Nepal Today

Monday, July 8, 2013



Kathmandu, 9 July: Floods and landslide have killed 50 persons and 19 are missing
in 25 of 75 districts in the monsoon that has just begun and ends third week of
Altogether 900 houses have been completely destroyed
and 1,496 homes need repair, government reports said,..
Secretary Krishna Hari Banskota from The Prime Minister’s Office
said that 1,194 families have been displaced..
Around domestic animals 1,000 have been killed.


Kathmandu, 9 July: Gold smuggling to India is on the rise as the price of yellow metal is cheaper in Nepal than in India, Kriti Bhuju writes in Republica..

According to jewelry traders, the recent duty hike in India has made gold price higher in India compared to Nepal. Smugglers are taking advantage of the situation by smuggling gold to India to get Indian Currency (IC), which is being sold at inflated rates in bordering Nepali towns, according to Tej Ratna Shakya, immediate past president of Federation of Nepal Gold and Silver Dealers Associations.

The Indian government raised import duty on gold to 8 percent from 6 percent on June 5 to reduce its current account deficit.
The federation had urged the Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB), the central bank, to raise import duty on gold as soon as India hiked duty on gold.

“The NRB Governor had assured us that he would look into the issue and do the needful. But nothing has been done so far,” Mani Ratna Shakya, president of the federation, told Reuplica. “Growing smuggling of gold to India is creating shortage of gold in the domestic market.”
According to gold traders, gold is being smuggled to India also to get IC. The Indian currency is being sold at as much as Rs 1.68 even though existing exchange rate stands at Rs 1.60.

Tej Ratna said even some gold traders in bordering towns are engaged in gold smuggling.
Meanwhile, a source at the finance ministry said import duty on gold might be reviewed in the upcoming budget.
If customs duty on gold is raised in line with India, the yellow metal will be dearer in the domestic market by around Rs 1,000 per 10 grams. But traders have requested the government to increase the import duty by at least Rs 1,500 per 10 grams to prevent gold smuggling to India.


Kathmandu, 9 July: The Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development has been found to have violated the rules, with the direct involvement of the former local development minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, by distributing development funds among those close to his party, Bishnu Pd. Aryal writes in The Himalayan Times..

According to the MoFALD, Rs 500 million of people’s participatory programme of the current fiscal year was distributed for 723 projects under the direct supervision of local development minister in the current fiscal year. Of the total budget of PPP of Rs 500 million, MoFALD contributes Rs 200 million while the rest is covered by the Ministry of Finance.

It has been revealed that former deputy prime minister and local development minister Shrestha distributed the development funds among UCPN-M cadres, in the name of constructing martyrs’ memorial buildings and parks, according to sources at the MoFALD. The Cabinet that had Shrestha as minister was replaced by the Khil Raj Regmi-led Cabinet on March 14. As per the rules, the minister can distribute up to Rs 500 million of PPP through the plans approved by district development committees. However, the funds were distributed arbitrarily among those who approached Shrestha personally, in violation of the existing rules, high ranking MoFALD officials told this daily requesting anonymity.

Rs 500 million of PPP can be given only for development activities of public concerns. As per the rules, such programmes are generally selected through DDCs on the basis of recommendations from other line ministries and the National Planning Commission. Memorandums submitted to high ranking officials after their field visits also need to be taken into consideration. “But the programmes were directly selected by then minister Shrestha in January-February,” the officials said. The government provides funds to national institutions such as Ganesh Man Singh Memorial Academy, Manmohan Singh Memorial Academy and Krishna Sen Ichchhuk Memorial Academy. But the development funds cannot be given to cadres of certain political parties. “We have been told that the funds allocated to different organisations were given to construct office buildings of a political party and to the cadres on one pretext or the other,” the officials added.

MoFALD Spokesperson Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya, said that the budget from the central level can be spent only on activities related to public infrastructure development and social development. “We will monitor them and will take necessary action if they are found illegal,” Thapaliya said in a style typical of bureaucracy.

Regular irregularities

• Gaurishankar Khadka Smriti Pratisthan, Jhapa, Rs 500,000

• Jaya Gobind Sah Smriti Pustakalya, Mahottari, Rs 1,500,000

• Sahid Pratisthan, Rasuwa, Rs 100,000

• Sahid Smriti Bhawan, Bidur, Rs 100,000

• Sahid Smriti Sanchar, Dhading, Rs 500,000

• Shahid Pratisthan Nepal Shakha, Rolpa, Rs 2,500,000

• Different youth clubs in Ropla, Rs 4,000,000

• Siddha Tirtha Smriti Bhawan and Park, Kavre Rs 500,000

• Sahid Smriti Park, Jipupipal, Rukum, Rs 500,000

• Sahid Smriti Park, Kankridobhan, Rukum, Rs 500,000

• Sahid Smriti Park, Pyuthan, Rs 500,000

Kathmandu, 9 July: A rain-swollen Lal Bakaiya River in Rautahat district continues to encroach human settlements in the district headquarters Gaur and its
Vicinity, The Himalayan Times writes..

“The river has been eroding embankments for the last one week. It has already inundated a large swathe of land near Gaur municipality, but the concerned authorities have not done anything so far,” locals said. They said delay in controlling the river could displace hundreds of households in Gaur and nearby areas.

“Though officials visited the villages to take stock of the situation, they are yet to take any action,” said Shiba Pujan Thakur of Gaur.

Water-induced Disaster and River Control Office Engineer Ramsewak Das has said his office is doing the needful to control the river water.

“The river has already started breaching the lands in Karuniya, Inarwa, Laxminiya, Maryadapur and Gaur municipality,” he said. Meanwhile, Bagmati River has also started eroding land in Badaharwa, he added.

CDO Dil Bahadur Ghimire, on his part, said his office has directed WDRCO to swing into action.


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