Nepal Today

Thursday, June 27, 2013

CIAA DIRECTIVE TO RETRIEVE PUBLIC LANDD REGISTERED IN NAMES OF INDIVIDUALS Kathmandu, 28 June: CIAA Thursday filed corruption charges at the Special Court against some Land Revenue officials and legal clerks in Sankhuwasabha for registering public land in the names of individuals. Chief of Land Revenue Office, Sankhuwasabha, Sitaram Pokhrel was among the charged. CIAA has ordered government authorities to retrieve the land and revoke the decision to register it in the name of individuals. Nnnm DETAILS OF DIFFERENCES IN UCPN MAOIST Kathmandu, 28 June: Office bearers of the Unified CPN-Maoist today engaged in a meeting that stretched for several hours to finalise a proposal, particularly about leadership reshuffle, to be presented in the Central Committee meeting scheduled for tomorrow, Tika R Pradhan writes in The Himalayan Times. Sources said the party has decided to incorporate tomorrow four secretaries and one treasurer during the CC meeting, which today sat at around 4:00pm briefly for 15 minutes. The most debated name was Krishna Bahadur Mahara. Party Chairman Puhspa Kamal Dahal is to propose Mahara as the senior secretary and Top Bahadur Rayamajhi, Giriraj Mani Pokhrel and Barshaman Pun as secretaries. Hisila Yami, wife of Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai, will be proposed for the post of treasurer. Mahara was to be proposed for the post of general secretary by elevating incumbent general secretary Post Bahadur Bogati as vice-chairman. But office bearers decided not to change the decision taken during the Hetauda convention, sources said. Similarly, senior politburo members Agni Sapkota, Haribol Gajurel, Ram Chandra Jha, Shakti Basnet and Janardan Sharma will be proposed as standing committee members. The party will have nine central office bearers and 17 standing committee members. Of the 11 standing committee members, positions of Amik Sherchan, Dinanath Sharma and Leelamani Pokhrel will remain intact. They will be given different responsibilities though, sources claimed. Other senior politburo members, including Nanda Kishor Pun, Chakrapani Khanal , Lokendra Bista Magar, Hemanta Prakash Oli, Gopal Kirati, Devendra Poudel, Lekhraj Bhatta, Hitraj Pande, Surendra Karki, Niranjan Chapagain, Bhim Prasad Gautam, Swonam Sathi, Biswobhakta Dulal, Biswonath Sah, Navaraj Subedi, Lil Bahadur Thapa, Dilaram Acharya, Giridhari Lal Neupane and newcomer Urmila Aryal, will be proposed as alternative standing committee members. A total of 35-37 standing committee members will be proposed tomorrow, a senior party leader told this daily. The leadership will propose 75 members for politburo — 51 full politburo and others as alternative politburo members. Similarly, 151-strong full CC will also be finalised tomorrow. According to senior leader Haribol Gajurel, the party is still discussing the responsibilities and portfolios for senior leaders like Sherchan, Pokhrel and Sharma. Sources claimed that Hisila Yami, though junior among the leaders and not so popular within the party, will be made treasurer just to manage gender equality and ease pressure from her husband Bhattarai. nnnn ELECTION CHIEF’S RELATIONS WITH MAJOR PARTIES SOUR Kathmandu, 28 June: Neel Kantha Uprety was the unanimous candidate of all the parties represented on the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) that recommended him as the chief of the Election Commission. But lately, Uprety has fallen out of favor with the UCPN (Maoist), Madhes-based parties and other fringe parties, Gani Ansari writes in Republica.. The souring relations between Uprety, the UCPN (Maoist) as well as Madhesh-based parties was manifested yet again on Wednesday after the UCPN (Maoist) accused him of making political statements. During the High Level Political Committee (HLPC) meeting held on Wednesday, the UCPN (Maoist) leadership even proposed seeking clarification from Uprety over his remarks. Uprety has long been saying that the political parties should arrive at a consensus in order to create favorable environment for holding the Constituent Assembly (CA) polls on the stipulated date of November 19. He has been maintaining that further delay in bringing the agitating parties onboard the election process could dim the prospect of holding the polls. But can Uprety´s remarks solely be attributed for the widening rift between him, the UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhes-based parties? Definitely not. Several things have gone against the wishes of UCPN (Maoist) and the Madhes based parties to sour the relationship. The differences between the Maoist-Madheshi alliance and CEC Uprety began in earnest when the Election Commission (EC) proposed eligibility threshold for seats under the proportional representation electoral system. They were dissatisfied when the EC, in the draft