Nepal Today

Friday, March 15, 2013

GOVT. RELEASES RS.1B FOR NOC Kathmandu, 16 March: Cabinet Friday evening released Rs 1billion as loan to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) to import POL products amid shortages. Government also decided to accept a loan of Rs 928.6 million from the Japan International Cooperation Agency (JICA) to reinforce the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), the country’s only international airport. Nnnn . GOVT. RECOMMENDS AMENDMENT OF CONSTITUTIONL COUNCIL ACT Kathmandu, 16 March: The new government Friday decided to ask President Dr. Ram Baran Yarav to promulgate an ordinance on the function, duties and powers of the constitutional council. The existing law needs amendment to appoint officials to constitutional bodies. Posts have been vacant in constitutional bodies like election commission and public service commission for years with parties pressing appointment of lackeys. The council had the government chief and leader of opposition as members. The amendment should help appointment election officials to vacate senior positions in election commissionto codct secod constituent assembly elections. The cabinet decided to promote 29 officials to joint- Secretary rank. Nnnn AIR CRASH REPORT SUBMITTED Kathmandu, 16 March: A report on causes of a 28 September 2012 crash of Sita Air German-built Dronier over Madhyapur Thimi killing 19 persons, including four Nepalis, was submitted to government Friday. The aircraft crashed along Manahara river after takeoff from TIA for Lukla. nnnn. HOTEL RADISSON MANAGING BK SHRESTHA ATTACKED BY MAOIST WORKERS Kathmandu, 16 March: Managing Director of Hotel Radisson BK Shrestha was attacked in his car Friday morning by workers affiliated with a trade union affiliated with a trade union affiliated with Maoist Chairman Pachanda, FNCCI said. The organization demanded action against persons who attacked Shrestha in his car in Lalitpur. The car was damaged by motorcyclists.. The hotel has been facing management problem following the dismissal of some workers of the hotel’s casino. Nnnn ELECTRICIAN ELECTROCUTED IN THIMI Kathmandu, 16 March : A electricity repairman was electrocuted while replacing an electricity poll at Thimi Friday. Six others were injured. nnnn. NO POLLS IN JUNE IF PREPARATIONS DELAYED Kathmandu, 16 March : A day after the formation of an election government led by Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi, the Election Commission (EC) on Friday said holding elections on June 21 would be possible only if preparations are made without any delay, Kamal Pariyar writes in Republica.. “The elections can be held on time only if we work in full capacity. The deadline of June 21 can´t be met if preparations are delayed,” said Joint Secretary Anil Kumar Thakur, who is also the EC spokesperson. However, EC is without its commissioners as all the five commissioners have retired. EC officials have planned to prepare a three-month plan for polls once all the commissioners are appointed. He said amendment to the constitutional provisions to remove constitutional difficulties through the president´s order has created grounds for appointment of commissioners even in the absence of parliament. The constitutional provisions were amended as the Interim Constitution requires parliamentary hearings for appointment of commissioners in constitutional bodies. “Now the government should allocate budget for the polls,” he said. According to Thakur, the commission had earlier requested the government to allocate at least around Rs 10 billion for elections. “But now we need more budget as the expenses might go up,” he added. Currently, the EC officials are studying the ordinances endorsed by the president and plan to soon carry out other preparatory works, including training officials and volunteers to be deployed for the election. “We need to educate around 47,000 volunteers for the election,” said Thakur. However, there has been an understanding among parties to update the voters´ list on the basis of the one prepared for the CA election held in April, 2008. Besides an understanding on issuing citizenship by descent to the children of citizens by birth, the parties have agreed to issue citizenship through due procedures to those already registered in the voter list. EC estimates that around 150,000 additional voters will be registered for the fresh polls. The government´s plan for June elections will largely rely on the support political parties extend to the chief justice-led government, said EC officials. Altogether 75 political parties had been registered during the CA election in 2008, while 44 new parties have registered with EC following the polls. In addition, other12 organizations have applied for the registration at EC, while many more are likely to apply for registration in the days to come. Nnnn FORMER ARMED GROUP MEMBERS TALKING TO BUSINESS Kathmandu, 16 March: Members of armed underground outfits operating in the mid-Tarai region, who surrendered after engagement in violence for a long time, are now increasingly involved in entrepreneurial exploits, Madan Thakur writes in Republica from Republica from Rautahat.. Most of the 44 former underground outfit members active in Rautahat, Bara and Parsa districts, who renounced the violent conflict, are now to be found running their own businesses to earn a living. As per information provided by police, 23 members of five underground armed groups in Rautahat, three members of two armed groups in Bara and 22 members of six armed groups in Parsa had surrendered to the government. Most of those who surrendered in Rautahat are involved in agriculture or have started shops while some of them have gone for greener pastures abroad. Kuran Miya aka Sher Shinha, then chief of the armed outfit Janatantrik Jwala Singh group, is involved in agriculture to support his 10-member family. Miya is repentant over his underground past. “I