Nepal Today

Monday, July 29, 2013


Kathmandu, 30 July: Home ministry has directed persons and agencies
to take stern action against persons and institutions spoiling the
election atmosphere.
The ministry said disrupting election activities is a serious crime.
The directive came after a meeting of regional security chiefs in the capital for the19November assembly elections.
The ministry is finalizing an integrated security plan for the vote.
Kathmandu, 30 July: The government is planning to put a ban on import of chicken into the Kathmandu Valley to control a possible outbreak of bird flu,Yadav Raj
Joshi reports in The Himalayan Times..

“The ban will come into effect from Tuesday in Kathmandu, Lalitpur and Bhaktapur,” Dr Ramkrishna Khatiwada, Deputy Director General at the Department of Livestock Services, said. “The ban will last for a week.” He added that the department was also mulling over immunisation option, as part of which fowls will be immunised. “We hope to implement this soon.”

A meeting between district administration offices and authorities from the animal health departments in the Kathmandu Valley today decided to impose a ban on import and transportation of chicken and poultry products. “Traditional control mechanisms have failed to control bird flu outbreak. Therefore, the government is going to explore alternatives, as part of which import of chicken and ducks will be completely banned,” Khatiwada said.

According to Khatiwada, the ban will help control the flow of bird flu infected fowls into the markets of the Valley.

Poultry farmers of late have been found to be selling bird flu infected chicken and ducks in the market. Such a case was reported in Sundarighat of Lalitpur two days ago.

The immunisation option, however, will be implemented only after holding consultations with experts. “A team of experts from Bangkok is visiting Nepal to take stock of the situation. Immunisation (of fowls) will be started according to their suggestions,” Khatiwada said. About a dozen cases of bird flue outbreak have been reported in the Kathmandu Valley in the last two years.

In the last fiscal year, there were 35 cases of bird flu outbreak across the country.

There have been 106 bird flu outbreak cases since the epidemic was first reported in the country six years ago.

Fowl play

• About a dozen case of bird flu outbreak have been reported in the Valley in the last two years

• The country in the last fiscal year saw about 35 cases of bird flu outbreak

• There have been a total of 106 bird flu outbreak cases since the epidemic was first detected in the country six years ago

• Poultry farmers of late have been found to be selling bird flu infected chicken and poultry products in the market

Kathmandu, 30 July: The Ministry of Foreign Affairs (MoFA) is working on a new comprehensive document on “foreign
Policy, The Himalayan Times reports. behaviour”.

A group of joint secretaries and under-secretaries under Europe and America Division Chief Amrit Rai are busy framing the policy document at present, MoFA spokesperson Dipak Dhital told THT today. He, however, did not elaborate on the changes it will bring in the existing foreign policy. The idea was mooted and initiated after Madhav Ghimire became the Minister for Foreign Affairs in March.

According to a joint secretary working in the project, the document will record our foreign policy and its behaviours in a comprehensive way, rather than formulating a new foreign policy or changing the existing one.

Though only MoFA officials are involved in framing the document, it is learnt that inputs and suggestions from foreign policy experts will also be sought later.

Last year, the then Committee on International Relations and Human Rights of the Legislature-Parliament had prepared a new draft on foreign policy with controversial suggestions such as banning Gurkha recruitment in British and Indian armies, and scrapping, replacing or updating treaties with India and China, and changing the name of MoFA.

The new document will incorporate appropriate suggestions from last year’s draft, however, it will avoid any controversial content, said an official.


