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Building quake-resilient infrastructures mandatory obligation: PM Dahal

Published Date : January 16, 2024

            Kathmandu, Jan 16: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has laid emphasis on carrying out activities, learning from tragic earthquake occurred in the past so as not to suffer from the disaster again in the future.

            At a programme organised at Chandragiri today on the occasion of the 26th Earthquake Safety Day, Prime Minister Dahal mentioned that building quake-resilient structures is the responsibility, not desire.

            “We are organising such type of awareness and resolution programme every year on the occasion of Earthquake Safety Day since 2055 BS recalling the devastating earthquake occurred in 1990 BS. Today is also the day to make national resolution to act so that we do not have to suffer such distress and devastation again”, he stated.

            The Prime Minister called on one and all to work together in order to ensure that no one dies, no one gets injured, no family suffers any type of physical loss from the earthquake in coming days.

            “Come, let’s us all make resolution for the same and internalize the reality that building quake-resilient physical infrastructure is the obligation, not desire,” he shared, pointing out the need of arrangement of insurance of physical infrastructures for the construction of earthquake-resilient infrastructures and systematic structures.

            Stressing on the need of making provision for insurance of physical infrastructures, PM Dahal shared that the cabinet has already decided to study about this.

            He clarified that activities related to risk assessment, reduction, preparedness and early warning system should be further intensified and capacity of local levels should be developed to deal with devastating disaster considering the recent Jajarkot and Bajhang earthquakes as the early sign of risk. 

            Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha, Minister for Urban Development, Sita Gurung, among others were present on the occasion.

Govt not in UML priority: General Secretary Pokhrel

Ranjha (Banke), Jan 16: General Secretary of the CPN UML, Shankar Pokhrel, has said UML had not prioritized making or joining government. “UML is worried more about people’s problems than leading government,” he asserted.

At a press conference organized by Press Chautari Nepal in Nepalgunj on Monday, General Secretary Pokhrel accused the present government of failing to address people’s problems and work for development.

He argued that exodus of youths was increased of late due to declining trust in State. He expressed worry why the government did not pay heed to retain youths within country. A strong national force is imperative because the existing alliance government had not worked for development, according to General Secretary Pokhrel.

He however ruled out the possibility of unity with any communist party for now. “In the past, the party was unified with positive thought but it was not long lasting. Now onwards, unity among cadres and well wishers would be based for unification of parties,” Pokhrel reminded.

Ganki Dhunswa-Basundhara Awards distributed

Kathmandu, Jan 16: Krishna Raj Sarbahari, a novelist writing in Tharu language, has been conferred on the ‘Dhunswa Sayami Creation Award’, while ‘Ganki Dhunswa Basundhara Award’ on noted singer and musician Yogesh Vaidya for this year.

Poet Durga Lal Shrestha handed over the awards amidst a programme organized by the Ganki Dhunswa-Basundhara Foundation in the federal capital on Monday.

On the occasion, poet Shrestha said the award recipients were multidimensional persons, so they deserve further creations.

Foundation Chairman Dr Arun Sayami appreciated the role played by Sarbahari on promotion of indigenous Tharu literature. The award is conferred every two years.

Similarly, Vaidya has contributed significantly in the sector of Nepali music. Both awards carry the purse of Rs 50,000 each.

The awards are being provided to the persons from literature, art and music since its establishment in 2049BS.

Prime Minister Cup Cricket: Three matches today

Kathmandu, Jan 16: Three matches are scheduled for today under the ongoing Prime Minister Cup National Cricket Tournament.

The match between Koshi Province and Nepal Police Club is beginning at TU cricket ground from 9:15 am, while another match is scheduled to begin the same time between Bagmati Province and Madhes Province at Mulpani cricket ground.

The third game is being held at Siddhartha Cricket Stadium of Bhairahawa, Rupandehi. The Karnali Province and the Sudurpachim Province are contesting.

So far, the APF Club is on top. The APF collected four points with the wins in two matches. The result sheet has Tribhuvan Army Club in the second position while Sudurpaschim Province the third, Nepal Police Club the fourth, Karnali Province the fifth, Madhes Province the sixth and Lumbini Province in the seventh position.

Though the Gandaki, Bagmati and Koshi Provinces played two matches, they failed to secure victory.

Jeep plunges into Trishuli River

Chitwan, Jan 16: A jeep with Indian number plate has plunged into Trishuli River. The vehicle fell into the river at Ichchhakamana rural municipality-5 along Narayangadh-Muglin roadway early this morning.

Deputy Superintendent of Police at District Police Office, Chitwan, Shree Ram Bhandari, informed that the jeep had fallen some 85 meters down the road.

Meanwhile, Deputy Superintendent of the Armed Police Force, Shailendra Thapa, informed that a team led by police inspector at the APF disaster management training institute of Kurintar immediately left for the site after receiving information on the incident.

The locals had shared information about the accident.

