Nepal Today

Saturday, June 29, 2013

TWO RIVAL MAOIST PARTIES RESUME DISCUSSIONS AT THEIR CENTRAL COMMITTEES Kathmandu, 30 June: Officials of UCPN Maoist meet Sunday morning ahead of a central committee meeting for the third consecutive day to discuss and approve a report on the organization presented by Chairman Prachanda. The report has created deep division and rift in the party with former Prime Minister and party Vice-chairman Baburam Bhattarai resigning from party positions. Central committee members dissatisfied with establishment plans to award responsibilities are demanding elections to party positions. Officials will take up differences at the central committee before it resumes discussions. The proposed appointment of Hishila Yami, the wife of Bhattaraai, has been fiercely opposed and Madeshi top leadership also say they have bee sidelined. New entrants are also dissatisfied. In Pokhara, CPN Maoist central committee resumes discussions of a proposal to boycott the 19 November second constituent assembly elections. Nnnn NEPAL EMBASSY IN UK NOT GIFTED ATHMANDU: It was long believed that Great Britain had gifted the property owned by Embassy of Nepal in London. Now, it has come to light that Nepal had paid a hefty sum for the Victorian-era building in the heart of London, Lekhnath Pandey writes in The Himalayan Times.. The UK government was paid 400,000 Pound Sterling as non-refundable premium by Nepal government in October 1980, when the property’s lease agreement was renewed for another 99 years. Many were of the belief that the embassy at the Kensington Palace Garden was gifted to Nepal in recognition of the contribution of Nepalese Gurkhas to the British military in the mid-1930s. In their writ petition filed recently against government intention to sell the mission building in the Supreme Court, the Gurkha Army Ex-Servicemen’s Organisation (GAESO) had said the property was a gift. The Supreme Court had stayed the government move to sell the mission property in April, after GAESO’s application. However, a 22-page document received by THT clearly states that the property was attained on lease, for which Nepal had paid a hefty premium. It is also paying nominal lease. As per the agreement signed by then Ambassador to Britain Jhanendra Narayan Singh and Patric Sydney Bolshaw, a representative authorised by the Crown Estate Commissioner on October 9, 1980, Nepal needs to pay 500 pounds annually for the first 25 years, 1,000 pounds annually for the next succeeding 25 years, 1,500 pound annually for another 25 years and 2,000 pounds annually for the remaining period. Besides, Nepal needs to bear the costs of repair and maintenance and private roads and the lights of the Victorian-era building, which was constructed between 1863 to 1865. In its report, the High Level Committee formed by the erstwhile Baburam Bhattarai-led government to recommend whether to sell or maintain the dilapidated building, also emphasized the premium amount and suggested that the UK government could ask for millions of pound as premium in 2079, when it is time to renew the lease agreement. But, Major (retired) Dambar Ghale, coordinator of the Civil Campaign for Protection of the Embassy Building, formed by the Non-Resident Nepalese Association-UK Chapter, states that the lease could not have been such a minimum if it was not a gift from British royalty. According to him, the current annual lease amount of the building could be over one million UK pounds. He charged that some greedy people in the government and in political circles were trying hard to sell the building for the sake of hefty commissions, showing the building’s dilapidated condition, instead of repairing it as per the agreement. “We are ready to collect the necessary money for maintenance of the embassy building. Around one-and-a-half lakh Nepali people in the UK are ready to donate,” he told THT over phone. “But, our money should not be misused.” Nnnn KARNALI FLOOD VICTIMS LEFT IN LURCH Kathmandu, 30 June: After the raging Karnali River rendered her homeless, Fulrani Chaudhary has been sheltering at the local Janajagriti Higher Secondary School for the past nine days, The Himalayan Times reports from Tikapir.. Her condition is deteriorating by the day, thanks to government apathy. Out of utter distress, Fulrani has urged the authorities either to shoot her to death or fling her into the River. She complains that government negligence has left flood victims high and dry. As many as 30 families of Tikapur Municipality Ward 2 are sheltering in the school. They have demanded safe settlements as their houses have been washed away. Flood victim Narayan Chaudhary said the school had asked them to leave. “Where shall we go?” he asked. Chaudhary accused the Municipal Development Committee and local political parties of doing nothing. Nepal Red Cross Society’s Tikapur Disaster Rescue Committee Coordinator Dharmaraj Sharma said the government has to provide settlements for victims on high land so that they do not fall prey to floods every year. Tikapur Municipality executive officer Narayan Bahadur Bista said his office could not provide land as the municipality lacked open land. Naresh Kumar Khatri, chairman Tikapur chapter of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry has asked the government to launch a comprehensive embankment project to control the Karnali River in Bardiya and Kailali districts. After the floods in Karnali wreaked havoc, Interim Election Council Chairman Khil Raj Regmi visited flood-affected areas and pledged to collect details of the damage and provide relief at the earliest. His, assurances, however, have not materialised a week after the floods. When Irrigation Minister Umakant Jha arrived in Tikapur and Bardiya’s Rajapur areas five days ago, Jay Bahadur Khatri had begged him to save his house. Jha had assured that something would be done. Five days have passed, but nothing has happened. Floods in Karnali have displaced thousands of people from Tikapur, Narayanpur, Dhansinghpur and Bardiya’s Rajapur. Floods swept away 100 houses at Tikapur Municipality . More than 498 households were affected by the floods in Dhansinghpur. The government had launched the Peoples’ Embankment Programme three years ago to contain the Karnali River. But, locals say floodwaters gush into human settlements every year due to weak embankment structure. Prem Bahadur Darlami of Tikapur Municipality says they had expected the embankment to control the river but it still swept away houses. “The floods this year changed the village into islands,” Darlami said. Villagers blame negligence on the part of the contractor responsible for embankment construction for their present state. “We are suffering due to contractor’s negligence,” says Shankar Rawal, a local. nnnn MEDIA GOOGLE “UML is ready to accommodate the demands of leaders like Mohan Baidhya and Upendra Yadav in the previous 25-point and 11-point deals if they participate in the CA election.” (UMLl General Secretary Ishwor Pokhrel in The Himalayan Times, 30 June) nnnn


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