Nepal Today

Saturday, March 23, 2013

TOP ELECTION OFFICIALS BEING APPOINTED SUNDAY Kathmandu, 24 March: Chief election commissioner and four commissioners are likely to be appointed Sunday by President De. Ram Baran Yadav. The appointments were delayed . The president is appointing top election officials after the constitutional council meeting chaired by Government Chief Khil Raj Regmi Saturday concluded their appointments were proper. The appointments were delayed after the head of state asked the council of recommendations of . . Neelkantha Upreti as chief election commissioner and former election commissioners Dolakh Bahadur Gurung and Ayodhi Prasad Yadav were within the constitution. Ram Bhakta Prasad Bishwakarma Thakur and Ila Sharma to the president for appointment are also being appointed Sunday., Formal communication of Saturday’s council conclusion was delivered to Shital Niwas nnnn. JOGBANII CUSTOMS POINT CLOSED Kathmandu, 24 March: Jogbani customs in India in Bihar has been closed from Friday. Movement of goods through the customs point has come to a halt. Four Indian customs officials have been arrested.. Nnnn NEPAL ARMY PLAYS NRT IN LEAGUE CHAMPIONSHIP Kathmandu, 24 March: Nepal Army plays NRT Sunday in the martyrs memorial A division super league tournament at Dashrath Rangashala. Nepal Police Club meets Friends Club in the second match. Thtee Star leads the championship with eight clubs participating. nnnn CAPITAL’S SUNDAY MORNING TEMPERATURE 12 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 24 March: Capital’s Sunday morning temperature at seven was 12 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expected to rise to 30 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. nnnn MAOIST CHIEF WANT TO CREATE WAVE IN MADESH Kathmandu, 24 March:: Unified CPN-M Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal who won from Kathmandu and Rolpa constituencies in the last Constituent Assembly elections announced in Dhanusha yesterday that he would contest from a Madhes constituency in the next elections, Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times. . Any citizen can contest elections from any part of the country but this is not why the UCPN-M stalwart wants to contest polls from the Madhes. He knows fresh polls will be fought mainly on the plank of federalism. As his party had stood for the 14-Pradesh model proposed by the thematic committee of the erstwhile Constituent Assembly or the 10- Pradesh model proposed by the State Restructuring Commission, his party could win more votes both in the hills and the Tarai. Dahal’s desire to fight elections from Madhes is thus aimed at creating a wave in favour of the party in the region, where it suffered a blow after the Madhes uprising. Columnist Chandra Kishor believes Dahal’s desire to contest elections from Madhes is in line with his past statement that the remaining battle of the people’s war would be fought in the Madhes. This means he is aware that his party needs to strengthen its base in the southern plains to hold on to Singha Durbar. If he stands from a Madhesi dominated constituency, his Madhesi opponents might not have ammunition to attack him. Dahal’s announcement that he would contest from the Madhes has not gone down well with Madhesi Janadhikar Forum Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav. “It’s a ploy to enslave Madhesis and continue to treat Madhes as a colony,” he quipped, “Dahal is teasing Madhesis. He is telling them you have no leader in your region. This is wrong.” Interestingly, Dahal had said he would contest election from Madhes to liberate Madhes and Madhesis. Nepal’s former Ambassador to Denmark Vijay Kant Karna said Dahal’s announcement would not create a red wave in the traditionally non-red belt. “Whether Dahal creates a wave in his party’s favour will depend on how he fares on issues central to the region — citizenship, identity, proportional representation of Madhesis in all state organs and Madhesis’ access to natural and state resources. Analysts believe the UCPN-M can strengthen its base in Madhes only when clarifies to the people of the region how it wants to free them from the chain of Khas Brahmin ruling class. The party’s statement during the people’s war that Madhes was being colonised by the Khas Brahmin mindset had won it support in the region. UCPN-M leader Prabhu Saha Teli, however, said the issues of federalism and inclusion — central to the empowerment of Madhes and Madhesis — were originally his party’s slogans, but since there was some misunderstanding in the last elections, Madhesi parties hijacked the slogans. This would not happen now. “Dahal’s message is that our party is in favour of the kind of federalism and inclusion the Madhesis are looking for,” he clarified. Nnnn MORE MUNICIPALITIES IN VALLEY SOON Kathmandu, 24 March: The Kathmandu Valley with five municipalities at present is going to have about half a dozen new municipals added by the end of the current fiscal year if things fall in place as per government’s plan, TheHimalayan Times writes.. “We are studying the selection and