Nepal Today

Saturday, March 9, 2013

SHIBARATRI BEING OBSERVED NATION-WIDE Kathmandu, 10 March: All four doors of Pashupatinath temple were opened to an expected 1.2 million Hindu devotees for worship for three in the morning Sunday coinciding with Mahashibaratri, Devotees thronged Shiva temples for worship, prayers and holy dips I rivers. Organizers at Pashupatinath hoped devotees, mainly from home and India, wouldn’t have to wait for more than two hours in queues for a darshan at the holiest Hindu shrine in the country. An estimated 5,500 security personnel have been deployed to maintain peace at Pashupatinath. Smoking hash within the temple complex has been banned, Sadhus and sanths are exempted. nnnn. MOST WANTED MAN ARRESTED Kathmandu, 10:March: Police Saturday presented a man wanted at home in Nepal and India for criminal activities at a district police office in Rajbiraj Saturday. Birendra Paswan, a resident of Saptari, Koiladi, was presented before media six days after his arrest from his home. Paswan, police said, was involved in the murder of a policeman, ,drugs trafficking and other criminal activities. nnnn CAPITAL’S SUNDAY MORNING TEMPRATURE 12 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 10 March: Capital’s Sunday morning temperature at seven in the morning was 12 degrees Celsius Mercury on a rainy day is expected to rise to 24 degrees Celsius. A slight drizzle was recorded in the capital Saturday. nnnn i MEDIA GOOGLE “Third people’s movement is inevitable if the government and the parties remain indifferent to our demands [not to form an election government led by chief justice].” (CPN Maoist leader Dev Gurung, The Himalayan Times, 10 March) “The bigwigs of the Unified CPN-Maoist, Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Madhesi Front are just putting up an election drama to hoodwink the general public. In fact, now the so-called political parties themselves are bent on to imposing totalitarianism in the country by putting themselves above the law. ”Now they are staging a cheesy show presenting the chief justice as its main actor. Soon the drama will be over, and the parties themselves will remove his name from the possible prime minister candidate. “We cannot remain silent, if a government led by CJ is formed.. Entrusting the reigns of the judiciary and the executive to the same person is simply a recipe to pave way to autocracy once again.” (NEFIN Chairperson Raj Kumar Lelhi, The Himalayan Times, 10 March) PM INVITED TO VISIT CHINA Kathmandu, 10 March: At a time when negotiations are underway in Nepal to hand over government leadership to the chief justice for holding polls, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai has received an invitation from China, Purna Bista writes in Republica from Beijing. . China has invited Prime Minister Bhattarai, who did not have opportunity to visit the northern neighbor even after 19 months in power, to attend China-South Asia Expo. The prime minister has been invited along with Nepalese delegation to attend the Expo scheduled to be held in Kunming of South-Western Yunan Province from June 6 to 9. According to Nepalese ambassador to China Mahesh Maskey, governor of Yunan Province Li Jiheng had extended the invitation to the prime minister through the embassy on Friday. The visit of the prime minister, however, is likely to be affected as negotiations among parties in Nepal are underway to form a new election government. "Efforts were underway for long to arrange the visit of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai to China. But China has now found its convenient for the visit to take place," said Ambassador Maskey. "The visit now depends on the political situation back home in Nepal." It is learnt that the visit of Prime Minister, however, won´t be official political visit. Sources close to Chinese Foreign Ministry said Chinese President and Prime Minister will hold meetings with the leaders of South Asian countries on the occasion. Though Prime Minister Bhattarai, who is also considered close to India, had paid official visit to India immediately after assuming the post of prime minister, he is yet to make a visit to northern neighbor. Nnnn GOVT. COMPLAINS TO UNHCR WHERE A TIBETAN WENT BEFORE DEADLY SELF-IMMOLATION Kathmandu, 10 March Amid heightened concern that Tibetan exiles could unleash ´untoward´ incidents to mark Tibetan Uprising Day, the government has stepped up security vigilance and increased the presence of police at various ´sensitive places´ in Kathmandu Valley, Kosh Raj Koirala writes in Republica.. Highly placed government sources said the government increased the security presence at sensitive places such as Bouddha, Swyambhu, Jawalakhel, Baluwatar (where the Chinese embassy is located) and Hattiban (location of consular section) amid credible intelligence reports that more Tibetan activists are preparing to self-immolate. Sources said the government decided to adopt additional security measures to foil any such bid after a Tibetan youth, Thundup Dopchen, died a few hours after attempting self-immolation in Bouddha on February 13. Government officials say his personal particulars and the motive behind the self-immolation are yet to be independently verified as no kin or relative has approached to receive the dead body. “We have kept police on duty in areas deemed sensitive on high alert and also increased the presence of police personnel in such areas,” said a senior police official, asking to remain unnamed. Exiled Tibetans celebrate March 10 as the anniversary of the Tibetan uprising that took place in Lhasa in 1959. There were apprehensions in Nepal that Tibetan activists would resort to more self-immolation bids, also in view of China´s annual legislative session that began early this month. Sources said the Home Ministry lodged a separate complaint with officials from the United Nations High Commission for Refugee (UNHCR) in Kathmandu after intelligence confirmed that the Tibetan youth who self-immolated last month had gone to Boudhha from the UNHCR-run Tibetan Reception Center. Home Ministry officials in a meeting with UNCHR officials asked them to closely monitor such activities on the part of Tibetans taking refuge at the Center. As Tibetan exiles spearheaded anti-China demonstration in Kathmandu in March, 2008, marking the 50th anniversary of a failed uprising against the Chinese takeover of Tibet, China has grown very assertive about the Tibet issue in Nepal. Officials said the recent self-immolation case has made China more wary, leading it to pile additional pressure on Nepal to effectively curb such activities by Tibetans. A few days after the self-immolation incident, the Chinese Embassy in Kathmandu had sent a