Nepal Today

Tuesday, February 12, 2008

Priests boycott Girija; other details

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: Badaguruju, Nayab Badaguruju and the chief priest Monday boycotted official heralding of spring when they absented themselves at an official function attended by Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala.
Koirala is also the de facto head of state as well after King Gyanendra has been confined by the SPA, including Maoists, after the April 2006 regime change.
The trio went to the Nayayanhiti Royal Palace where they recited verses welcoming spring with the official end of winter.
Only the King was present, a royal palace source said.
An angry Koirala ordered the Bada Guruju and his deputy sacked through verbal order at Hanuham Dhoka even they have not been on government on government payroll since the end of the fiscal mid-July 2007.
They Hindu priests are not even mentioned in the interim constitution.
Yet Koirala sacked them through verbal decree in front of government officials.
Koirala was greeted by black flags when he drove to Hanuman Dhoka under heavy security to listen to the chanting of Basanta Shravam.
Carrying out Koirala diktat, the ministry of general administration only came out with a terse statement saying there was no mention of badaguruju in the interim constitution.
That was all.
Koirala couldn’t enter Hanuman Dhoka during last Bada Dasain when the King performed puja there. Profanities were shouted against Koirala at Kumari Ghar where the Living Goddess didn’t give Koirala a tika.
"Joint secretary Hari Prasad Nepal extended an invitation one week ago. We can’t come at a time when we have to go to the palace," Nayab Bada Guruju Dr Madhav Bhattarai was quoted by Naya Patrika as saying.
The Bada Gurju and Nayab Bada Guruju are not on the government payroll since the end of the last fiscal year.
"We requested the finance ministry repeatedly to register our attendance. But no interest was shown," the newspaper quoted Dr Bhattarai as saying.

More details on army meet

By Parsuram Kafle in Naya Patrika

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Chief of the Army Staff Gen Rookmangud Katawal has ordered Nepal Army division chiefs to be prepared to provide security for elections.
Military sources said he told officers Monday to be mentally prepared at an annual conference of division chiefs even formal instructions haven’t come from government.
He advised to be prepared for the worst.
The chief advised not to put conditions obviously referring to some suggestions the army shouldn’t be deployed only in the terai.
“Our work is to follow government orders. Let’s prepare ourselves accordingly,” the chief said.” After receiving orders, let a situation not come when we present government with inadequacies.”
The two-day meeting ended Monday.
The army discussed provided security at government installations after police was withdrawn for deployment for election.

Sonia Gandhi’s party delegation arrives

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: A four-member delegation of Sonia Gandhi’s Congress (I) arrived for a three-day visit Tuesday.
The team headed by party general secretary and former Madesh Chief Minister Digbijaya Singhl held discussions with Premier Girija Prasad Koirala, home minister Krishna Prasad Koirala and peace minister Ram Chandra Paudel.
The visit is timed with a fresh government crisis as a front of three parties from the terai have threatened to launch a strike and blockade of the Valley from this week to push six demands, including self-determination and provincial autonomy.
India has supported political demands of the terai parties; the delegation is expected to meet representatives of the front launched this week.
The strike makes the 10 April constituent assembly uncertain as Election Commission said a vote will be postponed for the third time if government doesn’t resolved regional demands by midnight Tuesday.
A resolution isn’t in sight.
A Congress (I) representative visited last week to prepare a country report for the party and the delegation.
There was no firm confirmation she met the King, previously considered an outcast at the height of demands for a republic.
But she held extensive discussions with leaders of Koirala’s Congress pushing for constitutional monarchy opposing the premier’s growing proximity with Maoists.
She also held discussions with Krishna Prasad Bhattarai, the only surviving founder of the Congress which he quit last year after Koirala hijacked the party abandoning a centrist line to align with Maoists for a republic.

Airport, trekking route renamed after Tenzing, Hillary

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: An airstrip at Lukla, the foot of Mount Everest, has been named by the government after Tenzing Sherpa Norgay and Sir Edmund Hillary who helped build it.
The trekking route from Lukla to the base of the 8848 meters high world’s tallest peak has also been named after the two climbers who first climbed the peak on 29 May 1953.

ADBL records Rs 39.5m net profit

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: Troubled Agriculture Development Bank Ltd (ADBL) recorded a net profit in Q2 ending 14 January.
Government launched the bank to help farmers.

