• Sunday, 25 February 2024

More than one million tourists arrive in 2023

Published Date : December 30, 2023

      Kathmandu, Dec 30 : More than one million foreign tourists came to visit Nepal via air in the year 2023. According to the statistics of the Nepal Tourism Board, 1,008,614 tourists came to Nepal as of 5:00 am today morning.

      With this, the government’s goal of bringing in one million foreign tourists in 2023 has been fulfilled. In the budget of the current fiscal year, the government had mentioned that the number of foreign tourists visiting Nepal would be increased to 0ne million in 2023.

      The tourism of the country hit badly by the COVID-19 pandemic has almost revived to its original state. The NTB says that tourism has recovered this year by almost 85 percent.

       In 2019, around 1.2 million foreign tourists had visited the country. “The arrival of tourists this year is encouraging”, said NTB Director Maniraj Lamichhane. More than 1 million tourists have entered through the Tribhuvan International Airport in Kathmandu.     

      Likewise, president of Hotel Association of Nepal (HAN), Binayak Shah, expects the arrival of tourists to further increase in the coming days. If the government expands its partnership with the private sector, tourists will increase in the future.

      It may be noted that the government has announced 2025 as the Visit Nepal Year. Furthermore, the year 2023 to 2032 is being celebrated as the tourism decade with a target of bringing in 3.5 million tourists.

      Meanwhile, the number of Indian tourists has increased significantly this year. In 2019, 254,150 Indian tourists came to Nepal while the number is 317,481 this year. Likewise, the number of American tourists reached 99,985 this year. In 2019, 93,241 American tourists had arrived to visit Nepal.

      Likewise, the number of Chinese tourists is gradually increasing ,with visit by 60,160 Chinese nationals this year. In 2019, 169,543 Chinese tourists had come to Nepal.

‘Economic revolution only after political revolution steer country to prosperity’

Dhulikhel (Kavrepalanchowk), Dec 30: Former Prime Minister Dr Baburam Bhatarai said the countries achieving higher level of progress through economic prosperity had first accomplished political revolution.

At the academia industry gathering hosted by the Kathmandu University at Dhulikhel on Friday, Dr Bhattarai said                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                     Nepal’s economic development agendas have been relegated when political revolution did not steer to the right path.

He urged the new generation to engage their efforts in creativity rather than indulging in abusing political workers and party leaders.

Noting that instability of political and democratic system was the main cause behind Nepal’s laggard status in development, Dr Bhattarai said it was a matter of glory to come to the status of federal democratic republic today through political revolution.

“Democratic stability is a must in today’s context when capital, technology and labour among others have been globalized”, he said.

Former Finance Minister Surendra Pandey said education sector was the largest industry in Nepal arguing the need of establishing academic institutions for progress and spurring education sector budget.

Noting that the universities should elevate their existing quality, he recommended the universities to actively expand their market reach.

KU’s Vice-Chancellor Prof Dr Bhola Thapa said the entire team of the university has engaged efforts for making wider publicity about the educational programmes being taught here.

He stressed the need to change tendency of putting pressure for student admission expressing surprise that no agency or actor has never asked for the specific human resource in job industry.

“The country can be taken to the pathway to prosperity through job creation which is possible only in collaboration among the educational institutions, industry and government”, Thapa added.

Also speaking on the occasion, Vice-Chairperson of Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry Surkrishna Baidhya commented that the country could not move to the economic revolution due to policy problems. Economic revolution sans industrial revolution is not possible he argued, calling for placing emphasis on promoting industrial sector and boosting confidence of industrialists.

KU’s Registrar Prof Dr Achyut Wagle said the political parties should also emphatically incorporate the idea of academia industry in their manifestoes.

“Education, family life and nation’s development are deeply interconnected”, he said.

Director-General of the Department of Industry, Baburam Gautam said the ministry was mooting measures such as software development, er-commerce related policy and other laws drafting for reforms in industrial sector.

Coordinator of KU Department of Academia Industry Collaboration, Dr Ram Lama shared that the KU has implemented special research and innovation programmes in the areas of technology, green energy and employment promotion.


