Nepal Today

Wednesday, February 27, 2013

INDIAN FOREST GUARDS, SHOOT, INJIJRE TWO NEPALIS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Two Nepalis of Gulariya, Bardiya, were shot and injured by an Indian forest security guard Tuesday while foraging at Murtiha. in India,. Ram Milan Lodha and Radheshyam Lodha were injured. Six Nepalis fled following the shooting. Nnnn TWO HELD WITH ILLEGAL WEAPONS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Police arrested two persons with illegal weapons from Gaushala VDC in Mahottari district on Wednesday, RSS reports from Mohottari. The arrestees were Pramod Sah and Umesh Ram Sah from the same VDC. Police arrested them from Gaushala Chowk-2 while undertaking routine security screening, said Inspector Jay Narayan Yadav. Police confiscated a pistol from them. Arrestees were kept in Area Police Office, Gaushala for further investigation. RSS nnnn VISITING INDIAN GURU MEETS TOP THREE COMMUNIST LEADERS Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Visiting India Guru Shri Shri Ravi Shankar held discussions with Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai in Baluwatar Wednesday. Maoist Chairman Prachanda also held a separate meeting at Hotel Soaltee UML leader KP Oli had met him. “You journalists should check conversion from Hinduism to Christianity,.” The visitor told journalists covering the visit of the Guru who prayed and offered puja at Pashupatnath temple. nnnn TASK FORCE PREPARES 20-POINT DRAFT FOR AMENDING CONSTITUTION Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: The eight-member taskforce formed by the four major political forces has prepared a 20-point draft for amending the Interim Constitution but is yet to finalise it, mainly due to differing views from the four forces on whether to wait for the Supreme Court verdict on the issue of forming an election government under Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi or not. A hearing on a writ against the ongoing process of making the chief justice the executive head is scheduled for March 7. The taskforce members today met at the office of the Special Committee but could only hold ‘conceptual discussions’ on the draft, according to Jitendra Dev of Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Democratic. The draft was prepared in collaboration with the officials from the Ministry of Law and Justice. Coalition partners — Unified CPN-Maoist and United Democratic Madhesi Front — have been pressing for beginning the process of removing constitutional difficulties without waiting for the court’s verdict, but the Nepali Congress and CPN-UML have been saying that they should wait till March 7. “If all the constitutional difficulties are removed by getting ordinances approved from the President before March 7 and if the court ruling comes against forming CJ Regmi-led government, it will be suicidal,” say NC and UML. “This will create an easy situation for the Baburam Bhattarai-led government to continue. So we must wait for the court verdict,” sources quoted Minendra Rijal, a taskforce member representing NC, as telling Congress party’s internal meeting today. According to UML taskforce member Agni Kharel, NC and UML pressed taskforce members from the coalition partners to stop government’s recent transfer and promotion of police and civil servants, saying such a move could influence the upcoming elections. On Article 38 (1) of the Interim Constitution, the taskforce has proposed to form a government on the chairmanship of chief justice of the Supreme Court on the basis of political consensus instead of current provision of ‘forming the government on the basis of political consensus’. The new chief executive, which will be called chairman of an interim election government, will appoint members of the Cabinet and hold certain ministerial portfolios himself. The draft, however, has not mentioned what will happen to such a government in the event of its failure to hold polls on the said date. “In such situation, the decision taken by the government will prevail, as it happens in the case of present government. Since it is a matter of political consensus, parties will make necessary recommendation to the government, just as it is happening now. So we don’t need to mention this in the constitution amendment draft. It can be included in a deal that the parties are yet to seal,” said taskforce member Khimlal Devkota, a Unified CPN-Maoist leader. Devkota added that there was not much difference on constitution amendment issues and that the taskforce will meet tomorrow to discuss them in detail. According to the proposed draft, Chief Justice will be barred from judicial activities and he will return to his previous post after a new government comes in place following fresh elections. Every Nepali citizen who attained 18 years of age on April 12, 2012 will be able to cast his/her vote, according to the proposal. What’s keeping them at odds • UCPN-M, UDMF pressing for beginning the process of removing constitutional difficulties pronto • NC, UML fear that removing all constitutional difficulties before a court verdict on CJ-led government could be suicidal • NC says if the apex court rules against a CJ-led government on March 7, the situation could be in the incumbent government’s favour, helping it continue for long • Major forces divided on whether to mention in the constitutional amendment draft what will happen to a CJ-led government if it fails to hold polls on said date. Nnnn NC AWAITS SUPREME COURT VERDICT FOR NEXT POLITICAL MOVE ON GOVT. Kathmandu, 28 Feb.: Nepali Congress Central Working Committee today decided that it would wait for the Supreme Court verdict and go accordingly to form the election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, The Himalayan Times reports.. NC spokesperson Dilendra Badu‚ after the CWC meeting held at the party President Sushil Koirala’s residence in Maharajgunj‚ said‚ “We are ready to appoint chief justice as the chief executive for holding polls barring him from the activities of the judiciary. However‚ we will wait till the court’s decision and shall respect whatever it decides.” The party is still discussing on different alternatives to protect the principle of separation of powers while appointing the chief justice‚ Badu added. Today’s meeting also urged the government to put an end to the recent decisions such as transfers of police and civil servants in important places with the view to influence the Constituent Assembly polls. According to CWC member Krishna Chandra Nepali‚ even today there was a mixed opinion on whether the CJ should be appointed as the chief executive or not. Some CWC members including Mahesh Acharya‚ Gagan Thapa and Jiban Bahadur Shahi opposed the party’s consent to the CJ’s appointment. “Although‚ we should not raise questions on the intention and integrity of the party leadership‚ we must raise question on the capacity of the leadership‚” Thapa said‚ according to sources. He suggested the party should go for a contempt of court case against the press statement and interview of CJ Regmi as his statement has already influenced the sub judice matter. Some other leaders including General Secretary Krishna Sitaula‚ CWC members Ram Sharan Mahat‚ Minendra Rijal‚ Gyanendra Bahadur Karki‚ Prakash Sharan Mahat‚ Krishna Chandra Nepali and Ajaya Chaurasiya have however defended the party leaders’ decision. They had said the CJ’s option was the best one at present to remove the Baburam Bhattarai-led government and go for polls. Nnnn POLICE VIOLATE OWN RULE IN DAFUR MISSION SELECTION Kathmandu, 29 Feb.: The Nepal Police has breached its own regulations while selecting senior personnel for peacekeeping duties in the UN Mission in Darfur, Ankit Adhikari, Pranindra Dahal write sin The Kathmandu Post.. A source at Police Headquarters, Naxal, said that the UN Division of the Nepal Police had violated its own rules by not conducting internal examinations and had recommended candidates affiliated to “power centres.” More than a dozen police officials were nominated last week as replacements for a group of 38 police personnel scheduled to return home from the conflict-ridden Sudanese city in March. However, Nepal Police spokesperson SP Pushkar Karki defended the selections were made without examinations citing time constraints before the troop leaves for the mission. According to SP Karki, the candidates will have to sit for a test conducted by the UN itself. “If they fail the test, they will have to return on the state’s own expenses,” he said. “Due to time constraints, headquarters was compelled to choose from among the best officials, who are not very likely to fail the UN’s examination.” The candidates nominated by Police Headquarters include DSP Tek Bahadur Tamang, a Personal Security Officer (PSO) for Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and recently promoted DSP Dan Bahadur Malla, the PSO for UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal. Three police officers from the UN Division, including DSP Dan Bahadur Karki and Inspectors Kobit Katawal and Angur GC, are among the nominated candidates for the UN mission. Since no examinations were held while selecting officials to be deployed in the mission, the nominations flout Article 5 of the Formed Police Unit (FPU) selection directives introduced last year by the then UN Division Chief SSP Ramesh Kharel. As per the provisions, police personnel from all designations to be assigned to UN missions need to sit for a competitive examination and pass a separate examination, the UNSAT, conducted by the UN itself. The controversial decision follows the January 18 transfer of SSP Kharel from the UN Division to the Bagmati Zonal Police Office. The new UN Division chief Devendra Subedi has yet to assume office. “The selection of 15 officials without any internal examinations make a mockery of the new directives. The Inspector General of Police (IGP) has recommended candidates either close to political leaders in power or those close to himself,” said a high-level police source at the headquarters. According to the source, DSP Karki, who is looking after the UN Division in the absence of a superior official, manipulated the selection process by claiming that the quota allotted by the UN for the Nepal Police could