formation of new municipalities in the watershed area of the Kathmandu Valley,” said Joint-Secretary Reshmi Raj Pandey, coordinator of the eight-member Kathmandu Valley New Municipality Formation Working Committee. “We will divide town-oriented VDCs in clusters on the basis of population,” he added. The eight-member committee includes Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, Spokesperson for the Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development ; joint-secretary of the Kathmandu Valley Development Authority, senior divisional engineer of the Ministry of Urban Development, under-secretary of the Department of Survey, a representative each from Municipal Association of Nepal, MoFALD municipality management section, and under-secretary Indu Ghimire of Federal Affairs Section of the MoFALD. There are five municipalities in the Valley. Kathmandu district has 57 VDCs, Lalitpur has 41 VDCS and Bhaktapur has 16 VDCs. Among them, town-oriented VDCs will be merged to form new municipalities, said Pandey. “Each municipality will have a population ranging between 75,000 and 150,000. On this basis, the valley will get some 15-17 new municipalities,” he said, adding, “We will complete the process within two months.” The government initiated the process to select new municipalities across the country after it failed to complete its assigned task about two years ago. There are 58 municipalities across the country. The six-member national committee formed on February 21 started its work on March 14, aiming to complete its task within two months, according to the MoFALD. The committee headed by Padam Chandra Paudel, head of the Department of Geography, Tribhuvan University, includes Joint-Secretary Reshmi Raj Pandey of MoFALD, Joint-Secretary Madhusudan Adhikari of the Ministry of Land Reforms and Management, a joint-secretary of the Ministry of Urban Development, Chairman Dormani Paudel of Municipal Association of Nepal and MoFALD Under-Secretary Tilak Poudel, chief of Municipal Planning Section. The Cabinet had formed a six-member City Area Determination Committee in August, 2011 to study the proposed municipalities, define criteria and identify town-oriented VDCs for new municipalities. About seven dozens new municipalities had applied to the committee then. Besides, the government had also declared 41 new municipalities, selected a decade ago, in the fiscal budget of 2011-2012. However, they are yet to be recognised as municipalities and the proposal of new municipalities has been shelved. The Local Self-Governance Act 2055 BS provisions following criteria — population must be at least 20,000 in Tarai and bigger valleys and 10,000 in hilly and Himalayan region, proper infrastructure development, education and health services, Rs 1.5 million internal income, access to the place either through road or air, waste management system and telephone services — for areas to be classified as municipalities, nnnn DoED COLLECTS RS. 2.54B IN ROYALTY FROM POWER PRODUCERS Kathmandu, 24 March: The Department of Electricity Development (DoED) collected Rs 2.54 billion in royalty from power producers in fiscal year 2011/12, including due royalty amount of Rs 1.66 billion, Republica reports.. Of the total amount collected last fiscal year, Rs 880 million was received from power producers as royalty for fiscal year 2011/12. The amount is short of 1.15-billion-rupee target set for the year. "We are yet to collect Rs 270 million from power producers as royalty of last fiscal year," Gokarna Raj Pantha, a senior DoED engineer, told Republica. Of the due amount, Rs 140 million has to be paid by Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), while Rs 130 million needs to be collected from private power producers. "State-owned NEA has not paid due amount citing financial problems," Pantha said. “However, it has cleared previous dues.” One of the jobs of the DoED is to collect royalty from power producers. Half of the royalty collected from power producers goes to respective district development committee. "The remaining 50 percent goes to state coffers," Pantha said. However, independent power producers have claimed that the royalty distribution mechanism was not transparent. "There is a problem in DoED´s royalty distribution mechanism," an official of the Independent Power Producers´ Association Nepal (IPPAN) said on condition of anonymity. Pantha, however, said such claims were baseless. "I don´t think anything like that is happening," he said. "A team of officials from three different ministries, namely, the Ministry of Local Development, the Ministry of Energy and the Ministry of Finance, takes decision on distribution of royalty." According to regulations on local governance, the government needs to send 12 percent of the hydropower royalty to DDCs that house power plants. Another 38 percent of the royalty should go to development regions where power plants are located. However, the IPPAN has said the royalty distribution process was slow and inefficient. "This angers locals," the IPPAN official said. Nnnn MISS NEPAL 2013 ISHANI SHESTHA A