The divers of APF have recovered the jeep. However, it is not sure whether the jeep had passengers, Thapa added.

Month-long Makarmela kicks off at Dhanushadham

Dhanusha, Jan 16: A month-long Makarmela has kicked off at Dhanushadham. The Makarmela observed every Sunday and Tuesday in the month of Magh as per lunar calendar bears historic and religious significance.

Dhanushadham is located on the north-east belt of Dhanusha district where large number of devotees from across the country and abroad visit during the religious fair, according to a local, Nitya Nanda Mandal.

It is believed that during the Tretayug, one of the splinters of the bow lifted and broken by Lord Rama during his marriage was dropped at Dhanushadham. The bow was lifted by Lord Ram amidst swayambhar before his marriage with Sita, daughter of King Janak.

The bow was broken into three pieces, among which, a splinter went upward to the sky and another under the ground, the legend mentions.

A Dhanusha Baba temple is also built here. The Dhanushadham is some 19 km in the north-east of Janakpurdham.

Earthquake Safety Day: DPM Shrestha for collaboration on disaster reduction and local resilience

Kathmandu, Jan 16: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha has called for collaborative efforts on disaster reduction and local resilience. For this to happen, all three tiers of government could work together, he stressed.

During a programme the Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) organized at Bhugol Park of Kathmandu on the occasion of the Earthquake Safety Day this morning, the collaboration of KMC with federal and province governments would emerge as a model, which, he argued, could be replicated to other local levels.

He reminded that constitution has mentioned disaster management as the rights of local governments as well, so all sides’ responsibilities are required to tackle the problems on it.  “Federal government is ready to work together with local levels for their capacity building,” DPM Shrestha said, adding that the local levels were provided equipments for emergency and rescue operation via National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority.

According to the DPM, even the volunteers have significant role on making effective the disaster management. So, the volunteers could be brought under a national system.

DPM Shrestha expressed happiness over the KMC’s mobilization of volunteers and initiatives taken for necessary training. He lauded the assistance KMC provided in the quake-hit area following the Jajarkot Earthquake. He wished KMC as the leading local level with resources and capacity continued such works.

The initiatives taken by the KMC could be replicated by others, he suggested.

Moreover, DPM Shrestha commented, “KMC’s role on enforcement of building code for the earthquake safety and assessment and retrofitting of the unsafe structures is a significant job.”

On the occasion, Deputy Mayor of KMC, Sunita Dangol, said Nepal must pay heed to building quake resistant structure in view of the earthquake security.

The locally available resources and technology could be used to make infrastructures robust, she viewed, underscoring the need of further collaboration and coordination among three tiers of government.

The Earthquake Safety Day is observed every year on Magh 2 of Nepali calendar since 2055BS. The Day commemorates the devastative earthquake occurred on Magh 2, 1990BS. Huge number of lives and properties perished in the quake that measured 8.4 in Richter scale. It had occurred at 2:24pm.

Senior seismologist at the National Seismology and Research Centre, Lok Bijay Adhikari, informed that as many as 8,519 Nepalis had died, while 80,000 houses were destroyed in the 1990BS earthquake.

Total 207,248 structures perished in the earthquake.

The recent devastative quake Nepal witnessed was the Gurkha Earthquake of Baisakh 12, 2072Bs. It claimed the lives of 8,670 people and destroyed more than 700 thousand houses.

Opinion: Earthquake Safety Day and the Lessons from Recent Earthquakes

            Dr. Raju Thapa

            The Jajarkot earthquake, a devastating event with a magnitude of 6.4 on the Richter scale, struck on the night of November 3, 2023, at 23:47 PM. This calamity resulted in the tragic loss of 154 lives and left 60,478 households in complete ruins.

            The earthquake’s timing during a cold winter exacerbated the situation, with 36 people succumbing to the harsh conditions while living under tarpaulins. The federal government’s immediate response was to provide support for building temporary shelters in the affected areas. However, the distribution of funds was hindered by several challenges: the absence of local government officials, limited banking services, documentation errors, absenteeism of house owners residing outside Nepal, and the requirement to open new bank accounts, neglecting those linked to social security allowance bank account.

            The situation was further complicated by an increase in applicants for reconstruction grants and disputes over eligibility criteria, such as treating multiple families living in the same house as a single unit for grant purposes. These delays have caused significant hardships, especially for vulnerable groups like the elderly, pregnant and lactating women, children, people with chronic illnesses, and those with disabilities, who continue to endure the bitter cold. Two and a half months after the earthquake, over 62% of affected families are still living in makeshift shelters including simple tarpaulin due to the slow progress in constructing temporary shelters.

            As Nepal observes Earthquake Safety Day on January 16th, it is crucial for the government and stakeholders to prepare for a potential mega earthquake. Historical records suggest that western Nepal is overdue for a significant seismic event, having not experienced a major earthquake since 1505. This region is at risk of an earthquake exceeding a magnitude of 8, which would be at least 251 times more powerful than the Jajarkot earthquake.

