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  • Sunday, 25 February 2024

Supreme Court asks govt to respond to dispute over NTA Chair appointment

Published Date : February 2, 2024

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: The Supreme Court (SC) has sought a reply from the government concerning disputes over the appointment of Nepal Telecommunications Authority (NTA).

            A single bench of judge Prakashman Singh Raut on Friday sought response from the government, the Ministry of Communications and Information Technology and the NTA over the matter.

            Earlier a group of advocates Ananta Raj Luintel, Pratibha Upreti, Bishal Thapa, Bikash Bhattarai, Kiritnath Sharma Poudel, Bishal Upadhyay, Rabindra Tamang, Sakuntala Bhusal, Trilok Bahadur Chand, Rajiv Bastola and Gyanendra Raj Aran had filed a petition at the apex court, challenging the appointment. They argued that the appointment was in violation of the Constitution, law and regulations.

            The petition accused the government of disregarding potential applicants who meet the criteria set in the Telecommunications Act when soliciting applications for the chairperson position. It further alleged that the government of giving preferential treatment to people serving at the senior post (10th level or above) while seeking applications.

            Moreover, the NTA has been accused of excluding individuals from the law, auditing, or management sectors, thereby depriving them of the opportunity to compete for the post.

National sports event in Kanchanpur after 12 years

Dodhara Chandani (Kanchanpur), Feb 2: The national-level sports competition took place in Kanchanpur after a hiatus of 12 years.

The third Chief Minister’s Cup Men’s National Volleyball Tournament is currently taking place in Kanchanpur which is popular for producing genius players in diverse games.

It has the track record of producing national level players in several games, including volleyball, cricket, boxing, weight lifting, taekwondo, hockey, kabaddi and football. However, the spectacular region has seen almost no sports events in over a decade.

It may be noted that the district had hosted the sixth national sports competition in 2068 BS. Some of the sports events of the competition were organized in Kanchanpur while remaining events were in Kailali and Dadeldhura.

Since then, there was not a single national level sports event in Kanchanpur, said Olympian and boxing coach Dambar Dutta Bhatta. “After the 6th National Games, there was no competition here that flared up disappointment among the players and sports lovers”, he said.

“After 12 years, the third Chief Minister’s Cup Men’s National Volleyball Tournament held at open theater in Mahendranagar. He said enthusiasm of audience in the ongoing National Volleyball Tournament in Mahendranagar has amply encouraged the players.

“If we look at the sports history here, Kanchanpur has produced players in every sport sector”, he said, adding, “Dipendra Singh Airee, a brand product of Kanchanpur, has been able to set a world record in cricket”. 

The third Chief Minister’s Cup Men’s National Volleyball Tournament is full of 10 teams including seven provincial and three departmental teams. The tournament site is full of audience. Chief Coach of the national volleyball team, Jagdish Prasad Bhatta, said the sports sector here has become very excited with the hosting of the national championship after a decade.

“For the last two decades, Kanchanpur has produced competent players from the far-western region,” he said.

‘Women’s candidacy weak due to expensive election systems’

Kathmandu, Feb 2: It has been a year since Kusum Devi Thapa assumed the responsibility as a federal parliamentarian.

The main role of the Member of Parliament is law-making. The first year was not satisfactory in law-making as anticipated.

Only one law was enacted during the year. The parliament has not been effective in terms of legislative process. The government could not introduce adequate number of bills in the parliament. It should be realized as a weakness.

Both the government and opposition should be active in law-making. In the period, the opposition was focused on ascending to power. Consequently, the agenda of law-making could not get higher priority.

It is obvious for the political parties to woo voters with their agendas in elections. But there should be a wider consensus and mutual understanding among the parties in terms of law-making. It was not realized in the meantime. 

There has been a stereotypical consideration that the new and women lawmakers are comparatively weak in their performance. In Nepal’s context, the role of lawmakers is not limited to law making. It is customary for voters to associate lawmakers with development works. However, we need to be aware that law-making is a priority. The question of quorum has been raised not only in the parliament and parliamentary committees but also in the parliamentary party as some MPs have not been able to set their priorities. I have been raising the voice in the party time and again. 

For this, presence in the meeting should be made mandatory. How can a parliamentarian without attending the discussion know the content and implications?

One needs to know the far-reaching effects when a law is enacted or not.

Lately, women’s candidacy has become weak in the first-past-the-post election due to expensive electoral systems. There has been a hesitation to allocate tickets to women candidates in direct election because of their limited economic rights. So, men’s number has been shrunk in proportional representation electoral system. The top leadership of the parties should think about the issue.

Rukum-East is the country’s youngest and new district. It has a difficult topography. It is lagging behind from education, health, road and infrastructure development aspects. Access to electricity is a big issue in the district. I have not realized the presence of own party’s government in the district, especially from budget allocation aspect. It is ignored from every aspects.

Even I feel discriminated in the parliament on many fronts for being a woman. We have been raising current and district-specific issues in zero hour. We are not provided with adequate time in special hour and other sessions. Women lawmakers are treated a second class.