02-       Land worth Rs 25 million donated to Netra Jyoti Sangh

Galeswor (Myagdi), Dec 30: A couple of Myagdi has donated a piece of land worth Rs 25 million to Netra Jyoti Sangh Beni.

Mukti Roka and Yammaya Roka of Malika rural municipality-6 donated the land to Sangh that has been providing services from a tented space.

The Roka couple has donated seven ana one paisa and three dam land of Kalipur, Beni Bazaar to the organization dedicated for eye care services.

At a programme held at Beni on Friday, the Roka couple handed over the land ownership certificate to President of the Sangh, Amar Baniya.

It has eased the organization to build its own building. The Roka couple also pledged to provide further possible support in its bid to construct own building.


03-       Disease destroys ginger; farmers demand compensation

Ilam, Dec 30: Ginger production has witnessed a loss in Ilam due to disease.

Ginger farmers here have been hit hard with the rise in the trend of ginger tuber rot and then the dry-up of its plant. Most of the farmers in Ilam have given up cultivating ginger after the ginger plants started dying due to the disease.

Ginger is the fastest source of livelihood for the people of Ilam. Milan Khadka, a farmer of Maijogmai rural municipality-3, said that farmers have stopped cultivating ginger due to the disease.

Milan Khadka, a farmer of Maijiogmai rural municipality-3, said farmers have increasingly stopped cultivating ginger in their farms due to prevalence of diseases.

“Ginger is the main source of income for the farmers of Ilam. We have been managing household expenses from its income. But, lately, invasion of disease in ginger farming has troubled us a lot”, he said, adding, “Livelihood of most of the farmers has turned to be a challenge”,

Raghunath Aryal, a farmer, said that ginger has been infected with diseases such as wheat rot, gabaro and leaves drying up . “At first, the plants are rotten and then the plants die gradually,” he said. The disease is considered to be the most harmful for ginger. The disease destroys the fruit of ginger.

The local, province and federal government should identify the problems of ginger farmers and explore the resolving measures, farmers said, demanding arrangement of necessary grants as incentives.


04-       PM Dahal vows to bring most essential federal acts to conclusion

Kathmandu, Dec 30: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has said he was seriously effortful for formulating most essential laws for effective implementation of federalism.

At a group meeting with the Chief Ministers of all seven provinces at the Prime Minister’s residence, Baluwatar, today, PM Dahal said his focus was on implementing federalism as an architect of federalism and a leader of constitution-making.

“As you all are aware, I had crafted the vision of federal republic and struggled for this. I played a lead role to scribe this system in the constitution. Thus, implementation of the constitution is my big concern and priority”, he said.

The Prime Minister further said bringing all parliamentary parties to a consensus was time taking in the run-up to the implementation of federalism.

“You are aware that the incumbent government is rapidly working to formulate the federal civil service act, federal education act, police adjustment act and other laws required for the implementation of constitution”, PM Dahal said, adding, “Bills already presented in the parliament will be brought to a conclusion through discussion. I will put efforts to finalize them through discussion at top level”.

On the occasion, Chief Minsters drew government’s attention towards the implementation of the constitutional provisions on federalism.

Especially, the CMs drew the PM’s attention towards the constitutionally provisioned list of concurrent authorities while calling for implementing the conclusions of the last Chief Ministers’ conference held in Pokhara.

Home Minister briefs PM Dahal about Balkumari incident

Kathmandu, Dec 30: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has been briefed about the physical and human loss in Balkumari incident occurred yesterday.

Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Home Secretary  Dinesh Bhattarai, Inspector General of Nepal Police, Basanta Kunwar, Inspector General of the Armed Police Force, Raju Aryal, Chief District Officer of Lalitpur, and Police Chief in Lalitpur briefed the PM about the incident at his official residence, Baluwatar this morning.

Informing about the incident, they said a probe committee was also formed to investigate the unpleasant incident.

PM Dahal mentioned that the confrontation was tragic and asked the bodies concerned for speedy and fair investigation, said PM Dahal’s personal secretary, Ramesh Malla.