            In contrast, the Bajhang earthquake, also measuring 6.3 on the Richter scale, occurred during the day and was preceded by a smaller quake 5.3 just before 26 minutes, allowing people to evacuate to safety. This resulted in only one casualty, caused by a landslide triggered by the earthquake, despite the complete destruction of 2,445 houses. This highlights the critical need for an effective earthquake early warning system in Nepal. Despite a Supreme Court directive and ongoing advocacy efforts, significant progress in establishing such a system has not been made. An early warning system, even providing a 10 to 20-second lead time, could be instrumental in saving lives and property during earthquakes. However, it appears that the Nepal government prioritizes spending on rescue, relief, and recovery rather than on preparedness and mitigation.

            These recent earthquakes highlights the urgent need to address existing vulnerabilities, particularly in rural western Nepal where many homes are built with mud and round stones, without adherence to building codes or engineering principles. In the face of such imminent threats, it is imperative to either retrofit or rebuild these vulnerable structures. The tragic aftermath of the Jajarkot earthquake serves as a big reminder of the importance of disaster preparedness and the dire consequences of delayed responses and lack of infrastructure. It calls for a concerted effort from the government, local communities, and international stakeholders to invest in earthquake-resistant infrastructure and early warning systems to mitigate the impact of future seismic events.

            The response to Jajarkot earthquake has highlighted several areas for improvement in disaster management and preparedness. A key lesson learned is the necessity of a unified, legally binding form to track and coordinate disaster relief activities. Such a form would detail the participants, actions, locations, timings, and reasons for relief efforts, enhancing transparency and accountability. This is crucial for efficient resource utilization and avoiding duplication of efforts. The government’s One Door policy needs clearer guidelines for cash and kind distribution and a more structured framework, especially when disasters affect multiple districts or provinces. This policy should be adaptable to escalate coordination to provincial or federal levels as required.

            Another challenge is the inequitable distribution of aid, often due to humanitarian partners focusing on designated operational areas. An effective One Door system should encourage these partners to extend their support beyond their usual scope, ensuring balanced aid distribution. Additionally, the current practice of not accepting Social Security Allowance accounts for disaster relief purposes is an obstacle for beneficiaries. The government should allow these accounts to be used for receiving grants, simplifying the process for those affected.

            Administrative changes, like the appointment of a new Chief Administrative Officer in local government, often lead to delays in aid distribution. Nearly two months have passed since the Federal Government allocated funds to local governments for assisting earthquake-affected individuals, yet many beneficiaries, especially those living under tarpaulins, have yet to receive financial support to construct temporary shelters. A notable instance of this delay is in Banphikot Rural Municipality, where the distribution of funds has been significantly hindered.

            The primary cause of this stall is the prolonged absence of the new Chief Administrative Officer (CAO). As a result of this absence, no beneficiaries in the area have received the government aid intended to help them build temporary shelters. This issue can be mitigated by implementing measures that ensure continuity in aid distribution, regardless of administrative changes. Conflicts between District Disaster Management Committees and Local Governments, often arising from hierarchical disputes, impede essential meetings and coordination. This can be addressed by the Ministry of Home Affairs or the National Disaster Risk Reduction and Management Authority, which should facilitate a more conducive environment for collaboration.

            The reliability of local-level data is often questionable due to political influence, which can lead to exaggerated figures of beneficiaries. A mechanism is needed to hold elected representatives accountable for presenting inflated data, ensuring more accurate and honest reporting. The problem of accurately screening beneficiaries poses a significant challenge, often preventing municipalities from determining the exact number of affected people. The NDRRMA should facilitate and expedite this process, ensuring that relief reaches all those who need it.

            Moreover, stakeholders often overlook geological aspects when rebuilding in disaster-prone areas, leading to structures being reconstructed in locations that have already suffered damage.

            This oversight needs to be addressed, with emphasis on building in safer areas and considering geological risks. Issues like land fissures caused by earthquakes are often ignored, which can lead to major landslides, especially during the monsoon season. Addressing these geological issues in post-disaster scenarios is crucial for long-term safety and stability.

            The impact of disasters on livelihoods, such as the loss of livestock and crop damage, is not always adequately addressed. This neglect can severely affect the recovery of the poorest people affected by disasters. A more comprehensive approach to assessing and addressing these losses is essential. Injured individuals, especially those with dependent children, require special care, including medication and support.

            Government and humanitarian agencies should prioritize assistance for these vulnerable groups, ensuring they receive the necessary care and support. Monitoring the compliance of minimum humanitarian standards in relief support is essential. This would ensure that all relief efforts meet a basic level of quality and effectiveness, providing the best possible aid to those in need. Parents who have lost their children, as well as children who have been orphaned, require psychosocial support and other necessary assistance. Special care programs should be established to cater to the needs of these vulnerable groups.

