Nepal Today

Friday, March 25, 2011



Kathmandu, 26 March: Parliament’s public accounts committee Friday recommended de-licensing casinos that don’t clear their dues to government Four casinos—Casino Royal, Casino Anna, Casino Nepal and Casino Fulbari—are likely to affected.
Ten casinos operate in the capital and Pokhara.


Kathmandu, 26 March: A time bomb was found Saturday morning at Gulariya in Bardiya..
A defusing unit is neutralizing it.
Ten passengers were injured, three seriously, when a hidden bomb planted by a terai rebel group exploded Friday in a moving bus at Chandranighapur, Rautahat.


Kathmandu, 26 March: Bangladesh government will honour BP Koirala coinciding with 40th anniversary of the South Asian state.
Koirala is one of 50 personalities to be hououred for contribution to the country’s independence after splitting from Pakistan.
The announcement was made by Bangladesh Ambassador Dr. Neem Chandra Bhowmik.


Kathmandu, 26 March: Kuwait Fund for Arab Economic Development (KFAED) will provide Rs. 52 million for the feasibility study of SItapaila Dharke road, Nepal embassy in Kuwait said.
The Fund’s meeting Thursday took the decision.


Kathmandu, 26 March: Industries along the Morang-Sunsari industrial belt closed down Friday one day after agreement between management and three trade unions to stop strikes for four years.
Industries in other parts of terai also closed down.
The agreement between management and three trade unions was called a sellout by one faction of Maoists.
Maoist trade union has split.
Rs. 10 million worth property was destroyed in a fire at a chicken feed industry in Balaju Industrial Estate in the capital’s outskirt Friday.
Four workers were injured.


Kathmandu, 26 March: Experts have said that the blast in Japan’s nuclear power plants would cause no direct harm in Nepal but suggested to remain alert and take precaution, RSS reports.
Nuclear sociologist Prof. Dr. Tulsi Pathak said regular monitoring should be carried out at all the entry points from where goods are imported into the country for possible risk of radiation contaminated goods entering the country.


Kathmandu, March 26: About three months ago, Harish Chaudhari, uneducated but skilled youth from Nepal´s Tarai, went to Malaysia with a dream of earning better salary. Nepali agents had promised Harish a driving job in Malaysia, Om Astha Rai writes in Republica

Harish, however, ended up working as an orderly for a businessman in Malaysia. An orderly´s salary was obviously not at par with that of a skilled employee. To make matters worse, he did not even get his salary for two consecutive months. He was sent back to Nepal by some Nepalis working in Malaysia.

"He was completely motionless," Dr Rabi Shakya, a psychiatrist at Mental Hospital in Lagankhel, recollects a recent meeting with Harish.

"He did not utter a single word. I spoke to his relatives at length to know what actually led to the situation." According to Dr Shakya, Harish has suffered from Catatonic Depression which generally makes a person unable to perform daily chores.

Back with mental problems

Many Nepalis, who go to gulf countries for overseas jobs, return home with nothing but different types of mental illnesses. Dr Shakya deals almost every day with mentally-ill people who developed the disease while in gulf countries. "Migrant workers suffer from a range of mental illnesses," he says. "Depression and schizophrenia are common among them."

An extensive study is yet to be conducted to gauge the degree of mental illnesses among migrant workers. Based on the outcomes of two recently conducted sample surveys, the problem is more serious than one can think of. Mental illness has resulted in suicide of many migrant workers in the past and forced many of them out of jobs even as the loans they had taken remain unpaid.

A 2009 study by Dr Nirmal Lamichhane, who works in the department of Neuropsychiatry at Charak Hospital and Research Center in Pokhara, reveals that over 70 per cent of migrant workers who return home with mental illness show multiple psychiatric symptoms. "Though the relationship between migration and mental problems may be spurious, foreign job may cause or precipitate metal illness," Dr Lamichhane concludes in his report recently published in a medical journal.