06-       Medicines distributed to Chepang people in Chitwan

Mugling, Dec 30: Various types of medicines worth Rs 250 thousand were distributed to the indigenous Chepang community at Bharang in Icchakamana rural municipality -1 in Chitwan district recently.

The 41 types of drugs were provided to the indigenous and marginalized community through Community Health Unit for free of cost, it was shared.

A social organization, Sapana Village Social Impact, contributed to this cause, said Dhruba Giri, President of the Impact. He informed that they were planning to provide nutritious meal to Chepang children soon.

Furthermore, efforts were on to provide ambulance services to the Chepang whose access to modern healthcare services is scarce, he added.

The rural municipality had been providing limited type of drugs to the local residents including the Chepangs. Due to the growing volume of service-seekers and limited stock of medicines, many of the service-seekers were deprived of basic medicine, said Kamala Hamal, Chief of Health Unit.

“We had not been able to provide medicines to the ill people in the Chepang community. The drugs provided for free of cost have addressed the issue in a pro-term manner,” she confided. 

Rural municipality member Shankha Bahadur Chepang shared that the drugs provided by the Impact has provided them a huge respite at this moment.

Shankha lamented that many of the Chepang children were suffering from malnutrition, while some of them had wounds and bruises warranting medical attention.

07-       Girl murdered in Rupandehi

Bhairahawa, Dec 30: A girl was murdered at Marchabari rural municipality-1 in Rupandehi district. The seven-year-old Nandani Kurmi was found dead at Marchabari-1 this morning.

According to Spokesperson at the District Police Office, Deputy Superintendent of Police Manohar Bhatta, the girl was missing from yesterday and the preliminary investigation showed that the girl was murdered.

Police have arrested a person suspecting his involvement in the crime and further investigation into the incident was underway, he added.

08-       Contractor leaves health post building construction in limbo

Khotang, Dec 30: The construction of a health post’s building at Rakhabangdel of Aishelukharka rural municipality in Khotang district has not made any headway due to gross negligence of the contractor company.

The Gauri Parbati New Technical JV was awarded contract on November 26, 2020 for the building by March 11, 2022.

Chief of the project office in Okhaldunga, Prabhakar Karna, ranted that there was no alternative to bringing that erring contractor company to book. He shared that they had sent a follow-up letter for the last time to the company, warning it of action if the company persists inaction.

The wall of the ground floor has been plastered while there is no wall in the second floor. 

The same company had bagged the contract to construct altogether five buildings of different five health posts at the estimated cost of over Rs 74 million (excluding VAT), according to Karna.

09-       Farmers lured to fishery

Godawari (Kailali), Dec 30: Farmers have been lured to fishery in Sudurpaschim Province of late. The fish farming is done in more than 200 natural ponds and hundred other commercial ponds.

The government record shows 10,000 metric tons of fish is produced every year in the province.

Chief of the fishery development centre of Geta, Kailali, Surya Shahi, informed that Kailali and Kanchapur districts were being developed as centre for fishery in the province. The production has meeting almost 75 percent of the demand here, while 25 percent is imported from India and other provinces.

Even the consumption of this aquatic animal is on rise here. Annually, average consumption per person is two kg of fish.  According to Office Chief Shahi, per person consumption of fish would be increased to 10 kg in coming 10 years. Similarly, the production of the aquatic animal is aimed at reaching 30,000 metric tons per a year in a decade.

However, the farmers have complained that they were not getting fries, feed and medication on time, while marketing is an equally pressing problem.

The Centre further informed that around 4,800 metric tons of fish is consumed in Kailali and Kanchanpur annually. Fishery is being done in ponds constructed in 1,750 hectares of land in two districts.

Of 1,750 hectares of land, the natural ponds cover 1,304 hectares of land and artificial ponds 250 hectares of land. Three metric tons of fish per hectare is being produced in artificial ponds and one metric ton per hectare in the natural pond.

The two districts used to import around 90 per cent fish from India before 10 years, which are now producing fries of different species. The Centre has been producing more fries than the target in the recent period and distributing to different districts.

