Nepal Today

Friday, December 30, 2011



Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: The main constitution drafting committee chaired by
Nilambar Acharya meets Saturday to discuss a report of a Prachanda sub-committee under it empowered to discuss differences on themes to be incorporated in a proosed constitution to be promulgated by 28 May.
The sub-committee missed a 30 December deadline to resolve differences by Friday to sort out the differences and its tenure has also ended.
NC General Secretary Prakash Man Singh said differences still persisted on form of government.
Differences have surfaced even on agreed themes in the party headed by the
Maoist chairman
Prachanda claims the differences won’t interfere with constitution drafting.


Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Red Bull National League tournament started in Pokhara
Nepal Police Club beat Sangan Youth of Pokhara 4-1.
and Manang Marshyangdi Club beat Mitra Milan Club of Dharan 6-2 in another
match Friday.


Kathmandu 31 Dec.: Property worth tens of million rupees was gutted after a fire spread to 46 houses at Mandal Tole of Pakari VDC in Saptari district, on Thursday night, RSS repors from. Saptari.

The fire started from a cowshed of Jugeshwor Mandal of Pakari VDC-2 midnight, and spread in the neighbourhood. As many as 30 families have been affected by the inferno.

According to police, three houses of Jugeshwor Mandal, two of Hari Mandal, one of Rajendra Mandal, two of Shankar Mandal, three of Manoj Mandal, two of Juri Lal Mandal, one of Kuseshwor Mandal and two of Bhuwaneshwor Mandal were destroyed in the fire.

Around half a dozen cattle were also killed in the fire, according to the locals.

Victims said that everything including food grains, clothes and furniture were completely destroyed in the fire.

Police estimated that the fire inflicted a loss of around Rs. 13.6 million.

The District Police Office, Saptari, informed that a fire engine of Rajbiraj Municipality and police personnel brought the fire under control at 2:00 am this morning.


Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Constituent Assembly (CA) Chairman Subas Nembang on Friday has expressed happiness over the performance of the dispute resolution sub-committee formed for resolving the disputes surfaced in course of the constitution drafting
Process, RRSS reports.

"The subcommittee completed its tasks as per schedule, now the Constitutional Committee would approve them," said the CA Chairman.

Taking part in an interaction in the Capital on Friday, CA Chairman Nembang expressed his hope promulgation of the new constitution would take place within May 28, 2012.

The Legislature–Parliament is fully accountable to the norms and values of human rights, he said, adding that a bill related to the human rights commission is in the process of ratification.

There was no dispute among the parties regarding the issues of human rights, he said and added the new constitution would be friendly to the human rights issues.

Urging the parties to give priority to the completion of the peace process, the CA Chairman said mutual trust among the parties would support the CA promulgate the new constitution within the slated timeframe.

Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: Shortage of diesel has pushed half the
vehicles off the roads in Kathmandu Valley, making life difficult for commuters, Milan Mani Sharma writes in Republica..

Amid the short supply of petroleum products, attributed to inability on the part of Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to finance adequate imports, the state-owned petroleum monopolist has not been supplying even half the normal daily volume of fuel to the market over this week.

"This has already forced well around 50 percent of diesel-fuelled passenger vehicles off the roads in the Valley," said Rishikesh Ghimire, a transport entrepreneur and secretary of Nepal Transport Entrepreneurs National Federation (NTENF).

As a result, almost all bus stations in the Valley now have crowds of passengers waiting for transport, a sight quite rare in the past.

"There are fewer buses operating the Duwakot-Ratnapark route, and I waited a full 45 minutes to catch a bus at Duwakot Chowk at 9:30 A.M.," said Tara Paudel of Jhaukhel-1, Bhaktapur.

When Republica found her waiting for the bus at New Baneshwor Thursday, she said the bus crew had cautioned her to be at the station by 3 p.m. to catch a ride home because they might not operate the bus after that hour.

