Nepal Today

Tuesday, April 16, 2013

CPN MAOIST REJECTS GOVT. INVITE FOR TALKS Kathmandu, 17 Aril: In less that 24 hours ollowing a formal invitation from government for talks on their demands, CPN Maoist Spokesperson Pampha Bhusal rejected the invite Wednesday through a radio interview. She said CPN Maoist would talk only with President Dr. Ram Baran Yadav describing the government as unlawful. Another CPN Maoist leader Deb Gurung said the invite has no meaning. The party is leading a group of 33 parties rejecting the second constituent assembly elections while demanding a national government of national consensus to be installed by a roundtable conference. The home ministry overnight sent an invitation for talks to CPN Maoist, and MJFN Nepal of Upendra Yadav nnnn WEDNESDAY MORNING TEMPERATURE IN CAPITAL 12 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 17 April: Wednesday morning’s capital temperature was expected to be 12 degrees Celsius. Mercury is expected to rise to 28 degrees Celsius in the afternoon. Some rain was recorded in parts of the Valley overnight. Nnnn DELIENATE ELECTORAL CONSTTUENCIES BEFORE VOTE SAYS SC Kathmandu, 17 April: The Supreme Court (SC) has ordered the Interim Election Council and the Election Commission (EC) to delineate the election constituencies anew before conducting polls for the Constituent Assembly (CA), Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. Following hearings on a writ petition filed at the apex court by former minister Jaya Prakash Prasad Gupta, a single bench of Justice Girish Chandra Lal issued an interim order to the Interim Election Council and the EC, among others. The SC ordered the defendants to carry out the election preparations bearing in mind Clause 3(a) of Article 63 and Article 154 A of the Interim Constitution. However, Justice Lal declined to issue an interim order to stop all election preparations, as demanded in the writ petition. He said it would not be appropriate to halt all the poll preparations. The apex court has also ordered the defendants to furnish arguments within 15 days why the apex court should not issue an interim order as demanded by the writ petitioner. The SC´s order comes at a time when various Madhes-based political parties are stating that they will not participate in CA elections held without re-drawing the election constituencies. Clause 3 (a) of Article 63 in the Interim Constitution states that members to be elected on the basis of first-past-the-post will be elected on the basis of one member from each of the 240 election constituencies delimited by the Election Constituency Delimitation Commission in accordance with the population fixed by the national census preceding the CA election, and for this purpose an administrative district will be treated as an election district, with the number of constituencies therein determined on the basis of the population of that district. According to Article 154 A, the government may constitute a Constituency Delimitation Commission to determine election constituencies for the purpose of election of members of the Constituent Assembly, and the commission shall consist of a retired justice of the SC as chairperson, a geographer, a sociologist and an administrator or management expert as members and a special class officer in the service of the government as member-secretary. Rajlal Mandal of Saptari had moved the apex court on April 2 on behalf of Gupta, demanding formation of a Constituency Delimitation Commission as per Article 154A, before announcing the dates for CA polls. He claimed that the announcement of election dates without delineating the election constituencies would violate the Interim Constitution. The writ petitioner also claimed that such a move would be against constitutional supremacy, the democratic system and the universal principle of political rights. The president´s office, office of the Interim Election Council, Nepali Congress (NC) President Sushil Koirala, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, CPN-UML Chairman Jhala Nath Khanal, Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic Chairman Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar and the Election Commission have been named as defendants in the writ petition. nnnn INFLATION 10.2 PERCENT Kathmandu, 17 April:: The year-on-year CPI inflation increased by 10.2 per cent in eight months (mid-March) of the current fiscal year as compared to 7 per cent during same period last year, The Rising Nepal reports.. The index of food and beverage group increased by 11.3 per cent whereas non-food and services group increased by 9.3 per cent in mid-March, according to a report on macroeconomic situation of Nepal published by Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) on Tuesday. Under the food and beverage group, price index of meat and fish sub-group increased by higher rate of 17.1 per cent during the eight month compared to an increase of 5.8 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year. Within the group of non-food and services, the price index of furnishing and household equipment increased by 12.7 per cent during the review month compared to an increase of 13.4 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year. Similarly, the price indices of education and clothing and footwear sub-groups increased by 12.5 per cent and 11.5 per cent respectively during the review period, the report said. Region-wise, the price indices increased by 10.8 per cent in Kathmandu valley followed by 10.2 per cent in Terai and 9.6 per cent in the hill in the eight months of the current fiscal year. These increments were 5.6 per cent, 7.1 per cent and 8.6 per cent respectively in the corresponding month of the previous year. Likewise, the year-on-year wholesale price index increased by 9 per cent during the review month compared to a rise of 6.3 per cent in the corresponding month of the previous year. A higher rate of growth in prices of agricultural commodities accounted for a significant rise in wholesale price inflation during the review period, the NRB said. Similarly, the year-on-year salary and wage rate index increased by 7.8 per cent during the review month compared to an increase of 27.6 per cent in the same period last year. The overall balance of payment (BOP) recorded a surplus of Rs. 11.78 billion during the eight months of fiscal year 2012/13 compared to a surplus of Rs. 81.09 billion during the same period of the previous year. The current account posted a surplus of Rs. 9.50 billion in the review period compared to a surplus of Rs. 37.51 billion in the same period of the previous year, read the current macroeconomic situation