The political system has changed but not the people’s situation in the country.

(Based on a conversation RSS Deputy Chief Reporter Narayan Neupane had with lawmaker Kusum Devi Thapa under the ‘RSS Dialogue with Lawmakers’. Thapa is a permanent resident of Putha Uttarganga-10 in Rukum East. Leader Thapa, who started her political journey from Nepal Students Union in 2052 BS, has experience of working as central committee member of the union, founding member and vice-president of Nepal Rastriya Magar Sangh.

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Chapagain re-appointed as IFRC secretary-general for second term

Kathmandu, Feb 2: Jagan Chapagain has assumed the office of the International Federation of Red Cross and Red Crescent Societies (IFRC) as the Secretary-General and Chief Executive Officer for second term.

He is the first Nepali national to reach the top executive position in the humanitarian organization having global network.

He first took charge the top executive position of IFRC for four years on 2 February 2020.

A meeting of the governing board of the federation held in Geneva of Switzerland had decided to extend his term for second time one year before the expiry of his first tenure.

The board comprises representatives from 29 countries.

Now he would continue as the secretary-general and CEO of the IFRC up to January 228. 

He brings decades of experience in building and leading inclusive teams and forging trustful partnerships to address global challenges, ranging from climate to health, and from migration to protection, gender, and inclusion. He has also championed policies and programmes that promote youth engagement and volunteering, and that strengthen localization and accountability in humanitarian action.

He began his humanitarian journey as a youth volunteer with the Nepal Red Cross and has extensive experience in, and broad knowledge of, the International Red Cross and Red Crescent Movement.

Prior to being appointed Secretary General, he served as Under Secretary General for Programmes and Operations at the IFRC. He was also previously Chief of Staff and Regional Director for Asia Pacific, where he provided leadership during large-scale humanitarian crises and built resilient communities alongside National Societies and other partners.

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Airport expansion dream coming true in six years- Mayor Dahal

Chitwan, Feb 2: Bharatpur metropolitan city mayor Renu Dahal said her dream of the expansion of Chitwan-based Bharatpur Airport was coming true with the recent cabinet decision for the same.

Talking to journalists at her office, mayor Dahal noted, “This was the agenda I had floated in the beginning of my first tenure as mayor. I am extremely happy to cherish my promise before the people of Chitwan after the cabinet decision for the airport expansion”.

She said it was a matter of great pleasure for the agenda endorsed from the cabinet after six years of untiring efforts. “The cabinet has decided to expand the airport by shifting the Nepal Army’s Horse Breeding Centre to Shaktikhor. I need full support from the Chitwan denizens to materialize the decision as before”.

With the widening of the airport, big crafts can also operate their air services to and from Bharatpur. Even the night-time services will be possible. The service recipients can also get air service in a cheaper price. 

At present, the air ticket from Bharatpur to Kathmandu costs around Rs 4,800. Although it is not certain, the ticket price is expected to decrease to around Rs 3,000 with the operation of big aircrafts.

“The air expansion will not only benefit the Chitwan residents but also the people from adjoining districts”, she said, adding it would also significantly contribute to the promotion of tourism in Chitwan.

“We are constructing the international level cricket ground in Chitwan. There will be a flow of players and spectators from different parts of the country and beyond. We need the expanded airport in this context as well”, mayor Dahal shared.

The Bharatpur-based Nepal Army barrack is geographically connected with the airport.

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Cycle tour to promote tourism

            Ranjha (Banke), Feb 2: Cycle tour from Nepalgunj to Thakurdwara of Bardiya is to be organised to promote tourism in Banke and Bardiya.

            Nepalgunj Cycling Club is organising the cycle tour where around 300 cyclists would participate, according to Club Chairperson, Pradeep Sapkota.

            ‘Tour De Thakurdwara’ and Nepalgunj Kids Race’ would be organised under the three-day Nepalgunj Cycle Festival from February 8.

            All the preparations for route for cycle tour have already been made and local cyclists along with inter-province cyclists and international cyclists would participate in the cycle tour, he added.

            Former Chairperson of the Club, Satish Niraula, shared, “Our main objective is to carry out activities linking cycling with our culture and tourism. This programme will help to exert pressure for safe cycling in the area and expansion of cycle lane in city.”

            The main motto of the ‘Tour De Thakurdwara’ cycle tour is to protect tourism and culture in environment friendly manner.

            There would be also participation of cyclists from Indian cities in the cycle tour, added the Club.

             The 100-kilometer tour will start from Bageshwori Temple of Nepalgunj to Thakurdwara of Bardiya National Park via different tourism sites of Banke and Bardiya districts, mentioned senior Vice-Chairperson of the Club, Surendradwip Karki.

PM Dahal and UML Chair Oli meet

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ held a meeting with CPN (UML) Chairperson, KP Sharma Oli, with an objective of making the Parliament upcoming session effective.

            During the meeting held at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers today, they discussed various issues, including completing the remaining task of the peace process and the bill related to transitional justice, said PM Dahal’s press advisor Govinda Acharya.