Chief priest sacked

Kathmandu, 12 Feb: Government has sacked chief priest Shehkar Pandit with effect form Monday.
The ministry of general administration said Pandit failed to carry out responsibilities entrusted to him Monday.
Pandit absented himself from celebrations to welcome spring Monday; Premier Koirala was present at the function.

No Mention of India as Matthew Kahane packs his bags

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: UNDP Nepal representative Matthew Kahane Monday made no mention of India as an interviewer with The Kathmandu Post asked him repeatedly to clarify a statement of Nepal’s neighbour that triggered his recall from Nepal or possible retirement from the world body.
India protested to UN headquarters after Kahane said Nepal’s rebels in the south have links across the open 1,700 Indo-Nepal border and suggested New Delhi could help ease the insurgency in south Nepal.
“’Our concern has been that is all the discussions about political issues, not much attention has been given to development issues, humanitarian issues,” he said in reply to a question: Recently, there was a controversy about your remarks to a PTI reporter? What is your comment?
‘I have no idea. At the United Nations, people NORMALLY [emphasis writer’s] retire when they turn 60. I have spent four and a half very busy years in Nepal, and 37 and a half years with the UN. I have no controversy about that,” he said in reply to a question some papers claimed Kahane was recalled.
Kahane was asked: Did you directly or indirectly mention during that said interview that India’s role was necessary to control the armed gangs in the terai?
The outgoing UNDP resident representative replied: the question of law and order within Nepal is a matter for the authorities I Nepal to decide.
In rely to a question about the ‘controversy over remarks to PTI’, Kahane replied,” What is essential is that normal commercial and relief supplies reach the people in need. This is the fundamental issue.”
Spokesman of the secretary-general said Kahane’s comments were ‘unauthorized’.
Kahane, who has been replaced by an Australian national, paid a courtesy call on Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday.

Terai gets major defector

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: A prominent woman leader from the terai joined the Madesh Janatantrik Forum immediately after three parties in the fertile plains bordering India demanded self-determination and an autonomous province announced a strike and blockade of the capital to push six demands.
Renu Yadav quit the conservative Rashtriya Janasakti Party and parliament to join the forum.
She hails from Saptari where killings attributed to rebel groups have become a daily occurrence.

NEA to raise Rs 1.5 billion

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Cash-strapped Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), a state monopoly that generates and distributes electricity, has been authorized will raise Rs 1.5 billion through the sale of 1.5 million bonds with a par value of Rs 1,000.
The bonds will be sold to the public and institutions from 15 to 21 February.
The Power Bond 2069 fetches an annual interest of seven percent.
Meanwhile, Rashtriya Banijya Bank (RBB), Nepal’s largest commercial bank, recorded a net profit of Rs 381.5 million in the first six months of the current fiscal year 2007/08 ending 14 January.
The bank is wholly government-owned.

Sujata Koirala demands YCL ban

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 11 Feb: Sujata, daughter of Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala, demanded Maoist YCL be banned or the 10 April assembly elections won’t be held.
She demanded this at a Congress party meeting in east terai Monday.
Sujata followed former deputy prime minister and CPN-UML leader KP Sharma in repeating the demand.
Black greeted Sujata at a party meeting in Sunsari Sunday forcing its cancellation.
Congress at a meeting of seven parties Monday protested what it called Maoist disruptions of party meetings in Rolpa, Dharchula and Baitadi murderous attacks on party workers in the far-West.
Maoists denied the charge and accused Congress of similar attacks at a heated meeting which formed a committee of seven parties to investigate complaints of attacks by rival parties during election campaigns for elections that most likely won’t be held for the third time.
Three parties from the terai boycott talks at election commission
Monday to discuss the 10 April vote.
Terai Madesh Loktantrik Party, Madesh Janatantrik Forum and NSP Rajendra Mohoto group boycotted the commission invite talks threatening government they won’t participate in elections and will disrupt it through strikes and blockades..
Seventy-four have registered for election purpose with the commission.
Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala Monday reiterated elections will be held as scheduled one day after Chief Election Commissioner Bhoj Raj Pokhrel said a vote won’t take place if differences between government and dissatisfied political parties continued until Wednesday.
“Election won’t take place if violence doesn’t end within three days.
“Big parties and government don’t look like they are active for elections. What’s the use if only we’re in a rush?” Pokhrel said.
Congress acting president Sushil Koirala, who escaped an assassination through a bomb blast in Gulariya Friday, blamed Sunday the home ministry under his party’s control for lack of security calling the situation ’pathetic’ after an election of the hills and terai
He said Congress is being hounded out from the hills and from the south by Madeshi groups along the India border.


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