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  • Monday, 4 March 2024

Test run of Nilgirikhola-2 transmission line successful in Myagdi

Published Date : February 9, 2024

            Myagdi, Feb 9: The test run of the transmission line of the 71 megawatts capacity Nilgirikhola-2 Hydropower Project has been successfully conducted. The project is based at Narchyang, Annapurna rural municipality-4 in Myagdi district.

            The Project, developed by Nilgirikhola Hydropower Limited, had carried out the test run since January 29 along the transmission line from Dobhilna, Annapurna rural municipality-4 to Dana, Annapurna rural municipality-3. 

            The test transmission of the 220 kV transmission line from Dobhilna to Dana has been successful, said Upendra Gautam, the official representative of Nilgirikhola Hydropower Limited. The test transmission was carried out with the participation of a technical team from Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA). The electricity produced from this Project is fed to the Central Grid via the Dana sub-station.

            The 7.4 kilometres long transmission line from Chhotepa to Dana via Dobhilna has been constructed. The powerhouse of the 42-megawatt-capacity Nilgirikhola First Hydropower project is located at Chhotepa.

            Although the test run of the transmission line has been conducted, the trial of the project tunnel is ongoing, it is said. The timeline for the trail of the tunnel race pipe of the project has been extended till February 27.

            The Nilgiri First has seen around 80 percent work progress. The switch yard has been constructed at the powerhouse premises of both the projects. The estimated cost of the two run-of-the-river type projects is Rs 13 billion.

One percent children born with congenital heart issues

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: One percent of the children have congenital heart disease, said Dr Urmila Shakya, senior pediatric cardiologist at the Sahid Gangalal National Heart Centre here. She gave out this information while addressing a news conference the Centre organised Thursday in connection with the Congenital Heart Disease Awareness Week.

            According to Dr Shakya, eight to 10 children out of 1,000 children born alive are found suffering from congenital heart conditions. She shared that this condition develops when the child is still in the womb due to some problem with the artery outside the heart or abnormalities in the interior parts of the heart.

            Dr Shakya said that mortality rate is high due to cardiac-related issues among the children who have complicated congenital heart condition. To reduce such risk, Dr Shakya advised, pregnant women should pay attention to proper food intake and nutrition and totally abstain from smoking.

            It is said symptoms about congenital heart condition can be seen in nearly two-thirds of the children within a month of their birth, and one-third of children showing such symptoms died within some days of their birth if timely medical treatment is not provided.

            Dr Shakya also said that the causes can be identified only in 10 percent cardiac diseases. It is said children with congenital heart conditions do not gain weight as per their age, are weak, the left part of their chest is raised and suffer from chest pain, fall unconscious, and have body swelling, among other problems.

Itahari sub-metropolis imposes uniform dress code for school     children

            Inaruwa (Sunsari), Feb 9: The Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City has decided to enforce a uniform dress code at all schools within the sub-metropolis. A meeting of the Sub-Metropolis Education Committee held on Thursday decided to impose uniform school dress at the private and community schools within the sub-metropolis, Mayor Hem Karna Poudel said.

            There are 170 schools, including 134 private and 36 community ones, in Itahari Sub-Metropolitan City. With this decision, 63 thousand and 526 students in the town will go to school in same dress.

            The Sub-Metropolis Education Committee said this decision is made to bring uniformity in the school dress. Mayor Poudel informed that they have also decided to remove the tie from school uniform and replaced it with the Bhadgaunle Topi, the black Nepali cap.

            Similarly, he said a decision has been made according to which the employees and people’s representatives of the sub-metropolis are required to send their children only to the government-run schools.

            Likewise, the schools are barred from selling any stationeries and charging the admission fees every time the student climbs classes, except one time. The schools are also not allowed to themselves sell books.

Orange production up in Solukhumbu, but farmers facing market problem 

            Salleri (Solukhumbu), Feb 9: Orange production has gone up in Solukhumbu, the mountainous district in Koshi province. It has increased by more than 400 metric tonnes this season, the Agriculture Knowledge Centre Solukhumbu said.

            The district produced 469 metric tonnes more oranges in the current fiscal year 2023-24 compared to the previous fiscal year, 2022-23. Information Officer at the Centre, Kul Bahadur Rai, said orange production in the district last fiscal year was 1,690 metric tonnes and it reached 2,159 metric tonnes in the current fiscal.

            Orange is grown in 295 hectares land in the district, but this year production could be reaped only from 257 hectares. Rai, the Centre’s information officer, said the production increased this year with the increase in the number of high-yielding orange trees.