            The winter session of both houses of the Federal Parliament is commencing from February 5.

Policeman stabbed in office

            Sarlahi, Feb 2: A traffic policeman has come under knife attack at the District Traffic Police Office, Nawalpur in Sarlahi district today.

            An assailant attacked Traffic Police Constable Pramod Mahato of Gaushala Municipality-3, Mahottari, with a knife at the District Traffic Police Office, Nawalpur itself, said Police Inspector Madan Thapa, the Chief of the district Traffic Police Office. 

            According to Thapa, Mahato came under attack when he entered the office after handing over to a driver a receipt for paying the penalty for traffic rule violation following checking on vehicles along the East-West highway outside the Office. 

            The assailant is identified as Yamamuddin Deman of Rajpur-1, Rautahat, who had come on a motorcycle with registration number plate Na 19 Pa 2555 coming from the west and heading towards east on the East-West highway in front of the District Traffic Police Office, said Police Inspector Om Prakash Yadav, the Officiating Spokesman at the Office. 

            Yadav said that Deman who tried to run away after stabbing Mahato was promptly taken under control and he is kept at the police custody at Lalbandi.

            Mahato has been injured in the forehead, neck, hands and abdomen due to the knife attack, police said. He has been sent to National Medical College Birgunj for advanced treatment following general treatment at a local health facility.Further investigation is under way in this connection, according to police.

Over 5,400 hectares of land in Kailali, Kanchanpur gets irrigation facility

            Godavari (Kailali), Feb 2: Irrigation facility is available on around 5,487 hectares of land throughout the year in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts through deep and shallow tubewell.

            According to Groundwater Resources and Irrigation Division Development Office, the irrigation facility was provided to 5,487 hectares of land so far after federal structure.

            Division Chief Shrawan Khanal said total 140 deep tubewells were installed in Kailai, Kanchanpur and Dadeldhura after establishment of provinces. Out of the installed deep tubewells, 91 are in operation while other structures are in course of construction.

            Deep and Shallow tubewells have been installed in order to provide irrigation facility at the farm of the farmers in all 12 months. Khanal added 1,001 shallow tubewells were installed in Kailali and Kanchanpur districts till last fiscal year and budget has not been allocated in the current fiscal year to install shallow tubewells.

            The Division Office did not allocate budget to install the shallow tubewell as the responsibility was handed over to the local –level to install shallow tubewell, it is said. He mentioned that Rs 1.2 million budget was given to local-level under fiscal transfer to install shallow tubewell.

Residential facility helps improve academic performance of Chepang children

            Bharatpur, Feb 2: Academic performance of students from Chepang communities studying in a hostel at National Basic School at Ichhakamana rural municipality-2 in Chitwan has improved remarkably thanks to the residential facility and additional tuition classes available to them.

            The hostel run in financial assistance of the Ichhakamana rural municipality has 23 Chepang students upto grade 7. The attendance of the students in school has been regular and their learning ability has been enhanced since they were housed in the hostel, said School Management Committee Chairperson Sher Bahadur Praja.

            Most of the students are orphan or come from impoverished families, shared Chairperson Praja. School’s Principal Kamal Bhandari informed that the students staying in the hostel were disciplined and paid attention to cleanliness. According to him, those children are elated for being able to stay and study with fellow students.

            Sixth grader Geeta Chepang confessed that she could get a chance to get education due to residential facility. “My father died. Mother got married for the second time. I was staying with father’s elder brother and his family. There was no possibility of them sending me to school due to the poor economic condition of the family.”She added, “I will study here till grade 7 and then will go to study wherever my teachers send me off.”

            Sunita Chepang, another sixth grader, became parentless after her father and mother got married for the second time. She had been staying with her maternal uncle’s family after both of her parents got married for the second time. Sunita got guardians and a chance to study staying in the hostel, a home away from home for her.

            She confided that the hostel environment was very much like her home.

The hostel is being run for four years taking into account the prospect of lesser possibilities of the students from this community attending the school due to geographical remoteness of the place and their backwardness from such basic state facilities.

            The hostel came into being in initiative of Pancha Bahadur Chepang, ward no 2 Chairperson, managed to secure financial assistance from the local municipality. Apart from food and residential facilities, there’s provision for additional tuition for the students in the hostel, it was shared.

            Rural municipality Chairperson Dan Bahadur Gurung pledged to extend support for construction of hostel and other infrastructures for ensuring education for the students from marginalized and impoverished communities. Such schools have been mooted for other places to encourage and retain students especially from Chepang community.

‘Security system be strengthened for promoting good governance, social           justice and prosperity’

            Gandaki, Feb 2: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Affairs Minister, Narayan Kaji Shrestha, has said effective mobilization of the local administration and security apparatus is the key basis for achieving the ‘good governance, social justice and prosperity’ goal.

            Inaugurating the Gandaki Province-level Security Seminar 2080 in Pokhara today, the Home Minister maintained that it is necessary to strengthen the security system even for fulfilling the economic, social and physical development goals adopted by the State, effectively managing the services of public concern.

