Nepal Today

Sunday, June 23, 2013

RAUTAHAT DALITS WITHDRAW PROTESTS Kathmandu, 24 June: Angry Dalit in Rautahat on two-week protests after they were assaulted after pija at a temple by community members, withdrew all their protests Sunday following a five0point grement. The houses of the community was also attacked at a village in the district. An agreement was signed beween between Dalit representatives and District Administration Office. Local adminisytatio assured repair of damage to assets and access to temples for Dalits. nnnn. 27 % HIKE IN WATER TARIFF PROPOSED Kathmandu, 24 June: The Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL) has proposed 127 percent hike in the minimum tariff for drinking water. “KUKL has proposed hiking the minimum tariff for drinking water to Rs 125 from the existing Rs 55,” said Hari Prasad Sharma, director general of the Water Tariff Fixation Commission (WTFC), Nirajan Sharma writes in Republica.. KUKL, which supplies 60 million liters of water to 3.2 million people, meets only less than 20percent of the demand for water in the Kathmandu Valley. There is a demand for 320 million liters of drinking water in the Valley. Apart from the 2.6 million Valley residents, over half a million people who visit the capital for various reasons also use the water supplied by KUKL, according to the Department of Urban Development. According to Sharma, the office had asked KUKL to bring down the proposed hike as it had earlier proposed setting the minimum tariff at Rs 151. “We had asked them to bring down the hike fearing public backlash,” added Sharma. KUKL Spokesperson Milan Kumar Shakya said the drinking water facility had last hiked the tariff in 2008. He said the office runs on tariff it receives from consumers. “KUKL will not be able to supply water if there is no tariff hike,” said Shakya, adding “There needs to be regular tariff adjustment in line with the rate of inflation.” As per the existing laws, WTFC is authorized to hike or decrease the proposed tariff by 20 percent, said Sharma. The commission will also consult the finance ministry, other government bodies and consumers before finalizing the tariff. Meanwhile, consumer rights activists have filed a complaint at the commission demanding withdrawal of the tariff hike process. Advocate Bimala Khanal, secretary at the Forum for Protection of Consumers Rights, said that they have filed a complaint demanding adequate supply of drinking water before any such hike. “It would be injustice to consumers to be forced to pay Rs 125 without receiving a single drop of water,” she added. “The consumers should protest the move. If the commission does not pay heed we will move the Supreme Court,” said Khanal. Nnnn SNAKE BITE CASES ON RISEIN CAPITAL Kathmandu, 24 June: Last year, a snake bite victim from Dhading district died while undergoing treatment at the emergency ward of the Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH), Arjun Poudel writes in Repubica.. The man was rushed to the hospital immediately after he suffered snake bite. Doctors at the hospital concluded that the victim died due to heart attack. "Many people bitten by snake die due to heart attack that results from shock," said Dr Rajesh Shah of the STIDH. He said that one should not lose hope after suffering a snake bite. Dr Shah shared an incident that occurred on last Thursday. A 30-year-old man who was bitten by snake was brought to the hospital for treatment. He showed multiple symptoms. Sometimes he complained about chest pain, sometimes of the pain in the stomach. "He also said that he felt a headache and was feeling difficulty in breathing," said Dr Shah, adding, "We were confused about what to do with him." Dr Shah said that all the doctors of the hospital had to be called in for a diagnosis while anti-venom shots were being readied. In the end, it was established that the snake that had bitten him was not very venomous and the patient felt relief after about an hour. Dr Shah said that fear proves to be deadlier than snake venom many times. "One should not fret too much as it erodes confidence level," said Dr Sher Bahadur Pun, of the hospital. Dr Pun, however, stressed that the victims should be taken to the hospital as soon as possible. "Victims can die or suffer from multiple health complications if they are not taken to medical centers in time," he added. He said that fatalities of the snake bite can be reduced if victims get proper treatment in time. He said that most people get confused about what to do when they or their relatives get bitten by a serpent. The hospital administration said that every year more than 600 people suffer snake bite in the capital. In the last one and half months alone, 200 people bitten by snake were brought to the hospital, data provided by the hospital´s record section showed. "Every day 10 snake bite victims come to the hospital on average. About six are admitted in the hospital at present," said Dr Shah. He said that the hospital only admits patients whose condition is serious. As per the hospital records, snake bite incidents in the capital exceeds that in the Tarai region. But the serpents in the capital are generally less poisonous. "If the snakes here were as poisonous as the ones in the Tarai, the problem would have reached an epidemic level," said Dr Shah. Dr Shah, however, cautioned that snake bites should not be taken lightly. "We have to supply several pints of blood to snake bite victim as the bite often results in internal bleeding," added Dr Shah. He said that blood might be detected in urine, stool, cough and gums of the victim even if they are bitten by less poisonous snakes. Dr Pun said that rain and increasing temperature are the reasons behind the rise in the number of snakebite cases. When rain water inundates snake holes, they come out. Also, snakes are active during monsoon as it is their mating season. Dr Pun said that mostly snake bite victims are the people who work in the fields. The hospital records, nonetheless, shows that even people from inner ring road areas like Balkhu, Kalimati, Maharajgunj, Nayabazar come for the treatment of snakebites. Doctors at STIDH urge people to go to the hospital immediately even when they are bitten by snakes that are not highly poisonous. They say that often village folks delay to visit the health centers and consult witch doctors first. "It could be too late if you waste time consulting shamans. Better to go to the nearest hospital that has snake treatment facility," Dr Pun said. He said that even anti-venom will have no effect if the victims reach the hospital after 24 hours. Doctors also advise people to keep their surroundings clean and be alert about the possibility of encountering snake. People love to grow bushes in the garden and around their home, where snakes come in search of insects. A long rope like object lay out the compound of Bina Shrestha´s home in Balkot-4, Bhaktapur. Shrestha was shocked when she saw the “dark brown rope” moving and entering the bushes near the boundary wall of her house... “Only later did I realize that it was actually a long snake,” she added. Snakes often enter the homes in Tarai where the cases of snake bites are common during summer and rainy season. But Shrestha, who originally comes from Udayapur, said that she had never imagined encountering a snake here in the Valley. There have been more such sightings in Bhaktapur recently. Sunil Dahal, a resident of Katunje, Bhaktapur, said that laborers engaged in constructing his house found a pair of snake on the land. The laborers killed them. His 6-year-old daughter, who had seen the snakes, is too sacred to play outside or while on her way to school, he added. Meanwhile, experts have asked the people to clean the bushes in and around their homes as they are among the most preferred places for the serpents to hide. Some of the locals, however, maintain that snakes were common even in the open spaces and in the fields in Bhaktapur. Experts say shrinking space due to urbanization has led to the rise in the sightings of snakes in human settlements. “I remember that I first time noticed a mating snake pair when I was in 20s,” said 45 years-old Pradip Dangol of Sipadol, Bhaktapur. Experts say that there is significant presence of non-poisonous snakes in the Valley, but the rise in temperature has made it favorable for even the poisonous and migrant snakes. nnnn


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