"It´s already 3:30 p.m. I hope I´ll catch the Duwakot bus from Ratnapark," she stated.

Jhaukhel is some 14 kilometers from New Baneshwor and Paudel has no option but to catch her bus.

Some 12 buses operate the route. "But bus crew told me they´re currently operating just three buses due to diesel shortage," she added.

Other communters that Republica talked to on Thursday and Friday spoke of similar agony and inconvenience caused by the fuel shortage.

If you think the situation in the Valley is bad, things are worse with vehicles operating between Kathmandu and other cities, said Dol Nath Khanal, general secretary of NTENF.

According to NTENF, some 350 buses used to leave daily for different destinations from New Bus Park till two weeks ago. Now only around 150 buses do so.

"Some 60 percent of buses operating long routes are already in the garage. You can imagine the trouble facing people planning to travel out of the Valley," said Khanal.

The fuel shortage has also prompted some schools to announce winter vacations a week earlier than planned. The situation at development projects and industries, currently facing ll-hour power cuts, is worse still.

NOC officials said they are trying their best to supply as much fuel as possible. "But we simply have less stock," said Mohan Bahadur Karki, chief of NOC Thankot depot.

Diesel has been in short supply since about three weeks ago, mainly after cash-strapped and heavily indebted NOC failed to secure loans from banks and financial institutions.

Amid soaring losses, estimated at Rs 1.26 billion for December alone, NOC asked the government in the first week of this month to either allow it to adjust prices or provide the money to avert looming crisis.

The government turned it down and NOC has ended up failing to import adequate volumes of both diesel and petrol.

Following the petrol scarcity, the government last week agreed to provide NOC Rs 1.5 billion in loans from the Employees Provident Fund (EPF), but the money has not been released.

"The money was not disbursed because of differences over interest rate. But the matter has now been settled. NOC will get the money soon," said Commerce and Supplies Minister Lekh Raj Bhatta Friday.

Speaking at a function, he also claimed the shortage will end in a few days. However, NOC officials say they will need three to four days to ease the supply and at least a week to restore normalcy.

"And that week starts only when we actually get hold of the money and transfer it to Indian Oil Corporation," said a senior NOC official.

Meanwhile, NOC officials say the problem may resurface next month as loans will restore the fund flow only temporarily. As the gap between import and retail prices has not narrowed, NOC says it will suffer huge losses next month also. "We will then have no option but to seek more loans," said NOC spokesperson Mukunda Dhungel.

NOC currently suffers a loss of around Rs 19 on a liter of diesel, Rs 7 on a liter of kerosene and around Rs 339 per cylinder (14.2 kgs) of LPG. Its outstanding loans total around Rs 20 billion.

Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: A 25-year-old woman, who suffered third-degree burns in a mysterious fire that engulfed her rented room in Kathmandu- 35, died while undergoing treatment at the Kathmandu Medical College Teaching Hospital, Sinamangal in the wee hours of Friday morning, Sabin Chandra Acharya writes in The Himalayan Times reports.

After the death, the victim's husband fled the hospital where he also was admitted but later arrested by the police.

DSP Bir Bahadur Oli, in-charge of Metropolitan Police Circle, New Baneshwor said the fire broke out in the Chhapro-based rented room at around 8.45 pm yesterday during power-cuts when Manju Choudhary was together with her husband Roshan Rai (29), who he said was a native of Darjeeling, India.

A kerosene lamp was used to light up the room when the incident occurred.

"We doused the fire within 15 minutes of the incident and rushed the couple to KMC Hospital for treatment. Doctors pronounced Choudhary dead at 2.55 am today," he informed. She was found to have infected with HIV, DSP Oli quoted a medical report of the hospital.

As soon as she died, her husband receiving treatment in emergency ward gave the slip on the pretext of going to the toilet at around 6 am.

"We smelt a rat when Rai, who was out of danger, reportedly fled the hospital even if the police were treating him as a fire victim, not a crime suspect," DSP Oli recounted.

