Nepal Today

Sunday, June 30, 2013

197 PARTIES GET ELECTION SYMBOLS Kathmandu, 1 July: Election Commission Sunday distributed election symbols to 197 parties Sunday. Altogether 139 parties have sought permission to contest the 19 November second constituent assembly polls. Old parties will get old symbols to identify them with largely uneducated voters. Nnnn 17 PARTIES INVITED BY CONSTITUECY DELIENATION COMMISSION Kathmandu, 1 July: Five- member constituency delineation commission has invited representatives Monday for discussions. The commission has been asked to delineate 240 constituencies on the basis of the latest results of a national census. nnnn CHAIRMAN REGMI CHAIRS NCDB MEET Kathmandu, 1 July:: The 68th meeting of the Executive Committee of the National Cooperatives Development Board (NCDB) has been held here today under the chairmanship of Chairman of the Interim Election Council, Khil Raj Regmim RSS reports.. Chairman Regmi, also holding the responsibility of the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, is also the Chairman of the National Cooperatives Development Board. The meeting has proposed a budget of Rs. 4.98 billion to run different programmes in the next fiscal year 2013/14. The meeting proposed the budget for running special programmes including strengthening of the Cooperatives Development Fund, industrial development through cooperatives and Nigaul cow farm management. Most of the board members, present in the meeting, stressed that the proposed programmes of the Board should be effective and result oriented, saying the programmes have become more budget-oriented. However, some members complained that the Ministry concerned has not paid attention to invest in the development of cooperatives. Addressing the meeting, Chairman Regmi said that some programmes including cooperatives market management and institutional capacity development are important as all the proposed programmes cannot be fulfilled. He added that priority should be given for the implementation of the programmes. Chairman Regmi stressed that the Board should formulate plans and programmes, and fix budget with proper thinking where it would be more result-oriented while investing. Stating that the achievement would not be result-oriented if engaged in various sectors at a time, he expressed the view that the Board should allocate the budget in order to forward fruitful plans in an effective manner. Similarly, Vice-Chairman of the National Planning Commission (NPC), Dr. Rabindra Kumar Shakya, expressed the commitment that the Commission would keep effective and fruitful plans in priority, saying pre-plan and basis for expenditure should be determined while forwarding any programmes. Governor of the Nepal Rastra Bank, Dr. Yubaraj Khatiwada, urged the Board to pay attention on how to forward the cooperatives movement rather than become very ambitious for budget. Co-Chairman of the Board, Saroj Kumar Shahi, stressed that the government should give special priority to the programmes proposed by the Board to initiate cooperative industry in the country, saying the Board is only a body to provide technical and financial support, not the implementing body. Likewise, Secretary at the Ministry of Cooperatives and Poverty Alleviation, Bal Kumar Joshi, said that it was necessary to increase investment in cooperatives market management and agriculture sector. Joint-Secretary at the Finance Ministry, Krishna Prasad Devkota, said that there was no situation to invest again in the industries run by the government as the industries are now in trouble, and accused that the Board's leadership had not followed economic discipline. The Board said that decisions would be made on the proposed programmes and budget after holding extensive discussions. nnnn TU VC UNDER CIAA WATCH . Kathmandu, 1 July: The Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority has initiated action against two dozen officials of the government-owned corporations for indulging in corruption. The action comes hot on the heels of a similar CIAA action against 200 top bureaucratic officials for amassing assets disproportionate to their known sources of income, The Himalayan Times reports. According to a highly-placed source of the anti-graft constitutional body, Tribhuvan University Vice-Chancellor Hira Bahadur Maharjan, former dean of Institute of Medicine Dr Arun Sayami, Shashi Shrestha of Nepal Medical Council and former VC Ram Awatar Yadav of Purvanchal University are among those under CIAA scanner. The anti-graft body has also initiated action against health, education and agricultural sector corporations. “A letter has been forwarded to Nepal Rastra Bank to immediately suspend transactions through their bank accounts,” the source said. CIAA has also asked the NRB to circulate its order to all the banks and financial institutions to suspend their transactions. nnnn UNESCO CALLS FOR