10-       Ward chairperson nabbed for allowing illegal excavation

Siraha, Dec 30: A ward chairperson has been arrested on the charge of giving consent to contractors for excavation of pebbles, stone and sand from Chure and forest areas illegally.

The Division Forest Office, Lahan held Chairperson of Karjanha municipality-1, Phanindra Prasad Pokharel, on Friday.

Information Officer at the Division Forest Office, Radheshyam Chaudhary, shared that ward chairperson Pokharel was nabbed after finding an evidence of Pokharel’s support for the recommendation to excavate Kamala river bank at Karjanha-1 against existing laws and acts.

He has been kept in the custody of Division Forest office for further investigation.

Similarly, Division Forest Office had arrested crusher owner Mohammad Khalil Rain on Thursday on the charge of his involvement in illegal mining of pebbles, stones and sand and investigation into the case was underway.

11-       Gulmi Hospital to begin dialysis service 

Tamghas, Dec 30: The Gulmi Hospital is all set to begin dialysis service. The health facility has already conducted a test for it.

The hospital had successfully provided dialysis to Devi Ram Khanal from Resunga municipality-8 on December 25 and 28. With this, the medication for kidney disease will be regular now onwards.

The availability of dialysis at Gulmi Hospital has ended compulsion of related patients to visit Palpa, Butwal and other cities.

Dialysis is a clinical process to purify blood after the kidney fails to function well.

There are five machines in the hospital for this service. Among them, three can be used for regular service, while two for alternative.

In order to run the facility in a smooth manner, necessary workforce is put in place- a specialist doctor and a nurse. The kidney failure patients need blood purification twice a week. It takes nearly five hours for one time dialyses.

Public health inspector Bom Aryal informed that nine patients could be treated in a week. If the related workforce is increased, use of same medical equipment can provide service to more number of patients, he viewed.

Moreover, government has the scheme of Rs 2,500 as incentive to the hospital for providing a dialyses service. However, Gulmi Hospital has not been entitled to the incentive, as it is yet to receive permission from Department of Health Service.

All technical aspects for operation of new medical service are up to the mark, so the hospital will get the permission soon, Aryal expected.

Khanal who underwent dialyses at Gulmi Hospital had begun treatment from Kathmandu since January 31. He is now the first patient to receive this service from the district. Three months back, he had the medication from neighbouring Palpa district.

As he is the first patient, the Gulmi Hospital provided the service for free of cost.

12-       Security officer who ordered to open fire in Balkumari incident suspended

Kathmandu, Dec 30: The government is going to take action those negligent authorities in the Balkumari incident that caused physical and human loss.

Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ shared that the police officer who ordered to shoot in course of containing mob without considering other options has been suspended until the investigation was over.

PM Dahal informed this while addressing the 6th national trade union conference of the Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC) here today.

Apart from the security officer, the security personnel assigned for escorting the vehicle where Minister for Physical Infrastructure and Transport Prakash Jwala was traveling in have been suspended for proceeding the vehicle without analyzing the security situation, according to the PM.

The suspension decision was in effect also for the Chief of the Employment Permit System (EPS) branch, said PM Dahal, adding that the suspension was enforced in consultation with him and at the instruction of Deputy Prime Minister and Minister for Home Affairs Narayankaji Shrestha.

Two persons died while the vehicle used for Minister Jwala was set on fire in the unpleasant incident at Balkumari yesterday. Some irate youths protested in front of the office of EPS as they were not allowed for the Korean language test.

The protest suddenly took an ugly turn causing loss of two lives. PM Dahal, during his address in the conference, said that the meeting of the Council of Ministers was summoned today to provide compensation to the youths losing their lives in the incident.

The Head of the Government today morning did stocktaking of the incident calling a meeting with DPM Shrestha, Secretary of at Home Ministry, Dinesh Bhattarai, and Heads of the security agencies.

He said that discussions on the same were held with the coalition partners.


13-       PM Dahal vows solution of labour problems

Kathmandu, Dec 30: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has said he was striving to address the rights of working class people.

