Nepal Today

Tuesday, March 5, 2013

FOUR MAJOR PLAYRS MEET FOR ‘LAST TIME’ Kathmandu, 6 March: Leaders of the four major players meets for the ’last time’ Wednesday to thrash out differences on a package deal to form an election government headed by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi to conduct second constituent assembly elections 5 June. The vote is unlikely with time constraint officials to hold the vote in les than three months—normal requirement is four months to make preparations. .The party leaders are meeting for the second time in two days amid growing suspicions amongst the political players. NC and UML undiplomatically have said they are pushing a Regmi government just to get rid of the 18-month government of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai wo is resisting opposition attempts to oust him. Bhattarai insisted he’;;; lead a national consensus government before agreeing to make way for a Regmi government. NC President Sushil Koirala Tuesday implicitly denied claims when he revealed Regmi never agreed to lead an election government when the issue was discussed with him by parties. Party leaders continue discussions Wednesday at a meeting brokered by Prime Minister Bhattarai :eaders said they resolved differences Tuesday on a voters list and tricky and ticklish citizenship issues pushed by Madeshbadi parties. Other parties fear non-nationals will acquire if liberal approaches on the topics are adopted. Differences persist on forming a truth and reconciliation like in South Africa and complete integration former Maoist fighters in Nepal Army. Nnnn BANKER ARRESTED . Kathmandu, 6 March: Keshav Narsingh Rajbhandary was arrested from the capital Tuesday by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) of Nepal Police to probe fraudulent banking activities misusing deposits. worth Rs 60 million. Rajbhandary is former executive director of Baibhav Finance Limited, Baneshwor. nnnn. PUBLIC TRANSPORT FARE HIKED 9 PERCENT Kathmandu, 6 March: The government on Tuesday has hiked public transport fare s by 9 percent, effective from Friday, Ramesh Shrestha writes in The Kathmandu Post.. The Department of Transport Management (DoTM) also hiked cargo carrier fares by 3.74 percent for hill routes (Kathmandu-Pokhara-Narayanghat) and by 16 percent for Tarai routes. After the revision, freight charge per tonne per km went up to Rs 5.40 on Tarai routes and Rs 10.10 per tonne per km on hill route. The latest fare hike is this year’s third. This year alone, public transport fare s have risen by 17 percent. With the latest revision in fares, commuters have to pay Rs 15 for a short ride in Kathmandu. The new rate for long routes will be published on Wednesday. “We will be publishing a public notice hopefully by Wednesday by determining the exact fares the commuters have to pay after the revision,” said Sharad Adhikari, director at the department. He added the fare hike was based on fuel and non-fuel components that affect the cost of transport service. Department officials said the drop in bank interest rates, constant government taxes and no hike in transport workers’ salary helped keep the hike below 10 percent. However, the department did not hike taxi fares, citing need for further study. A technical committee at the DoTM had studied price hike in fuel and non-fuel components including inflation, prices of spare parts, lubricants, tires and bank interest rates, among others, before proposing the fare hike to the ministry. The Federation of Truck Tanker and Transport Entrepreneurs, the Nepal Metre Taxi Entrepreneurs’ Association, and Federation of Nepalese National Transport Entrepreneurs Association had long been demanding that the government increase the fares by 15 percent. The government has to review transport fares annually as per the scientific fare determination mechanism implemented in 2009. The fare revision has to be done based on factors such as consumer price index, spare parts’ prices, cost of lubricants, tires and fuel, staff salary and bank interest rates. nnnn PARSA WILDLIFE RESERVE BEING EXTENDED Kathmandu, 6 March: Authorities at the Parsa Wildlife Reserve have forwarded a proposal to expand the PWR from the existing 499 sq km to 799 sq km for better wildlife conservation. This is the third time in two years that the officials appealed to the Ministry of Forests for the expansion of the reserve, Shanker Acharya writes in The Kathmandu Post.. According to Nilambar Mishra, chief conservation officer at the PWR, the proposal was handed in after revisiting the concerns raised by the ministry regarding the expansion such as environmental impact assessment and necessary guidelines and the total forest cover. The government had declared PWR as one of the protected areas about three decades ago with a view to ensuring a safe habitat for wildlife species such as tiger, elephant, gauri gai and blue bull antelope. The reserve comprises parts of Parsa, Bara and Makwanpur districts, partly running along the Tribhuvan Highway. “The proposed expansion as the buffer zone area covers Wards No 8 and 9 of Amlekhgunj and Ratanpur in Bara,” said Mishra. He added that the proposed area does not stretch through the human settlement. “We plan to expand the reserve along the Nijghad area and adjoining forests of Bara in future if our