            The construction of mud and stone houses without technical guidance is prevalent, leading to structures that are not resilient to disasters. Advocacy and regulations are needed to ensure that new constructions are disaster-resilient and technologically sound. The inflation in the price of local materials and labor, particularly in disaster-affected areas, needs monitoring and intervention. This would help control costs and ensure that rebuilding efforts are not hindered by unaffordable prices.

            There is a shortage of technically skilled labor for constructing resilient houses. Providing technical training to local masons and builders would address this gap, ensuring that new constructions are better equipped to withstand future disasters. The lessons learned from the Jajarkot earthquake highlights the need for a more cohesive and efficient disaster management strategy. This includes improving coordination mechanisms, ensuring equitable aid distribution, addressing administrative and political challenges, considering geological risks in reconstruction efforts, focusing on the livelihood and health needs of affected populations, and building resilient infrastructure.

Mahakali Corridor, backbone for development: NC leader Lekhak

            Mahendranagar (Kanchanpur), Jan 16: Chief Whip of the Nepali Congress, Ramesh Lekhak, has described the Mahakali Corridor that connects Kanchanpur to Tinkar of Darchula as a backbone for development in the region.

            The leader who had been here to inspect the opening of a corridor track from Brhamadev of Kanchanpur to Jogbudha of Dadeldhura shed light on the corridor’s potentiality to drive prosperity in the region by facilitating the supplies of herbs, fruits and other local products once it comes into operation.

            He further highlighted the corridor’s capacity to boost tourism development in the region.  The leader travelled up to Jogbudha of Dadeldhura in course of inspecting the corridor track. He also paid homage to the Siddhanath Temple in Kanchanpur and observed a festival organised on the occasion of the Makar Sankranti festival. 

            Site clearance issues have been sorted out in all four districts – Kanchanpur, Dadeldhura, Baitadi and Darchula- and the opening of the track will be progressed up to Baitadi by the next year, according to the leader.

            Furthermore, the leader pledged the management of necessary budget to implement the 413-kilometers corridor project, transforming it into an economic transit point by linking it to the Dodhara Chandani Dry Port.  The construction of the corridor has been underway since the past 13 years.

            Of late, it has been planned to develop the corridor as a roadway linking the tri-national point of Nepal, India and China and the recent development includes the opening of a 15-kilometer track from Brhamadev to Jogbudha.

NWSC, Birgunj preparing to disconnect water supply to 278 taps

            Birgunj (Parsa), Jan 16: Nepal Water Supply Corporation, Birgunj, has made preparation to disconnect supply of drinking water to 278 taps installed at public places of Birgunj Metropolitan City.

            The Corporation had installed the taps in different public places from ward no 1 to 19 in the beginning of the current fiscal year 2080/81 BS after Birgunj Metropolis wrote to the Corporation for the same.

            Chief at Nepal water Supply Corporation, Engineer Niran Maharjan, said preparation has been made to cut the water supply lines after the Birgunj Metropolis did not pay the tariff since the installation of water taps.

            He stated that the Metropolitan City has to pay around Rs 4.4 million in tariff and the Corporation had written to the Metropolis on October 12, 2023 asking to pay the dues, but the metropolis has not paid yet.  

            Chief Maharjan shared they are compelled to disconnect the water supply of such taps as the Metropolitan City has been turning its deaf ears towards the frequent requests of the Corporation to clear the dues.

            Similarly, the Corporation had disconnected the water supply of 23 consumers who have not paid drinking water charge since long. The Corporation has started disconnecting water supply of 542 consumers, who have to pay more than Rs 50,000 water charge, in the first phase keeping their name in blacklist. 

            According to the Corporation, it has to collect around Rs 122.5 million tariff from consumers.

Three bridges come into operation along Narayangadh-Muglin road section

            Bharatpur (Chitwan), Jan 16: Three bridges have come into operation along the Narayangadh-Muglin road section.

            The bridges, constructed over the Rigdhi, Khor, and Bhurle rivulets, have been operational since today, according to engineer Krishna Acharya, information officer of the Narayangadh-Muglin Road Section, Western Division (Narayangadh-Muglin).

            Although the final layer of blacktopping on the bridges is awaited, vehicles have already started using the newly constructed infrastructures.

            According to Acharya, a total of 12 bridges along this road section are now in operation. Out of the 19 bridges planned under the project, four were completed in the initial phase, and the construction of eight bridges has been over in the latest phase. Works are on progress to complete additional four bridges within the next two months.

            Eight bridges located within the Bharatpur metropolis, part of the same project, are to be completed by mid-April, as stated by project engineer Bijay Darai. The construction of bridges in Jugedi, Khahare, and Simaltal is expected to be concluded within the next two months, while the construction of the bridge towards the Ichchhakamana is expected to take a year to complete.

            The construction of these 15 bridges in the Muglin Road Section began in April-March 2020, with Anak Construction being awarded the contract for their completion. The project is supported by the World Bank. This road remains a major route for over 10,000 vehicles traveling between the Terai region and the federal capital daily.

