Nepal Today

Wednesday, July 24, 2013



Kathmandu, 25 July: Senior UML leader and former Prime Minister
Madhav Kumar Nepal holds separate discussions in New Delhi
Thursday with United Progressive Alliance Chairperson Sonia Gandhi and
Indian Prime Minister Manmohan Singh.
Nepal, who arrived Wednesday, will also hold discussions Thursday with
Foreign Secretary Ranjan Mathai, Devi Prasad
Tripathi, General Secretary of the Nationalist Congress Party of India
and Indian National Congress from Madhya Pradesh, Sajan Singh Verma, Nepals aide said.
Thursday will be a busy day for Nepal in the Indian capital.
Nepal is the third party leader in the Indian capital to have talks on
Nepal’s current political issues including the November elections being
pushed by India to institutionalize a declared republic.
Maoist Chairman Prachanda was invited first by India for a series of
meetings followed by NC senior leader of former Prime
Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba.
Indian Foreign Minister Salman Khurshid just concluded a nine-hour visit
to Nepal when he held a controversial durbar for three hours with top
Nepalese at a hotel near Pashupatinath temple.
Nepal returns home Sunday.


Kathmandu,  25 July :Though the government has increased the budget for programs aimed at ensuring access to safe drinking water and sanitation, it still has to face daunting challenges in order to meet the sanitation target by 2017, Republica reports..

The Ministry of Finance (MoF) has set aside Rs 404 billion for water and sanitation programs. However, the government is still a long way from meeting its goals on safe drinking water and sanitation, as per the national census 2011.

Though 82.7 percent of households in the country are connected to drinking water supply lines, only 47.78 percent households receive safe drinking water from taps, whereas 35 percent households get water drawn using tube wells and hand pumps.

The sanitation coverage is still low as only 61 percent households have toilets, though the government has to increase the coverage to 100 percent by 2017. Only eight districts have been declared Open Defecation Free till date.

According to the Ministry of Urban Development (MoUD) Secretary Kishor Thapa, the main challenge is to change the public attitude toward using toilet so that areas that are once declared Open Defecation Free (ODF) zone remain so in future as well.

Thapa added that his ministry this year would set the standard for number of people per toilet. The standard number of toilets would vary in academic institutions, hospitals and crowded areas, he mentioned.

Likewise, the MoUD would also coordinate with the Ministry of Local Development to increase the number of public toilets in urban areas. Only 61 public toilets are in usable condition in the Kathmandu Valley at present.

For sanitation, the National Planning Commission had set the budget ceiling of Rs 450 million for sanitation.
Of the total allocated amount for water and sanitation the government has allocated total Rs 3.99 billion to improve the coverage of safe drinking water and sanitation in rural areas in the next four years.

Following an increasing water crises in the hill districts like Ramechhap, Kavre Palanchowk and Panchthar in dry seasons, the government has allocated Rs 250 million for ensuring drinking water in the areas this year.

Likewise, Rs 300 million has been allotted to promote public private partnership program in VDCs. Likewise, the government is also planning to add water supply facility in Tansen of Palpa, which is facing acute shortage following the fast urbanization.

Similarly, Rs 560 million has been allocated for the development of Bagmati river corridor. The amount would be utilized to stop encroachment around the the Bagmati River area and to make the river sewerage free.

Melamchi water project gets Rs 5.24 billion

The government´s focus still remains on Melamchi drinking water project as Rs 5.24 billion of the total expense on drinking water service has been allotted to the project to establish the water treatment plant at Sundarijal. The project falls in the category of national priority.

On July 10, the MoUD had inaugurated the construction of water treatment plant at Sundarijal, which has the capacity to treat 80.5 million liters of water per day. The project is supported by JICA.

The standard of water brought from Melamchi would meet the national standard after treatment at the center, according to Suresh Prakash Acharya, spokesperson of the Ministry of Urban Development.

Two international companies M/S VA Tech Wabag Limited, Austria and Pratibha Industries, India had received the joint contract to complete the project by November 2015.

However, the construction of a tunnel from Melamchi to Sundarijal has been stalled since September last year after the government terminated the contract of the Chinese contractor that was building the tunnel.

The project had started in 2000 with an aim to supply 170 million liters of water to the Valley by 2007. The slow pace of the project, however, has resulted in two deadline extensions. The total cost of the project is US $ 249.4 million.

According to Madhav Prasad Nepal, senior engineer with the Melamchi Water Supply Development Board, the government has initiated the bidding process for tunnel construction with the hopes of restarting the project within a couple of months.