ordinance on amending the Election of Members of the Constituent Assembly Act, 2013, proposed that a political party must secure one percent of the total valid votes cast in the election to be eligible for seats under proportional quota in the CA. Earlier, the constitutional body had proposed a threshold of 1.5 percent but it reduced the threshold to one percent following strong objections from the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based political parties, among others. The alliance of Maoist-Madhes-based parties, the Nepali Congress and the CPN-UML appeared clearly divided on the threshold proposal. While UML maintained that the threshold provision could encourage various fringe political parties to unify for the polls, NC leaders argued that the threshold provision would make the representation more inclusive. But leaders of the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based political parties, among other fringe parties, maintained that the threshold provision was not necessary as CA polls are not like general elections, which are held on a regular basis. The difference between Uprety and the alliance of Maoist-Madhes-based parties grew also due to the EC proposal to bar persons convicted of criminal offenses or other offences involving moral turpitude, from filing candidacy for CA election. EC in its proposal maintained that a person convicted of any crime including murder, theft, robbery, misappropriation of foreign currency, kidnap, rape, corruption, human trafficking, money laundering, banking irregularities, passport misuse, drug smuggling, jail break or abetting jail break by others, smuggling of protected wildlife or vegetation or objects of archeological importance, illegal trade and spying, among other illegal activities, or has shown moral turpitude, cannot be a member of any political party if he or she has not completed the sentence handed down by a court or any other legal authority. Due to opposition from both the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhes-based parties, it took nearly three months for the Interim Election Council of Ministers to finalize election related ordinances. The Interim Election Council of Ministers finally on June 13 forwarded the ordinance on amending the Election of Members of the Constituent Assembly (CA) Act, 2013 to President Ram Baran Yadav for approval after removing the proposed provision on eligibility threshold for seats under the proportional representation electoral system. Bowing to pressure from these two forces, the Khil Raj Regmi-led poll government had to demonstrate flexibility on the proposed provision on baring candidates with criminal background. The ordinance endorsed by the president only bars candidates, who have been convicted for involvement in certain criminal cases including corruption, rape, murder, passport misuse, money laundering, drug smuggling and human trafficking, or those who have been black-listed. Another factor that has irked the UCPN (Maoist) is some provisions in the proposed code of conduct for the new CA election. The three major political parties are divided over the provision on banning the use of expensive means of transportation, including helicopter, for election campaign. While NC and UML are against the use of helicopter, the Maoist has stated that the parties must be allowed to use any means of transportation for election campaign. Senior Vice-chairman of Madhesi People´s Rights Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D) Rameshwor Raya Yadav said they wonder if the chief election commissioner was trying to create hurdles. “It is a baseless allegation that political parties were not supportive in creating conducive environment for the polls,” he claimed. Among other things, the UCPN (Maoist) and Madhesi parties have also accused Uprety of having a role in the transfer of former Secretary at the EC Narayan Gopal Malego. Former Chief Election Commissioner Surya Prasad Shrestha said differences between the chief election commissioner and the political parties do not augur well for the CA polls. “Both sides must respect each other´s jurisdiction,” said Shrestha. “If they (EC and political parties) get involved into controversies, it will delay the election.” Shrestha maintained that the political parties should not take Uprety´s remarks in a negative light as the latter seem to have made the remarks with an intention to make the election a success. “But it is not necessary for EC to repeatedly make the same request to the political parties,” added the former election commissioner. Political Analyst Chandra Kishor maintained that such situation was invited by political parties as they failed to fulfill their own responsibilities. “Even some political parties are involved in inciting EC for their vested interests,” he said. “Dragging EC into controversy will only