The provincial level security seminar is organized jointly by the Ministry of Home Affairs and the Office of the Chief Minister and Council of Ministers, Gandaki Province.

            Stating that all the State bodies have a paramount role in maintaining good governance by controlling corruption, the DPM and Home Minister underscored on the need of preparing a ‘results-oriented clear work modality’ to minimize the conflict of interest seen in the works.

            He added that the conflict of interest related to the authority and jurisdiction of the civil servants and the security personnel did not send a positive message. The DPM and Home Minister directed the civil employees and the security personnel to carry out their works in keeping with the principle of ‘citizen first’ that calls for being guided as per the provisions of the constitution and the laws, for promoting institutional and professional coordination and collaboration and for building a culture of collective and individual accountability.

            Pointing out that both opportunities and challenges have increased with the implementation of the federal system, he said the changes in the governance system and technology has impacted various dimensions of social life. DPM Shrestha stressed on making the mobilization of local administration and security bodies more effective by increasing coordination amongst the three tiers of government. He also expressed his confidence that the targeted results would be achieved from the seminar.

            The Home Minister further said all the security bodies have a crucial role to play for enhancing public faith towards the government by creating convenient environment for the country’s economic prosperity through strengthening of local administration and security system.

            He clarified that as per the constitution, the Ministry of Home Affairs is assigned with the responsibility of protecting the life and property of the general public, ensuring adherence to the rule of law, protecting human rights and maintaining social stability and regulation of the open market. According to him, the Ministry is, together with the provincial and local governments, consistently carrying out works for good governance, stability and development.

            Noting that the transition of implementation of federalism was still not over, the DPM and Home Minister said although the political and institutional basis for the full implementation of the federal Nepal’s governance system has been created, works related to administrative, legal and procedural topics partly remained to be carried out.

            He reiterated that the government is moving ahead in carrying out the remaining responsibilities of the transitional phase in an effective manner.

Stating that the first priority of the home administration and people’s main expectation is to maintain good governance, peace and social harmony, DPM Shrestha mentioned that dillydallying in service flow, non-transparency, irresponsible behaviour, impunity and corruption have become major challenge for the same.

            He directed to move ahead implementing zero tolerance provision to organised crime, extortion, control of human trafficking and dismissal from service to anyone connected with criminals. Sharing that a large number of citizens have been cheated and some of them have become homeless due to financial crime, the Deputy Prime Minister stressed that control of illegal financial transaction based on cooperatives, social network and internet as well as fraud taking place in greed of foreign employment has become major challenge.

            He pointed out the need of initiatives of all including three-tier of governments, general people, service providers, regulatory bodies to protect property and lives by maintaining road good governance, adding local administration should play leading role for the same.

            DPM Shrestha urged to carry out activities in a planned manner after making action plan to control illegal activities including durg abuse, preservation of natural and historical heritages and control of illegal trafficking of small weapons.

             Similarly, Chief Minister of Gandaki Province, Surendra Raj Pandey, said although Gandaki Province shares borders with China and India, it has not been able to get expected benefit from it.

            He mentioned that there is a provision of taking approval of the federation to mobilize the amount allocated by the province government. Secretary at the Home Ministry, Dinesh Bhattarai, and Secretary Yamuna Pradhan, shared the information about the initiatives taken to maintain peace and security in the country.

Human Organ Transplant Centre conducts 1,200 kidney transplants in 11 years

            Bhaktapur, Feb 2: The Human Organ Transplant Centre under the   Ministry of Health and Population has created a history by successfully conducting 1,200 kidney transplants in the last 11 years.

            The Centre reached this mark after the kidney of a 34-year-old woman was transplanted on her 39-year-old husband on last Thursday, said Centre’s executive director and senior transplant surgeon Dr Pukar Chandra Shrestha.

            The Centre, established by the government in 2012, had first successfully transplanted kidney in 2016 with technical assistance from transplanted from South Korea. The Centre at preset has become self-reliant in organ transplant where the team of Nepali surgeons independently conduct transplant on the patients.

            The Centre performs four liver transplants in four consecutive days in a week, said Dr Shrestha, adding that the Centre has conducted 18 liver transplant surgeries.The Centre accounts for 80 per cent of the Nepal’s organ transplant and has achieved 99 per cent success in transplant, he claimed.

Family First: Dr. Anil’s Love-Infused Anti-Smoking Initiative

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: In a proactive move to discourage smoking and promote a healthier lifestyle, Dr. Om Murti Anil, a distinguished cardiologist, has initiated a compelling public awareness campaign under the slogan, ‘A small sacrifice from me, a big gift for my loved one.’

            This endeavor aligns strategically with the auspicious occasion of Basant Panchami, dedicated to the goddess of learning, Saraswati, and coincides with the celebration of love on Falgun 2nd of the Nepali calendar, marking Valentine’s Day.