Maiti Nepal, a non-government organization fighting trafficking of Nepali women, surveyed women migrant workers who returned from gulf countries in 2009. The survey revealed that only 33 per cent women workers return physically as well as mentally healthy. Of the 67 per cent workers with some health problems, 57 per cent were diagnosed with various types of psychiatric problems including schizophrenia.

Recently, a 27-year-old Nepali woman, sent back home from a gulf country, tried to commit suicide while undergoing treatment at Mental Hospital in Lagankhel. Suicidal tendencies and actual attempts are common in depressed migrant workers. According to a recent report published by the parliamentary committee on Women, Children and Social Welfare, nine Nepali housemaids committed suicide in Lebanon alone in the past three years.
According to Dr Shakya, most migrant workers reach gulf countries with some invisible seeds of mental illness. "The tense atmosphere in gulf countries coupled with the inescapable pressure to send home money serves as a fertile ground for symptoms of mental illness to explode," says Dr Shakya.

No check up before flying abroad

It is mandatory for migrant workers to obtain fitness certificates from licensed medical institutes before flying overseas. However, as far as foreign employment is concerned, fitness implies only physical health.

The government has not made mental health check-up mandatory so far. And, even if workers are already aware of their mental problems, they try to hide it for fear of being ineligible to go abroad. Such workers are more prone to develop mental problems while working abroad.

Psychiatrists say understanding the mother tongue and cultural values of mentally ill persons is important to be able to treat them properly. Unfortunately, Nepali migrant workers are unlikely to receive proper treatment if they develop mental illness while working abroad because of their inability to express what they think or feel to a foreign psychiatrist. So, the only option they have is returning home.

"There is a way to address this problem to some extent," says Dr Shakya. "The government can depute a couple of psychiatrists in some of our embassies in the gulf region. If not, we can also counsel mentally-ill migrant workers using telemedicine technology."


Kathmandu, 26 March:: With the deadline for promulgation of the constitution just 63 days away, the Unified CPN-Maoist today proposed, albeit obliquely, extension of Constituent Assembly term for second time, Prakash Acharya reports in The Himalayan Times..

The UCPN-M told the Nepali Congress that it was not possible to conclude the peace and constitution-drafting processes by May 28. However, the Maoist party didn’t make it clear by how much time the CA term should be extended.

“As some major contentious issues, including state restructuring, form of government, election system and management of Maoist combatants, are yet to be sorted out, it may not be possible to conclude the peace and constitution-drafting processes by May 28. So, we, the major signatories of the peace process, should make a fresh deal to save the country from backtracking to conflict in post-May days,” sources quoted Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal as telling NC leaders at a meeting today.

Though NC stressed on not extending the deadline, it did not express hope either that the CA could meet the deadline. “It’s possible to meet the May 28 deadline only if the Maoists were honest to manage their combatants and settle state restructuring issues. But, we are against promulgating the constitution without managing PLA and their weapons,” sources quoted NC President Sushil Koirala as telling Maoist leaders.

NC is learnt to have refused outright the Maoist idea of signing a new deal. “Neither we need to extend CA term, nor do we need a new agreement if the Maoists honestly implemented the past pacts,” said NC’s Ramchandra Paudel.

Maoist leaders, however, urged NC to strike a new understanding to prevent ‘possible catastrophe’ in post-May 28 days. UCPN-M Vice Chairman Narayan Kaji Shrestha said a new understanding among the major signatories of the peace process was necessary, as the country was at the risk of serious disaster.

But Paudel smelt a rat. “The Maoists, it seems, have come up with the strategy of promulgating the constitution without settling the issues of their combatants and weapons.”

Today’s meeting also saw leaders of both parties trading barbs. While Maoist leaders expressed their discontent with NC for not letting the largest party lead the government and prolonging the deadlock, NC leaders accused them of deceiving people by not keeping their promises. Nonetheless, leaders today agreed on one issue — to meet again.


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