Nepal Today

Thursday, September 29, 2011



Kathmandu, 30 Sept.: Babita Tiwari, widow of Hindu youth leader Kashi Tiwari, gave up her fast on to death in Birgunj Thursday.
She started the fast Monday demanding persons involved in her husband’s murder by shooting should be arrested ad charged.
Babita gave up her fast when the local administration assured her demands would be met.
Local police have written to police headquarters in the capital to arrest Maoist Law Minister Prabhu Sah for questioning for possible link to the murder last year.
No follow-up action has been taken.


Kathmandu, 30 Sept.: The house of Saptari Maoist leader Raj Kumar Gain at Bhardaha-1 in the district was targeted in blast in the district Wednesday night.
Nobody was injured when one of three devices exploded at the house.
Two devices were defused by army bomb disposal unit.

Kathmandu, 30 Sept.: The house of Saptari Maoist targeted din bomb blast

Kathmandu, 30 Sept.: The Ministry of Defence has started discussion with the Nepal Army (NA) to increase the representation of Madhesis in the latter, Phanindra Dahal writes in The Kathmandu Post.
The Defence Steering Committee chaired by Defence Minister Sharat Singh Bhandari on Thursday decided to expedite work for formulating policy to increase the representation of Madhesi youths in the national army. The initiative comes in line with the commitments made in the four-point agreement signed by the UCPN (Maoist) and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha (SLMM) last month and the relief programmes announced by the government on September 9.
The four point agreement signed ahead of the prime ministerial elections commits for creating a separate unit reflecting Madhesi identity in the national army.
The relief package announced by the government pledges ‘fixed quotas’ in the upcoming recruitment plans to ensure that the number of Madhesis in the Army goes up to 10,000.
“We have started discussions to strengthen ownership of Madhesis over the Army by transforming it into an inclusive institution in accordance with previous agreements,” said Defence Minister Bhandari. “We will continue discussions and set the entry procedure.”
The Defence Steering Committee that comprises the Chief of Army Staff and the Defence Secretary apart from the Defence Minister held its first meeting on Thursday after the formation of the incumbent government. During the discussion, the Army chief is learnt to have told the government to formulate a policy on the inclusiveness drive.
“We will support the government in accordance with the new policy,” a source quoted Gurung as saying that the Nepal Army was now an inclusive institution. According to the NA, there are more than 6,200 Madhesis in the Army, including the Sabuj Battalion with 850 personnel, 90 percent of whom Madhesis.
The Nepal Army recruits 55 percent soldiers in free competition and has reserved 45 percent seats for inclusive quota. Of the reserved seats, 32 percent are allocated for indigenous people, 28 percent for Madhesis, 20 percent for women, 15 percent for Dalits and the remaining five for other backward groups.
Even if the national army had 95,753 seats during the Royal rule, its current strength is 92,753. The government and the Madhes-based parties want to increase Madhesi participation in the Army under the 3,000 vacancies that were endorsed by the Palace but were not fulfilled after the Finance Ministry declined to release budget following the political change of 2006, a Defence Ministry source said.
Currently, the Nepal Army has four battalions meant for particular ethnic groups: Purano Gorakh Battalion (Magar), Naya Sabuj Battalion (Madhesi), Ripumardan Battalion (Rai) and Kali Bahadur Battalion (Gurung). A majority of soldiers in the units are from the respective caste groups.

Kathmandu, 30 Sept.: After a lengthy slump, the real estate sector has seen signs of revival with banks and realty traders offering attractive packages to sell apartments, The Kathmandu Post reports.
Of late, the liquidity situation in the banking sector has improved and they are daring to invest in the real estate sector, specially housing, again.
On the other hand, realty traders are also looking at an opportunity after the government increased the income source disclosure requirement to Rs 10 million for purchase of land and houses.
As the environment is becoming favourable for both banks and real estate traders, about half-a-dozen housing entrepreneurs have opened bookings for apartments and houses with special discount packages before the Dashain and Tihar festivals.
According to realty traders, 6,000 apartments and 1,800 houses have been opened for booking. “These include buildings and apartments whose construction has already been completed and those still under construction,” said Min Man Shrestha, the general secretary of Nepal Land and Housing Developers’ Association (NLHDA).
“The market confidence seems to have strengthened,” he said. “The construction of all the apartments and houses will be completed and handed over winthin the next five years.”
Traders who saw a lengthy stagnation in the business are ready to sell apartments and houses even by reducing their projected profit margin. “The main problem has been the complete stalemate in the trading,” said Bhesh Raj Lohani, the secretary of NLHDA. “Now, there is a ray of hope appearing.”
Everest Bank has introduced a special scheme for those willing to buy apartments and houses. “We have received very good response to the scheme from throughout the country,” said a source at the bank. “Customers are attracted to the scheme as we have promised not to hike the interest rate for a year and provide loan for furnishing and maintenance as well.”
Apart from Everest Bank; a few other big banks have also made house loans easier. Traders are also jubilant with schemes being introduced by the banks. “The interest rate has come down to 13 percent from as high as 17 percent for the realty sector,” said Lohani.
According to real estate traders, the central bank’s latest provision to increase the cap of home loan to Rs 8 million eased the transaction to some extent. “Similarly, the Cabinet’s endorsement this week of the budgetary provision that one should not disclose the income source to buy land and house worth Rs 10 million also gave us a huge relief,” said Shrestha.
After banks reduced their realty sector exposure below the level fixed by the government, their lending in the sector has eased of late. They were required to reduce the exposure of loans to 25 percent as of last fiscal year. “We have seen positive developments in the housing sector,” said NRB spokesperson, Bhaskar Mani Gyawali. “However, we have sought to control lending in land plotting, which is an unproductive sector.”
Entrepreneurs say banks are not only offering home loans, but also providing loans to develop housing projects. “They are lending as per the quality of the projects,” said Shrestha.
Despite the high demand, developers say they have the capacity to hand over only 1,600 house/apartments per year. “Latest statistics show that there is a need of 900,000 more houses,” said Shrestha. “There is space for coordination between real estate entrepreneurs and the government to meet the requirements and promote an organised settlement.”
Developers are also optimistic that the easing of the liquidity situation will stimulate the sales of houses and apartments. “September/October is considered the beginning of the season for housing business,” said Shrestha. “We expect a good fortune this year.”


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