Nepal Today

Monday, March 11, 2013

LIGHTNING KILLS ONE, INJURES FIVE IN SOLU Kathamandu, 11 March: Durga Basnet, 48, of Deusa-6, Solukhumbu district, died after he was struck by lighting at around 8 pm on Sunday, RSS reports from Solokhumbu. Yasoda Basnet, the daughter-in-law of Basnet and his neighbors Bishwa Bahdur Khatri and Nar Kumari Khatri were injured by lightning . They had fallen unconscious in the incident and recovered after treatment at a local health centre, said DSP Sudan Singh at the District Police Office Solukhumbu . Likewise, Chandra Kala Rai and Sujata Rai of Basa-4 in the district were injured by lighting. They are being treated at a local health Centre, said police. Nnnn TRAFFIC POLICE KILLED IN ACCIDENT Kathmandu, 11 March: Ajay Jha currently posted at the Koteshwor Traffic Police Circle in the Capital, Kathmandu, died in a road accident took place on the East-West highway in Birgunj on Saturday night, RSS reports from Birgunj,. Jha was heading towards home on a motorcycle and hit a stationary tractor on the roadside at Bara Nijgad. He was critically injured in the incident. According to Inspector Bigyan Basnet at the District Traffic Police Office, Jha died while undergoing treatment. The deceased Jha was a permanent resident of Sarlahi district. RSS nnnn MAOIST INTEGRATION REINFOCED NATIONAL UNITY SAYS ARMY CHIEF Kathmandu, 11 March: Chief of Army Staff Gen Gaurav SJB Rana on Sunday said the integration of former Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army (NA) has strengthened national unity and given momentum to the process of national Development, The Kathmandu Post reports.. In a message to the rank and file on the occasion of Army Day, Gen Rana said the integration process has been completed in a manner that will not jeopardise the professionalism and apolitical character of the NA. He further said the process has eliminated the armed conflict and given the much-needed impetus to the country’s political process. The Army chief’s statement follows preparations to set up a General Directorate with a strength of 4,171 personnel to integrate over 1,400 former Maoist fighters into the Army. His positive observations on the integration process comes at a time when ranks to be offered to the ex-combatants in the NA have become a contentious issue in cross-party talks. “The Nepal Army has played a responsible role in line with the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in army integration, a challenging and complex task of the peace process,” the message said. It said the formation of the General Directorate for National Development and Security would help restructure the Army organisation. The NA said it has started the process of deploying 65 percent of its human resource, apart from the ex-combatants required for the General Directorate. The General Directorate will include three directorates, each of which will be responsible for infrastructure development, forest and environment security and disaster response. In a cross-party deal signed in November 2011, major parties had also agreed to deploy the General Directorate for industrial security. In Sunday’s address, Gen Rana said that field ambulance, signal, combat and combat support units of the engineering and transport unit would be included in the new directorate. The NA recruited 1,460 ex-combatants last year, bringing an end to the two army set-up in existence since the beginning of the peace process in 2006. The NA, under the leadership of Gen Rookmangud Katawal, had stood firmly against integration. However, in the three-year tenure of former CoAS Gen Chhatra Man Singh Gurung, which started from September 2009, it adopted a more flexible stance. In his address, Gen Rana also announced the new policies and programmes that the NA plans to execute under him. He committed to work towards ensuring a definite percent of the annual budget for defence from the government, revising and formulating the defence doctrine, increasing participation and capacity in UN peacekeeping operations and adopting long-term restructuring policies with a 10-year vision plan. The Army chief also lauded the newly introduced Army Service Regulation, saying that it encourages promotion on the basis of merit. Some officers have expressed reservations over the new regulation, arguing that it bypasses seniority and has opened up space for promotions based on favouritism and nepotism. Gen Rana, however, said that the new rule has made the promotion system more competitive and ensures that only capable officers receive promotions to command positions. The Regulation also includes provisions to listen to the complaints of dissatisfied soldiers. The Army chief also announced some populist plans, including providing subsidised loans for the purchase of four wheelers, motorcycles and cycles for serving soldiers. He noted that a directive on women soldiers, which pledges to create female friendly infrastructure in the Army, has been forwarded for approval to the Ministry of Defence. Preparations are also underway to formulate criteria to make selections in UN peacekeeping, conferring awards and various appointments to the Army more transparent, he said. Rana further pledged to revise the NA’s welfare schemes and increase elderly allowances for ex-servicemen above the age of 70 from the current Rs 400 to Rs 1,000 per month. He also outlined plans to set up an Ex-Servicemen Trust and a vocational training institute for pensioners and their families. Nnnn 45 MIGRANT WORKERS STRANDED IN QATAR Kathmandu, 11 March: Forty-five Nepali migrant workers have not been given their salaries or their papers preventing them from returning home. The workers who were employed at three companies based in Sanaiya, Bakra and Mataraqdim complained that they had not been provided identity cards to stay in Qatar , and that they had not been allowed to return home either, The Kathmandu Post writes.. The 35 Nepali workers employed at RTC Company said that they had not been paid for the last four months. “The company gives us a month’s salary after working for four months,” said Hem Shankar Pashawan who hails from Siraha district. “It has been difficult for us to repay our loans and interest back home.” He added that the company had also not issued identity cards for the Nepali workers which is necessary to live in Qatar . This has made them anxious because they could be arrested at any time by the local police for not having the necessary papers. The workers said that even though the companies had promised to let them return to Nepal, they had not been allowed to leave. “It has already been four months that we have been waiting to return to Nepal, but there is still no sign of it,” said Sanjiv Shah who is from Mahottari. Shah, who suffers from a nerve-related disease, said that his condition had been deteriorating as the company had not managed his health inspection. “I am having difficulty to stand on my feet due to the lack of health check-up,” he said. Meanwhile, a local hotel has sacked five Nepalis. Kishan Rijal of Parbat, Kalamdin Nau of Kapilvastu, Gopal Pandey of Butwal, Medhnath Sharma of Baglung and Dhana Bahadur Magar of Gaighat who lost their jobs said that the employer exploited their labour and manhandled them. The hotel in Bakra had not even provided them accommodation. They eventually found shelter at the Nepal Embassy after spending two days in a mosque. Rijal said that the Jordani owner of the hotel used to make them work at the hotel during the day and at his home during the night. “We had to work at the hotel from 8 am to 12 midnight,” he said. “Then we would be taken to his home to do more work.” He added that they used to be beaten if they refused to work. The workers gave up their jobs due to the exploitation. “All our stuffs are at the hotel,” said Gopal Pandey of Butwal. “We were not allowed to take our stuffs with us.” Meanwhile, Medhnath Sharma of Baglung who had arrived just two months ago had paid Rs 115,000 to an agent. “I had come here with the hope of getting a job at a good hotel,” he said. “But the hotel was really terrible.” These five Nepalis are now living in a shelter provided by the Nepal Embassy. They also have filed a case against the owner of the hotel. nnnn


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