            Oranges can be grown in seven out of the eight local levels in the district. Cultivation is not possible in Khumbu Pasang Lhamu rural municipality because of extreme cold, said Durga Bahadur Tiruwa, Chief of the Centre.

            Sixty percent of all orange production in the district comes from Thulung Dudhkoshi rural municipality, it is stated. The Deusa area of this rural municipality is the pocket area for orange in the entire district.

            Although the orange production has been going up in the district over the years, there is problem of taking them to the market, farmers complained.

            Sangam Rai, a farmer from Deusa who is into commercial orange farming, said that a sizable portion of the oranges produced in Deusa go to waste due to lack of market and transportation facilities.

            The market for the oranges produced in the district is confined within the district itself. This means that the orange farmers have only a limited market for their orange. Ambar Rai, another farmer of Deusa, rued that oranges taken to Salleri, the district headquarters, for sale, does not even sells at Rs 50 per kilo.

            According to him, the orange growers have not been able to make profit due to the lack of market and there are no facilities to take their produce to bigger markets in other districts.

Fourteen of 43 applicants shortlisted for TU Vice Chancellor

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Fourteen of the 43 individuals applying for the vacant post of Vice Chancellor of Tribhuvan University have been shortlisted. The Recommendation Committee on Thursday announced the short-list for presentation and interview of the candidates.

            The shortlisted candidates include Kusum Shakya, Keshar Jung Baral, Govinda Subedi, Chitra Bahadur Budhathoki, Gyanendra Prasad Poudyal, Tankanath Dhamala, Tirtha Raj Khaniya, Narayan Belbase, Prakash Ghimire, Bhojraj Aryal, Mahendra Prasad Sharma, Ram Chandra Basnet, Shiva Lal Bhusal and Surya Bahadur Thapa, according to the Ministry of Education, Science and Technology.

            The post in the country’s oldest university had fallen vacant with the termination of the tenure of Vice Chancellor Dharmakant Baskota on November 4, 2023.

            Prime Minister and TU Chancellor Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ on November 10, 2023 formed the Recommendation Committee under the chairmanship of Minister for Education Ashok Kumar Rai for recommending the names for appointment to the post of Vice Chancellor.

            Ministry secretary Suresh Adhikari and Dr Chandrakala Ghimire, the Chief of TU Central Department of Buddhist Studies, are the members of the committee.

Chamla waterfall at Gadaraya drawing crowds

            Gadaraya, Chhanna (Bajhang), Feb 9: The Chamla or Gorakhali falls, the longest waterfall in Bajhang district, has started drawing crowds of people for its magnificence. It was almost unknown until few years back, but has now shot to fame with road connectivity.

            Scores of visitors come daily for observing this cascade located at Gadaraya of Khaptad Chhanna rural municipality-7, said Bhuwan Joshi, a local.

            “This waterfall in our area was insignificant for us, may be because it was a common sight for us the locals. But it has shot into fame and started holding significance for us as hordes of people from neighbouring districts have been pouring in for sight-seeing in recent days after the construction of a road leading to the waterfall,” he said.

            People can go up-close the waterfall, splash the water and enjoy the nature around the area. Visitors take selfies, photos and walk around in this scenic spot.

            The Chamla Jharana is known by different names as Gorakhali Jharana, Korkatiya Chhaharo, Ubakholako Chhaharo etc. However, its more popular name is Chamla Jharana. This waterfall also has connection with local folklore.

National Democracy Day to be marked in grand way

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: The government has decided to celebrate the National Democracy Day, 2080 BS in a grand manner.

            A meeting of the National Democracy Day Main Programme Committee chaired by Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ at Singha Durbar this morning, decided to organize various programmes on February 18, 19 and 20 in this context.

            The meeting has decided to request the media to design National Democracy Day-centred public awareness raising programmes as special talk shows, panel discussions and radio dramas and broadcast them on February 18. Similarly, the national print media houses have been requested to publish special publications/ souvenirs and compilation of various articles highlighting the multi-faceted dimensions of democracy on the occasion.

            The national flags of the stipulated size would be flown on the roofs, verandah, and the premises of all the government bodies, institutions and organisations on the eve of the Democracy Day. Similarly, lights will be lit at the mandalas, the squares and at houses in the evening.

            As per the government’s decision, blood donation camps would be organized in all the districts with the support of governmental and non-governmental organisations while educational and sports materials would be distributed to the differently-abled students at their schools in the district-level.

