Nepal Today

Monday, March 11, 2013

STUDENT PROTESTS CONTINEE DEMANDING ROLLBACK OF INCREASED TRANSPORT FARES Kathmandu, 12 March: Eleven student unions are holding second day of protests Tuesday to press government to roll bacl nine to 15 percent hike in public transport fares from Friday. Students are coming out of streets later Tuesday afternoon blowing shrill ear defening whistles after they obstructed movement of vehicles in the capital for one hour Monday. They said movement of taxis will be obstructed for some hours Wednesday morning if demands aren’t met that day.with threats to announce new protest plans. In a memorandum to transport Minister Hridesh Tripathi, students also demanded 45 percent concession in fares.. The minister said a task force will look into the demands. bennnn INVESTIGATION OF IRREGULARITIES AT TUTH BEGINS Kathmandu, 12 March: The National Vigilance Centre has started investigations into alleged financial irregularities and administrative deals of the Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital (TUTH), The Kathmandu Post writes.. According to sources at the NVC, the TUTH is yet to make payments for different firms, while many of its employees have evaded taxes. The NVC last Sunday wrote a letter to the TU VC, Hira Maharjan, seeking clarifications on the matter. “We are waiting for his reply,” the NVC source told the Post, adding that the resignation of Dr Bhagawan Koirala on March 4 as Executive Director of the TUTH has also piled pressure on the NVC to launch proper investigations. In his posts about his resignation on Facebook, Dr Koirala has said that the negative balance of the TUTH amounted to around Rs 660 million when he joined the institution as the director and that many suppliers and parties were not paid their dues. He has said that “the hospital staff had not received their salaries on time for several months. Moreover, the taxes were not paid, although they were deducted from the staffers, nor were there provident funds or citizen investment trust for the employees, he said. It is learnt that the NVC sprung into action after complaints were filed against the TUTH at the NVC. Nnnn NEPAL TO ACCEDE TO BRITISH DEMAND NOT TO ISSUE TRAVEL DOCUMENT TO ARRESTED COL. KUMAR LAMA FOR HIS RELESE IN UK Kathmandu, 12 March: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) has decided not to issue travel documents or a passport to Nepal Army Col Kumar Lama from any of its missions until a final verdict from the British court where his case is still pending, Anil Giri writes in The Kathmandu Post... The decision comes in the wake of the British court granting bail to Col Lama on the condition that his movements will be confined only to the United Kingdom and that he will not travel to Nepal until a final verdict in his case. “On a request from Col Lama, we have decided not to issue travel documents until the final verdict against him comes out,” Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Foreign Affairs Narayan Kaji Shrestha told the Post. Col Lama, who was arrested in January by British authorities on charges of torture allegedly committed during the armed conflict in Nepal, was granted bail of 10,000 pounds sterling by the Chelmsford Crown Court, Essex, on March 2. The court had set strict conditions for Lama, including not contacting, directly or indirectly, those who filed the complaint against him and the court’s witnesses. “Originally, we did not want to curtail his movement, but the British authorities have sought an assurance in writing that he will not leave the UK until a final verdict. So to release him from custody, we have decided not to issue any travel document to him,” said multiple sources at the MoFA. The MoFA had taken up the issue in the Cabinet on Monday. Although the government has already released the bail amount, Col Lama is still in custody, awaiting the written assurance from the Nepal government. The upcoming plea and case management hearing has been scheduled for May 10 and a trial scheduled for June 5 in the Kingston Crown Court in South West London. Earlier, the government’s position was that it was the sovereign right of a citizen to have access to citizenship, passport or travel documents , said an official privy to developments. An electronic tagging device monitored by a security firm is monitoring Lama’s movements. He is also required to report to the police on a regular basis and practice a ‘home curfew’ from 10pm till 7am. The UK-based law firm, Kingsley Napley, which is fighting the case on Lama's behalf, had registered an appeal, demanding Lama's release on bail in the Chelmsford Crown Court on March 3. nnnn


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