Cops fanned out across the Valley with special focus on transit points and arrested him from Thankot where he found travelling on a bus bound for Jhapa. Now, he has been undergoing treatment in Bir Hospital amid a security cordon. DSP Oli said he was a crime suspect in the eye of law enforcement agency and details of the deceased woman were not immediately available. The only thing what Rai speaks of Choudhary is she was from Mulpani.

"We tried to find out if she was from Mulpani of Kathmandu, but in vain. Investigators are collecting all places of the country with that name to establish the fact," he informed.

During primary investigation, Rai, who used to eke out his living as a greengrocer, said he first met Choudhary in Ratna Park, Kathmandu, a couple of months ago and subsequently tied a conjugal knot with her. They were living together in the house of Krishna Bahadur Ramtel as tenants since.

Investigators have launched an investigation to figure out if it was a homicide or an accidental death.

Rai's unsuccessful bid to flee the Capital city and report of HIV infection to his wife have further complicated the investigation process, DSP Oli said.

Choudhary's body has been referred to TU Teaching Hospital for post-mortem.

Kathmandu, 31 Dec.: The Maoist Central Committee (CC) meet—which still enjoys the limelight and where the establishment faction and the Maoist hardliner faction are locking horns— has resumed today [Friday] also, The Himalayan Times reports.

At the party headquarters in perisdanda, Koteshwor, leaders aligned to the party chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal who prioritised on peace and statute, and the Maoist standing committee members and politburo members affiliated to Maoist hardliner Mohan Baidhya, who stressed on struggle and revolt, are making their reflections and impressions over the proposals floated by Dahal and Baidhya.

Meanwhile, Minister for Commerce and Supplies Lekhraj Bhatta has claimed that the ideological rifts within the Maoist will come to an end through discussions on the political documents of Baidhya and Dahal.

“The party will want a way out soon ,” said Bhatta hinting at the ongoing CC marked by ideological differences, at a programme organised in Reporter’s club on Friday.

Leaders aligned to the Maoist hardline faction led by Vice-chairman Mohan Baidhya — General Secretary Ram Bahadur Thapa, Secretary CP Gajurel and standing committee members Dev Prasad Gurung and Netra Bikram Chand — have already criticised Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal for leading the party towards ‘rightist opportunism’.

Whereas Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai, one of the vice-chairmen, Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha, also a vice-chairman, Energy Minister Post Bahadur Bogati, and the standing committee member Krishna Bahadur Mahara have stood in support of Dahal’s document.

Baidhya, who presented his 12-page document during Tuesday’s CC meet, sees no alternative to immediate people’s revolt and made a claim that opting for the peace and constitution will bear no fruits at this bleak state of affairs, where people’s hopes and aspirations have been already kept at bay." Pro-people constitution is impossible," according to Baidhya.

But, Dahal has prioritised peace and statute and not the capture of state power in his political document presented on Saturday.

Dahal has also presented offer to patch up intra-party differences through the general convention and on the majority basis.

Meanwhile, Baidhya’s document has accused establishment faction led by Dahal of trying to divert all attempts for the preparation of people’s revolt.

Dissenting Maoists have been ranting condemnations against the establishment faction for abandoning the 'line of revolt' which was adopted by the party’s sixth plenum at Palungtar in Gorkha last year.

For Baidhya, Dahal’s document was inspired by ‘rightist opportunism’ and aimed at splitting the party. " Dahal is the center of all evils and his paper cannot resolve the current ideological crisis afflicting the party," said Baidhya.

" Dahal has given up all the party stances and supported the capitalist agents," Baidhya's added.

Establishment faction and Baidhya faction inside Maoists are at bad terms since the former started taking decisions on peace, statute, government formation and power sharing single-handedly, often inking different pacts with non-Maoist actors.
(Note: The committee meet continues Saturday.)


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