            Dr. Anil, recognizing the heightened efficacy of making life-altering resolutions on special occasions, conducted an insightful Facebook Live session on a Thursday evening. In this engaging session, he urged well-wishers to consider embracing a healthier lifestyle by renouncing smoking and tobacco addiction. Dr. Anil emphasized the profound impact of such a commitment, not just on individual health but as a meaningful gift to loved ones. As Valentine’s Day approaches, he underlines the essence of prioritizing family well-being by pledging to overcome addiction.

Choosing Family Over Smoke

            Embarking on the transformative journey to a smoke-free life, Dr. Anil introduces a poignant motto, ‘Smokers are not selfish.’ This emphasizes the critical importance of giving up smoking not only for personal well-being but as a selfless act that positively influences family members. To reinforce this commitment, he recommends a gradual reduction in smoking leading up to a complete cessation on February 14th, symbolizing not just a celebration of love but a commitment to a smoke-free future for one’s family.

            Dr. Anil sheds light on extensive studies that unequivocally establish smoking as the primary cause of premature death. Delving into the grim statistics, he reveals that each cigarette shortens a user’s life by 11 to 13 minutes, translating to a reduction of two months in life expectancy for every year of smoking. The startling realization that smokers may effectively have only 10 months in a year underscores the urgency for individuals to break free from the shackles of tobacco.

            Similarly, in a compelling narrative, Dr. Anil accentuates the often underestimated danger of secondhand smoke. This insidious hazard poses a significant threat not only to active smokers but also to those in close proximity, especially vulnerable groups such as infants, children, and individuals with chronic health conditions. Dr. Anil’s advocacy extends beyond individual health to encompass the collective impact on the well-being of others.

Disproportionate Impact on the Economically Disadvantaged

            Drawing attention to a recent study, Dr. Anil unveils the grim reality that out of the 80 million global deaths attributed to tobacco use, an additional 1.3 million fatalities are linked to secondhand smoke or ‘passive smoking.’ He underscores the heightened prevalence of smoking and tobacco consumption in economically challenged nations, where a staggering 80 percent of the 1.3 billion tobacco users worldwide reside.

            Dr. Anil underscores the decision to quit smoking as not just a measure to avert premature death but as a profound and selfless gift to one’s family. Recognizing the broader impact on family well-being, he emphasizes the understanding that life is not solely an individual’s; rather, it is a shared responsibility. To further support those willing to embark on this transformative journey, Dr. Anil has introduced a Google form on his Facebook page, allowing individuals to express their commitment to this positive change.

            In a notable culmination of efforts, during his Thursday Facebook Live session, a remarkable peak of 6,672 live viewers participated. Encouragingly, more than 50 individuals from various parts of the country, and even beyond Nepal, pledged to quit smoking. Dr. Anil has now initiated a comprehensive two-week campaign to combat smoking addiction, promising a range of activities during this period to facilitate the journey towards a smoke-free lifestyle.

Three Indians involved in online betting held from Durbarmarg

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: Police have arrested three Indian nationals along with more than 10 million in foreign currency from Casino Palace at Durbarmarg in Kathmandu.

            Those arrested in this connection are  Gulab Singh, Rishav Pawa and Gaurav Chopda, said Superintendent of Police Kumodh Dhungel, spokesperson for the District Police Range, Kathmandu.

            SP Dhungel said, “They have been arrested on the charge of conducting online betting in the underground of Casino Palace. Foreign currency equivalent to Rs 10 million and 126 thousand has been confiscated from them.”

He added that further investigation is on in this connection.

 Buddhist organisation calls for annulment of lease of Ramagrama Stupa         excavation project

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: The Dharmodaya Assembly has demanded for immediate cancellation of project prepared in order to lease a private company for the construction and excavation of the historic Ramagrama Stupa for 99 years and the memorandum of understanding signed with the foreign organisation.

            Issuing a press release today, the Assembly urged to forward the construction and excavation work of Stupa under leadership of the government without hurting the sentiments of Buddhists across the world by cancelling the project as the government of Nepal, Finance Ministry and Department of Archeology have already told that the MoU is not lawful.

KMC to manage only segregated waste

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: The Kathmandu Metropolitan City (KMC) will only manage segregated waste yet again for effective waste management in the Metropolis.

            The classification and separation of waste at source would be immediately initiated from ward no 5, 12 and 27, according to the KMC.

            The collection and management of segregated waste would be expanded to all 32 wards of the Metropolis late, said Rabinman Shrestha, Chief of KMC’s Department of Environment Management.

            The KMC, although asked the residents of the Metropolis to classify and separate waste into biodegradable waste and non-biodegradable nearly a year and half ago. In lack of effective implementation of the plan, the KMC is starting the process yet again, informed Shrestha.

The KMC is also working towards identifying the land for managing the collected classified waste at Bancharedanda, said Shrestha. Along with the classification and collection of waste, the KMC will make arrangement for sale of recyclable waste materials that are found during the classification of the waste.

            The KMC also plans to sensitize residents of KMC about the benefits and need of classifying and separating garbage at source, he said.

 Bank interest should be increased only with the consent of both parties: UML Chair Oli

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: CPN (UML) Chair KP Sharma Oli has said that provisions should be made requiring the consent of both parties for increasing the bank interest rate.

