Nepal Today

Monday, August 19, 2013



Kathmandu, 20 Aug.” Nepal plays India’s U-23 in the ACC Emerging
Cup Trophy in a group match Tuesday in Singapore Tuesday.
Nepal lost to traditional rival Afghanistan in its first outing.
India tops the group after defeating Pakistan and Nepal must win
Tuesday to keep in contention in the tournament.


Kathmandu, 20 Aug.: Capital’s temperature on a clear
Tuesday morning was 19 degrees Celsius.
Temperature is expected to rise to 26degrees Celsius in
the afternoon.


Kathmandu, 20 Aug.:: The talks between the government and the agitating 33-party alliance held on Monday failed to make any headway as the government side insisted on holding polls on the scheduled date of November 19 while the alliance strongly objected to the government´s stance, Thira L. Bhusal writes in Republica..

Mani Thapa, a member of the talks team of the agitating alliance, said that Monday´s talks couldn´t move in positively as the government remained rigid over the election date.

"They repeatedly insisted that the scheduled election date cannot be changed arguing that the government´s hands are tied legally and constitutionally," Thapa, chief of the Revolutionary Communist Party Nepal, told Republica. "This is unacceptable for us because we had agreed to sit for talks only after the government promised to maintain maximum flexibility if we were ready to participate in the elections."

He said while the alliance of the agitating parties insisted on seeking national consensus through a roundtable of all the parties, the government side argued that the Constituent Assembly (CA) itself would be the best platform for seeking consensus on major political issues.

According to him, the government side wasn´t positive about the idea of a rountable as the ministers believed that forging consensus among scores of political parties would be impractical. "Members of the government talks team argued that seeking a solution at an all-party roundtable may be a never-ending debate and we might again be trapped in a quagmire," said Thapa.

Minister for Information and Communications, Madhav Paudel said that their main focus during the talks was to persuade the agitating parties to participate in the November elections. "Our main emphasis was to persuade them to particpate in the November 19 elections," said Paudel. "We have yet to reach an agreement."

CPN-Maoist Secretary Dev Gurung, who heads the talks team of the agitating alliance, said that they couldn´t reach any conclusion "as the government side argued that election is the solution to everything, we underscored the need for forging national consensus through a roundtable participated by all political forces."

Alliance urges govt to mediate for roundtable

The 33-party agitating alliance that had earlier launched protests against the decision to form the present government led by the chief justice saying that it was blatant violation of the principle of separation of powers has now requested the same government to play the role of mediator to convene an all-party roundtable conference to discuss major political issues.

"We urged the government to play the role of a mediator among the parties because the four-party´s High Level Political Committee couldn´t do that," said Gurung.

Thapa argued that they proposed the government to be a mediator because they have already accepted the legitimacy of this government by joining in the talks with the government.

The 33-party alliance led by CPN-Maoist had earlier described the present government as an illegitimate body and demanded dissolution of this government.



Kathmandu, 20 Aug.: : The Department of Electricity Authority has hastened the process of awarding survey licenses of 303 MW Arun-4 Hydropower Project to an Indian Company on first come, first service basis - contrary to the policy of developing the projects of the Arun basin by the government itself or awarding the projects to private developers through open competition, Rudra Pangeni writes in Republica..

Sources privy of the development at the DoED informed that they were pressurized to forward the process of awarding the survey license to OPG Metals Private Limited and is in final stage at the department.

The company had applied a month ago at the DoED for the survey license by depositing Rs 8 million as license fee for the initial two years.
Some ten months ago, a secretary-level decision of the Ministry of Energy had decided to stop awarding any survey license on the Arun basin on the recommendation of the DoED.

The decision was made on the basis of a recommendation made by the DoED to the energy secretary that the projects should either be developed by the government itself or awarded to private developers after an open competition, saying the projects in the river basin are lucrative.
The energy secretary is the final authority to issue survey license of the hydro projects.

Following the DoED´s recommendation, erstwhile Secretary Hari Ram Koirala had formed a committee led by joint-secretary Anup K Upadhyaya and the committee also confirmed the recommendation of the DoED.

Gokarna Raj Pantha, information officer of the DoED, confirmed that the process of awarding the license to the Indian company is underway.
Asked why the DoED is preparing to award the license going against the secretary-level decision, Pantha said, “Any applicant can apply for the license and the process continues naturally, the top authority are to take final decision on it.”

Sources, insisting anonymity, also informed that the junior officials had denied to accept the application from the Indian company, giving reference to the secretary-level decision. However, later they were directed by the higher authority to forward the application.

The projects in the river basin are comparatively lucrative than others as the variation in the water flow in wet and dry months is low, and they face low sedimentation problems, officials said.
DoED officials said, “The group of Bhatbhateni Departmental Store is among the applicant groups for the project.” However in the application the name of the group is not disclosed.

Earlier, Hanurang Projects Limited, India and Bhatbhateni Power Private Limited had jointly applied for two projects in the river basin including the Arun 4 on September 2, 2010.
Talking to this daily over telephone, incumbent Energy Secretary Bishwa Prakash Pandit said, “I am unaware of the project.”

Following the secretary-level decision of October 9, 2012, the government had issued a by public notice, asking the applicants to withdraw the amount they had deposited for the license. Officials are now worried as to how to deal with other applicants if they turn up demanding their respective projects in the river system.
Currently two projects in the river basin are under construction. These projects were were awarded before the secretarial-level decision.

The Satluj Jalbidhyut Nigam Limited, an Indian power developer, is developing Arun III (900 MW) and Brass Power, a Brazilian company, is working to generate the energy from Lower Arun (400).



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