present plan is implemented,” Mishra added. nnnn IMAGE OF COOPERATIVES ERODES WITH MALPRACTICES Kathmandu, 6 March:: Deputy Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank Maha Prasad Adhikari Tuesday said that the problems seen in some of the cooperatives of the urban areas have affected the entire cooperatives sectors across the country. Speaking at an interaction organised by Nepal Society of Cooperatives Journalists (CJN) here today, he said that some people involved in the cooperatives were deliberately applying their influence to misuse the funds of the cooperatives. "This tendency has led to rise in the incidences of malpractice in the cooperatives sector," he said. He, however, said that such problems were not of big scale and they could be resolved. Stating that the cooperatives should operate with the concept of autonomous and self-regulating organisation, he said that the members of the cooperatives themselves should monitor the organisations. He said, “The state has adopted cooperatives as one of the three pillars of the national economy but a few of them are not in operation as per the state objective.” He informed that the government was effortful to establish a separate regulator body to control the malpractices of the cooperatives sector effectively. Talking about the new committee formed under him, the Deputy Governor said that the committee was studying on the crisis-ridden cooperatives. He said, “Now we are analyzing the causes behind the problems of 22 cooperatives. The committee will find out the cause of problems and suggest guidelines to solve them.” Stating that cooperatives were essential for the poor people for enhancing their livelihood, he said that the involvement of the rich people has prevented the cooperatives from achieving its key goal. The crisis seen in the cooperatives has affected the savings of the small people more than those of the rich people, he added. Kedar Neupane, registrar at the Department of Cooperatives under the Minister of Cooperative and Poverty Alleviation, said that the department was effortful to maintain the standards of the cooperatives to control the irregularities of this sector. Mentioning that the cooperatives were displaying big billboards reading that the institutions had permission from the Nepal government, he said that the department has taken initiative to prevent the cooperatives from displaying such notice. "We are also working to not allow the cooperatives display attractive billboards," he said. He said, "We have no any policy on cooperatives until now and in absence of such a policy we are facing difficulty to regulate the cooperatives and control the irregularities in the sector.” Surendra Bhandari, chairman of Multipurpose Central Cooperatives Association, said that quality improvement was not seen when the cooperatives were mushrooming across the country. He said that the department of cooperatives, district cooperatives association and other related bodies should work to control the increasing irregularities in the cooperative sector. He said that the Nepal Rastra Bank was not position to monitor the cooperatives as it has been unable to monitor the mushrooming banks and financial institutions. A total of Rs.6.25 billion in cooperatives was in risk, he said. A concrete policy was essential for saving the deposit of the cooperatives as well as making the cooperative movements successful in the country. K.B Upreti, managing director of National Cooperative Bank, said that the bank has been playing the role of the facilitators to those cooperatives which were facing liquidity crunch. nnnn ENERGY CRISIS HITS KAPILVASTHU Kathmandu, 6 March:: Industries in Kapilvastu districts have been badly affected by the acute energy crisis and shortage of raw materials, The Rising Nepal reports from Kapilvasthu.. The industries established along the Chandrauta-Krishnanagar corridor of the district are now in verge of closure owing to the hours long load shedding and shortage of raw materials. Nine cement factories, six plywood factories, Mahalaxmi Sugar Mills and 21 crusher industries were badly affected by the acute energy crisis. Buddha Cement Factory, a factory operating in the corridor, has completely stopped its production citing the load shedding as a single reason. Pashupati Cement and Bijaya Cement Pvt. Ltd. have also cut their production by 50 per cent due to the increased load shedding. Arghakanchi Cement Factory, which is also producing clinker needed for cement production, has now in verge of collapse after the closure of its limestone mine showing its impact on environment. As the local people from mine sides of Arghakanchi district forcefully closed the limestone mines, our clinker production has been affected, said Rajendra Bahadur Singh, General Manager of the Arghakanchi Cement Factory. Owing to lack of raw materials and load shedding, we are not operating our factory in its full capacity, he said. Similarly, condition of other cement factories operated in the corridor is no different. According to Bijaya Kanaudiya, president of Krishananagar Chamber of Commerce and Industry, more than two dozens of crusher industries of the corridor had been shut down after the government imposed a ban on the export of the crusher products. nnnn


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