Nepal Today

Monday, November 29, 2010

RETIRED GENERAL BALANANDA SHARMA APPOINTED COORDINATOR

By Bhola B Rana

Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: Retired General Balananda Sharma was appointed coordinator of the secretariat of the special committee for the integration, resettlement and supervision of armies.
Decision had been taken to establish the secretariat but its coordinator had not been appointed.
A special committee headed by Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal met Tuesday morning before the departure of the premier flies for Cambodia.
Maoists were present at the special committee meet Tuesday.
The main opposition had been lobbying for the position.
Tuesday’s committee meeting, after a long delay, is positive for the peace process, Jayaprakash Prasad Gupta said, a member of the committee from MJFN said.
Maoist committee member Barsha Man Pun said Maoist claim to the post of coordinator continues and the matter will be taken up at the next meeting of the special committee.
He said the Maoist presence at the committee was confirmation of the party’s flexibility after the Gorkha plenum.
The meeting confirms Maoist were flexible after the
Hopes were created 19,000 plus former Maoist combatants would be brought under the chain of command of the committee after the main opposition agreed give up reins of control over the former guerrillas.
The special committee met after former PLA commandants attended the just concluded 6th Maoist plenum in Gorkha despite UNMIN and government opposition.
Government ministers said an estimated 1,200 combatants are confirmed party activists and no longer qualify for monthly government stipend and allowances after leaving 28 camps under UNMIN watch to attend
a party political meet.
Government hoped Maoist integration and settlement of fighters would be completed before the scheduled departure of UNMIN 15 January 2011.
A senior UN official arrives this week to review progress in
Integration and resettlement before the planned departure.
The prime minister also chaired a cabinet meeting before flying for Southeast Asia.
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PM NEPAL LEAVES FOR CAMBODIA DESPITE

Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: Caretaker Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal left for Cambodia Tuesday despite a request by Speaker Subash Nemwang to lawmakers not to leave town as attempts are being made to convene a parliament session to elect Nepal’s successor and approve a budget enforced through ordinance by proroguing the legislative session.
The prime minister, after returning from Cambodia, leaves for Brussels after to attend a conference of least developed countries or LDCs.
Nepal is leaving for Southeast Asia to attend a conference of Asian and Pacific parties; KP Sharma Oki, another UML leader opposed to Maoists, left for the meet Monday.
Three Maoist leaders, Foreign Department Chief Krishna Bahadur
Mahara, Post Bahadur Bogati and Central Advisor Hukum Bahadur
Bogati are also attending the Cambodia parley.
UML Chariman Jhalanath Khanal leaves for South Africa
Wednesday.
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NEPALI MAULED BY INDIAN SSB JAWAN HOSPITALIZED

Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: A local from Rautahat district who was seriously beaten up by Indian border security personnel has been taken to Birgunj, RSS reports from Rauahat.
Madan Prasad Chandrabanshi of Banjaraha VDC-7 was seriously injured when Seema Samraksha Baal (SSB) personnel beat him up on Sunday while tending his field near the border for wheat sowing.
It is said that Chandrabanshi has sustained seven bruises all over his
body and his left knee has been broken by SSB men.
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Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: A writ petition has been filed at the supreme court Monday demanding a halt to the entire work of voter registration and distribution of the voter identity cards, RSS reports.
Arguing that the election commission does not have the authority to distribute citizenship certificate cards, advocate Sunil Ranjan Singh and Rijhan Prasad have demanded that the apex court issue certiorari order to annul the work.
Acting Chief lection Commissioner Nilkantha Upreti and Commissioners Dolakh Bahadur Gurung and Dr. Ayodhi Prasad Yadav have been named defendants in the petition.
It may be noted that the court has already issued an interim order on November 25 to halt the voter registration process until a decision is taken on a writ filed against it, arguing that distribution of voter ID cards without citizenship certificates in the Terai would allow non-citizens to acquire such certificates.
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NO PUBLIC BENEFIT FROM GOVT. INVESTMENT IN HEALTH

Kathmandu, 30 Nov.: Minister for Health and Population Umakanta Chaudhari Monday said that the public did not benefit from the growing government investment in the health sector, The Rising Nepal reports.
While speaking at a three-day National Annual Review Workshop that kicked off here, Minister Chaudhari expressed his dissatisfaction that the people were deprived of government health facilities while the government had been increasing its budget in the health sector.
"The government’s budget allocation in health has been increasing every year but more and more targeted population has been deprived of the health services," he said.
The regional meeting will review the progress of the last fiscal year.
The minister pointed out lack of monitoring and supervision for the poor performance of health sector.
"Due to the lack of effective monitoring and supervision, the output in the sector is very nominal," he said.
He asked the divisional chiefs under the Health Ministry to be a more responsible while carrying out their duties.
Different types of communicable diseases have made the situation more complicated while non-communicable diseases are also increasing at an alarming rate, Minister Chaudhari said.
He said that he found it difficult to coordinate with the line ministries like Ministry of Local Development, Ministry of Physical Planning and Ministry of Home to deal with various epidemics.
The government is preparing to decentralize the health services by establishing heart, kidney, cancer, and maternity hospitals in all regions, he said.
Dr. Yashovardhan Pradhan, Director General of Department of Health Services, said that though the existing budget had not been fully utilized.
Dr. Sudha Sharma, Secretary at the Ministry of Health and Population, said that the government
had been spending around 1.5 billion rupees for free health schemes every year.
All Regional Health Directors said that the regional health institutions were suffering from lack of human resources which was the barrier for providing quality health services.
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MEDICAL INSURANCE MUST FOR MIGRANTS TO MALAYSIA

Kathmandu, 30 Dec.: The Malaysian government will make medical insurance mandatory for migrant workers beginning January 1, Malaysian Deputy Human Resource Minister Maznah Mazlan told Star, a Malaysian daily, The Himalayan Times reports.

The medical insurance scheme will affect over four lakh Nepali workers in Malaysia. “It will definitely affect Nepalis, but we are not sure how. We are analyzing the policy,” said Minister for Labour and Transport Management Mohamed Aftab Alam. “I will comment on it after consulting experts,” he told this daily over phone.

Malaysian government’s move comes in the wake of many foreigners leaving government hospitals with unpaid bills amounting to $ 6.7 million. As per the policy, even the old workers are required to get medical insurance done before renewing their work permits.

As per the insurance policy, each worker will have to pay annual insurance premium of $ 38 i.e. more than $ 3 per month. Average monthly earning of a Nepali worker in Malaysia is $ 175.

Authorities dealing with foreign employment term Malaysian government’s move a step in the right direction. “I welcome the policy which protects workers from health hazards,” said Mohan Krishna Sapkota, Director General at Department of Foreign Employment.

Nepal government sends workers for overseas jobs only after ensuring Rs 5 lakh medical insurance for them but illegal migrant workers obviously go without any insurance. “Malaysian government’s policy will include even them,” he said. However, he did not elaborate on the financial burden on the workers. “I cannot say more without analyzing risks and benefits,” he added.

Malaysia is among the top destination countries hiring Nepali workers. Of the 294,094 Nepali workers going abroad last year, 113,982 went to Malaysia. As many as 42,454 Nepalis have already found jobs in Malaysia in the first four months of the current fiscal year.
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