Nepal Today

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

PRESIDENT AGAIN CALLING MEETING OF PARTIES AS FIRM DATE FOR ELECTION HAS NOT BEEN ANNOUNCED Kathmandu, 2 May: President Dr.. Ram Raban Yadav Thursday is calling a meeting with representatives of major parties following delay in announcing official date for the second constituent assembly. The government of Khil Raj Regmi has been in office for nearly two months and a figh-;evel committee of the Big Three and Madeshi coalition supporting the government has not been able to fix dates amid trading of charges. Government has said an amendment is needed to one of two ordinances on elections ordinance that has to be promulgated. Amid opposition of a coalition of 33 parties, simultaneous distribution of citizenship certificates and updating of voters’ registration have been adversely affected. Some have predicted projected elections may not be held even in Nov./December. Election commission says it is ready to hold a vote within 120 days of the election announcement. nnnn. NEPALPLAYS OMAN IN ICC CRICKET LEAGUE Kathmandu, 2 May: Nepal plays Oman in its fourth outing Thursday in Bermuda in the ICC World Cricket League Division Three. There’s a chance a victory for Nepal could pave a path for progress to Division Two. Nepal has lost two and one match so far. Nnnn NRT PRESIDENT RESGINS Kathmandu, 2 May; Narendra Shrestha resigned Wednesday as president of New Road Team (NRT) following revelation earlier in the week the 80-year-old club NRT sports club said it wont particulate in competitions because of financial trouble. Mahabir Club is older than NRT. nnnn . NC MAHASAMITI MEMBER DEAD Kathmandu, 2 May:: Leela Nepal, the elected member of the Nepali Congress (NC) Mahasamiti, the party's general body, from Kathmandu constituency-1, passed away here on Wednesday, RSS reports. Suffering from urinary infection, she had been admitted to NorvicHospital at Thapathali. She is survived by two sons and a daughter. Born in Birgunj, she was involved in the Nepali Congress' activities since five decades. Her last rites would be performed at Pashupati Aryaghat later in the afternoon today. Nnnn LIGHTNING INJURES FIVE IN CHITWAN Kathmandu, 2 May:: Five persons were injured by lightning here at Lothar VDC on Wednesday. Reuters reports from Ratnanagar.. Two of the injured are in critical state. The lightning also destroyed a house and the hydropower project facility, said local Nar Bahadur Chepang. The house of Chandra Bahadur Chepang was destroyed by lightning. The injured including Chandra Bahadur Chepang are being treated at Bharatpur Hospital. The lightning caused damage at the Lothar Hydro Power project at Tapang-4, leading to disruption in power supply. Nnnn VACANCIES CONTNUE IN CONSTITUTIONAL BODIES Kathmandu, 2 May:: Despite its pledge to immediately fill the vacant posts in various constitutional bodies, including the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), the government is yet to make any headway towards this end, The Himalayan Times reports. “There has been no progress in filling vacancies even after the constitutional hurdles were removed through a presidential order on March 13,” a member of the Constitutional Council told THT. Various constitutional positions have been lying vacant for several years, including the head and commissioners of CIAA, the Public Service Commission and the Auditor General. The High Level Political Committee (HLPC), which has been dictating the interim election government led by Khil Raj Regmi, has given a go-ahead for the appointments with some specific recommendations in few posts. “Even the meeting of the Constitutional Council has not been scheduled,” Bimal Gautam, Press adviser to Chairman Regmi, said. According to Gautam, the government has only been concentrating on conducting elections, not appointments. The Supreme Court on Monday cleared decks for appointments in constitutional bodies by scrapping a month-old stay order. On March 22, a single bench of Justice Sushila Karki had issued the stay order questioning the government’s right to appoint key officials in constitutional bodies except the Election Commission. Nnnn UPENDRA YADAV DOUBTS NOV. DEC/ POLLS WILL BE HELD Kathmandu, 2 May: KATHMANDU: Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum-Nepal Chairman Upendra Yadav has said his party will register with the Election Commission for the upcoming polls, but some time later. He, however, said that holding elections without forging consensus on basic principles of the constitution will be meaningless. Yadav, at an interaction in the Capital today, said India, South Africa and Iraq could write their constitutions only after agreeing on the basic principles of the constitution before they elected their CAs. “New elections alone cannot solve the country’s problems; before going to polls it is necessary that the reasons why the last CA failed must be analysed,” he said. He reiterated that the 25-point presidential order must also be corrected in order to hold fresh elections. “The country cannot write a new constitution without ending the current conflict. People might not own the new constitution if elections were held without addressing all stakeholders’ concerns,” Yadav noted. He said the four political forces misguided people by saying they would hold polls by June. “Now these forces are saying polls will be held in November, but I doubt, as issues like citizenship distribution, voters’ registration and delimitations of constituencies are yet to be addressed,” he added. Nnnn DAHAL SOFT STANCE IN INDIA DEEPENS RIFT IN PARTY FURTHER Kathmandu, 2 May: C ontrary to the March 13 cross-party agreement, the UCPN (Maoist) has demanded more seats under the proportional representation system for the proposed Constituent Assembly (CA) elections, Kamal