Nepal Today

Friday, March 29, 2013

PRESIDENT ASKS CHAIRMAN REGMI TO ANNOUNCE ASSEMBLY ELECTION DATE Kathmandu, 30 Mrch: Expressing dissatisfaction with the work of the government, President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav has asked Chairman of the council of ministers Khil Raj Regmi [Friday] to announce dates for constituent assembly elections, Nagarik reports. ‘It’s essential to conduct work fast. Speed up the work,” President’s Press Advisor Tajendra Dahal said in Nagarik Saturday quoting the president/ “Wthat is being done to create an atmosphere for constituent assembly elections? How are discussions going? What is being talked with the big parties? How much technical work has been completed? ” the president asked, according to Dahal. The president told Regmi to speed up work by involving all parties. nnnn . GOVT. CHIEF SAYS ELECTION DATE ONLY AFTR VIOLENCE ENDS Kathmandu, 30 March:: Chairman of interim election council Khil Raj Regmi today [Friday] told the High-Level Political Committee members that the government could not announce the date for fresh Constituent Assembly elections as long as disruption of voters’ registration process continued, Prakahs Acharya writes in The Himalayan Times. . Regmi also requested HLPC to help the government hold talks with the agitating parties. With disruption of the process to update voters’ list on and with little time left for making preparations for providing citizenship certificates to those deprived of them, amending election related laws and arranging electronic voting machines, the possibility of holding polls by June 21 as suggested by the parties is receding fast, sources said. Talking to HLPC members — Unified CPN-Maoist Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress Vice-president Ramchandra Paudel and UML leader KP Oli – at his residence in Baluwatar this evening, Regmi requested them to help the government hold talks with the protesting political groups, including Mohan Baidhya-led CPN-Maoist and Upendra Yadav-led Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal. “The Election Commission has been preparing for the polls. Once the obstacle to updating the voters’ list is removed, the government can announce the date in consultation with EC after calculating the days required for other preparations,” Regmi told the HLPC members, according to NC leader Ramchandra Paudel. Talking to The Himalayan Times, Paudel said the HLPC had decided to hold talks with the EC members and the agitating political groups on the matter “either tomorrow or on Sunday”. “We will assess the obstacles in updating the voters’ list and tell the government to complete the task of updating voters’ list and providing citizenship certificates to those deprived by May 14,” said UML leader Bam Dev Gautam after the HLPC meeting held earlier this morning. Prez concerned President Ram Baran Yadav has asked the Chairman of the Interim Election Council of Ministers Khil Raj Regmi to take initiatives for creating conducive environment for holding Constituent Assembly elections. In a meeting with Chairman Regmi held at Shital Niwas on Friday, the Head of the State urged Regmi to speed up the poll process by taking even those opposing the elections into confidence. Rajendra Dahal, Press Adviser to the President, told The Himalayan Times, “The President was also concerned about promulgating ordinances to remove legal hurdles in holding elections and also for good security arrangements.” Nnnn RENEWAL OF LOST PASSPORTS TO TAKE SIX MONTHS Kathmandu, 30 March: To curb fraudulent activities in the name of passport loss, the Department of Passports has decided not to re-issue passports for at least six months after the loss is reported, except in cases where the applicant proves that the loss is genuine, Lekhnath Pandey writes in The Himalayan Times.. Stating that passport loss is a serious crime, the DoP has proposed an amendment to the existing Passport Regulations 2010. “We have found that most cases of the said passport-loss are not genuine,” Acting Director General of the DoP Yadav Khanal told THT. The government has been charging Rs 10,000 (twice the normal fee) as fee for the re-issuance of a lost passport. But it hasn’t proved to be a deterrent, and applications for re-issuance of lost passports have been piling up. According to Khanal, once the regulations are amended, the loss will have to be reported to the police. Only if the police investigation finds the loss to be genuine will the DoP accept the application for another passport before the six-month general provision. Otherwise application for passport renewal will be accepted six months after the loss is reported to the police. “It’s the bearer’s duty to keep his/her document safe,” Khanal said. DoP claims that in most cases passport loss is faked after the applicant’s visa is rejected by foreign embassies or human resource agents don’t return his/her passport. A proposal to revise the regulations has been sent to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. DoP has also advised the MoFA to initiate the process of issuing e-passport with biometric device, apropos the call of International Civil Aviation Organisation to introduce smart-passports after 2015. The government has been issuing machine readable passports since 26 December 2010 with a validity period of 10 years. Khanal said MRPs would be valid till their expiry despite the ICAO’s call to introduce e-passports. Khanal said the office had proposed three time-frames for passport issuance: very urgent, urgent and normal. Currently, the DoP issues passports in two time frames: normal channel with a delivery time of one-and-a-half months costing applicant Rs 5,000 and a fast-track channel that ensures passport within a week for Rs 10,000. If the proposed provision is applied, passport would be issued within 48 hours at extra cost to the applicant. nnnn


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