Nepal Today

Thursday, March 21, 2013

MERGER AGREMEENT BETWEEN KIST BANK, VIBOR BIKASH BANK Kathmandu,22 March: KIST Bank and Vibor Bikas Bank Thursday signed a merger agreement by signing a memorandum of understanding 0MoU).. Kamal Prasad Gyawali, the managing director of KIST Bank, and Dr Roop Jyoti, the vice-chairman of Vibor Bikas Bank, signed the MoU.. A merger committee to complete he process in nine months has been formed. Nnnn : PARTIES GEAR UP FOR ELECTIONS Kathmandu, 22 March: After giving a full shape to the interim election government and recommending appointments to the top vacant posts of the Election Commission and other constitutional bodies, the major political parties seem to have geared up for elections, Thira L. Bhusal writes in Republica. . Key leaders from four major political parties -- UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress (NC), CPN-UML and United Madhesi Democratic Front -- that until a few months ago remained divided over whether to go for fresh elections or to reinstate the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA) now unanimously stand in favor of fresh polls. A meeting of the Constitutional Council on Thursday decided to recommend five names to President Ram Baran Yadav for their appointment as commissioners of the Election Commission. In an indication that the party is aggressively moving ahead for polls, the UCPN (Maoist) on Wednesday formed two separate committees mainly for election purpose. A central committee meeting of UCPN (Maoist) formed a nine-member taskforce headed by party Vice-chairman and former Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai and entrusted the team with drafting the party´s election manifesto. The same meeting formed another nine-member committee headed by party General Secretary Posta Bahadur Bogati with the mandate to recommend party candidates for the Constituent Assembly polls from each of the 240 constituencies across the country. Immediately after the formation of the election government, leaders of the constituent parties of the Federal Democratic Republican Alliance (FDRA), an alliance led by UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, reached an understanding to give continuity to their working alliance until fresh polls are held. They also agreed to go for election with a common manifesto, common candidate and common agenda. Other major political parties seemed to be equally enthusiastic. A three-day regional gathering of Nepali Congress (NC) delegates held earlier this week in Nuwakot concluded that the latest political deal was a victory for the party as that created an environment for fresh elections. NC and CPN-UML leaders have claimed that they would capitalize the new elections as an opportunity to correct the setbacks in previous CA elections in 2008 when the UCPN (Maoist) emerged as the largest party. Addressing a function in Kathmandu on Thursday, NC President Sushil Koirala instructed party members to focus all activities on elections. Koirala claimed that the party would emerge as the largest party in the coming elections. “What we need is to stand united while going for elections,” said Koirala. A key leader of CPN-UML, KP Sharma Oli, argued at the same function that the dissolved CA couldn´t deliver a new constitution “because UCPN (Maoist) emerged as the largest party” in the CA election in 2008. “Now is an opportunity for us to go to the people and correct the verdict by electing democratic parties as largest political forces. Once the democratic parties have a decisive say in the House, the country will get a new constitution,” said Oli. On Wednesday, CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal instructed party cadres to reach out to the grassroots level and set plans and strategies to win election. “Now onward every meetings and discussions at each levels of the party should be on setting plans and strategies for making the CPN-UML the largest party,” Khanal said while addressing a gathering of the party´s youth wing members at the party head office in Kathmandu. UML´s youth wing Chief Mahesh Basnet, at the same function, announced that his organization had already decided to deploy "every booth, one group of youths" to ensure UML candidates´ victory. Civil society members and independent analysts believed that the latest development indicate that the political parties have geared up for the polls. Until last month, key leaders from major political parties had been giving contradictory statements on ending the deadlock. While some leaders lobbied for fresh elections as a solution to the protracted deadlock, other leaders claimed that reinstatement of the dissolved CA would be the best option to bail the country out of the multi-faceted political as well as constitutional crises. “Now, at least leaders from four major political forces aren´t giving contradictory statements and they have said in public that election is the only solution,” said political analyst Bishnu Sapkota. “It is a positive development that the parties have at least shown eagerness and confidence in public to go for polls.” Constitutional lawyer Bipin Adhikari said the major political parties and the election government have created constitutional as well as legal grounds for holding polls. He, however, said he was still skeptic “because the major parties haven´t created political grounds for elections”. “They have announced to hold elections but none of the thorny political disputes -- that led to the dissolution of the previous CA -- has been settled," said Adhikari. On the other hand, the Baidya-led CPN-Maoist and some other regional groups have announced not only to boycott the polls but also to disrupt it if the elections are held without forming a national consensus government. Since the decision to hold polls is led by major political parties and welcomed by other stakeholders, it can be materialized once the disgruntled political forces such as the Baidya-led Maoist party are taken on board. Nnnn SCHOOLS OVERCHARGNG PARTNTS Kathmandu, 22 March: Three schools, which cater especially to children from Kathmandu´s elite classes, are found to have violated a government directive on charges for admissions and admission forms, Republica reports.. Paragon Public School and Pathshala Nepal of Kathmandu and Shuvatara School of Lalitpur are found to have charged each student Rs 500 for admission forms and fees. A recent government directive does not allow schools to charge more than Rs 100 for admission fee and Rs 25 for admission form. Of four schools raided by two separate inspection teams, one headed by Kathmandu´s District Education Officer (DEO) Baikuntha Aryal and another led by Lalitpur´s DEO Mankaji Shrestha, Rato Bangla School was not found to have charged more than the limit set by the directive. "We did not find any such evidence at Rato Bangla," said Lalitpur DEO Shrestha. "But, there are allegations that Rato Bangla is also fleecing its students. We will continue to look into the matter." "As for Shuvatara School, we have instructed its management to correct the mistakes," said Shrestha. "If Shuvatara does not return illegally-collected money to the parents, we will take legal action." In Kathmandu, both Paragan Public School and Pathshala Nepal have agreed in writing to return illegally-charged fees. "As per the agreement, they will return money that has already been collected from the parents," said Aryal. "And they will follow the directive in the days to come also." According to Suprabhat Bhandari, president of Guardians´ Association of Nepal and a member of one of the two inspection teams, no raid was conducted in Bhaktapur. "We had received complaints against schools run by the Nepal Army and Nepal Police in Bhaktapur," he said. "However, when we protested, both these schools returned the fee overcharge to parents." Earlier, Budhanilkantha School of Kathmandu had also returned overcharges to parents. The directive, which has been rejected by the Private and Boarding Schools Organization of Nepal (PABSON), was issued by the government on February 19, in line with a ruling of the Supreme Court (SC). Nnnn


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