Nepal Today

Saturday, March 9, 2013

FIRE DESTORYS HOTEL IN EVEREST APPROACH AREA Kathmandu, 9 March: A hotel belonging to Chhiring Sherpa of Bhakanje along the Jiri-Khumbu tourist road section was destroyed by fire, RSS reports from Solokhumbu. . The fire gutted property including cash, clothes and valuable jewelries worth around Rs 4.51 million in the hotel, said the police sources. Hotel owner Sherpa is a permanent resident of Gundel-5 in Solukhumbu district. The Sherpa family is compelled to live in a lurch after inferno turned their house into ashes. Nnnn ELECTIONS BEGIN TO CAPTURE LEADERSHIP OF PRESS CHAUTARI Kathmandu, 9 March: Elections began Saturday to capture the leadership of Press Chautari in Biratnagar. The body representatives supporting UML nnnn NEPAL READY TO RATIFY UN SMALL ARMS TREATY Kathmandu, 9 March: Nepal has officially decided to ratify the United Nations global arms trade treaty , which is currently under negotiation among UN member States,The Kathmandu Post reports.. The final negotiations to adopt the treaty will take place in New York through March 18-28. Senior Nepali government officials, including Law and Justice Secretary Bhesh Raj Sharma, will attend the talks on the UN Conference on the Arms Trade Treaty. “Nepal fully supports the effective implementation of the Program of Action to Prevent, Combat and Eradicate the Illicit Trade in Small Arms and Light Weapons. Nepal supports the adoption of a legally binding instrument to regulate international arms transfer for transparency and accountability. In a similar vein, Nepal stands for the prevention of the arms race in outer space,” said an official, elaborating on Nepal’s official position during the negotiations. Although there are no exact data on the number of small arms in Nepal, the International Action on Small Arms estimates that around 55,000 small and light weapons are available in the country. Security officials have indicated a sharp rise in the use of small weapons in criminal activities, this despite the launch of an operation to halt the use of such weapons. According to security agencies, small and light weapons like 9mm automatic pistols, 315 bore pistols, six-chamber revolvers, 22 caliber pistols and stand guns are believed to be widely present in Nepal and have been used for killing, torture, rape, abduction, forced migration, psychological harm, looting and organised crime, including trafficking in drugs and arms, kidnapping and prostitution. During the negotiations, Nepal will stand for a ban on transferring nine kinds of small and light weapons, including munitions and ammunition, said officials from the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. As of now, Nepal considers weapons less than 25mm caliber as small and light weapons. According to the UN ’s definition, small arms also include revolvers and self-loading pistols, rifles and carbines, sub-machine guns, assault rifles and light machine guns. “The export and import of small and light weapons should be well-managed. It should be ensured that such weapons do not reach non-state actors, along with a strong regulatory mechanism and information-sharing among member states. We want to see a robust arms treaty ,” officials said. The draft of the treaty proposes flexibility for the states when dealing with or transferring small weapons, something Nepal has vehemently opposed ever since negotiations began last July. “States should not be given flexibility,” the officials said. “The legitimate use of small wearpons should only be for national defence purposes. The use of small arms and other portable lethal weapons, along with heavy casualties caused by these weapons, are being reported alarmingly across the county.” The Ministry of Home Affairs had recently issued a public circular calling on the general public to surrender their illegal weapons within a month. The ministry warned that anyone found possessing such weapons can be jailed for five years, slapped with a Rs 100,000 fine or both. nnnn CONTRACTS AWARDED FOR TWO MORE STUDIES ON RAILWAY PROJECTS Kathmandu, 9 March: The government has awarded the contract to prepare a detailed project report (DPR) of another two sections of the Mechi-Mahakali Electric Railway. The proposed rail link will extend along the length of Nepal from the eastern to the western borders, The Kathmandu Post reports.. The Railway Department has signed agreements with two consortium consultants to conduct the detailed survey and design of the two sections. A consortium consisting of Soosung Engineering of South Korea and a local firm Full Bright Consultancy has been contracted to do the DPR of the 114 km Simara-Tamsaria section. Likewise, another South Korean company Dohwa Engineering and Full Bright Consultancy has received the contract for the 109 km Tamsaria-Butwal-Bhairahawa section. The two consultants will carry out the DPR on the basis of the feasibility study report prepared by RITES in 2010. According to the department, the consultants have a year to complete the detailed design, cost estimate and bid documents. The detailed design includes designs and drawings of all the infrastructure including railway tracks, electrical traction system, power supply system, signalling and emergency communication, bridges, culverts, station buildings, station platforms, sheds and workshops and other required structures and facilities for operation of the railway . “We started working on it immediately after signing the agreement with the government,” said Lal Krishna KC, project director of the consortium. He added that the main Korean officials had arrived to start work on the DPR, and that other professionals would be visiting Nepal regularly as required. The winning contractors were selected based on an evaluation of their technical and financial proposals. A total of 19 global firms had submitted expressions of interest last year. After the applicants were short-listed and asked to submit requests for proposal (RFP), five of them — Soosung Engineering, Systra SA of France, Ineco Ingenieria y Economia del Transporte SA of Spain and URS Scott Wilson India and RITES of India — presented proposals to conduct the DPR of the Simara-Tamsaria section. Similarly, Dohwa Engineering, Systra SA, URS Scott Wilson India, RITES and Ineco Ingenieria y Economia del Transporte SA submitted proposals for the Tamsaria-Butwal-Bhairahawa section. The government has accorded priority to these two sections as they will link Lumbini, the birthplace of the Buddha, in the west with Bardibas. Meanwhile, the existing Janakpur-Jayanagar railway will be upgraded to broad gauge and extended till Bardibas. According to the department, consortiums consisting of South Korean, Nepali and Indian firms are at the final stages of preparing DPRs of the Bardibas-Simara section and Simara-Birgunj section. They are expected to submit their reports within a month. A draft report of the 136 km Bardibas-Simara-Birgunj section has showed that the rail link will cost a minimum of Rs 720 million per km. Trains running on this track will have a top speed of 160 km per hour. nnnn


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