issued by central bank Tuesday. The decline in surplus in the current account was largely due to a substantial rise in the imports of merchandise and services as well as the slow growth of workers' remittances in the review period. In US dollar terms, the current account registered a surplus of US dollar 107.6 million in the review period compared to a surplus of 469.7 million US dollars during the corresponding period of the previous year. The FOB-based merchandise trade deficit increased by 25.4 per cent to Rs. 297.87 billion during review period. The net service income posted a surplus of Rs. 2.02 billion in the review period in contrast to a surplus of Rs. 11.07 billion in the same period of the previous year, the central bank report said. Net transfers registered a growth of 16.8 per cent to Rs. 299.94 billion in the review period compared to a growth of 29.7 per cent in the same period of the previous year. Under the transfers, workers’ remittances surged by 22.2 per cent to Rs. 266.09 billion compared to an increase of 34.7 percent in the same period of the previous year. Nnnn TWO-MONTH WAIT FOR STUDENTS TO GET ALL TEXTBOOKS Kathmandu, 17 April:: The Ministry of Education has failed to meet its promise to make available all sets of textbooks also this year.This year’s academic session started from Monday. The government has announced special campaign to enroll all children at schools. But, Janak Education Materials Centre (JEMC) authorized printing press of government, has yet to print seven millions Textbooks,Manjima dhakal writes in The Rising Nepal.. The government has aimed to enroll students by providing textbooks free of cost but it seems that all students across the country will not get all the textbooks for next two months. This year the government had targeted to print 24,400,000 textbooks but only 17,000,000 textbooks have been printed by the JEMC till now. Speaking at an interaction on Tuesday organized by Education Journalist Network (EJON) Anil Kumar Jha, Managing Director of the JEMC said that Baba Paper Mill, with which JEMC made a deal to supply paper, failed to supply 6 metric ton paper per day demanded by JEMC due to long hours of load shedding. As a result, the JEMC has failed to operate its press for 24 hours. The education authorities have requested the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) to supply electricity at the printing press for 24 hours. The problem will be solve within a few days, Jha informed Jha also added that he has not got sufficient time to improve the level of JEMC from miserable condition in duration of four months after his appointment. “When I was appointed, JEMC employees were not getting their salaries. Now that condition has come to an end”, he added.” He said that he is committed to change the condition of JEMC for better. The students will get textbooks in time from next academic session, he said. However, the Department of Education (DoE) has ordered to submit the plan of JEMC within Thursday to print textbooks at the earliest. Rakesh Shrestha, chief of the Education Materials Management Department at DoE informed that district agents have not taken textbooks even they are available at Shaja depots. The department has asked Sajha to distribute d available textbooks to agents, Shrestha said. After the instruction of the department, Sajha has called all distributors to take textbooks from their official depots by Wednesday. Kedar Khadka, publicity chief of the publication said, otherwise, Shaja will operate its own depots at concerned places and break contract with the local agents. Sajha Publication has about 6000 agents and 8000 local book sellers. Suprabhat Bhandari, chairman of the Guardian Association, demanded the punishment for officials who are responsible for failing to avail textbooks in time. The government officials have repeating readymade answers every year that the problem of textbooks will be solved next year, Bhandari added. Nnnn NEW GOVT. GUIDELINES FOR SAFER BUILDINGS Kathmandu, 17 April: In a bid to minimize possible damages resulting from earthquakes in future, the government is preparing to introduce guidelines for retrofitting buildings, Sangeeta Sangraula.. According to government officials, more than two-thirds of the total constructed buildings and infrastructures in the country, including those in the Kathmandu valley, are unsafe as they have been built without adhering to the national building code. In view of the perilous situation, Department of Urban Development and Building Construction (DUDBC), under Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD), has already prepared draft guidelines on retrofitting in collaboration with Comprehensive Disaster Risk Management Program (CDRMP), MRB & Associates and Centre of Resilient Development (CoRD). In a bid to give final shape to the draft and prepare an effectual strategy for implementing the retrofitting guidelines, the concerned authorities jointly organized a half-day consultative workshop here on Tuesday among stakeholders. Speaking at the workshop, Suresh Prasad Acharya, joint secretary of MoUD said, “After making required modifications, we will make the retrofitting national guidelines under the national building code. We are working to make the retrofitting process cost effective to encourage people to reconstruct their buildings to make them safer.” He also said the guidelines can bear fruits only when the government can make people understand the benefits of retrofitting. For this, the DUDBC, the focal authority for implementing retrofitting guidelines, should come up with various pilot projects in all development regions, including mass awareness programs at the initial phase. Likewise, Kishor Thapa, secretary of MoUD said, “Many public buildings have been constructed without following safe practice. In the first phase, we are thinking to strength school and hospital buildings among others as these buildings are used most during disasters. ” According to him, the MoUD is also working to expand DUDBC working area and help in allocating sufficient budget for retrofitting project. Hari Darshan Shrestha, president of CoRD said that the government should enforce the retrofitting guidelines on buildings after categorizing houses on the basis of their earthquake vulnerabilities. Girija Prasad Gorkhali, director general of DUDBC, said the department will incorporate necessary suggestions and amend the draft before enforcing it as national guidelines. The retrofitting guidelines include design, construction guidelines as well training course curricula for engineers and masons. Nnnn


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