Addressing the 6th national trade union conference organized by the Joint Trade Union Coordination Centre (JTUCC) here today, PM Dahal reminded that he was accorded utmost priority to labour sector in his past one year in office. He committed to making policy and programmes friendly to the workers.

The PM further argued the present government is the most favourable one to the labourers. “I am firm to resolve genuine demands of the workers including formation of constitutional national labour commission with quasi-judicial rights and representation of 10 percent representation of working class in each state mechanism,” Dahal pledged, warning of action to the employers who fail to enlist employees under social security scheme.

The PM reminded that contribution-based social security scheme was put in place for the welfare of the workers and labourers in the informal sectors in the country and abroad. The government stands by the workers and their genuine agenda and demands.

The foreign migrants and their rights were given priority. Help desks were set up at embassies and diplomatic missions and passport and visa process made easy, according to the PM.

PM Dahal claimed that some important standards were set in areas of political stability, economic reform, guarantee of good-governance, public service delivery and social justice among others within a year of the formation of the incumbent government he is leading.

Dahal, however, expressed, “I am not satisfied with this. I have announced some new resolutions for the coming years. It will be my top priority to materialize those resolutions, thereby spreading the rays of hope and laying foundation for prosperity in the country.”

Similarly, FNCCI President Chandra Prasad Dhakal said that the employers were moving ahead in coordination with the worker class. He expressed his confidence that the agreement inked between the FNCCI and the JTUCC would facilitate in improving the relations between the employers and workers.

Likewise, CNI President Rajesh Kumar Agrawal said the welfare of the workers was highly prioritized.

JTUCC President Binod Shrestha pledged to continue promoting the welfare of the workers and resolving the issues relating to them.

Expressing his displeasure that the trade unions’ rights were not being institutionalized, he urged the government to roll out workers-friendly programmes and to immediately endorse of labour-friendly international conventions.

The two-day conference would discuss the steps to be taken by the stakeholders to guarantee working class people’s rights and welfare. A new leadership of the JTUCC will be elected by the conference.

14-       Emphasis laid on women entrepreneurship

Pokhara, Dec 30: Women tourism entrepreneurs have laid emphasis on need of special action plan from policy-level to promote women entrepreneurship for propping up economy.

They stressed it at a programme organised for women entrepreneurs of service sector in Gandaki province. EU-Nepal Trade and Investment Project organised the event with coordination of Women Tourism Entrepreneurs Forum (WOTEF). 

On the occasion, tourism entrepreneur Sharmila Neupane said the state has not been paying attention to the result-oriented activities. She mentioned, “The state should create gender-based investment-friendly environment in order to encourage women in entrepreneurship for social justice and equality.” She went on to claim that there is no feeling about the presence of the government.”

Also a tourism entrepreneur, Gandaki Province Assembly member, Devaka Pahari, shared that women are deprived of the opportunity to income generation in lack of women-friendly environment.

Pointing out the need of investment-friendly environment, policy to encourage entrepreneurship, guarantee of market, training as per women’s interest, capacity enhancement, she said she had been constantly raising voice in this regard.

Similarly, Professor Dr Chandra Bhadra viewed that women are compelled to face discrimination due to various reasons after the state is not seen sensitive towards gender-friendly concept.

Chairperson of Pokhara Tourism Council, Pom Narayan Shrestha, underscored that there are immense potentials to encourage women towards entrepreneurship as tourism is multi-dynamic sector.

Sharing contribution of women tourism entrepreneurs in tourism promotion of Pokhara, she pointed out the need of additional empowerment of women.

Likewise, WOTEF Advisor Pampha Pahari opined that with the establishment of the organisation, collective voices are being raised for women empowerment.

Organiation Chair Uma Bhandari Regmi said the organisation had been organising various programmes for augmenting status of women associated with different business. Women tourism entrepreneurs had gathered for the first time in Pokhara and established the organisation in 2074 BS. 

She further said the state should pay attention to capacitate women entrepreneurs and manage sustainable finance.