cease if personnel were not nominated promptly. “The UN Division deliberately skipped the examination,” said the source. “They knew when the current troop in Darfur would return. They should have initiated the procedure for internal tests when there was ample time.” The Nepal Police is already facing a hard time in getting its personnel assigned to the UN mission in Darfur after the Sudan government, last year, rejected visas to a troop of 80 police officials from Nepal. While the reapplication for visas is under way, Police HQ has already deployed five of the officials to Liberia and three to South Sudan. Of the required 38 seats to be filled in March, 31 candidates who had passed last year’s selection test were on the priority list. The Police HQ, in its latest move, selected 15 officers to compensate for the eight transferred to destinations other than Darfur, along with seven for the March shift. DSP Karki said that the decision was approved by IGP Kuber Singh Rana himself. According to Karki, the UN would not come to Nepal to conduct a selection test for less than 50 posts. Hence, the nominated candidates will appear for the UNSAT after reaching their mission areas. “A name list of some 300 police personnel, with their set of skills and qualifications, was presented before IGP Rana and he tick-marked the best candidates,” said DSP Karki, arguing that the allegations of the selections being manipulated were baseless. The senior officials on the list, handpicked by the IGP, include SSP Subodh Ghimire and SP Sailesh Thapa. DSP Rajan Adhikari, who is at the secretariat of IGP Rana, is also on the nomination list that has been forwarded to the Ministry of Home Affairs for visa processing. Nnnn BID LOSS FOR ARMY IN AIRCRAFT PURCHASE FROM CHINA Kathmandu, 28 Feb.:A seven-year-old dispute concerning the purchase of two MA60 aircraft for the Nepal Army (NA) from a Chinese manufacturer finally came to an end this week, leading to a loss of over Rs 239 million for Nepal, Phanindra Dahal writes in The Kathmandu Post.. Nepal will receive only 50 percent of a down payment made in 2006 to the China National Aero Technology Import and E-xport Cooperation, according to a bilateral deal. Earlier this week, the Cabinet endorsed the settlement and asked the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) to write to the Chinese government accordingly. In January 2006, the then Gyanendra Shah-led government had paid an advance of over $5.5 million for the purchase of two turboprop aircraft, whose total cost stood at over $15.9 million. Then Chief of Army Staff Pyar Jung Thapa had agreed to the deal while on an official visit to Beijing in October 2005. After the second Jana Andolan in 2006, the Girija Prasad Koirala government had issued a white paper in the House of Representatives and effectively scrapped the deal. After 2006, the Chinese and Nepali sides held a series of negotiations to settle the dues but failed. Nepal had proposed alternatives, including continuing the MA60 purchase and an order for another aircraft for civilian purposes. The Chinese side, meanwhile, wanted Nepal to pay all the expenses, including for loss es incurred due to the termination of the deal, saying that the aircraft had already been completed as per Nepal’s requirements. “The Cabinet last week agreed to accept 50 percent of the down payment. The settlement was based on an understanding with the Chinese side,” said Ministry of Defence (MoD) Spokesperson Dwarika Prasad Acharya. The MoD has dispatched a letter to the MoFA, asking it to work towards recovering at least 50 percent of the payment made in the botched deal. In July 2010, the Nepali side had formed a five-member team, led by the Quarter Master General of the NA, which held talks with Chinese officials and the manufacturing company. During the talks, the Chinese side had expressed its readiness to provide 50 percent of the advance as a settlement. The Nepali side then asked China to consider providing military logistics equivalent to the remaining 50 percent. Nepal had sought help from the Chinese government to resolve the aircraft dispute and had even made diplomatic efforts both from home and through its mission in Beijing. Former NA Chief Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung had also solicited help from his counterpart Gen Chen Bingde, who visited Kathmandu in March 2011. Former Nepali Ambassador to China Tanka Karki said the Nepal government “frequently changed its position,” further complicating negotiations to secure the release of the advanced payment. “It would have been better had we negotiated for another aircraft for a similar price rather than accepting just the 50 percent,” said Karki. The MA60 aircraft are manufactured by Xi’an Aircraft Industrial Corporation, which builds large and medium-sized aeroplanes. The deal was pushed by the controversial former royal adviser Sarad Chandra Shah, who was said to be the local Nepali agent for the company. The latest decision comes in the light of the government’s preparations to purchase two Mi-17 helicopters for the Army. nnnn


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