The initial contract with the Chinese contractor China Railway 15 Bureau Group Corporation on building a diversion tunnel for the water supply project came to an end on September 26 last year. The contractors blamed the government saying that the board was unsupportive and had failed to address their demands over payment.
Of the total 27.5 km tunnel, the Chinese contractors had built only 6 km till September last year. Engineer Nepal, meanwhile, claimed that the Chinese contractors did not bring equipments needed for constructing the tunnel.

The board officials say that the government was disappointed with the contractor after it became clear that they could not complete the work in time.
There is a demand of 320 million liters of drinking water in the Valley for 3.2 million people, out of which 2.6 million are Valley residents and more than half a million people are those who travel to the Valley for various reasons.

The KUKL has the capacity to supply only 90 million liters of water to the Kathmanduties in dry season and 150 million liters of water during rainy season. Therefore, the KUKL is also working on other alternatives as Melamchi project would supply only 170 million liters of water every day, which is only half of the total requirement.

The government has estimated that additional Rs 9 billion would be needed to supply drinking water to the Valley dwellers till 2016. The estimation excludes the cost of the ongoing Melamchi drinking water project and the Bagmati Basin improvement program.

The MoUD has also estimated that 20 new tube wells, with the capacity to generate 20 million liters water per day, would have to be brought in operation in the next three years.

Similarly, a plan to construct a 22 kilometer network for improved water distribution system inside the ring road areas is also in the pipeline. The MoUD project also aims to construct basins at various places of the Valley.

Under this plan, ponds with the capacity to store 30 million liters of water in Mahankal, 12 million liters in Balaju, 8 million liters each in Arubari and Khumaltar would be built. In total, 68 million liters of water would be stored in the basins. In another phase, from 2016 to 2025, the government aims to establish water treatment centers and improved distribution systems at an investment of Rs 13 billion.


Kathmandu, 25 July: At a time when Madhes-based parties have intensified negotiations for party unifications and alliances in view of the upcoming
Constituent Assembly (CA) election, the Rajendra Mahato-led Sadbhavana Party (SP) is sending an official letter to Mahantha Thakur-led Tarai Madhes Democratic Party (TMDP) concerning unification between the two parties, JIvesh Jha writes in Republica..

“Our Central Working Committee (CWC) meeting is scheduled for Thursday and Friday. We will discuss the matter at the meeting and endorse the draft of a letter that we will subsequently send to TMDP,” said a senior SP leader seeking anonymity.

Speaking to Republica, SP General Secretary Manish Suman said that they will discuss about unification with other Madhesi parties during the CWC meeting. “Election strategies, organizational positions, the current political situation, election manifestos and the agenda for the November poll will be discussed at the CWC meeting,” said Suman, adding, “The same ratio of proportional to first-past-the-post should be maintained as in the previous CA election if there is going to a meaningful CA poll,” he said.

While confirming that internal negotiations over unification are under way, a senior TMDP leader seeking anonymity told Republica that SP was closer to his party. “The unification talks could not materialize due to disputes relating to leadership,” said the TMDP leader. He further accused SP of being engaged in just fulfilling personal ambitions.

He said that they would try their best to form a unified Madhesi party under the leadership of Mahantha Thakur. It is to be noted that within the past few months as the CA poll looms, dozens of Madhesi leaders have switched sides and joined other Madhesi and non-Madhesi parties just to strengthen their positions for the November poll.

Vice-chairman of TMDP Brikhesh Chandra Lal said they were serious about unification with any ´like-minded´ Madhesi party. “We had called for unification 16 months ago,” said Thakur, accusing other Madhesi parties of not being serious over the unification process.

“Our two-day CWC meeting starting Wednesday is discussing party unification and other election-related agenda,” said Lal, adding, “We are serious about the unification process.” He further said that parties looking forward to unification should not come with any preconditions.

Meanwhile, Sanjay Shah, former central committee member of the Bijay Kumar Gachchhadar-led Madhesi People´s Right Forum-Democratic (MPRF-D), has joined SP amidst a party function in Janakpur, Wednesday.

Speaking to Republica, Shah said, "We are to organize a motorcycle rally in Janakpur to draw the attention of the city people to the fact that I have joined the Sadbhavana Party." He further said SP was the oldest Madhes-based party and the ´single party for the Madhesi cause´.

"My arrival in the SP would definitely make the party stronger in the eastern Madhes," said Shah, adding, "The Tarai people have assured me of victory in the fresh CA poll also."


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