Nepal Today

Wednesday, April 3, 2013

MAOIST SPLINTER GROUP DEMANDS RESIGNATION OF GOVT. CHIEF AMIDD THREAT TO SEIZE MORE ASSETS Kathmandu, 4 April: Land totaling 114 bighas belonging to Government Chief Khil Raj Regmi and two relatives were seized early morning Wednesday at a village in Bardia in the far-West terai by activists of CPN aist demanding his resignation, eyewitnesses. Police sent to the farm uprooted the flags planted by the cadres of the splinter Maoist party opposing government and election. Eyewitnesses said the Maoists threatened to seize more assets of Regmi if he didn’t resign. Both Maoist groups continue to hold on to farmland seized during the `10-year Maoist insurgency. Return of seized assets was a pre-condition for concluding thepeace process. nnnn. GOVT. CHIEF CONVENES MEET OF 33 PARTIES TO APPROVE ELECTION LAWS Kathmandu, 4 April: Government has convened a meeting of 33 parties to discuss recommendation of the election commission for changes in electoral laws to conduct second constituent assembly polls as Maoists demand they be held in June. Government of Khil Raj Regmi will present three election related laws for approval of the parties before being sent to President Dr.. Ram Baran Yadav as ordinances for promulgation. Small parties oppose a one percent threshold to qualify for seat allocation in parliament on proportional representation basis. nnnn. GOVT., POL DEALERS TALKS INCOCLUSIVE Kathmandu, 4 April: The Ministry of Commerce and Supplies has asked the agitating petroleum dealers to pinpoint the “clause” they are dissatisfied on the government issued Petroleum and Gas Transaction (regulatory) Orders 2013, The Kathmandu Post reports.. During the second round of meeting held on Wednesday, the ministry has asked the agitating groups to clearly point out the clauses in the orders they are dissatisfied with within four days. Nepal Petroleum Dealers National Association, Nepal LPG Industry Association and Nepal Petroleum Transport Entrepreneurs have joined forces in protest of the new petroleum regulatory orders stating that the government orders will ruin their business. They have also threatened to halt supplies from April 7 if their demands are not addressed. “As the agitating groups have demanded to scrap the orders, we have assured them that the orders will not be implemented until the government will find a way out to their problems,” said Deepak Subedi, spokesperson at the ministry. “We have also asked them to roll back their protest.” The agitating groups also held talks with the Commerce Minister Shankar Prasad Koirala. Subedi said that all problems will be resolved at the next round of meeting scheduled on Sunday. According to him, the agitating groups said they were also not against the entry of private players in petroleum business but requested the government to be flexible on some of the issue. In response, the ministry has asked them to underline the clauses they are dissatisfied with. “If their demand is genuine, the government can amend certain clauses in their favour,” Subedi said. “However, the government will not scrap the orders at any cost.” The government had on Sunday invited petroleum entrepreneurs for dialogue after they threatened to halt supply. The associations have charged the government of not holding consultations with stakeholders concerned before introducing the orders. They said that it was difficult for them to follow the “complex” provisions such as application fees. The new regulation has set the application fees for a refinery installation licence at Rs 500,000, while that for a petroleum business licence has been fixed at Rs 100,000. Likewise, approval licence will cost Rs 5 million and it should be renewed every five years, which will cost Rs 500,000. The minimum paid-up capital required for refining companies, petroleum trading firms, LPG importing firms and LPG bottling plants have been set at Rs 20 billion, Rs 10 billion, Rs 5 billion and Rs 50 million, respectively. As per the orders, private companies dealing in petrol, diesel and kerosene should install a depot with an installing capacity of 20,000 kl, while LPG bottling plants should have a stock capacity of 500 tonnes. On March 13, the government published the orders in the Nepal Gazette allowing investment of private in petroleum business. The orders have ended the 40-year monopoly of the Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC). Nnnn STORED HANUMAN DHOKA TREASURES TO BE MADE PUBLIC FO FIRST TIME Kathmandu, 4 April: The government’s plan to unlock two major treasure houses on the Hanumandhoka Palace premises will finally be implemented on Thursday, Amrit Adhikari writes in The Kathmandu Post.. A committee formed under Ves Narayan Dahal, director general at the Department of Archaeology, will implement the last month’s Cabinet decision. According to Dahal, the committee, before fixing the date, performed traditional rituals with the help of Gurju priest of Hanumandhoka, prepared an inventory on the locations of the treasuries and sorted out issues with local community through talks. The committee also formed a separate 23-member sub-committee comprising Dahal himself, representatives from the Defence Ministry, Nepal Police, Hanumandhoka Museum, Nepal Rastra Bank, local community, priests and Chief District Officer of Kathmandu, among others, to carry out the task. On Thursday too, the sub-committee will unlock the treasuries, following a religious proceeding led by the chief Gurju at the palace. “It is believed that any of the items sacredly locked on the palace premises should not be touched without a specific ritual called Chhyama Puja,” said Dahal. Dahal said no one knows what we are fated to stumble upon after the unlocking since the treasuries could be accessed only by royal members of the palace. “We may find invaluable antiques, jewelleries and immense amount of wealthy assets of the kings. On the other hand, chances are equal that the treasuries could turn up empty.” According to museum officials, the houses were built by King Prithvi Narayan Shah to store wealth seized from the then king of Kathmandu Jaya Prakash Malla after the latter’s defeat. The two houses were used as the royal treasury until the Shah kings shifted to the Narayanhiti Palace. The place is currently guarded by the Nepal Army personnel. The army men there have a “shoot at sight” order for anyone seen trying to approach the treasure houses. nnnn


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