15 injured in Tundikhel stampede discharged

            Kathmandu, Jan 16:  Fifteen, out of 16 people, injured in a stampede at Tundikhel in Kathmandu on Monday, have returned home after treatment.

            The remaining injured is receiving treatment at National Trauma Centre of Bir Hospital.

            The rush had taken place in separate programmes organized by the Magar and Tharu communities at the venue to observe Maghe Sankranti.

            Spokesperson at the District Police Range, Superintendent of Police, Kumud Dhungel, told RSS that a large number of people from Magar and Tharu communities had convened at Tundikhel to observe the Maghi festival. Sixteen people were injured when the stampede occurred all of a sudden. “Fifteen injured ones in the stampede have been discharged while one Karishma Magar, 14, of Rautamai rural municipality-8 of Udaypur district currently living at Manamaiju of Kathmandu, is undergoing treatment at National Trauma Centre,” he said.

            Trisana Magar, 12, Anjana Tamang, 12, Rejina Ghale, 19, Nikita Magar, 16, Rekha Chaudhary, 30, Anisa KC, 16, Kalpana Chaudhary, 25, Mandira Basnet, 22, Mina Thapa, 40, Riza Resmi Magar, 19, a police person Prithvi Budha Magar, Nisha Rana Magar, 25, Nirmala Shrestha, 22, Reshmi Nepal, 27, Yunika Baral, 11 and Karishma Magar, 14, were injured in the incident.

NAC’s wide-body plane grounded after suffering technical glitch

            Kathmandu, Jan 16: A wide-body aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) has been grounded after a technical problem was detected in it. With this, the passengers bound to Doha, Qatar have been stranded.

            NAC spokesperson Ramesh Poudel said the flight had to be stopped as a problem occurred with the flight control sensor of the wide-body plane. Technical repair of the grounded aircraft is in progress now. He said the passengers bound to Doha on this flight will be send to the destination via an alternative flight this evening.

            “The passengers of the Doha flight were stopped due to the technical problem in the aircraft last night. Preparations have been made to send the passengers to the destination by another flight at 7.45 pm today. The passengers have been asked to come to the airport at 4.0pm,” he said.

            Out of the NAC’s four planes operating on international routes, a narrow-body plane has been dispatched to Israel for repairing. Flights are affected due to frequent technical glitches in the NAC planes.

            NAC has two narrow-body and two wide-body aircraft for operating international flights. The 276 passengers bound to Doha from Kathmandu were kept in a hotel for the night.

Person dies in cooking gas cylinder explosion

            Chitwan, Jan 16: A person has died in explosion of cooking gas leakage from an LPG cylinder. The incident occurred at Phulbari of west Chitwan. Police identified the deceased as 50-year-old Manish Thapa of Dairy Chok, Bharatpur Metropolitan City-15.

            Deputy Superintendent at the District Police Office, Chitwan, Shreeram Bhandari said it is suspected Thapa was killed when the gas cylinder exploded while he was cooking food in his room on Monday.

            The cooking gas explosion took place inside the compound of local Abinash Fertilizer Company. DSP Bhandari said further investigation into the incident is on.

Woman killed in attack by wild boar

Doti, Jan 16: A woman has been killed in an attack by a wild boar in Doti today. She is 35-year-old Jaguli Devi Bhul of KI Singh rural municipality-1 in the district.

            Police Inspector at the District Police Office Doti, Sitaram Bista said Bhul, who was injured in the attack by wild pig, died in course of treatment at the District Hospital Doti.

            Bhul was attacked by the wild animal while she was cutting grass near her house this morning. Bhagi Bhul, 72, who was also wounded due to the attack, is receiving treatment at the District Hospital. Bhagi was hurt in her head.

Green activist Kaphale receives ‘International Tree Man Award’

            Janaki (Banke), Jan 16:  Green activist Hement Raj Kaphale of Nepalgunj has been honoured with an international award in Haryana of India. He was honoured with the ‘International Tree Man Award’ during the two-day international event organised by the Lex Foundation, concluding in Haryana on Monday. 

            The award acknowledges Kaphale’s outstanding contributions to ecological conservation and sustainable development, and it was presented to him by Member of Haryana Legislative Assembly, Mohan Lali Badoli Kaphale is already a recipient of the Samarasta International Award India-2020, WWF Conservation Award-2021 and the Everest International Climate Action Award.

            His green promotion initiatives involve germinating seeds of the Kalpavriksha (Banyan tree), received as gifts from outside the country, and nurturing them into saplings. These saplings are then planted in various religious sites across Banke.

            Under the Kalpavrikshya campaign, he has already planted the trees in significant locations including Pashupatinath in Kathmandu, Deuti Bajai in Surkhet, Chhatreshwori in Salyan, Swargadwari of Pyuthan and Hanumangadhi of Nepalgunj.