delay the Constituent Assembly (CA) November 19 election.” nnnn DEADLINE FOR ISSUING ID CARD PROJECT AGAIN EXTENDED Kathmandu, 28 June: The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA) has extended tender submission deadline of the national ID cards project for 15 days as the existing deadline is expiring Friday. This is the second time the deadline was Extendedm Republica reports.. According to Deputy Spokesperson at MoHA Prahlad Pokharel, the decision was taken with a view to make the bidding process more competitive. “We have decided to extend the deadline to allow prospective bidders more time and ensure participation of more bidders,” he said. Pokharel said some 49 international bidders have purchased tender forms for the national ID card projects. “The decision to extend the deadline was taken keeping in view the concerns of some of the prospective bidders who complained that they did not have enough time to participate in the bid,” he said. The National ID Management Center (NIDMC) had first announced global tender on April 29 with a 45-day deadline. The deadline was later extended for 15 days to ensure participation of more firms in the multimillion-dollar project. The government´s multi-million dollar project to distribute biometric national ID cards courted controversy after nearly a dozen aspiring international bidders lodged complaints that the tender specifications were manipulated to suit the interests of one specific company. They claimed that only one company will be in the fray if the specifications were not amended. An internal investigation by MoHA suspended a technical official involved in the manipulation of the specifications and also made amendments to some of the specifications made in the original tender invitation. However, there are still concerns that the amendments have made the database management system and biometrics, also known as Automated Fingerprint Identification System, vulnerable. Nnnn TRADE UNIONS TO PUSH MIGRANT WORKER CAUSES Kathmandu, 28 June: Trade unions have decided to advocate for migrant rights by establishing a network in the country and abroad. We are exploring suitable measures to ensure migrant rights, said president of Nepal Trade Union Congress-Independent (NTUC-I) Laxman Basnet at a consultation workshop on International Labour Organisation (ILO) Convention 189, today [Thursday, The Himalayan. Times reports. Trade unions will enter major job markets and build a working relation with trade unions or other civil societies there, he said, adding that trade union to trade union cooperation will be explored in foreign job markets to ensure labour rights. “We will build relationships with civil societies working for migrant rights in Gulf countries where trade unions do not exist,” he said. NTUC-I has already developed a working relationship with Nepali groups working in Qatar, he said. Now, we are looking for such a relationship with trade unions or civil societies in other countries. Similarly, the General Federation of Nepalese Trade Unions (GEFONT) has close ties with the South Korean trade union. Both trade unions have been maintaining a working relation with the Malaysian trade union. About three million Nepalis are working in Gulf countries — Qatar, Saudi Arabia, UAE, Kuwait, Bahrain and Oman — and Malaysia. Nearly, two million are working in job markets where there are no labour rights for migrants. Therefore, their condition is miserable. Gulf countries have not accepted migrant rights as a fundamental right of workers from other countries. “Therefore, we will enter those job markets with a non-political agenda,” Basnet said. According to him, the trade union will raise awareness among migrant workers on their right to health insurance, equal and timely pay, and fair treatment. Then, we will start advocacy in collaboration with International Trade Union Confederation and other rights organisations, Basnet added. Domestic workers are in ‘slave like’ situations in the country and abroad, therefore, trade unions have decided to advocate for them, said vice president of GEFONT Hari Dutta Joshi. According to him, trade unions will start advocacy to ratify ILO Convention 189 in the country and build pressure in major job destinations. “We are exploring ways to build a network of trade unions of South Asia — India, Pakistan, Sir Lanka, Nepal and Bangladesh which are major worker sending nations to the Gulf region.” Similarly, trade unions are also planning to lobby to build pressure on the government to sign labour pacts with major job markets which will include migrant rights and labour rights. Currently, Nepal has signed labour pacts with South Korea, Kuwait and Qatar. Saudi Arabia has always refused to sign a labour pact with Nepal and other labour sending countries of South Asia. Nnnn


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