Nepal Today

Tuesday, May 21, 2013

SUSHIL KOIRALA TO LIVE WITH SHASHANKA KOIRALA Kathmandu, 22 May: NC President Sushil Koirala is moving out of his rented house in Maharajgung and will be staying with Shashanka Koirala, son of BP Koirala, Kantipur reports. NC chief was occupying the present house after the death of Girija Prasad Koirala. nnnn CAPITAL’S WEDNESDAY MORNING TEMPERATURE 18 DEGREES CELSIUS Kathmandu, 22 May: The capital’s Wednesday morning temperature was 18 degrees Celsius. Mercury on a rainy day is expected to rise to 26 degrees Celsius. nnnn NO DECISION TO SELL LONDON EMBASSY Kathmandu, 22 May: : Responding to a Supreme Court order to furnish clarifications over why the government was taking steps to sell the Nepal Embassy premises in London, Nepal´s ambassador to the UK, Suresh Chalise, and the Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) have stated that the government has not taken any decision to sell off the property, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. In a separate written clarification sent to the apex court last week, they have urged the SC to scrap the petition stating that the government had formed a high-level study committee to recommend appropriate measures for the management of the embassy premises. “The committee was not formed to sell off the embassy property,” reads a three-page written clarification sent by Chalise. He has maintained that the government has the right to take final decision on the issue keeping in view of the recommendations made by the committee but the government has not taken any decision in this regard. Chalise has said that there is no provision in the lease agreement signed by Nepal and the UK that the lease term can be extended after it expires. The lease agreement will expire after 2079 AD. “However, the possibility of extending the lease term cannot be ignored as it may be possible with bilateral understanding between the two countries in accordance with British laws,” Chalise has maintained. He has also dismissed the claim made by the writ petitioners that the embassy premises were gifted by the UK government to Nepal. “In reality, the building in a leasehold property not a freehold property,” Chalise has stated. A cabinet meeting held on October 18, 2012 had formed a high level committee to submit a detailed report on the status of the embassy properties, determine the price that Nepal may receive, if government decides to sell off the lease of embassy premises, possible legal complications and estimated budget for building or buying new premises. The apex court on April 15 had stayed the government´s preparations to sell off Nepal´s embassy premises in London. Gurkha Army Ex-servicemen´s Organization (GAESO) and advocate Tulasi Shimkada on April 1 had filed separate writ petitions at the SC, challenging government preparations to sell off the embassy premises. Shimkada has argued that selling the premises would be a betrayal of the centuries-old cordial relations with the UK. He has also maintained that the UK embassy, which is located in a VIP area, is far more valuable than our other embassies and also has archeological value. Similarly, Chairman of GAESO Padam Bahadur Gurung has claimed that the Interim Election Council, which has been formed to hold fresh polls, does not have any authority to sell the embassy premises as that would have a long-term impact. A bilateral agreement reached between the two governments says Nepal shall pay 500 pounds annually as lease for the first 25 years, 1,000 pounds for 25-50 years, 1,500 pounds for 50-75 years and 2,000 pounds a year for 75 to 99 years. The prime minister´s office and the Ministries of Foreign Affairs and of Finance, among others, are named as defendants in the writ petitions. Nnnn MORE BIRD FLU CASES REPORTED IN VALLEY Kathmandu, 22 May:: The rapid response team comprising vet officials and technicians on Monday evening culled 475 chickens and 335 ducks following confirmation of bird flu virus in a poultry farm owned by Santosh Chaudhary of Dhapasi-6, Kathmandu, Republica reports.. The team deployed by the Directorate of Animal Health (DoAH) had also destroyed 200 kg chicken feed stored in farm. The vet technicians had also destroyed droppings and disinfected the farm by late night. Officials at DoAH said the latest outbreak is the third over the last seven days. Earlier this week, bird flu had been detected in a poultry farm of Amar Karki of Mulpani VDC-3, where 1,465 chickens were culled. Likewise, on last Wednesday the vet officials culled 200 chickens in a poultry farm owned by Bhim Prasad Lamichhane of Kritipur-1 Tyanglaphat, Kathmandu after confirmation of bird flu outbreak. In the last nine months alone, avian influenza (H5N1-virus) has been detected in 52 poultry farms across the country, said DoAH officials. They said that the country has witnessed 75 bird flu outbreaks since 2009 and 170,000 chickens have been culled so far. According to DoAH, these outbreaks had been detected in Jhapa, Taplejung, Bhaktapur, Lalitpur, Dhading, Nuwakot, Chitwan, Rupandehi, Kaski, Nawalparasi, Kailali and Kathmandu. “Poultry farmers suffered losses worth millions of rupees and may of them have even given up poultry farming,” said Director General of DoAH Nara Bahadur Rajwar. He said the directorate has yet to pay over Rs 13.4 million in relief to the poultry farmers. Rajwar said that the directorate has sought budget from the government to compensate the farmers. DoAH has also asked poultry farmers to get their poultry farm insured. It has said that the government would provide five percent of the total losses in compensation. “If the poultry farms are insured, the insurance company would pay them for the dead chickens while the government will pay them for the culled chickens,” said Bijaya Kant Jha, program director, Avian Influenza Control Program, DoAH. He informed that the office has formed a team to study viability of using vaccine against bird flu. Poultry farmers have been pressing the government to allow them to import the vaccine. Meanwhile, DoAH has urged all poultry farmers to take proper care of their chickens. The office has urged poultry farmers to immediately inform vet officials if chickens start demonstrating suspicious behavior. Chickens infected with bird flu virus avoid feed, stand still with their head down and drool. nnnn


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