IMPROVED CONDITION AROUND WORLD HERITAGE SITES Kathmandu, 1 July: UNESCO has suggested the Nepali authority to improve the physical condition of several world heritage sites of Kathmandu Valley, including the Pashupatinath aream The Rising Nepal reports.. The 36th conference of UNESCO, held from 17 to 27 June in Cambodia, suggested the Nepali authority to close the road passing through the world heritage site of Pashupatinath area. Last year, UNESCO during its Moscow meeting had threatened to remove the famous religion site from the world heritage site list if the physical condition of Pashupatinath is not improved Bhesh Naryan Dahal, Director of General of Department of Archeology (DoA), recently took part in the 36th conference of UNECO said that UNESCO had given some time to Nepal to improve the physical condition of the heritage site and therefore it had not put many of such sites of Nepal as threatened sites. “We are able to safeguard our heritage sites from getting into the endangered list,” he said. The open track passing thought the Sleshmantak from Tilganga will be closed after coordinating with Pashupati Area Development Trust, said Dahal. Meanwhile, the tenure of the member secretary and treasurer of PADT has come to its end from Friday, June 28. "Thus, we need to wait for new apportionment to discuss about this matter and solve the problem," he said. He informed that the Department of Roads needs to play vital role to close the road. “We are pressing the department to close the track. However, the road is still in operation”. He further stated that in 2003 UNESCO had put the world heritage sites in the Kathmandu valley under the endangered list and it lifted the endangered tag in 2007. Around five years ago, the track was opened by the then Bagmati and Sewage Project despite objections from UNESCO and DoA. After the strong warning from the UNESCO, the concerned government bodies have bowed to the pressure stopping big vehicles plying in the route, but movement of light vehicles is still taking place on this track. The world heritage site should strictly follow all UNESCO rules and regulations and keep physical condition of these sites in original shape. Prabesh Ram Bhandari, a member of PADT board of directors, said that the decision had been taken to shut down the road during the tenure of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Minister Gopal Kirati but the decision could not be implemented effectively. nnnn BIG PARTIES RESPONSIBLE FOR RISE OF ETHNIC REGIONAL PARTIES Kathmandu, 1 July: The failure of major political parties to address the concerns of regional and ethnic groups has led to an exceptional increase in the numbers of regional and ethnic parties in the country, say experts and political Analysts, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. Of the total 139 political parties that have applied for registration at the Election Commission (EC), a majority are regional and ethnic parties. Former Chief Election Commissioner (CEC) Bhoj Raj Pokhrel said multiple factors have played a role in the increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties. “One of the major reasons is the failure of the big parties to address the aspirations of people at all levels of society,” Pokhrel told Republica, adding, “Also the major political parties have failed to ensure inclusiveness.” Stating that some of the major political parties have applied for registration in the hope of winning a few seats in the upcoming Constituent Assembly election, Pokharel said, “This is one factor that has led to an increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties,” Pokhrel added. The former chief election commissioner believes that their numbers have increased as they have been accord a higher status compared to their strength. Political analyst CK Lal maintains that the marginalized groups have lost trust in the “so-called” national political parties. “Removal of the provision related to eligibility threshold for seats under proportional electoral system has also led to an increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties,” Lal added. Professor Om Gurung argued that political ambition has led to increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties. “It is true to some extent that the major political parties could not address regional and ethnic discrimination properly,” said CPN-UML Spokesperson Pradip Gyawali, adding, “But concerns of external forces in the name of identity have also contributed to formation of regional and ethnic parties in the country.” While the western forces are concerned over identity politics, India is concerned over regional politics, he said. Gyawali stated ideological erosion in the major political parties is another reason. “Some forces have also blown up regional and ethnic issues in a bid to destabilize the country,” he argued. When asked about the implications