            Addressing the 7th National Convention of the Nepal Bank, Insurance and Financial Institutions Employees’ Association at the UML Central Office in Chyasal of Lalitpur today, he called for making provisions disallowing making changes in the bank interest rate without the agreement of both sides. The UML Chair charged that the banks have been increasing the interest unilaterally.

            “The interest on loans taken from the bank reaches to 10, 12 and up to 14 percent, after some time, and when the borrower goes to the bank to repay the loan, the increased interest lands that person into problem,” he said.

            He suggested changing the interest rate on the consent of both the lender and borrower, stressing that bank’s job is not only realizing the collateral and the loans.Former Prime Minister Oli also called for monitoring whether the amount invested by the banks is properly utilized or not. He reiterated that the banks should support the development and they should provide loans to those people who are eager to start a venture from small capital.

            Former Finance Minister Dr Yub Raj Khatiwada urged the government to put in efforts to improve the economy, as the economic situation is deteriorating.

Health Minister stresses on making anti-tuberculosis campaign effective

            Patan (Lalitpur), Feb 2: Minister for Health and Population, Mohan Bahadur Basnet, has urged for making effective the campaign launched to eliminate tuberculosis by identifying the patients reaching the every doorstep. Inaugurating the second-phase programme under ‘Tuberculosis-free Nepal Campaign’ organised at Chautara Sangachowkgadhi municipalityof Sindhupalchowk today, Minister Basnet pointed out the need of diagnosing the disease first to eliminate it. 

            He shared, “The campaign, launched three years ago to eliminate the disease, has now been implemented in additional 100 local levels.”Public awareness is the most important to cure and eliminate the disease, and the three tiers of government should work together for the same, he mentioned.

            Laying emphasis on the need of paying attention to prevent the disease by creating public awareness instead of treatment after suffering from disease, the Health Minister also stressed on protecting the citizens from malnutrition.  He clarified that the role of local government is important rather than federal and province governments to eliminate TB.

            Explaining that Nepal got victory against COVID-19 even after asking for vaccine against COVID-19, he thanked all for their engagement for the same.

Director General of Department of Health Services, Dr Sangeeta Kaushal Mishra, shared that TB accounted for 50 per cent among the deceased one. She viewed that it was possible to eradicate through participation of community level for the eradication effort.

            Calling for increasing investment for treating the TB patients, she pledged that the Department could work consistently for capacity enhancement of the health providers. She emphasized partnership among the NGOs, community and media and social awareness on this infectious disease to eradicate it.

            Director at the National Tuberculosis Control Centre, Dr Prajjwal Shrestha, shared that 229 TB patients were diagnosed yearly in Nepal. Most of the cases of TB were found in Bagmati, Madhesh and Lumbini provinces, according to him.Chautara Sangachowkgadhi Municipality Mayor Krishna Prasad Sapkota pledged to prioritize this campaign in the municipality’s policy, budget and programme.

‘Aligning policies and programmes with federal system must’

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: Minister for Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation, Shakti Bahadur Basnet, has pledged to formulate the policies and programmes for the upcoming fiscal year in a way that they will contribute to strengthen the federal system.

            In his address to a meeting of a thematic committee concerning the energy, water resources and irrigation sector among the representatives from the federal, province and local governments on Friday, the Minister assured that the upcoming policies and programmes would address citizens’ aspirations and needs. He also drew the attention of respective ministers in the province to avoid the duplication while selecting programmes.

            As he informed, the government prioritizes expansion of irrigation facilities for the promotion of agricultural sectors and this should be reflected in the province and local policies and programmes.

            Conclusion of under-construction projects is one of the special priorities of the federal government, he informed the meeting.  According to him, 1 million hectares of land is yet to have access to irrigation.  Basnet stressed on the need of selecting projects which are most needed and specific to ensure benefits to the locals.

            Minister for Minister for Water Resources and Energy (Karnali), Urmila BK,  Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development (Sudur Pashim), Prakash Bahadur Deuba, Minister for Water Resources and  Water Supplies,  Saraswoti Aryal Tiwari ( Gandaki), Minister for Water Resources, Energy and Irrigation Tirtha Bahadur Lama ( Bagmati)  and Minister for Physical Infrastructure Development Dharma Bahadur Chaudhary (Lumbini) were present in the meeting.

            They however expressed concerns over the engagement of federal government in minor projects, underlining the need of correction in such approach.

            Energy secretary Gopal Prasad Tiwari, Water and Energy Commission’s secretary Sarita Duwadi, Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) managing director Kulman Ghising and Churna Bahadur Oli, director general of Department of Water Resources and Irrigation were among those present in the meeting.

Parliamentary delegation meets Indian Minister

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: A delegation of Nepali lawmakers which is currently in India visit had a meeting with Minister of External Affairs of India, S Jaishankar in New Delhi on Friday.

            The delegation led by Chair of International Relations and Tourism Committee, Raj Kishor Yadav, had the meeting with Jaishankar, according to Indian Embassy in Nepal. Issues as bilateral relations, mutual cooperation and interests were discussed during the meeting, Indian Minister Jaishankar wrote in social media.