could not spend time with my family and children when I was with the outfit. I am really ashamed in terms of humanity for what I did as a member of the armed group,” said Miya. Arjun Jaisawal aka Shaka, former Ratutahat district in-charge of the underground armed group Tarai Army, has now taken to the hotel business in Garuda after renouncing violence. He was involved in the bomb blast in Kathmandu. Jaisawal said that he surrendered to live an independent life after realising that the armed outfit members were destined to get killed sooner or later as well as because of the increasing public hatred toward armed groups. “The armed groups acting in the name of Tarai liberation are causing fear and violence in society and destroying peace. They are running the business of forced donations for their own benefit,” said Jaisawal. Karan Singh, who had served as Janatantrik Jwala Singh group Rautahat district army commander, has opened a cosmetics shop in front of the police post at Bariyarpur after renouncing the underground life.He said that he was involved in the conflict because he was misled. Dubbing those still involved in the underground armed groups as people who have lost their way in life, he requested them to renounce violence and lead a life of respectability. Around half a dozen gun-toting individuals from the past are now working in India and some Gulf countries to earn a living and support their families. Naresh Patel of Sangrampur-7, a former armed group member, is now working at a garment factory in India and earning a decent income to support his family. Patel said that he has been living a peaceful life after surrendering. According to Superintendent of Police (SP) in Rautahta, Govindaram Pariyar, most of the armed group members who renounced violence between 2063 to 2066 BS, have adopted a civilian way of life. According to police officers, some four armed outfits are still in dialogue with the government in the process of renouncing violence. Nnnn ACTING CHIEF JUSTICE SAYS JUDICIAL INDEPENDENCE WILL BE MAINTAINED Kathmandu, 16 March: Acting Chief Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma today pledged to do the needful to maintain judiciary’s independence. His remarks come amid growing concerns from several quarters that the judiciary has been dragged into controversy and that it is on the verge of losing its independence in the wake of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi’s appointment as the chairman of an interim government, The Himalayan Times reports from Bhaktapur. . Speaking at a programme organised by Bhaktapur chapter of Nepal Bar Association, Sharma, who took over the post of acting chief justice following Regmi’s appointment as chairman of election council, said the development would have no effect on judiciary as law bans the head of executive from intervening in judicial matters. “Judiciary will remain as free and independent as it has been and everyone should refrain from making disparaging comments against it to lower its morale,” said Sharma, adding that Nepal’s judiciary has always remained free, independent and strong — even during the times of the Panchayati regime. He pledged that he, as the head of the judiciary, will do his best to maintain its prestige. Nnnn CAAN TO GIVE FINANCIAL CONCESSIONS TO AIRLINES TO OPERATORS NIGHT FLIGHTS TO EAST CONGESTION AT TIA Kathmandu, 16 March: The Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN), to control the growing passenger traffic, will allow 15 per cent subsidy to airlines operating flights in lean hours. It has divided the Tribhuwan International Airport operational hours into peak hours and lean hours, The Himalayan Times reports. “Airlines who are interested in shifting flights from peak hours, that are flights between 9:00am-5pm, to 5pm-12am will be allowed 15 per cent subsidy in the total operational charges,” said director general of CAAN Tri Ratna Manandhar. CAAN also informed that the airline operation charges and other charges will be reviewed in a year. During an interaction organised at CAAN, it also informed that it has planned to include passenger service charges in the air tickets of domestic airlines, which will be effective from July 16. It has also formed a committee under coordination of general manager of TIA Ratish Chandra Lal Suman to start an aircraft purchase process under Public Procurement Act. “We will soon call a tender for the aircraft purchase,” said Suman. According to CAAN, it has an unutilised fund of $3.7 million, which was received through insurance claims of an aircraft accident in 1998 on the Pokhara-Jomsom route. “We will utilise the amount to purchase a new aircraft for CAAN,” said Manandhar. The authority has plans to utilise the aircraft to calibrate air navigation equipment, observe airports, and for test landing. During the programme, CAAN also informed about the upcoming International Civil Aviation Organisation (ICAO) safety audit programme of CAAN. “An ICAO team will visit the country on July 10-16 and will validate our overall work,” said Manandhar. According to CAAN, international traffic in the country is increasing beyond forecast, whereas the growth of domestic traffic is observing a negative trend. In 2012, total passenger traffic decreased by 0.5 per cent. Total number of domestic passengers in 2012 was around 1.57 million. In the last 20 years, aircraft movement has increased by four times from 24,600 to 95,000, and passenger movement almost by five times from one million to 4.5 million. In 20 years, CAAN has issued 70 Air Operator’s Certificate (AOC) out of which 40 are valid, and six are valid but not in operation. It has issued AOCs for eight helicopters, 15 fixed-wing aircraft, and 19 aviation sports. According to CAAN, private airlines have a total investment of Rs 11 billion and are paying around Rs one billion as insurance premium. nnnn


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