EU Representatives Dipanjali Shrestha shared that as per the statistics of Gandaki Province only around 45 per cent women are self-dependent.

15-       Govt to provide Rs 1 million each to families of Balkumari victims

Kathmandu, Dec 30:  The government has decided to provide one million rupees in compensation to each family of two youths killed in Balkumari incident on Friday. 

An emergency Cabinet meeting held at the official residence of the Prime Minister at Baluwatar today took the decision in this regard, shared Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma.

Sujan Raut of Dailekh and Birendra Shah of Accham district were killed in a clash with police personnel at Balkumari, Lalitpur. The government paid tribute to the deceased and extended condolences towards the bereaved family members, said Minister Sharma, who is also the Spokesperson of the government.

Similarly, the government would make arrangement of free treatment to those injured in the incident. The meeting took the decision that the Finance Ministry would provide necessary budget to Home Ministry for the treatment of injured ones.

The government has urged everyone to maintain peace and order, she said.

Stating that the Ministry of Home Affairs had already formed a committee yesterday to prove the incident, the Minister said that the Committee would furnish suggestions so that such untoward incidents would not repeat.

On a different note, Minister Sharma said that the PM had already expressed his commitment to bring important acts such as Federal Civil Service Act and Federal Police Act among others related to implementation of the federalism.

Power supply to Shubha Shri Agni Cement cut off

      Arghakhanchi, Dec 30 : Nepal Electricity Authority Arghakhanchi Distribution Center has cut off the power supply to Shubha Shri Agni Cement Industry located in Shitganga Municipality.

      The power supply line was disconnected from last night after the industry located in Jaluke of Shitganga Municipality-8 did not pay Rs. 470 million in tariff dues, Chief of NEA Arghakhanchi Branch Trilochan Bhattarai said.

      The amount was due for using electricity through the dedicated line.

‘Service delivery, rule of law and fiscal discipline needed’

      Kathmandu, Dec 30 : The Public Administration Association of Nepal (PAAN) has suggested that the bureaucracy in the country should work by giving top priority to effective public service delivery, rule of law and fiscal discipline.

      Addressing the 24th annual general assembly and 19th national conference on Saturday, Chairman of PAAN Krishna Hari Baskota said that there have been massive changes in the role of public administration and its operational model.

      He viewed that public administration’s performance should be made credible, prompt and make people feel better through the use of electronic medium.

      The PAAN has also drawn the attention of the stakeholders to run all the state entities based on democratic norms and values. It has urged to address the concerns relating to the electoral system and encourage the sharing of best practices carried out by three layer of governments.

      On the occasion, former chair of Public Service Commission Umesh Prasad Mainali argued that the inclusive democracy is also a system that allows the less competent ones in the state mechanism for equal opportunities. “There is a question that the minority should sacrifice for the majority. System of reservation is there in politics and bureaucracy,” Mainali mentioned.  

      He stated that the bureaucracy should incorporate the missing views during policymaking.  Likewise, public administration expert Trilochan Pokharel said that the issue of inclusion should be truly implemented even in practice by accepting the diversities existing in the country.

      Associate Professor Dr Uddhav Pyakurel of Kathmandu University (KU), Hiramani Ghimire, former secretary Krishna Gyawali and other experts expressed their views on effective public service delivery, good-governance and the efforts to bring those marginalized ones in the mainstream of the state adding that some of the state mechanisms were not clear on the issue of inclusion.

      The PAAN is to elect its new working committee from its ongoing 24th annual general assembly.

19-   Lalitpur new NSL champion

      Kathmandu, Dec 30: Lalitpur City FC has won the title of the second edition of Nepal Super League (NSL) football tournament.

      In the final match held at Dasharath Stadium in Tripureswar this evening, Lalitpur defeated Dhangadhi FC by 3-2 to be crowned the new champions.

      Along with the title, Lalitpur won a cash prize of Rs 7 million. This is the second time that Dhangadhi finished second in the tournament, and walked home with Dhangadhi 2 million rupees.