            The Nepali lawmaker’s delegation left here for India at the invitation of Lok Sabha, India three days back.

U-19 Cricket World Cup: India posts 298-run target for Nepal

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: In the ongoing ICC U-19 Cricket World Cup, India set a target of 298 runs for Nepal in the Super Sixes match held at the Mangaung Oval Cricket Ground in South Africa on Friday.

            After winning the toss, India chose to bat first, posting a score of 297 runs for the loss of five wickets in their allotted 50 overs.

            Sachin Das emerged as the top scorer for India, contributing 116 runs in just 101 balls, including 11 fours and three sixes. Captain Uday Saharan also played a crucial innings, making 100 runs off 97 balls, with nine boundaries. Adarsh Sinha added 21 runs, Priyanshu Moliya scored 19, and Arshin Kulkarni contributed 18 , while Musahar Khan scored 9.

            For Nepal, Gulshan Jha was the standout performer, claiming three wickets, while Aakash Chand secured one wicket.

 ‘Conservation of marshland must for natural balance’ 

            Biratnagar, Feb 2: The World Wetlands Day-2024 has been observed here by organizing various programmes. The Day was marked under the theme, ‘wetland and human welfare’.

            The Division Forest Office and the Shanti Community Forest Users’ Groups Pathari jointly organized a programme where Minister for Forest, Tourism and Environment at Koshi Province, Ganesh Prasad Uprety, viewed the wetlands should be conserved for environmental and natural balance.

            The marshland is the source of income, so it warrants attention and protection, he said, adding that crisis in ecosystem is obviated with the conservation. Marshland is not only a source of water but also a habitat of many species of birds and amphibians, Uprety reminded.

            On the occasion, ministry secretary Bishal Ghimire viewed people could reap benefit from wetland with the proper conservation and management.

            “Nature conservation is must to prevent crisis,” he underlined.

            Mayor at Pathari Sanischare municipality, Mohan Bahadur Tumbapo, viewed the municipality would extend utmost support to the initiatives launched for the marshland conservation.

            Marshland adds beauty to nature, according to chief at Division Forest Office in Jhapa, Meghraj Ray.

            Moreover, Chair of Shanti Community Forest Users’ Group, Kul Bahadur Gurung, shared that the marshland in vicinity had not only contributed to boost domestic tourism but also to create jobs.

 Speaker Ghimire discusses upcoming bill session with chief whips

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: Speaker Devraj Ghimire and chief whips and whips of political parties on Friday discussed the upcoming winter session of the parliament commencing on February 5.

            In the meeting held at the Singha Durbar-based Parliament Secretariat, they discussed how the winter session, which is witnessing slew of bills, could be made systematic and effective. 

            CPN (UML) whip Mahesh Bartaula said during the meeting that they drew Speaker’s attention towards the need of drafting overdue bills and addressing citizens’ concerns systematically in the upcoming session.

            Present at the meeting were Deputy Speaker Indira Rana, Minister for Law, Justice, and Parliamentary Affairs Dhanraj Gurung, Nepali Congress Chief Whip Ramesh Lekhal, UML Chief Whip Padam Giri, and CPN (Maoist Centre) Chief Whip Hitraj Pandey.

RSP to pile pressure for regular supply of Melamchi water

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: The Rastriya Swatantra Party (RSP) has announced to pile pressure on government and stakeholders to ensure regular supply of water in the Kathmandu Valley from the Melamchi drinking water project. A parliamentary party meeting of the RSP held Friday decided to conduct such programme on February 4.

            Nisha Dangi, the RSP whip in the parliamentary party, said that all 21 MPs of the RSP will meet at Melamchi bazaar and then visit the project site by carrying empty water vessels to fetch water.

            The RSP has been carrying out its leaders’ trek to exert pressure to the stakeholders for timely completion of the stranded infrastructure projects.

            As part of the same journey, the RSP is launching its two months programme beginning February 4. And such programmes would be carried out in 21 infrastructure projects having poor performance. 

            RSP lawmaker Binita Kathayat said the party would carry out such activities without affecting the parliament and parliamentary committee meetings.

            The RSP is also preparing to bring five non-governmental bills in the parliament’s upcoming session. “We will make public about the bills soon,” Dangi said.

Three Star Club to face Tribhuvan Army Club in final match of Aaha Rara Gold Cup

            Kaski, Feb 2: The final match of the Aaha Rara Gold Cup, one of the grand football tournaments from the mofussil, is going to be held in the city of Pokhara on Saturday.

            Departmental Tribhuvan Army Club and Three Star Club are scheduled to play to lift the trophy from the 23rd edition of the Aaha Rara Gold Cup.

            The Tribhuvan Army Club has never won the match despite its entry into the final for four times. This is the fifth time that the Tribhuvan Army Club made it to the final of the Aaha Rara Gold Cup.

            On the other, the Three Star Club has won the title five times and is effortful to emerge victorious for six times.

