Nepal Today

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

PROBE TEAM IN SAPTARI TO INVESTIGATE MURDER OF FORMER LAWMAKER Kathmandu, 23 May: A probe committee formed by the government to carryout investigation into the murder of Sadrul Miyan Haque, member of the dissolved Constituent Assembly (CA) has arrived in the incident site this morning, RSS reports from Saptari, RSS reports from Saptari.. Deputy Inspector General of Police, Dinkar Shamsher Rana is the coordinator of the team whereas Chief of the Eastern Regional Police Office and Eastern Regional Chief of the Investigation Office are members. The team has arrived in Kalyanpur-2 of the district. Chief District Officer of Saptari, Hari Krishna Poudel, said that the team would start works today itself. The body of the former lawmaker Haque has been taken to BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences (BPKIHS), Dharan, on Tuesday night for postmortem. Meanwhile, the traffic obstruction along the East-West Highway started from Tuesday morning has been continued today[Wednesday] as well. Protesters have been halting traffic by felling trees at different places in Saptari.More than 1,000 vehicles have been stranded due to the continuous traffic halt for the past 24 hours. The protesters have closed the markets in Rajbiraj today also.A trained police dog brought from Dharan for the investigation had on Tuesday found a shirt stained with blood, a diary and slippers from 300 meters northern of the incident site. Former lawmaker Haque was hacked to death on Monday night by an unidentified group at his petrol pump premises in Kalyanpur of Saptari. Identity of those involved in the incident is yet to be ascertained and the cause behind the incident is not known yet, said the District Police Chief, SP Sanjay Singh Basnet. The protesters said that they would continue protest programmes including chakkajam until the accused in the murder are arrested. nnnn UNUSUAL POSTPONEMENTS OF SUPREME COURT HEARINGS ON ORDINANCE TO REMOVE CONSTITUTIONAL DIFFICULTIES Kathmandu, 23 May:: Legal experts have termed as ´unusual´ the deferring time and again of hearings at the Supreme Court (SC) on a writ petition against the approval of the ordinance on removing constitutional difficulties., Gani Ansari writes in Republica. Hearings on the writ petition, which also challenges the appointment of Chief Justice Khil Raj Regmi as chairman of the Interim Election Council, have been deferred 17 times over the last two months. The petition was filed by Advocate Subhas Acharya. Stating that there is a provision in the SC regulations for priority hearings in cases of constitutional import, former justice Balram KC said that such cases should have given priority for hearings. “I don´t know why that particular case did not get priority,” KC told Republica, adding, “The other organs of state may turn arbitrary at a time when there is no parliament and the system of checks and balance does not exist. So, the judiciary, especially the apex court with its extraordinary jurisdiction, should have been more proactive.” Senior Advocate Harihar Dahal sees two possible reasons behind the deferral of hearings on the writ petition. “First, there might be the influence of the executive [which is currently led by the chief justice] on the judiciary,” said Dahal. “Secondly, the apex court might be thinking that it is better not to enter into a political issue.” Advocate and CPN-UML leader Agni Kharel termed the development a serious matter. “It shows that the apex court is not interested in such issues,” he maintained. Kharel stated that the SC move will further fuel speculation that the judiciary is under the influence of the executive. “The judiciary should conduct hearings on such petitions at the earliest in order to demonstrate in practice that it is independent,” he argued. Former chief justice Anup Raj Sharma said that hearings on the petition might have been deferred as it was not considered priority. However, petitioner Acharya argued that there should first be a hearing to decide whether or not the writ petition should be given priority. Hearings on the petition were first scheduled for March 18, at the single bench of Justice Girish Chandra Lal, and rescheduled for March 20 at the single bench of Justice Sushila Karki. The third, fourth, fifth, sixth, seventh, eighth, ninth, 10th, 11th, 12th, 13th, 14th, 15th and 16th rescheduling of the hearings then followed, at the single benches of Justices Lal, Acting Chief Justice Damodar Prasad Sharma, Justice Lal again, Sharma again, Justice Ram Kuimar Prasad Shah, Sharma again, Justice Prakash Wasti, Justice Gyanendra Bahadur Karki, Justice Bharat Bahadur Karli, Gyanendra Bahadur Karki again, Lal again and Justice Shushila Karki, respectively. The hearings were rescheduled for the 17th time for Wednesday, at the single bench of Justice Gyanendra Bahadur Karki. The writ petition has not so far been scheduled for hearings only at the single bench of Justice Baidyanath Upadhyaya, one of the 11 justices, including the officiating chief justice. Advocate Acharya had filed the petition on March 17, arguing that in approving the ordinance on removing constitutional difficulties, the president had misused his powers relating to such an exercise, and this had affected the basic structure of the Interim Constitution. President Ram Baran Yadav, Chairman of the Interim Election Council Regmi, UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, Nepali Congress President Sushil Koiral, CPN-UML Chairman Jhalanath Khanal and Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar of United Democratic Madhesi Front are named defendants in the writ petition. Nnnns CONTEST BETWEEN PROGRESSIVE AND REGRESSIVE FORCES ON SAYS MAOIST LEADER MAHARA Kathmandu, 23 May: UCPN-Maoist leader Krishna Bahadur Mahara Wednesday said that the fight between the progressive and regressive forces was still on the Run, The Rising Nepal reports from Dang. . Addressing a special meeting organized by All Nepal National Independent Student Union (ANNISU)-Revolutionary at Mahendra Multiple Campus unit committee here, he said that there was ideological and political competition between the UCPN-Maoist and Nepali Congress (NC) both in Constituent Assembly (CA) and in Free Student’s Union (FSU) election. He said that the former CA was dissolved without promulgating a new constitution as NC was against federalism. “UCPN-Maoist has always voiced for identity-based federalism and equal rights to people of all strata,” he said, and asked the youths to put efforts towards making the party