Nepal Today

Thursday, July 11, 2013


Kathmandu, 12 July : One person was killed n has been killed and 25
Others were injured at Mahadevpuri VDC in Banke districton the Mahendra Highway
Friday morning.
A bus was heading for Dailekh from Kathmandu collided with
with a tripper.
Three injured are serious.
Kathmandu, 12 July: With a view to bringing the Mohan Baidya-led CPN-Maoist on board the election process, political parties are engaged in hectic back-channel negotiations for holding a round-table conference, while also making preparations to hold the Constituent Assembly election s as scheduled on November 19, Kamal Dev Bhattarai/ Prabab Khanal write in The Kathmandu Post..
Second rung leaders of the UCPN (Maoist), Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and the Samyukta Loktantrik Madhesi Morcha are holding bilateral and multilateral talks to finalise the modality of such a conference, while leaders of the major parties are holding regular consultations with CPN-Maoist top guns, leaders said.
“Talks are under way among the parties for holding a round-table conference to address Baidyaji’s demands in a manner that does not hamper the scheduled polls. The focus is on taking the two (talks with Baidya and poll process) side by side,” UCPN (Maoist) Central Committee member Barsha Man Pun said. Pun is one of the key interlocutors in the parleys.
Leaders said they are willing to demonstrate maximum flexibility on technical issues and the modality of the conference to bring the CPN-Maoist on board.
They further said the talks are also centred on whether to include the contentious issues of constitution-making in the round-table conference.
“They (CPN-Maoist leaders) are positive and are willing to hold frank discussions on all the issues,” said Jitendra Narayan Dev, General Secretary of the Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik.
Leaders privy to the negotiations also maintain that CPN-Maoist leaders have urged them not to “make public any pre-conditions” floated by the party during the inter-party negotiations.
However, parties give differing interpretations of the round-table conference. “We have understood such a conference as a regular platform to hold talks among parties,” said NC leader Gagan Thapa. But leaders of the CPN-Maoist insist that the conference is a mechanism to resolve all the contentious issues. “The round-table conference should endorse a political document, based on which, the parties should move ahead,” said CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung.
The leaders had discussed the conference in a meeting at the Gokarna Forest Resort in the third week of June.
The meeting was also attended by American conflict expert Professor John Paul Lederach. Lederach, who has been following political negotiations in Nepal for the past five years, had met Baidya, among other leaders, during his recent trip to Kathmandu.
In the High-level Committee meeting on July 7, NC leader Bimalendra Nidhi and UCPN (Maoist) leader Pun had pitched for a round-table conference.
Top leaders had agreed, while the HLPC had said it was ready to hold such a meeting. After the HLPC’s nod to such a conference, the CPN-Maoist had formed a five-member talks team.
After the round-table conference talk started doing the rounds, observers have begun comparing the present idea with the one talked about by the then CPN-Maoist in 2001.
The party’s second national convention had then endorsed the line of around-table conference. The Maoist party had then pitched for such a conference to discuss with the then monarchy and parliamentary parties the prospects of ending the insurgency.
Observers say the difference between the two round-table proposals is that there are multiple stakeholders in national politics now as compared to the year 2001.
“While the idea of having a round-table conference earlier was to bring political forces to their side, this time around it is about giving national ownership
to their agenda. Also, it is about knowing their strength,” said columnist Bishnu Sapkota.
The observers, however, say that whatever the outcome of the conference, it has at least brought the CPN-Maoist to the talks table.
Kathmandu, 12 July: The Cabinet on Thursday endorsed the new Casino guideline, enforcing strict measures on Nepalis’ entry into gaming houses. The revised guideline will be enforced from July 16, Sangam Prasain writes in The Kathmandu Post..
“If Nepalis are found inside casinos, the government will scrap the casinos’ operating license immediately,” said an official at the Prime Minister’s Office (PMO).
The guideline, which has recognised casinos as a tourism product, has made it mandatory for casinos to deposit the government-fixed royalty amount as bank guarantee first to renew the operating licence. The government will not renew the operating license of casinos that have not cleared their due royalty and taxes.
Casinos are required to pay Rs 20 million annually in royalty to the government. “As casinos are reluctant to pay the royalty, the mandatory provision of bank guarantee will ensure the government’s royalty,” the official said. The guideline has also fixed the working capital for casinos at Rs 250 million.
The local authority can make surprise raids in casinos, while the Tourism Ministry has been entrusted with the job of carrying out regular monitoring of the gaming houses, the official said.
Under the new regulation, casinos have to report their daily transaction and customer numbers to the government. They have to renew their license annually. The guideline has also enforced a provision that requires casinos to allocate 2 percent of their profits for corporate social responsibility.
Casinos are not allowed to operate around religious sites. The guideline will also govern mini casinos.
Royalty and taxes owed by casinos to the government have piled up to more than Rs 550 million this fiscal year, according to the Inland Revenue Department (IRD). There are 10 casinos in the country — eight in Kathmandu and two in Pokhara.
IRD officials said almost all the gaming houses have been defaulting royalty payment, but the government has many reasons to be lenient with them.
In December 2010, the now-defunct Public Accounts Committee had directed the government to scrap the licences of casinos failing to clear royalty dues and ordered it to formulate a guideline to regulate them.


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