lasting impacts for children."

25 April 2010 from

Nepali embassy in London organised a reception on the occasion of ‘Loktantra Divas’ (Democracy Day) on Saturday.

Addressing the function, Charge d’ affairs at the Nepali embassy, Jhabindra Prasad Aryal, said ‘loktantra divas’ was an occasion to pay tributes to martyrs who laid down their lives while taking part in a peaceful struggle against the absolute rule of the then king. He said people in Nepal were now longing for sustainable peace and institutionalisation of democracy; hence promulgation of the new constitution on time would be a fitting tribute to all the martyrs.

He also expressed hope that the ‘loktantra divas’ would inspire all the political parties, civil society, and intelligentsia to work towards that goal.

Vice President of Non-Resident Nepalis Association (NRN) UK, Mahendra Kandel, stressed that drafting of the new constitution by 28th of May was the main need of the hour. He also appealed all the political parties to set aside their differences and work jointly to give a historic constitution to the country.

Speaking at the function, Bigyan Prasai of Nepali People’s Coordination Committee UK, echoed concerns that Nepal was becoming a failing state. ‘We have had enough experiments with various political systems, now we need stability and a strong leadership to lead the country towards the path of economic development,” he added.

Krishna Chankhu of Pasa Pucha UK recalled the zeal and commitment of millions of Nepalese who took to the street for 19 days for the restoration of democracy in the country four years ago. He said though people’s aspirations are yet to be fulfilled, there was no need to be frustrated. “It will take time to change the feudal mindset,” he added.

The function started with the playing of Nepali national anthem and a minute’s silence in honor of all known and unknown martyrs.

19 April 2010 from

The extended meeting of the UML parliamentary party held in Singha Durbar decided to extend the CA's term.
The party also called for consensus for drafting the constitution and specially urged the main opposition, Unified CPN (Maoist), to refrain from taking any extremist step.
UML became the first political party to formally decide in favour of extension of the CA's term which expires on May 28.
Meanwhile, Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal and home minister Bhim Rawal have expressed dissatisfaction over the lack of good support from within the party to run the government.

Unified CPN (Maoist) chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said if parties fail to forge consensus for formation of a national unity government urgently, the country might face unprecedented turmoil and instability.
At a tea reception organised by Maoist-alligned teachers in Lalitpur Saturday morning on the occasion of New Year, Dahal said parties have been reluctant to work in unity. He added peace process and constitution making will be badly affected if the current deadlock continued longer.
Dahal claimed, he and late Girija Prasad Koirala had agreed for consensus politics until a new constitution is written and that current political deadlock was the result of parties amending the interim constitution in favour of majority-minority politics following the constituent assembly elections, from where his party emerged as the largest one.
He added, the county will not get a new constitution even after extending CA term several years if parties are unwilling to form a national unity government.
In another context he said his party will not accept the decision of other five parties in Army Integration Special Committee to integrate only 3000 Maoist combatants into national security forces. “This must be finalised between the Maoist and the government,” he said.
On Friday, the other five parties had in principle agreed to integrate some 3000 Maoist combatants into the national security forces.

and a comment from a teacher

I don't think the new constitution will be promulgated within the stipulated time. Look at how all the political parties are blaming each other. How it is possible to draft the constitution in this situation? And, I don't think the parties will come together anytime soon.Archana Sharma, Teacher

12 April 2010 From

Unified CPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said the new constitution can be promulgated within the May 28 deadline if Nepali Congress and CPN (UML) "abide by the mandate of the people", adding that the political deadlock has continued to deepen in the country because the parties continue to defy it.

Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal Speaking at a programme organized by Federation of Community Forest Users' Group in Hetauda on Sunday, Dahal also derided the current government, saying that it awarded the contract for printing Machine-Readable Passports (MRPs) to India by giving little regard to both the "national security and the interest of the country".The Maoist supremo further claimed that the controversial episode, which has clearly divided the ruling UML party shows what he called as the current government's "absolute loyalty" towards India. Dahal said that because of this very loyalty towards the southern neighbor the contract for printing MRPs was given to India. He also lambasted the government for awarding the printing contract by going against all rules and regulation and blatantly refusing the Public Accounts Committee's direction to halt the bidding process.`

8 April 2010 From

Our plans were disrupted once again by these actions

A bandh called by Madhesi Janadhikar Forum (MJF) led by Upendra Yadav has marred normal life in various districts in Terai, Thursday.

Highways have been obstructed due to which buses plying on long routes as well as short routes along with private vehicles have remained off the road.

Major market places have remained closed and some private offices and factories have been closed.

MJF cadres have staged demonstration in various places of Biratnagar, Siraha, Saptari, Rautahat, Banke, and Bardiya among other Terai districts.

Large number of security personnel have been deployed on the streets. Clashes are likely to occur later today as MJF also plans to shut down the governmnet offices.