diplomatic note to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA), asking the government of Nepal to effectively curb such ´anti-China´ activities. The diplomatic note also reminded the Nepal government of its commitment to a ´One-China´ policy. Nepal recognizes the Tibet Autonomous Region (TAR) as an integral part of China under its ´One China policy´. “It is the long-standing policy of the Nepal government not to allow any activities that are detrimental to the interests of our neighbors. We have made necessary security arrangements in areas deemed sensitive to foil any untoward incidents,” Home Ministry Spokesperson Shanker Koirala told Republica. He, however, declined to divulge details of what security measures were adopted to contain such activites. Nepal has recognized all Tibetans who entered Nepal before 1990 as refugees. According to a census conducted in 1993, the number of Tibetan refugees living in 21 various districts in Nepal stood at 12,540. Authorities say the figure might have reached over 20,000 by now. Nnnn FOUR FORCES CLOSER TO DEAL Kathmandu, 10 March: Four major political forces, which have been trying to strike a deal for nearly one month, today said they reached a consensus on three contentious issues. They, however, have yet to agree on a sticking issue — whether or not to provide three top ranks to former Maoist combatants in the Nepali Army, The Himalayan Times reports. . The Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML rejected the Unified CPN-Maoist’s demand for two Lieutenant Colonels and one Colonel for the former fighters. CPN-UML leader Bam Dev Gautam said the Unified CPN-Maoist is insisting on three posts right now despite the NC and the UML’s reservations. “We are ready to create the three posts in the NA’s directorate now. But the fighters must complete the training and meet other criteria for appointment,” Gautam said. Maoist leader Amik Sherchan said the ruling parties will hold talks with the NC tomorrow and the four forces will sit for talks the next day. The four forces — the UCPN-M, NC, UML and the United Democratic Madhesi Front — have reached consensus on three issues — providing citizenship certificates by descent to the children of those who have citizenship by birth, updating the voters’ list and forming a Truth and Reconciliation Commission — according to Gautam. “The waiting game is over, but minor hurdles remain.” UDMF leader Bijay Kumar Gachhadar said, “All four issues are under consideration as they are interrelated.” There will be two bases for updating the voters’ list — including all those, who were on the 2008 voters’ list, on the new list with their photos and accepting those not having citizenship certificates as voters, if they can show any other proof of being a Nepali citizen — according to Minendra Rijal, taskforce member from the NC. “A campaign will be launched to provide citizenship and update the voters’ list. Those who cannot get the citizenship will be inducted on the voters’ list on the basis of other evidence showing them as Nepali citizen with their age,” said Rijal. UDMF leader Rajendra Mahato said they agreed to update the voters’ list on the basis of citizenship, but if any Nepali citizen fails to get citizenship for any reasons, the person will be able to register his/her name on the voters’ rolls on the basis of other evidence such as academic qualification certificates and land ownership certificates. On TRC, the parties agreed to take legal action against those involved in heinous crimes as per the land of the law, according to UML leader Gautam. The government will withdraw the TRC ordinance forwarded to the President and will amend it with the provision that the TRC will recommend action against those involved in serious rights violations. Gautam said the to-be amended ordinance will state that ‘serious rights violations’ will be defined as per Nepal’s laws as well as international principles and practices. Points of accord • Govt to withdraw TRC ordinance, to amend it with provisions guaranteeing action against those involved in serious rights violations • People without citizenship certificates to be included on the voters’ list if they can show papers to prove they are Nepali citizens Nnnn PM INTERVENES TO STOP DDC EXPANSION INTO POKHARA Kathmandu, 10 March: Dairy Development Corporation (DDC) — the state enterprise dedicated to the development of the dairy sector — has stopped its plan to establish a milk processing plant in Pokhara following an intervention by prime minister Dr Baburam Bhattarai, The Himalayan Times reports.. The state entity had signed an agreement with Panthi Dairy to restart processing and distribution after a gap of eight years. Farmers, though, are against the decision, so it should be revoked, said vice president of Central Dairy Farmers’ Cooperatives Association Baburam Adhikari, at a press conference today. “The prime minister’s decision is not in favour of farmers and consumers,” he said. According to him, private dairy firms in Pokhara have not been paying good prices to farmers. Therefore, DDC must establish its plant in Pokhara, he added. DDC had tried to reenter the Pokhara market about a month and a half back, but private dairy firms had forced it to stop its plan at the time. DDC again took the initiative to open a plant in Pokhara, a market which it had quit in 2005. It had signed an agreement with Panthi Dairy for the purpose. The battle between private dairy firms and DDC has attracted the attention of the National Planning Commission too. The commission has sent an expert team led by joint secretary at ministry of agriculture development Uttam Kumar Bhattarai to study the dairy market in Pokhara. The team directed DDC to stop its expansion plan last week. DDC’s expansion plan has been suspended for now, said Bhattarai. DDC must be allowed to operate in Pokhara to reduce exploitation of farmers by private dairy firms, said president of All Nepal Dairy Farmers Association (Revolutionary) Ram Prasad Dahal. “Private dairies in Pokhara are cheating farmers regarding price, announce a milk holiday whenever they want, and do not pay on time. Therefore, DDC is required to build a competitive market,” he said. The prime minister wants to privatise the profit making company, so he has stopped DDC’s expansion plan, claimed Dahal, adding that the government is not serious on providing relief to farmers and consumers. DDC’s presence is a must to end cartelling by private dairies, he added. DDC has already invested around Rs two million in Pokhara to start milk processing and distribution. It had sold its Pokhara plant to Sujal Dairy for Rs 64 million in 2005. nnnn


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