            On February 19, the National Democracy Day proper, the Nepali Army will sound the trumpet at sunrise, fire celebratory cannon salvoes and rifles at the Army Pavilion, Tundikhel. It will display a huge banner marked with ‘National Democracy Day, 2024’ from a helicopter around the Ring Road area. Similarly, petals will be showered from helicopter and flag display held at the Army Pavilion, Tundikhel.

            The official National Democracy Day, 2024 main programme will be organised at the Army Pavilion, Tundikhel, where the elected people’s representatives, civil servants, security personnel, the office-bearers of public bodies and community organisations, academic and educational institutions and dignitaries from the civil society and the general public would be invited.

            Similarly, the government has decided to organize a variety of programmes at the provincial and district level throughout the country in celebration of the National Democracy Day.

Nepal, Australia sign Trade and Investment Framework Agreement

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Nepal and Australia have signed an agreement on trade and investment. The Nepal-Australia Trade and Investment Framework (TIFA) was signed during Foreign Minister NP Saud’s ongoing visit to Australia, according to the Minister’s Secretariat.

            Nepal’s ambassador to Australia, Kailash Raj Pokharel, and Australia’s Assistant Minister for Foreign Affairs, Tim Watts, signed the agreement on behalf of their respective sides in the presence of Minister Saud and his Australian counterpart Penny Wong, according to the Ministry of Foreign Affairs.

            Following the signing ceremony, both ministers said the moment is significant in terms of taking the friendly relations between the two nations to a new height. “Australia and Nepal are close friends and our relationship is underpinned by deep people to people links- Nepali Australians are our fastest growing migrant community,” Watts tweeted after the signing of the agreement.  As he mentioned , the signing of the TIFA is just another demonstration of strong ties between the two countries.

            On the occasion, he reminisced his last year’s visit to Nepal, adding that he had held talks with the representatives of the government of Nepal and leaderships from various sectors about opportunities and measures to further deepening mutual relations between Nepal and Australia.

            He recalled the meeting with Minister Saud regarding further deepening the economic ties between the two countries and expressed his happiness for the opportunity to sign in the economic and investment framework. Following the discussion, the high-ranking officials of the both countries had repeatedly discussed formal agreement so as to further strengthen the economic relations between the two countries.

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Susta rural municipality launches monetary scheme to discourage child marriage

            Nawalparasi (West of Bardghat Susta), Feb 9:  West Nawalparasi ranks fourth in terms of the prevalence of child marriage within the Lumbini Province.

It is said early marriage remains as one of the major social issues in the district.  In response to this concern, the Susta rural municipality in the district has launched a programme aiming to discourage child marriage. The programme titled ‘ Daughter, Bright Future Programme’ has been launched to contain early marriage within the locality.

            Under this initiative, the local government provides a financial incentive to newborn baby girls within the locality. Rural municipality Vice-Chair Gita Chaudhary said that every newly born daughter in the area is eligible for a cash offering of Rs 25,000. This assistance is specifically intended to support the girl’s education and prevent early marriages.

            However, the offering comes with certain conditions to ensure its effectiveness. The birth registration must be completed within 35 days of the baby’s birth, expectant mothers should undergo health checkups at least eight times during pregnancy, child’s delivery is required to take place within a health institution, there must be a commitment to ensuring the child’s education up to class 12 and the couple should have maximum two offspring.

            Furthermore, the monetary assistance can only be withdrawn after a period of 20 years from the initial deposit.

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321 victims of elephant attacks await compensations in Jhapa    

            Baniyani (Jhapa), Feb 9: As many as 321 families fallen victim to wild elephant attacks in Jhapa district as of October 10 of the current fiscal year are awaiting compensation from the government.

            The wild elephants wreaked havoc on people and properties in various places over different period of time in the ongoing fiscal year 2023/24.  The damages on properties and crops estimated to be over Rs 5.8 million has been sought by the local authority from the concerned ministry as compensation, said Division Forest Office, Jhapa’s Forest Officer Rishiram Parajuli.

            The compensation amount include for the one deceased’s family, loss of cattle and crops, Forest Officer Parajuli shared. Process is ongoing to claim the compensation for the 194 victims’ families including four killed by wild elephant attacks since October 19 last year to till date, he said.

            Apart from pain of losing their family member or bearing the loss on crops and properties, delays in receiving compensation have further added to the woe of the victims and their families, according to the staffers at the Division Forest Office.

Minister Bhusal pledges to address concerns of milk producers

            Bharatpur (Chitwan), Feb 9: Minister for Agriculture and Livestock Development, Dr Beduram Bhusal, has said the government is committed to addressing the issues of dairy producers. Talking to media at Bharatpur airport today, the Minister said dairy farmers facing market-related issue for the products.