Normally, government offices do not close and the government employees are given strict instructions to attend office on the days of bandh.

MJF called a bandh in the Terai districts today demanding for the implementation of the agreement of Madhes based parties with the government two years ago.

Click here to read more about the conflict in the Terai from the International Peace Institute Oslo

7 April 2010. From

One of the fundamental problems facing Nepal, amalgamating ex enemies

Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung has made it clear that it will be difficult to integrate "politically indoctrinated" Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army in bulk.

Chief of Army Staff (CoAS) General Chhatra Man Singh Gurung
Army chief Gurung said this during his meeting with the visiting UN Under-Secretary General for Political Affairs B Lynn Pascoe.

During the meeting held at Nepal Army (NA) Headquarters Friday afternoon, Pascoe had asked CoAS Gurung as to how many combatants of the Maoist People's Liberation Army (PLA) can be integrated into the Nepal Army (NA).

According to a statement issued by the Directorate of Public Relations (DPR) of the NA, Gurung said the Maoist combatants who come on an individual basis and meet the criteria for recruitment can be a part of the national army.

Gurung however told Pascoe that Maoists combatants are "politically indoctrinated" and it will be difficult to integrate them into the "disciplined, professional, competitive and apolitical" Nepal Army. He warned that not only will the group entry of those Maoist combatants break up the organizational unity of the national army, but it will cause "politicization" of the army that could possibly even lead to disintegration of the country.

The statement further said that the Army chief also reminded Pascoe about the controversial Shaktikhor cantonment video tape released last year in which Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal admitted that real strength of the Maoist combatants was only 7,000 which was later increased to 19,602 during the verification conducted by UNMIN.

He said each combatant should be asked whether they really want to be integrated into security agencies or would like some other options available to them in an environment where they don't feel any kind of fear, threat or pressure.

He said those not showing interest to be a part of security agencies could be rehabilitated into the society with economic package and can be given opportunity to go abroad for job, enhance their vocational skills or pursue further education.

Gurung also said those who wish to serve in security forces could be given opportunity in Nepal Police, National Investigation Department, Armed Police Force, or be sent to border security force, industrial security, forest security, among others.

During the meeting, Pascoe praised the long contribution of Nepal Army in the international peace keeping missions

29 March 2010. From the Himalayan Times

Changes in village life for women due to economic pressures

TERHATHUM: Women in many villages in the district plough the fields these days as majority of male youths have left the country in pursuit of foreign employment. The women have started tilling lands for the men have left the land for greener pasture.

Anu Aangkhewa, 16, said that she has to plough the field as her brothers left the country. Anu said, “My father is very old, he cannot plough the field. So I have to do it."

Her father, 55-year-old Purna Bahadur, said that Anu had taken the responsibility of men. "My elder son Prem is in Malaysia and younger Chakra Bahadur is in India. So, Anu has assumed son's responsibility", added Purna Bahadur. A sixth grader at Janakalyan Lower Secondary School at Jorsalla, Anu expressed confidently that women could do all the works that male counterparts have been doing.

Tara Dhakal, deputy-chairwoman, District Women Rights Forum, said that other women too in the district had also started to plough fields. Meanwhile, Sudap VDC secretary Hari Prasad Koirala said that over four hundred youths had gone abroad from the VDC alone. Nearly 22,000 youths have gone abroad from the district, the District Administration Office said.

18 March 2010

Nepal and Israel signed an agreement with an aim to contribute to the achievement of national goals of agricultural development, promote exchange of technical and scientific knowledge for the benefit of the agricultural sectors in both countries.

Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives of Nepal Mrigendra Kumar Singh Yadav, who visited Israel from 14-18 March, and Minister of Agriculture and Rural Development of Israel Shalom Simhon signed the agreement to this effect.
The visit of minister Yadav also coincided with the celebration of 50th Anniversary of the establishment of diplomatic relations between Nepal and Israel.
As per the pact, the two countries will also exchange of data and experience on agricultural policies and their implementation and encourage cooperation between their respective associations, organisations and private sector.
The signing of the framework agreement is expected to pave the way for extension and deepening the collaboration in agriculture sector for the mutual interest of Nepal and Israel.

14 March 2010

Kathmandu is a very interesting city, but it does have a traffic problem. Read this article by Charina Cabrido by clicking here for a copy as a pdf document or here for its link in in the guest column.

14 March 2010

Nepal has so much to offer tourists. The Nepalese government has formally launched Nepal Tourism Year (NTY) 2011. Nepalnews asked the general public what must be done to make it a success:

Here is one comment from a student:

"For the success of NTY 2011, the political instability in our country must end immediately. Nepal Tourism Board and the Nepal government must concentrate their efforts on advertising NTY. There must be cleanliness and healthy environment in the cities, all bandhs must stop and the reach of transportation must expand to remote areas. The major thing is if the constitution is not written within the given time, then NTY 2011 will not be a success". Alina Sitaula, Student