            As he shared, he gifts nursery plants of Kalpavrikshya and sital chini (Moringa oleifera) to people on the special occasions of their birthdays. Furthermore, he initiated a campaign to distribute Moringa plants and it has been getting wider recognition as the culture of planting the Moringa and Kalpavriksha is spreading beyond the border.

Nepal to present NVR report on SDGS to UN body by July

            Kathmandu, Jan 16: Nepal will be presenting a report on its progress in achieving the Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs) to the High Level Political Forum on Sustainable Development, the United Nations. The report to be prepared through the voluntary national review (VNR) on SDGs is to be presented by coming July.

            The National Planning Commissions today organized a workshop on the Voluntary National Review of SDGs in Kathmandu today, gathering valuable submissions from various stakeholders.

            Prior to this, Nepal conducted the first VNR on SDG in 2017 followed by the second in 2020.  According to the NC, the third VNR will be concluded by the next six months.

            In today’s workshop, the NPC Vice -Chair Dr Min Bahadur Shrestha said the event aimed to asses Nepal’s efforts towards the sustainable development goals, learn from successful practices in other countries, and gather submissions from various sectors to promote coordination and cooperation with diverse agencies.

            According to him, Nepal is fully committed to achieving the sustainable development goals and efforts towards this end are underway from the federal, provincial and local governments.  There has been already the localization of SDGs in Nepal and the budget has accorded priorities to them. Effective monitoring and evaluation mechanisms are in place for projects and plans related to the SDGs.

            The 16th five-year periodic plan that will be coming into effect from  the upcoming fiscal year 2081-82 BS ( 2024-24) has prioritised the endeavors to graduate Nepal from the category of the least developed country and to accomplish the SDGs, he added.

            Sustainable Development Implementation and Monitoring Committee under the coordination of Vice-Chairperson of the National Planning Commission has been working to prepare third voluntary third national voluntary review related to sustainable development.

            Economic Management Division of the Commission is working as the secretariat. Shrestha shared that Nepal would present this report in the meeting of high-level political forum under the United Nations in coming July.

            Lauding the activities carrying out by Nepal for achieving sustainable development goals, UN Resident Coordinator in Nepal, Hanaa Singer-Hamdy pointed out the need of making efforts for further progress-oriented results.

            “Nepal’s progress in achieving sustainable development goals is admirable. Compared to other countries in the world, the progress of Nepal is better. But it is necessary for us to make further efforts to achieve the sustainable development goals within the stipulated time”, she added.

            She stressed that Nepal from the position of Chair of least developed countries should be more responsible in the activities of sustainable development goals and upgrading.

            All UN member countries in 2015 had approved sustainable development goals (2016-2030) and started implementing it.  Nepal has prepared sustainable development goals 2016-30 roadmap for Nepal and implemented it. 

            As per the recent statistics of the National Planning Commission, Nepal has achieved around 43 per cent progress so far in sustainable development goals.

            According to the NPC, the workshop was organised at the coordination of UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific.

            Representatives from line ministries, Nepal Rastra Bank, Policy and Planning Commission of all provinces, National association of Rural Municipalities, Municipal Association of Nepal, private sector, representatives of government and non-government offices and cooperative sector were present on the occasion.

Treatment services for non-communicable diseases to be expanded

            Kathmandu, Jan 16: The government has the goal of expanding the access to treatment services for non-communicable diseases to reduce the social and economic cost due to these diseases. The Ministry of Health and Population has implemented the multi-sector action plan and strategy to that end.

            It is stated that the number of people suffering from cardiac, paralysis, high blood pressure, cancer, diabetes, asthma and the like has been increasing in recent days.

            Health Secretary Dr Roshan Pokharel shared this information in a meeting of the National Assembly, National Concern and Coordination Committee here today. He said the government has kept in priority the effective prevention and treatment through primary health care services to the extent possible through available resources. 

            The strategy aims to bring uniformity in treatment of non-communicable diseases and promote timely diagnosis, advice on prevention and control, maintain coordination among the health institutions, schools and community and bring about equitable access in health services and enhance their efficiency.

            World Health Organization (WHO) member nations have the objective of decreasing the death at early age due to non-communicable diseases by 25 percent until 2025. The Sustainable Development Goal (SDGs) also aims to reduce the death caused by non-communicable diseases by one-third. The member countries have charted out the roadmap for achieving this goal through various strategic action plans and approaches.

            Taking this aspect into consideration, Nepal too has brought forth various policy level and strategic action plans for the prevention and control of non-communicable diseases.

            Ministry’s another secretary Dev Kumari Guragain said there is a need of conducting a wider publicity about the health treatment services and facilities provided by the State as many people are not still aware about them. She said the State should give its attention to the maximum utilization of the available human resources and the medical infrastructures.

            Committee president Dil Kumari Thapa gave assurances that the committee is always ready to remove any obstacles in course of implementing the government’s policies regarding providing accessible health care services.