            The Minister who was here to inaugurate a national tea exhibition in Chitwan, the Minister said, “This season is significant for milk production.  He suggested that the surplus milk production could be strategically reserved as power and butter for future use. He assured that the ongoing shortage of market for milk would be resolved after mid-February. Minister Bhusal also pledged to expedite the clearance of dues owed to farmers promptly.

            Farmers in Chitwan have reportedly gone unpaid for three months. The Chitwan Milk Industry has remained closed due to a shortage of market.

Minister Kirati assures to take forward Sagarmatha Airport construction process

            Udaypur, Feb 9: Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Sudan Kirati said that the construction of the proposed Sagarmatha Airport in Udayapur’s Jogidaha will be taken forward immediately.

            Following the inspection of the proposed site here today, Minister Kirati said that voices were raised repeatedly for the construction of the Airport and reiterated that the Ministry will proceed with the process at the earliest.

            “A total of Rs 50 million has been allocated for the construction of the Airport,” he shared. Stating that the proposed Airport at Jogidaha in Udayapur would be important for the promotion of tourism in Koshi Province, the Minister viewed that the Airport would play an important role in attracting tourists from India to Bhutan to visit Sagarmatha zone and to promoting tourism till Haleshi Mahadev.

            On the occasion, Birendra Basnet, Chairperson of the Sagarthama Airport Runway Construction Consumer Committee, underscored the need to take forward the construction process of the Airport immediately. “The incumbent government should fulfill the 60-years-old dreams of residents of Udaypur and Sagarmatha zone.”

            When the Airport would be operative, it would be easier for rafting from Dolalghat in Sunkoshi to Sunkoshi in Chatara and travelling to mountainous areas and Haleshi area via Airport, he observed.

            Likewise, member of the Committee and CPN (UML) leader Raj Kumar Rai opined that tourists from Saptari, Siraha, Udaypur, Khotang, Okhaldhunga and Bhojpur as well as from India and Bhutan could be attracted to Sagarmatha zone once the Airport comes into operation.

            Similarly, another member Rudra Adhikari asserted that the approval has been granted for the construction of the Airport. He informed that over Rs 20 million has been spent for the ground work of the proposed Airport and the Ministry of Forest and Environment has granted the right to use land.

            According to him, so far 156.11 hectare of land has been managed for the construction of the Airport featuring 1,400 metre long and 40 metres wide runway.

PM Dahal pledges to end the trend of ‘photocopying’ previous year’s budget

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ said that the process to bring about ‘ significant’ changes in the national budget system has been taken forward.

            In a discussion with the experts related to development and planning at the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers at Singha Durbar today, PM Dahal argued that the traditional budgetary system had been an obstruction to the transformation of the country.

            Mentioning that every year new budget would be introduced as the ‘photocopy’ of the previous year’s budget, the PM expressed commitment that the government would prepare budget on the basis of priorities after debating, discussing and soliciting suggestions from all sectors on the government’s policies, programmes and budget.

            According to him, the policies and programmes would be first sent to public, intelligentsia and people’s representatives for their review. “The President will read it in the budget only after finalizing it,” he said.

            Stating that the questions raised by the thematic experts would be important, the PM clarified that today’s discussion was held as a part of the process to revise the policy, programme and framework and schedule of the budget.

            Reminiscing that he had assumed the leadership of the government at the time when there was economic crisis in the country and attempts were made to raise questions on the republican system, the head of the government said that he was responsible to resolve the crisis. “I am constantly trying to free the country from the crisis” he asserted.

            He added that discussions were held to make three-tier government more effective. “We cannot strengthen the current system until the provincial and local level governments are made stronger. We are serious about it. We must take a leap.”

            In the discussion held in coordination of the National Planning Commission, experts from various fields had furnished suggestions on the course of actions that the government should determine.

            Commission’s Vice-Chairperson Min Bahadur Shrestha shared that the draft of the 16th Periodic Plan was being prepared keeping in consideration increasing production and creating jobs, as he added, that these largely address many issues of the economy.

            Participants, furnishing a host of suggestions to the government, said that that the process of picking plans should be stopped from taking in an ad-hoc and access-oriented manner.

            They spoke of the need to prepare a plan to transform informal economy to formal and taking into account issues such as trade, finance and foreign exchange liberalization besides mulling increasing the access of majority of people to means of production among others.

Upcoming budget will focus on increasing production and creating jobs: PM Dahal

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ asserted that the budget for the fiscal year 2024/25 would be focused on increasing production and creating jobs.