      In the match, Dhangadi took the lead in the 37th minute of the match, with Afij Olawale scoring a goal. However, in the extra time of the first half of the game, Imoh Ezekiel of Lalitpur scored to bring the match to a 1-1 tie at half time.

      Dinesh Henjan made it 2-1 for Lalitpur with a goal in the 50th minute, which was doubled by Imoh Ezekiel in the 58th minute for his second individual goal, giving Lalitpur a 3-1 lead.

      In the extra time of the second half of the game, Ahmed Hijaji of Dhangadhi closed the margin of defeat to make it 3-2, but could not stop Lalitpur from lifting its maiden trophy.

20-   Tourist missing from Tanahun

      Damauli (Tanahun), Dec 30 : A foreign tourist has gone missing from Dumre market located in Bandipur rural municipality-1. According to the police, Kilk Milhausen from Canada has not been contacted for three days.

      According to the police, while going from Pokhara to Kathmandu, Milhausen fell in the Dumre market and was not contacted after that. Tourism Development Committee Chairman Kisan Pradhan informed that the tourism police office in Bandipur has asked the tourism and hoteliers of Bandipur to help in their search.

      He said, “His belongings were in the vehicle he was riding in, the belongings have reached Kathmandu. It has been reported that he has been out of contact since he went down to Dumre market. We have also cooperated for the search.”

21-   Investigation into Balkumari incident underway: MoHA

      Kathmandu, Dec 30 : The high-level committee formed to probe the fatal incident that took place at Balkumari of Lalitpur on Friday has already started working.

      The report of the investigation committee will be implemented while the security officers assigned to the incident site have been called back and suspended to make the work of the committee objective, says the Home Ministry.

      Lalitpur Deputy Superintendent of Police Umesh Lamsal and Assistant Sub-inspector Bodharaj Danuwar, the Personal Security Officer assigned to the Minister of Physical Infrastructure and Transport have suspended, says a statement issued by spokesperson of the Ministry, Narayan Prasad Bhattarai.

      Similarly, it has been decided to suspend EPS Korea branch office director Gurudatta Subedi. The Chief District Officer of Lalitpur has been recalled to the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Senior Superintendent of Police of District Police Range Lalitpur has been recalled to the Nepal Police Headquarters.

      Stating that the Ministry is very sensitive about the incident, the statement has expressed deep sorrow over the incident and clarified that the government is constantly striving to ensure the right to put forth one’s views peacefully.

      The Ministry has also paid tributes to the deceased and extended heartfelt condolences to the bereaved family. Birendra Shah of Chowrapati Rural Municipality-1 of Achham and Sujan Raut of Mahabu Rural Municipality-6 in Dailekh died in the incident during a protest at the EPS Korea branch office at Balkumari in Lalitpur on Friday.

22-   Tamu Lhosar being observed

      Kathmandu, Dec 30: The Gurung community is marking Tamu Lhosar tomorrow by bidding adieu to the year gone by. In the Gurung language, ‘Lho’ means year and ‘Sar’ denotes change.

      Members of the Gurung community mark the festival by organising feasts and cultural programmes. Tamu Lhosar is also associated with the rays of the sun, it is said.

      The festival is marked on the 15th of the Nepali month of Poush as sunrays reach early in the geography of Gurung settlements including Lamjung, Gorkha, Tanahun, Syangja, Manang, Kaski and Parbat. The festival is marked by Tamang and Sherpa community in the Nepali month of Magh and Falgun, respectively.

      The government has announced public holiday on the occasion of Tamu Lhosar. Members of the Gurung community will organise a special programme at Tundikhel, Kathmandu, tomorrow.

23-   Congress CWC for criteria on NA member election

      Kathmandu, Dec 30: The meeting of the central working committee of the Nepali Congress concluded today with a decision to determine certain criteria for the candidate representing the party in the upcoming National Assembly elections.

      Likewise, the meeting which had been going on since December 28 at the party’s central office in Sanepa approved the modified date of the Mahasamiti meeting and conduct the Congress campaign among the community from January 21 to February 5, said Chief of Information, Communication and Publicity Department Min Bishwakarma.