PAINTER 1 Kathmandu, 23 March: Miss Nepal World 2013 Ishani Shrestha’s stress-relief therapy is painting. The next day after being crowned this year’s beauty queen, Ishani, tall and clad in white, spoke to Republica about how her life has changed since the night before, what she was like as a child, and what she wants to grow up to be, Nikita Tripathi writes.. How has your life changed since being crowned Miss Nepal? Nothing, as of yet, has changed. But this morning on my way to The Hidden Treasure office, as I was waiting for my aunt to take her car out of the driveway, this lady, who I think was dropping off her kid to school, approached me with a smile and addressed me as Miss Nepal. That was a moment of quite an epiphany. Ishaani is calm and takes time before answering any question but not long enough to bore you. Her gestures affirm what she says, gets nervous trying to frame her answers but never fidgety. “I have a page on Facebook and the likes grew to 55,000 overnight. The page is now flooded with comments, and each one of them boosts my confidence,” she adds. What were you like as a child? Where did you study? I went to Triyog Higher Secondary School in Dhapasi and completed my high school from Colorado, USA. I’m currently in my second year of Dentistry at People’s Dental College. I grew up with my sister who is just a few years younger. I was a tomboy and was really protective of her. I had short hair, wore oversized t-shirts and shorts and played basketball. I was a happy child, energetic and I can’t recall ever being passive. Her interests have always been painting and dancing. She likes sketching and drawing live objects and says she’s comfortable with drawing Lord Ganesh; she had drawn Ganesh in five minutes for Miss Nepal’s talent round. How did the transition occur? I really don’t know. It must’ve been during my high school years when I started leaning towards glamour, getting interested in makeup and hairstyles. But Miss Nepal had always been a dream, I remember watching the finale live from 1994 and practicing how to walk like those contestants did. How confident were you about coming in the first place? I believed in myself, everything I did was focused on and around the crown. I wouldn’t say I was absolutely sure that I would win but I kept telling myself that I just might. Even if I hadn’t, I didn’t have a day to regret. I’ve learnt so much during the grooming sessions and now, with the preparation for Miss World starting next week, I’m excited to learn some more. What was the reaction like from your family? My parents are open-minded and have always been supportive of whatever I want to pursue, as long as it’s not something decadent. My parents were crying and my father said he was proud to have me as his daughter. What was going on in your mind prior to being announced Miss Nepal? I was so nervous; I was holding Sumi’s and Sipora’s hands tight. I even started crying out of nervousness and remembered what Rachana Ma’am had told us throughout the training – to smile no matter what happens. I smiled, nevertheless. As Shristi Shrestha’s successor, are you nervous about living up to the expectations? She has certainly set the bar high. My jaws dropped when she first started speaking to us during the grooming sessions, I had sweaty palms and I remember telling myself, “I have to be there where she’s now, talking to the next batch of Miss Nepal participants.” I shall try my best not to disappoint myself and my people. Runner-ups share Rojisha Shahi (Thakuri) Miss Nepal Earth 2013 Miss Nepal Earth 2013 Rojisha Shahi (Thakuri), 19, says she used to be a normal college going student and hadn’t even expected to be on the top 5. “I can be really irritating, I am that girl in class who is always asking questions,” she shared. Born to a musician father, Rojisha says she doesn’t have a good voice but likes to sing anyway. She went to the same school as Miss Nepal 2005 Sugarika KC did - Bal Deeksha Sadan in Gwarko. “I used to look up to her photo in school and tell myself that someday I will have my photo up like that. The school asked for my photo today, I am super excited,” she said. Right when she was announced Miss Nepal Earth 2013 the night before, Rojisha saw two people jump up from their seats in the audience. Her parents were nearly as excited as she was. Shritima Shah Miss Nepal International 2013 Miss Nepal International 2013 Shritima Shah studied in St Mary’s High School and went off to Dehradun for her higher education, where, she says, she grew out of the cocoon of shyness. She participated in various beauty pageants in Dehradun, representing her college. Some friends suggested that she participate in Miss India, “But I’m a Nepali and I decided to participate in Miss Nepal instead,” she said. Shritima says her mother is her closest friend and she takes her mother everywhere she goes because she is comfortable with and around her. Her memory of the night before is that of Suvekshya Khadka, who handed over her crown to Shritima, saying “Babe, I knew you’d win.” Nnnn


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