largest political force in the CA election in order to establish people’s rights. He said that the UCPN-Maoist would take the identity-based federalism and economic prosperity as the main agenda for the upcoming CA polls. Meanwhile in Makawanpur, party spokesperson Agni Prasad Sapkota alleged Nepali Congress (NC) and CPN-UML of attempting to retreat from past agreements. Speaking at the anniversary of Nikas weekly here in Hetauda, he said that the dual character of the political parties would not provide way out to end the political crisis in the country. “How can the people believe political parties if they pull off from past agreements?,” asked Sapkota, and said that the double standards adopted by them would only lead the country towards regression. Hinting towards recent appointment of Lokman Singh Karki in Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA), he said that the NC and CPN-UML had backed off from the agreement following mass criticism. “Koirala has been saying that the four-party mechanism should be scrapped when he had agreed that the four political parties would turn by turn coordinate the High-Level Political Committee (HLPC) earlier,” he said, adding that his behaviour has raised suspicion against him. Stating that the UCPN-Maoist was committed towards holding Constituent Assembly (CA) election, he said that his party would not resign from the government to ease the formation of Interim Election Council if it had no intention of going for the polls. He said that the political crisis would deepen if the country failed to go for CA election. Nnnn MORE THAN 1,000 TREES BEING FELLED FOR RING ROAD CONSTRUCTION Kathmandu, 23 May: More than 1000 trees along the Kalanki-Koteshwar section of the ring road are set to be chopped down in a few days to expand the existing four lane roads to eight lanes. The government of China has pledged to provide Rs 3.7 billion for the widening of the 9km stretch that is set to begin in June, Nirjana Sharma writes in Republica. The District Forestry Office (DFO), Lalitpur and Kathmandu have permitted the Department of Road (DoR), Lalitpur to cut down as many as 1,239 trees that were planted in the 70s. Hundreds of mimosa trees have been beatifying the ring road area for around half a century now. But by the time the Kathmanduites start missing their beauty next year, around 500 mimosa trees are likely to be set in people´s home in the form of furniture or doors and windows as the DFO will begin cutting down the trees from Sunday. According to Assistant Forest Officer Lon Nath Timilsina of the DFO, Lalitpur the permission letter to the DoR, Lalitpur would be sent on Friday. "We have estimated that total 23000 cubic feet of air space would be vacant after the trees are cut down," said Timilsina. Of the total, 8000 cubic feet space has been covered by the mimosa, when measured by the cord unit, he added. The government had planted the trees, as per the green belt program after the construction of the 27 km ring road, says Shyam Kharel, chief of Kathmandu Valley Road Improvement Project (KVRIP). There are some other trees such as the Australian species silky oak, fir, gum tree, maple and some local varieties such as birch. Both the forest offices of Kathmandu and Lalitpur would provide technical assistance to the DoR to cut down the trees and manage them. But the auctioning of the trees would be undertaken by the DoR. According to Timilsina, most of the trees of Australian variety are not of much use except for fuel and timber. "But the mimosa trees that are full grown can be auctioned for making furniture and wooden crafts," he added. Meanwhile, the conservation activists have warned of a stir if the government does not find an alternative to knocking down the trees. Urban birds´ habitat in danger With the authorities preparing to demolish the trees along the ring road, urban birds are set to lose their habitats. According to Hem Sagar Baral, director of the Bird Conservation Nepal, as many as 110 species of birds are found in Kathmandu. Among them, 100 species of birds have been nesting in the Valley. The tall trees around the 27 km area of the ring road is home to cuckoo, house crow, jungle crow, black kite, owl, small cranes and creepers. Similarly, bats are also among the major species in those trees. Baral said that the government must ensure that the trees would be replaced in the area once the construction works are over. He also stressed that local tree species should be planted in the area to protect our native vegetations. "Instead of newly introduced species from foreign countries, the government must plant local trees such as Lapsi, Chilaune, Kattus that would conserve our bio-diversity," said Baral. The government could also plant the flowery trees at the busy road sides of the capital, which can also be used as a medium of tourism. "The authorities need to realize that the greenery around the city reflect the way of life of Nepalis and speak of their positive attitude." Campaigners set to protest against tree felling Pramada Sah Campaigner, Trees Liberation Army (TLA) What was the response of the government authorities when you urged them not to cut the trees? We went to the DoR and the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Authority, but the officials there told us that they were not the bodies who took decisions regarding the recent move. However, the officials have already marked hundreds of trees that are to be cut down. No sooner did the people hear that the tress would be cut down, they have started cutting down the trees for timber. We are disturbed to be the witness of the destruction of trees which have served us for decades. They are the homes of countless birds and insects, and provide shade to our animals. The trees marked for cutting include ´holy´ trees such as peepal and bar, as well the beautiful jacaranda trees which have become part of our heritage. But the authorities have said that they wouldn´t stop? Our voices were unheard even at the time when the KVTDA rampantly demolished the trees in the crowded areas where greenery is much required. But this time, we have organized a mass protest on Saturday, a day before the cutting starts. We will chain ourselves to the trees if needed. We urge everyone to come together and protest against this disaster. If the authorities want, it is not a big deal to save the trees even while expanding the road. The locals had provided their land at that time when the government wanted to develop the ring road green belt decades ago. Nnnn


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