Dev Bhattarai writes in The Kathmandu Post.. An office-bearers’ meeting of the Maoist party took such a decision on the day when eight fringe parties officially put forth similar demands before the government. The 11-point deal signed among the four major parties that led to the formation of the incumbent government has a provision of 240 seats under proportional representation along with retaining as many number of the seats under the first-past-the-post category. In the last CA polls, the seats in the proportional category was 325. “We have decided to increase the number of seats to make the new CA more inclusive,” said UCPN (M) General Secretary Post Bahadur Bogati. The Maoist party also called for removing one percent threshold being mulled by the Election Commission. As per the threshold, those parties receiving less than one percent of votes would automatically be disqualified. Informed sources maintained that even though the party is for implementing the one percent threshold, it came up with a new stand to retain the support of fringe parties. The Pushpa Kamal Dahal-led party also demanded that to fix an election date as soon as possible. The Maoist party is of the view new CA elections should be held within October. In the meeting, Dahal briefed leaders about his China visit. Ready to assume mantle, says Dahal A day after he returned from his week-long China trip, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal has said his party “is the mainstay of Nepali politics” and is ready to shoulder responsibility for development. Speaking at a programme in the Capital on Sunday, Dahal said monarchy ruled the country for 240 years and now the Maoist party would take up the reins of the country. Only the UCPN (M) can deliver a capable and sustainable leadership, he said. “We will move ahead taking India and China into confidence for Nepal’s prosperity and stability,” said Dahal, adding that his China visit was focused on economic agendas. Sharing out the achievements of his China visit, the Maoist chairman said if Nepal remains a poor country, security concerns of India cannot be addressed. “To make Nepal a prosperous one, China should invest in Lumbini and hydropower projects,” he said. He said that China is not against federalism in Nepal nnnn. GOVY. REJECTS DEMAND FOR BAN OF FOREIGN DIRECT INVESTMENT IN AGRICULTURE Kathmandu, 2 May: The government has turned down farmers’ demand for ban on foreign direct investment (FDI) in the farm sector and on the import of genetically-modified (GM) crops, in the upcoming Agriculture Development Strategy (ADS), The Kathmandu Post writes.. The government has also refused to form a Peasants’ Court, stating it was a matter of legislation and that the ADS draft cannot incorporate it. The ADS document — a 20-year vision and a 10-year planning horizon for the country’s farm sector — is being prepared with the technical support of the Asian Development Bank (ADB). Dissatisfied with some of the components of the ADS, the National Peasants’ Coalition — a loose group of seven farmers groups — had put forth a 22-point demand to be incorporated in the ADS, which is scheduled to be finalized by June 28. The coalition has representations from three major political parties. The groups were then invited by the Ministry of Agriculture Development (MoAD) for talks, in which both sides agreed on 10 of the 22 demands. Farmers ’ representatives said apart from the three key demands, the government agreed to address almost all of their demands. “As the ministry has assured to address a majority of our demands, we also agreed to conduct an extensive discussion on those key issues which we failed to plead the government officials,” said Prem Dangal, secretary general of the All Nepal Peasants’ Federation. Government officials said the demand to ban FDI in the farm sector could not be addressed at a time when the country is in need of foreign investment. “We have been preparing the ADS in line with the existing Foreign Investment and Technology Transfer Act and that it cannot ban FDI under the provision,” said a senior MoAD official. On the demand for a blanket ban on GM crops, an understanding has been reached to conduct an extensive discussion with experts. “As Nepal’s Seed Act stipulates mandatory registration of import and requires multi-location trials for all hybrids, it is not necessary to impose a blanket ban on its import at present,” said a ministry official, adding the issue has been planned to be discussed with experts in the near future. “However, an important agreement reached between the government and the group was setting of the minimum support price for staple crops which will be included in the ADS,” Dangal said. The government has been struggling to announce the support price for farm produce although it was announced a year ago. Other issues agreed by the government include formation of National Farmers Commission, which will be a high-level permanent body. Various programmes and activities to ensure farmers rights and addressing food sovereignty were other agendas pledged by the government. The group has also demanded that access and control of natural resources by farmers and allocation of sufficient budget in the farm sector. “The farm budget envisaged by the ADS is still not sufficient to address the sector’s problems and we have urged for its revision,” said Dangal. The review of the seed vision, promoting rainwater harvesting and promoting sustainable agriculture instead of green farmers were other agendas agreed by both sides. The ministry will recommend the agreed demands to the TA team to incorporate it in the ADS. “We will verify all our agendas whether they can be incorporated in the draft before it is finalized,” Dangal added. nnnn


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