 COVID-19 resurfaces in Chitwan after ten months

            Chitwan, Jan 16 : Corona virus infection has been confirmed in Chitwan. The virus was confirmed in a 29-year-old youth and a 66-year-old man in the lab tests conducted on Sunday and today, said information officer of Bharatpur Hospital, Gopal Paudel.

            The man has come to the hospital for treatment of pneumonia. He has admitted to the hospital and the treatment has started. Likewise, the 29-year-old is in home-based isolation.

            Public Health Officer of the Health Office, Chitwan,  Gitanjali Dhakal, said the infection of corona virus has resurfaced in the district after 10 months. Corona infection was last seen in the district last March.

            Meanwhile, the Health Office Chitwan has requested one and all to exercise caution following the confirmation of the corona virus infection. The office has suggested people to maintain physical distance, using masks, and wash hands with soap and water regularly to avoid corona virus infection.

88 movies from 40 countries to be screened in 7th NIFF

            Kathmandu, Jan 16 : The 7th edition of Nepal International Film Festival (NIFF) is going to be held in Kathmandu from coming March 14 to 18.

            In a press meet held here today, NFCA Chairperson KP Pathak shared that event will show 88 movies from 40 countries. The Nepal Film and Culture Academy (NFCA) is the organizer of the film festival.

            NFCA Advisor and movie actor Nir Shah expressed that it was a pleasure to include the films in the NIFF that were earlier screened in international film festivals such as Cannes Film Festival, Locarno Film Festival and Berlin Film Festival.

            Similarly, Film Development Board Chairperson Bhuwan KC grieved that the Board could not deliver as per the expectation for lack of concrete policy.

Tourism should be established as foundation of prosperity-President

            Kathmandu, Jan 16 : President Ramchandra Paudel has suggested advancing the concept of ‘farm to plate’ by directly supplying the agro and organic food products of the farmers to hotels.

            At a programme ‘First Hospitality Day, 2080’ organized here today by the Hotel Association Nepal (HAN) on the occasion of its establishment day, President Paudel stressed the need for promoting Nepal’s indigenous food and culture across the globe.

            The President suggested, “The hotels itself should place programme to take agriculture products to the hotels by either operating the agriculture farm or by signing an agreement with the farmers”.

            He said it was a matter of happiness for the hotel sector of Nepal to remain successful in enhancing the country’s glory before the world by keeping intact the spirit of ‘Atithi Devo Bhawa (Guests are gods)’.  “As service, hospitality and reception are the integral part of the identity of the country, there is possibility for the sector to drive national prosperity. I suggest hotel entrepreneurs to pay special attention to that end”, President Paudel added.

            He further said tourism should be made a base of income generation and prosperity. “Nepal’s specialties, natural beauty, culture and civilization need to be established in global tourism market so as to make it a stable foundation for income generation and prosperity. I am hopeful that arrival of over one million tourists so far will bring further excitements in coming days”.

            Also speaking on the occasion, HAN Chairperson Binayak Shah demanded the government recognize the hotel industry having investment almost equal to the country’s annual budget as an industry with national priority. “Nine people get employment with the arrival of a tourist. According to the statistics, tourism sector has eight percent contribution to the gross domestic product (GDP). The tourism sector which is one of the sources of foreign currency should be recognized as an industry with national priority”.

            As per the Nepal Tourism Board data, as many as one million tourists arrived Nepal via air route in the year 2023. The government has announced doubling the number of foreign tourists in the year 2024.

            Presently Nepal has the capacity to accommodate 3.5 million tourists annually. As many as 10,000 hotels, including five star, lodge and resorts are operational in Nepal.On the occasion, President Paudel honoured former presidents of HAN, Shyam Bahadur Pandey, Yogendra Shakya, Narendra Tamrakar, Prakash Shrestha, Prasiddha Bahadur Pandey and Sreejana Rana in recognition of their contribution to the development of the hospitality sector.

            Also on the occasion, President Paudel launched HAN’s publication ‘Year Book 2024’. The Head of the State unveiled ‘Hospitality Day 2080’, ‘Nepali Heritage Food Best’ and e-learning video on the occasion.

‘Quality assurance and uniformity in lawmaking process crucial’

            Kathmandu, Jan 16 : Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary Affairs Dhanaraj Gurung has said that the bill designed to manage the legislation was crucial for quality assurance and uniformity in law making process.

            During a thematic discussion on the draft of the bill in today’s Legislation Management Committee of the National Assembly, Minister Gurung said that the bill was formulated to manage the process to be embraced while issuing delegated legation prior to registering the bill in the parliament. 

            He argued that the bill is crucial to maintain uniformity in lawmaking processes along with maintaining quality of law, maintain systematic record of the issued Acts and check whether the legislations were made by using the rights delegated by the Acts.

            Chairperson of Delegated Management and Government Assurance Committee Maya Prasad Sharma said that the laws drafted against the principle of delegated legislation should be managed by making the bill complete.