of the increase in the numbers of such parties, Pokhrel said, “It will be difficult to manage parliament.” Gyawali claimed that there would be negative implication than positive ones. “It can weaken the party system and polarize our community,” he said. However, Lal said that the increase in the number of regional and ethnic parties will inspire major parties to be national parties. Asked about the future of such parties, Professor Gurung stated that only those regional and ethnic parties that would work for the welfare of their respective communities would exist. “Some regional and ethnic parties will merge, others will perish,” he added. Nnnn INDIAN POWER COMPANY TO DEVELOP ARUN III Kathmandu, 1 July:: Indian power developer Sutlej Jal Vidyut Nigam Ltd, which is engaged in the development of Arun III hydropower project, is looking to sign project development agreement (PDA) before its survey license for the project expires on July 15, Republica reports.. Officials of The Investment Board of Nepal (IBN) and SJVNL have are holding PDA negotiations for the past two weeks. “The negotiation is moving ahead at a satisfactory pace,” Radesh Pant, chief executive officer of the IBN said. The government had granted survey license to the SJVNL in July 2008. The export-orientated project based in Sankhuwasabha district is being developed pas per the built-own-operate and transfer (BOOT) modality. The government has given the project to SJVNL for 30 years as per the BOOT Act. The SJVNL will not have any difficulty in selling power generated by the project in India as one of its objectives is to address power deficit in India. Officials of SJVNL have said that they would export power to India even if two governments fail to sign power trade agreement (PTA). As there is no problem in market management, the PDA negotiation being held in Kathmandu is gaining momentum. “There lots of terms and conditions to be finalized. We want deal to be in national interest," Pant said. "We also want to ensure that the developer should not feel any obstacles while implementing the project." SJVNL has agreed to provide 21.9 percent of the power generated from the plant free of cost to Nepal. Nnnn MADESHI PARTIES STRIVE TO BE NATIONAL Kathmandu, 1 July:: Madhesi parties are expanding their base in hill districts. Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhavana party is leading the race with 44 district chapters in the hills. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Nepal has expanded its chapters in 15 hill districts. Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Democratic has its chapters in 20 hill districts, and Tarai Madhes Democratic party has expanded its base in seven districts of the Hills, Ram Kumar Kamat writes in The Himalayan Times.. It seems these parties are eying hill districts mainly to increase their share of proportional representation votes and shed the tag of regional parties. Political scientist Lok Raj Baral said Madhesi parties’ desire to expand their influence in the hills will help bridge the gap between Madhesis and Pahadis. That may be true, but can these Madhesi parties champion regional and national causes simultaneously with equal focus? “Although we are expanding our base in the hills, our main focus is to strengthen our position in Tarai constituencies where we won or lost elections with a small margin,” said MJF-N Central Committee member Arjun Thapa. Madhesi parties face enormous challenges in Madhes this time. Parties like Dalit Janajati Party led by Bishwendra Paswan, and Nepali Janata Dal led by Haricharan Sah, are not regional parties, but they too consider Madhes their vote bank. Besides all major national parties are devising strategies to reclaim their strength in Madhes or expand their bases. Given this situation, Madhesi parties will have to make extra effort to prevent Muslim and Tharu votes from being divided along ethnic lines. One Madhesi leader said if Madhesi parties focus too much on the hills, they will neither gain votes in the hills nor retain votes in the Tarai, their own region. Madhesi forces want to reach out to the hills because they believe indigenous nationalities, Dalits and other marginalised groups which are disenchanted with major national parties will vote for them. Gaining votes in the hills will be difficult for Madhesi parties because ethnic parties of the hills will compete with them. Then there are other national parties that consider the hills as their vote bank. Prof Krishna Khanal said talk among Madhesi parties about expanding their base in the hills is an indication that they lack conceptual clarity and confidence in themselves. “Madhesi parties had won more seats than Rastriya Janamorcha, a national party. So what is wrong with being a regional party? Madhesi parties should not have inferiority complex,” he said. nnnn


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