      The central committee has urged the government to provide services that guarantee good governance to the people, while pointing out problems seen in the field of good governance.

      The NC CWC also demanded an investigation to find the truth behind the Friday Balkumari incident, punish the culprits and compensate the victims.

PM meets victims of Balkumari killing, vows to punish culprits

      Kathmandu, Dec 30 : Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on Saturday met with the families of the two youths killed at Balkumari in Lalitpur on Friday.

      During the meeting held at the Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar today, the Prime Minister said that the government has already initiated probe process to find out the truth of the incident and punish the culprits.

      The PM said the government has taken the incident seriously and the officials found guilty in the initial stage have already been suspended, the PM’s secretariat shared.

      Sujan Raut of Dailekh and Birendra Shah of Achham were killed in a clash with police personnel at Balkumari, Lalitpur. PM Prachanda also shared that an announcement was made in relief to the victims’ families on behalf of the government and provisions have been made to ensure treatment of the injured.

      The PM also expressed grief towards the incident and condoled the demise of the youths while expressing deep sympathy to the deceased’s families.  During the meeting, the PM stated that he was attending a programme in Dolakha on Friday and took stock of the incident with the officials immediately after he was informed about the death of two youths.

      The PM has assured of justice to the victims’ families. “Whatever the findings come and whoever are found culprits will be booked. No such incidents will happen in coming days,” PM’s press advisor Govinda Acharya quoted the PM as saying.

      On the occasion, the families of the victims drew the PM’s attention for a fair probe and stern action to the culprits. The federal parliament members from Achham and Dailekh districts were also present on the occasion.

      Earlier today, a meeting of the Council of Ministers held at the official residence of the Prime Minister at Baluwatar decided to provide Rs 1 million in compensation to each family of two youths killed in Balkumari incident on Friday and provide free treatment services to those injured ones.

      The government also paid tributes to the deceased and extended condolences towards the bereaved family members. The government has also initiated processes to book those officials for their carelessness, which ultimately led to the the killings of two youths and caused physical loss.

      The government has suspended police officer, who ordered the personnel to open firings in course of containing mob without considering other options, until the probe was completed.  Likewise, Chief of Employment Permit System (EPS) section Under Secretary Guru Dutta Subedi was also suspended.

      The unpleasant incident happened on Friday afternoon as the police opened firings on the youths, who had staged demonstration for not allowing them to participate in the examination of Korean Language Test.

25-   President, PM extend Tamu Lhosar greetings

      Kathmandu, Dec 31: President Ramchandra Paudel and Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachana’ have wished for happiness, peace and good health to all Nepali sisters and brothers at home and abroad on the occasion of Tamu Lhosar festival.

      In separate message of best wishes today on the occasion of Tamu Lhosar, the greatest festival of Gurung community, the President has wished that may this festival provide energy to all of us in making socially and economically prosperous country by promoting the aspirations of mutual trust and unity.  

      President Paudel has expressed the confidence that this festival would help further strengthen our national unity by promoting goodwill, tolerance and brotherhood among all Nepalis in our multiethnic, multilingual and multicultural diverse society.

      The President also stated that the role of Gurung community is praiseworthy in promoting our tourism by protecting and promoting Nepal’s cultural traditions.

      Likewise, Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has said that institutionalizing the beauty of federal democratic republic along with internalizing the country’s features and uniqueness was the common responsibility of all us.

      In a message of greetings on the occasion of Tamu Lhosar today, the PM stated that the country’s unity, sovereignty, prosperity and national interests remain on the promotion of nationality and identity of communities.

      In his message, PM Prachanda has said that democracy, social justice, national unity, sovereignty, indivisibility, patriotism, unity, goodwill and tolerance have remained Nepal’s national characteristics and identity and added that his government was always effortful to meet the national aspirations of prosperity by addressing the key challenges of the country.

      PM Dahal has expressed the confidence that the Tamu Lhosar festival would encourage all Nepalis to integrate in the national duty of maintaining social justice, good-governance and prosperity along with promoting national unity.

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