Nepal Today

Wednesday, June 26, 2013

NEPALI SQUAD FOR 20TH ASIAN ATHLETICS CHAMPIONSHIP LEAVES FOR INDIA THURSDAY Kathmandu, 27 June: A five-member Nepali athletics team is participating in the 20th Asian Athletics Championship being held in Pune, India. The squad of four athletes and a coach leaves for the central Indian city Thursday to participate in the championship. Keshari Chaudhary will represent Nepal in women´s triple jump and 100 meters hurdles; Dil Maya Karki will compete in the women´s 400 meters race. Tilak Ram Tharu will compete in the men´s 100 meters and 200 meters races while Kalyan Baniya will participate in the men´s 1,500 meters and 5,000 meters races. Rakesh Bajracharya is the coach of the Nepali team. Nnnn HANUMAN DHOKA COMPLEX NEEDS RENOVATION Kathmandu, 27 June: Several archeologically important temples and buildings in Hanuman Dhoka durbar complex need to be renovated soon, say government officials. The walls of most of the temples and buildings inside Hanuman Dhoka durbar, used by Malla and Shah dynasties as their royal palaces, suffered cracks during the earthquake on September 18, 2011, Prathiva Rawal writes in Republica.. The earthquake damaged many historical temples and buildings like Nautalle Durbar (nine-storey palace), Mohan Kali Chowk, Sundari Chowk, Lamo Chowk, Gaddhi Baithak, Panchamukhi Hanuman Mandir, among others. Among them, Nautalle Durbar was badly affected. Although the earthquake is considered to be the reason behind the recent damages, engineers claim that poor engineering of the durbar complex is yet another major reason for its sorry state. “The durbar was designed in a way that even a mild tremor could have caused significant damage,” said Darshan Babu Adhikari, an engineer with Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Museum Development Committee. “Bricks were not set properly while building the walls and the lower room does not support the weight of the upper room." According to him, Nautalle Durbar is safe up to the sixth floor and the remaining floors are fraught with risks of collapsing any time. The durbar is risky as many people come every day to visit it. “The use of woods has made the rooms up to the sixth floor strong and such woods should have been used to support other walls as well," said Adhikari. “There are lots of open spaces inside the durbar but the walls around them do not have adequate support.” The Hanuman Dhoka Durbar Development Committee has recently hired two consultant firms to conduct a detailed study of damages caused by the earthquake to the durbar complex. “After they submit their report, we will carry out renovation program immediately,” said Saraswati Singh, chief of the museum. The cracks that appeared in the walls have been temporarily covered with white cement. Nnnn EC GOING FOR VOTER IDs Kathmandu, 27 June: At a time when the government is making preparations to introduce biometric national ID cards, the Election Commission (EC) is likely to distribute separate voter ID cards with a view to the Constituent Assembly (CA) election scheduled for November 19, Gani Ansari writes in Reublica.. “The EC is most likely to go for voter ID cards as these will create a sense of ownership among the voters,” Election Commissioner Ila Sharma told Republica. According to EC officials, the voter ID cards will be like general ID cards which will be given to voters in a plastic envelope. “It will not be costlier than the publishing of the voters´ list for the polls,” said an EC official on condition of anonymity, adding, “The EC should be spending just Rs 10 million more for printing the voter ID cards.” EC Spokesman Bir Bahadur Rai maintained that voter IDs can help give the voters a distinct recognition. However, he said the commission is yet to take a final decision regarding the issue. “We have just held preliminary discussions,” Rai added. Sources at the EC said that even the political parties and voters have stressed the need for separate ID cards for the new CA polls. “It (voter ID cards) may also be supportive in terms of voter turnout in the election,” argued another EC official. According to EC officials, the voter ID cards will include the photos of voters and other personal details. The constitutional body will not introduce voter ID cards that are like SMART cards as the government is already preparing to launch the multi-purpose biometric national ID cards, which will also function as voter IDs. The Ministry of Home Affairs (MoHA), which is entrusted with launching the biometric national ID card, will use information being gathered by the EC during the ongoing voter registration. MoHA has formed a separate national ID management centre and invited a global tender. The first phase of the $117 million project is being undertaken under a grant assistance of $8 million from the Asian Development Bank (ADB). The EC has been updating the electoral rolls with biometrics and photos. The constitutional body has so far registered 12 million voters with photos and biometrics in the new electoral rolls. The EC estimates that about 13.5 million voters will be registered in the electoral rolls by mid-July. The commission has already set July 15 as the cutoff date for the eligible voting age in the upcoming CA election. Nnnn


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