Nepal Today

Saturday, September 20, 2008

Govt. makes a hasty retreat

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Amid protests from Kathmanduites, the Maoist led and communist dominated government made a hasty retreat Saturday and overturned a cabinet decision not to finance traditional practices, including animal sacrifice, during the Kumari and Indra janta festival which should have concluded Friday.
Finance Minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai Sunday charged reactionary forces were spreading incite violence.
Representative of the finance ministry personally delivered government dole Saturday amid protests to trust managers to continue with traditional practices, Dr Bhattarai told Radio Nepal Sunday.
The minister claimed the government never took a decision to end government subsidy for animal sacrifice for the traditional festival and explained the newly created ministry of culture instead of the finance ministry would channel the funds.
“There was a delay in relaying this decision creating confusion,” the finance minister claimed.
Dr Bhattarai assured over state radio the Maoist-led government won’t interfere with traditional religious practices which won’t be discouraged.
But Nepal Bhasa Mankha Khala Secretary Naresh Sakya said government representative Friday didn’t come on time and a decision to suspend government financial assistance for festival celebration was conveyed.
“Government representative didn’t appear on time and a decision to suspend government assistance was conveyed at the last moment,” Sakya told Nepal Samacharpatra.
This triggered immediate protest and nearly two dozen protesters, including police, were injured in violent clashes in New Road and the inner city Saturday.
Police fought pitched battles, lobbing teargas shells to disperse protestors who smashed four tourist information booths at Basantapur where the Kumari Ghar is located.
The chariots with Goddess Kumari, Ganesh and Bhairab weren’t pulled through the streets Friday to protest the government decision not to finance animal sacrifices on the last day of Indra Jatra.
President Dr Ram Baran Yadav didn’t receive tika from Kumari as scheduled amid protests Friday.
Tourists flock to Basantapur every day to have a glimpse of Living Goddess.
Home Minister Bamdeb Gautam first issued a conciliatory statement Saturday assuring government will respect and encourage observance of festivals.
Will government also interfere with animal sacrifices during dasain when hundreds of animals and birds are sacrificed by Nepal Army and two police forces? The government will have to handle the matter delicately to discourage dissatisfaction in security agencies.
The Ministry of Culture is discussing ending the tradition of fetching fulpati from Dhading to Hanumak Dhoka Durbar during dasain, The Rising Nepal said.
Managers of Indra jatra festival will consult soothsayers on when to declare the festival closed by bringing down the linga erected at Basantapur.

Heavy rain continue in Kailali; death toll mounts to 14

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 21 Sept:: Heavy rain continued to lash Kailali Sunday as floods and landslides triggered by a retreating monsoon killed at least 14 persons and two dozen are missing in the mid and far-West Saturday.
Thousands of homes in Kailali and Kanchanpur are inundated and sections of the Mahendra Highway have been washed away isolating settlements without electricity and telephones.
An estimated 10,000 persons have been displaced as the festival season approaches.
Nepal Army, Armed Police Force bases and Maoist camps in the region have been inundated.
Dhangadi, Mahendranagar and Tikapur along with 24 VDCs in Kailali have been inundated and people are perched atop trees and roofs to save themselves from flood waters.
Thousands have moved to safer ground for safety and shelter.
Five persons of a family were buried alive by a landslide in Doti.
Thousands of hectares of farmland is under water.
Bad weather is obstructing rescue and relief work.
Locals said the downpour is the season’s biggest.
The rain started Friday night after the flooded Kosi ravaged east Nepal.
Monsoon is expected to withdraw from Nepal in the next two days.

Lawyers to boycott courts Sunday

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Lawyers will boycott courts in the Valley for three continuous days from Sunday protesting a supreme court decision of suspend his license of Nepal Bar Association (NBA ) President Bishwakant Mainali for six months.
The NBA said the apex court decision the illegal decision should be overturned.
Mainali charged the corruption is rampant at courts.
Meanwhile, supreme court justice Balram KC called the apex court’s decision erroneous and asked for a rethink.

Nepal, India water resources secretaries to meet

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Water resources secretaries of Nepal and India will meet in the Nepalese capital for the first time in four years for three-day talks from 28 September immediately after Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s India visit.
Nepal and India agreed during the visit to form ministerial, secretarial and technical committees to push cooperation in water resources sector.
Indian delegation to the talks will be led by secretary UN Panjiyar.
Teams will inspect the ravage caused by the flooded Kosi as well.

Official suspended

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Director General Khagendra Mani Pokhrel of the Department of Transport Management and five subordinates were suspended by the cabinet Saturday for two months until an official investigation into corruption is completed.
A three-member team has been constituted to probe alleged corrupt practices..
Cabinet charged Pokhrel didn’t execute a directive to act against five juniors charged for corruption.
But Pokhrel charged he wasn’t given one day to execute the order.
“I wasn’t given even one day to do the assigned task. I was asked to suspend the officials on Thursday. I had started the process immediately after the minister instructed me,” The Kathmandu Post quoted Pokhrel as saying.

Jimba Zangbu Sherpa elected NMA chairman

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Jimba Zangbu Sherpa has been elected chairman of Nepal Mountaineering Association (NMA), the richest NGO, to replace Ang Kazi Sherpa in an election delayed by internal dispute.
Royalty collected from foreign climbers for climbing what has been called ‘trekking peaks’ is NMA’s main income source.
Ang Kazi Sherpa has been elected general secretary.

Wife, son accompany PM Prachanda to New York

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Wife Sita and son Prakash Saturday accompanied Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda on his maiden visit of the USA the citadel of capitalism loathed by Maoists.
Prachanda flew for New York to attend the annual UN general assembly session.
Sita earlier accompanied Prachanda to Beijing and New Delhi but Prakash is accompanying his father on a third foreign visit after assuming office two months ago.
Prakash is accompanying the government as a ‘private assistant’.
In a break from tradition, Kathmandu-based diplomats weren’t summoned by the protocol division of the foreign ministry Saturday to see off the government chief at the airport where a representative of the UN was present.
The prime minister will address Europe-based Nepali ambassadors in Frankfurt Sunday.
The diehard communist will visit the birthplace of Karl Marx at Traier in Germany while transiting to New York.

Maoists ministers still driving around in stolen vehicles

Kathmandu, 21 Sept: Maoist leaders, even after becoming ministers, are driving around in vehicles illegally smuggled into the country during the people’s war, Ujir Magar reports in Kantipur.
They bear yellow, white and green number plates.
Maoists told the government last year they have 95 cars/jeeps and 160 such motorcycles.
Only 63 illegally imported vehicles are registered with government.
Seventeen of 35 Maoist central members still ride such vehicles.


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