Kathmandu, 30 July: The government has discontinued three “populist programmes” this fiscal year , and has used the budget—which would have gone to those programmes—in increasing grants for local bodies and other activities such as roads, bridges and social security, prithvi Man Shrestha writes in The Kathmandu Post..
The discontinued programmes are People’s Participation Programme, Electoral Constituency Development Programme and Terai-Madhes and Karnali Vicinity Programme.
Ministry of Federal Affairs and Local Development Spokesperson Dinesh Thapaliya said Rs 1.3 billion has been diverted to other programmes. The biggest chunk of the amount has gone for increasing grants for local bodies, he said.
The government has increased the upper limit of the grant for village development committees to Rs 4.6 million from Rs 3 million. The grant for municipalities and district development committees has also been increased, according to the ministry.
The government had allocated Rs 500 million for People’s Participation Programmes, Rs 600 million for Electoral Constituency Development Programme and Rs 200 million for Terai-Madhes and Karnali Vicinity for fiscal year 201-12.
Under the Electoral Constituency Development Programme, the budget was meant to be used for development activities of constituencies. Development of local roads, drinking water facilities and other activities were to be carried out under the People’s Participation Programmes at the local level through consumer committees. Similar activities were to be carried out to improve livelihood of the people of Karnali region and its vicinity as well as backward region of Terai under the Terai Madhes and Karnali Vicinity Programme.
“All these programmes were of populist and politically-motivated nature,” said Thapaliya. “These were imposed directly by the centre with little participation of the locals.”
The government discontinued these programmes following mounting pressure for not introducing a populist budget at a time when the Constituent Assembly elections have been scheduled for November 19.
Officials at the local development ministry are happy with the transfer of the budget to increase grants for local governments.
“These populist programmes were introduced against the decentralisation policy of the country,” said Thapaliya. “The grants to be provided to local bodies are used for locally-determined projects.”
Kathmandu, 30 July: Nepal witnessed a record 63 percent growth in the tiger population in the last four years. A ‘scientific’ census conducted by the government in the last five moths shows the population of the endangered animals in Nepal shoot up from the 121 in 2009 to 198 this year, Pragati Shahi writes in The Kathmandu Post..
Experts attribute this growth to proper habitat management, significant increase in prey species and controlled poaching.
The first ever nationwide census used camera trapping and highly sophisticated software, ‘SPACE CAP’ to track each individual tiger from its distinct stripe pattern and facial attributes captured in thousands of still photos and videos. This technology is one of the trusted ways to count tiger s with precision as it analyses the pattern of their stripes, which, according to experts, is always different  from one tiger to another.
“This is the most accurate data we ever gathered for our tiger s so far,” said Maheshwor Dhakal, ecologist and under-secretary at the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC). He was making public the census report at a press conference here on Monday, the day the world marked the 4th International Tiger Day.
The Chitwan National Park (CNP), the country’s largest wild reserve for tiger s, recorded 120 big cats, while it hosted 91 in 2009. The Bardiya National Park (BNP) recorded 50, a record high number in the park’s history. In 2009, there were 18 tiger s in the BNP. The significant rise in the number of tiger s in the BNP contributed to the overall rise in the national tiger numbers, experts said. Other tiger habitats, namely Shukhlaphanta Wildlife Reserve (SWR), Parsa Wildlife Reserve and Banke National Park, recorded 17, seven and five tiger s respectively. The count that covered a line transect of 1,659 km and occupancy area of 2,319 km from East to West and covering five protected areas of the country, saw a stable rise in the numbers in Chitwan, while the growth is promising in the SWR, Parsa and Banke for the coming years, the report said.
Nepal became the pioneer country in studying this magnificent species through “Tiger Ecology Project” funded by Smithsonian Institute and World Wildlife Fund US in 1973, and since then various monitoring and counts have been carried out in fragmented areas and at different intervals, the report added.
The efficient law and enforcement at the local level, made possible with the collaboration of bodies concerned, including the park management, Nepal Army, Nepal Police and anti-poaching units helped revive the tiger population, it said.
Anti-poaching teams formed at the local level in Bardiya played a vital role in combating poaching of tiger and its prey such as barking deer, sambar, hogdeer, swamp deer and wild boar, conservation director at WWF Nepal Ghana Shyam Gurung said. “This is a great achievement for all conservationists working in the sector. If the present trend is maintained, hopefully, we will be able to achieve our aim of doubling the tiger population by 2022 ahead of the expected time,” he said. Gurung said the rise in the number of the tiger s cannot be attributed to the cross-border movement of the animals along the Nepal-India border as the census was conducted simultaneously in both the countries.
However, the report says retaining the present population, if not keeping the growth momentum going, is a major challenge.
The population is at the ‘saturation level,’ said ecologist Dhakal, as the increased density of the tiger population will lead to inter-species conflict, thus increasing chances of fatality. “It is very unlikely that the current growth rate will be sustained in the next four or five years.”
The increase in the tiger numbers is also considered a threat to humans. “If there is a steady rise in the tiger population without any substantive expansion of their habitat and prey species, the animals could come out to human settlements, triggering a human-wildlife conflict,” said director general at the DNPWC Megh Bahadur Pandey.
The estimated tiger population worldwide is between 3,000-3,200 in 13 tiger range countries including Nepal. India holds the largest Royal Bengal tiger population of around 1,700. Similarly, of the eight sub-species of tiger s, Bali, Javan and Caspian tiger s are already extinct, while the South Cina tiger is on the verge of extinction.
Upward, Ho!
•    Tiger population in Nepal shot up from 121 in the year 2009 to 198 this year
•    Experts attribute the growth to proper habitat management, increase in prey species and controlled poaching
•    First ever nationwide census used camera trapping and highly sophisticated software to track each individual tiger from its distinct stripe pattern and facial attributes
•    Chitwan National Park recorded 120 big cats, while it hosted 91 of them in 2009
•    Bardiya National Park recorded 50, up from 18 in the year 2009
•    Shukhlaphanta Wildlife Reserve now has 17 tiger s, Parsa Wildlife Reserve seven, and Banke National Park five


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