            The two teams had met in the final match of the Aaha Rara Gold Cup in 2075 BS, making the Three Star a winner.

            So far, the Tribhuvan Army Club has reached the final match four times including 2065 BS, 2066 BS, 2072 BS and 2075 BS.

            The winner would get Rs 1,201,000 in cash and trophy while the first runner up would bag Rs 601,000 and trophy, organizing Sahara Club’s Chairman Keshav Raj Baral said.

            A total of 12 teams including a foreign team had played in the 23rd edition of the Aaha Rara Gold Cup.

Speakers consults chief whips, whips on calendar of parliament’s winter session

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: In order to make the parliamentary proceeding more systematic and effective, the calendar of the upcoming Winter Session of the Federal Parliament has been released by allocating days for holding meetings of House and parliamentary committees.  

            As discussed, the house meetings and parliamentary committee meetings will be convened equal three days in a week. 

            Speaker of House of Representative (HoR) Devraj Ghimire on Friday consulted with the chief whips and whips of the political parties represented in the parliament in the calendar prepared by the Federal Parliament Secretariat.

            CPN (UML) whip Mahesh Bartaula said that the calendar shared by the Federal Parliament Secretariat has been agreed for its implementation for 15 days effective from February 5.

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Koshi Province result in NA election catches NC off guard

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: The Koshi Province result in the National Assembly election has caught the Nepali Congress (NC) off guard. The parliamentary party meeting of the NC held on Friday concluded that the result was unexpected as one of the alliance candidates lost election to the member of National Assembly.

            The NC also said it has taken seriously the defeat of the alliance candidate.

            However, the meeting concluded that NA election has further cemented ruling alliance.  The NA election was held for 19 seats on January 25, in which, the ruling coalition secured victories for 18 seats. One ruling candidate representing CPN (Maoist Centre) was trounced by UML candidate in Koshi Province.

            The meeting held under the chairmanship of party President and parliamentary party leader Sher Bahadur Deuba directed the lawmakers from the party to carry out responsibilities effectively and keep in centre the interest of country and people.

            Chief Whip Ramesh Lekhak informed that many laws were yet to be written as per new constitution. Even the government would be urged to play effective role to make bill session functional in view of urgency of new bills.

            Similarly, government would be urged to immediately enforce the development projects as stated in the budget of current fiscal year.

            Moreover, Lekhak shared the NC decided to appeal to all political parties to remain effortful to endorse those bills that are under consideration in the parliament and the fresh ones to be presented, making legislative affairs result-oriented.

            The meeting seeking the mandatory presence of related ministers in the House and committees’ meetings, asked the government to ensure the presence of ministers in the meeting seriously. 

            The lawmakers of the party are directed not to leave the federal capital while the Federal Parliament session is underway and if urgent, take a permission from the party Chief Whip or Whip presenting the reason in written for going outside.

            The meeting, in accordance with the parliamentary party’s Statute, has nominated coordinators of various 10 committees. 

            The nominees are Ramnath Adhikari (finance), Dr Narayan Khadka (international relations and tourism development), Rama Koirala Poudyal (industry and commerce and labour and consumer welfare) and Nagina Yadav (law, justice and human rights).

            Similarly, remaining nominees are Kusum Devi Thapa (agriculture, cooperatives and natural resources), Asha BK (women and social affairs), Dilendra Prasad Badu (state affairs and good governance), Dinesh Kumar Yadav (infrastructure development), Liladevi Bokhim Limbu (education, health and information technology) and Shyam Kumar Ghimire (Public Account Committee). 

            The meeting also agreed to urge the party central executive committee to form an election committee to conduct the election of the NC parliamentary party’s executive committee.

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U-19 Cricket World Cup: Nepal loses to India by 132

            Kathmandu, Feb 2: Nepal lost to India by 132 runs in the Under-19 World Cup Super Six match held on Friday at the Mangaung Oval Cricket Ground in South Africa.

            After winning the toss, India chose to bat first, posting a target of 298 runs against Nepal at the loss of five wickets in their allotted 50 overs.

            In reply, Nepal was limited to 165 runs in 50 overs at the loss of nine wickets.

            For Nepal, captain Dev Khanal scored 33 runs off 53 balls with two boundaries while Durgesh Gupta was not out with 29. Openers Arjun Kumal and Deepak Bohora contributed 26 and 22 respectively and Akash Chand added 18.

            In India’s victory, Saumya Pandey took four wickets and Arshin Kulkarni took two followed by one each by Raj Limbani, Aradhya Shukla and Murugan Abhishek.

            In the first inning, Sachin Das emerged as the top scorer for India, contributing 116 runs in just 101 balls, including 11 fours and three sixes. Captain Uday Saharan also played a crucial innings, making 100 runs off 97 balls, with nine boundaries.

            Adarsh Sinha added 21 runs, Priyanshu Moliya scored 19, and Arshin Kulkarni contributed 18 , while Musahar Khan scored 9.

            For Nepal, Gulshan Jha was the standout performer, claiming three wickets, while Aakash Chand secured one wicket. 

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