            On the occasion, lawmaker Khimlal Devkota claimed that framework of irregularity was drawn as the delegated legislation was above the main law in the country and expressed the confidence that the bill would help contribute in the management of such trend.

Social goodwill and national unity are essential: Oli

            Kathmandu, Jan 16 : CPN (UML) Chairperson KP Sharma Oli stressed on protecting the nation by maintain social goodwill and national unity.

            Administering the oath of office and secrecy to the new central committee members at party’s central office at Chyasal in Lalitpur on Tuesday, leader Oli emphasized goodwill and unity stating that Nepali society, politics, economy and culture and every sector are under attack at present.

            Stating that all political parties should be united for development of the country, Oli, also former Prime Minister, clarified that chaos and indiscipline were not accepted within the party.

            He assured that the upcoming year would be a year of purification and strengthening for the CPN (UML). The septuagenarian leader urged the new central members to update themselves with continuous study from the viewpoint of ideology and information, to be exemplary in practice and to play role in the decision making level of the party with competence from every point of view.

            Chairperson Oli administered the oath to Tulasi Prasad Neupane (Sankhuwasabha), Ram Awatar Yadav (Siraha), Keshavraj Pandey (Nuwakot), Binod Shah (Dailekh), Damodar Bhandari (Baitadi) and Deepak Karki (Jhapa).  In attendance in the oath taking ceremony were party’s General-Secretary Shankar Pokharel, Deputy General-Secretary Bishnu Rimal, Central Discipline Commission’s Chairperson Keshav Badal among others.

            The party’s Secretariat meeting on January 5 had decided to nominate them to the central committee.

PM Dahal directs authorities to solve the problem of BPKIHS

            Kathmandu, Jan 16: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has urged the Health Minister to call the executive committee meeting of BP Koirala Institute of Health Sciences in Dharan to resolve the problem facing the BPKIHS.

            He summoned Minister for Health and Population Mohan Bahadur Basnet and Chief Secretary Dr Baikuntha Aryal to his official Residence in Baluwatar on Tuesday and instructed them to solve the problem by addressing the demands of teachers, staff and doctors of the institution, said his press advisor Govinda Acharya.

            Prime Minister Dahal took note of the latest situation of the BPKIHS and instructed them to take the matter seriously as the services of a sensitive area like health has been affected, leaving patients and common people to suffer.

Govt mulling to expand power grid to farmlands

            Kathmandu, Jan 16 : The government is planning to provide ‘agriculture meter’ to the peasants in its attempt to promote agricultural production and make farmers self-reliant. The electricity meters are needed for irrigation supply in the farmlands.   

            If things go as planned, the government is working to expand power grid up to the farmlands to meet the farmers’ demand. 

            For this purpose, the Ministry of Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation and Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development would work in partnership.

            Likewise, the Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) has been asked to work on expansion of power grid and the government has also accorded top priority for the development of irrigation projects.

            Minister for Energy Shakti Bahadur Basnet on Tuesday held discussions at the Ministry with the leadership of National Farmers’ Commission, the NEA and other stakeholders too. On the occasion, Minister Basnet said that employment generation could be increased and food sufficiency is likely if we could modernize and commercialize agriculture sector.

All government buildings to be disabled-friendly: CM Pandey

            Kaski, Jan 16 : Chief Minister of Gandaki Province Surendra Raj Pandey said strict measures will be adopted to ensure that the to-be-constructed government buildings and structures in province are disabled-friendly.

            At an interaction between the disaster management committee and stakeholders on disability inclusive disaster risk reduction held in Pokhara on Tuesday, he pledged effective implementation of building code.

            The Chief Minister stressed the need to construct private buildings in a way to ease and secure the people with disability.

            “There are complaints that public buildings are not disabled-friendly. Even the CM office is not easy and accessible. I usually descend to ground floor when friends with disability come to meet me”, CM Pandey said, adding, “The government buildings to be constructed in Gandaki province will be disabled-friendly. The code will be strictly enforced in all government agencies”.

            He further noted, “The people with disability experience more difficulty during disaster time. So, the families and community should pay special attention in such time”. A disaster management fund of Rs 100 million has been established in the province and of Rs 1 million in each district, he informed.

            Former CM Khagaraj Adhikari said the government and private sector should always lend support to the people with disability. National Federation of Disabled Nepal, Gandaki Chair Khomraj Subedi said the building code has not been adhered in a way to make them disabled-friendly. He highlighted lack of monitoring behind weak implementation of the code.

            Secretary at the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers, Tirtha Bhattarai said the provincial act on disability is under preparation and government has mooted a plan to build a disability-friendly village.

            On the occasion, the participants commented that inadequate knowledge and information on the risks caused by natural disaster and human activities; most of the old buildings still not being disable-friendly; no mapping of disaster vulnerability and no attention on mainstreaming people with disability in development works as problems in the sector.

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