            Addressing the 8th Nuwakot Festival here today, PM clarified that the budget would be prepared in consideration of increasing agricultural production.

Stating that the process to bring about ‘significant’ changes in the national budget system had been initiated, PM Dahal assured that the traditional budget system would be overhauled.

            According to him, the government at present was soliciting suggestions from all sectors on the government’s policies, programmes and budgets. Informing that the budget preparation process was taken forward, he assured that the upcoming budget would transform the country.

            The PM vowed government’s support in the development of arts and culture, religious and historical places, agricultural and tourism sectors. He pledged to pay attention to reconstruction of the quake-damaged Nuwakot Palace.

On a different note, the head of the government said, “Country’s economy is slowly picking a rhythm. Economic indicators are also positive. The Foreign Currency Reserve and arrival of tourists have increased. These factors have helped bring the national economy to back to the track. The revenue collection has also surged lately.”

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Minister Sharma insists on timely completion of projects

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Minister for Communications and Information Technology, Rekha Sharma, has directed the chiefs of subordinate bodies to take initiation to complete the ongoing projects and programmes within the deadline.

During the half-yearly review of the fiscal year 2023-24 and in a meeting of ministry-level development issues resolution committee in the Ministry today, the Minister called upon all stakeholders to conduct self-assessments of the progress made so far and to exert concerted efforts to achieve the expected achievements from the ongoing endeavors. She urged participants to work responsibly, discouraging the practice of diverting attention towards pointing out the

            shortcomings of others. “While reviews are encouraged, avoiding responsibility is not acceptable,” she asserted. The Minister utilized the moment to express her concerns regarding the sluggish progress of priority projects, despite the assurance of allocated resources.

First Rainbow Tourism International Conference 2024: Registration officially opens

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: As Nepal is hosting the First Rainbow Tourism International Conference on coming April 20-21, the registration for the conference has been officially opened for the event. The announcement has been made amid a press conference here in Kathmandu today.

            Interested participants can register at https://www.yatra2happiness.com/about-us. The conference has been observed as a milestone in the LGBTIQ+ communities and the entire tourism industry of Nepal. As Nepal stands out to be more liberal for the sexual and gender minorities globally, the conference will help boost its image, said experts.

            Besides, it helps create more job opportunities for the communities, who would otherwise face hardship in getting jobs just for their identities, and boost the overall economy of the country through pink tourism, they argued.

            Nepal should not miss the opportunity of tapping into the multi-billion-dollar pink tourism by promoting rainbow tourism, said Sunil Babu Pant, the Asia’s first (ex) parliamentarian from the LGBTIQ community. The country’s economy could be boosted through the industry while creating job opportunities for the communities, he added.

            “Nepal’s slowly recovering tourism industry will be further supported through the pink tourism.” Global pink tourism business is lucrative and growing.

According to research by LGBT Capital, corporate advisory and asset management company, the global annual LGBTIQ+ spending power is estimated at $4.7 trillion in 2022. LGBTIQ+ household wealth is estimated at $30 trillion globally.

            According to a 2021 research conducted by Ipsos, a market research and consulting firm with headquarters in Paris, France, on average about 80 percent of people worldwide identified as heterosexual, 3 percent as gay, lesbian or homosexual, 4 percent as bisexual, 1 percent as pansexual or omnisexual, 1 percent as asexual, 1 percent as ‘other’ and 11 percent don’t know or won’t say. The firm interviewed the participants in 27 countries spanning all continents.

            Shedding light on the importance of pink tourism in Nepal, Nandini Lahe Thapa, senior director at Public Relation & Publicity, Nepal Tourism Board, emphasised pink tourism as a new market segment for Nepal, which she said could create an environment for more equitable societies while offering economic benefits.

            The announcement of the event has created a wave of positive impacts in the world signifying that Nepal is more open and heartily welcomes international LGBTIQ+ tourists, she said.  

            Similarly, Lex Limbu, a renowned UK-based blogger, and also a gay, said he was pleased to be supporting the communities by being a part of the event. The event will potentially help support the acceptance of the communities in the society while offering employment opportunities to them. Nepal could be a hub for LGBTIQ+ visitors from around the world where they can visit with pride, security and self-esteem, he said.

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Govt effortful to maintain good governance: DPM Shrestha      

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha has said the government has been carrying out activities to maintain good governance. Country’s socio-economic transformation and prosperity could not be achieved without good governance, he underlined.

            Launching ‘E-visa, office automation system and online payment system’ organised by Department of Immigration on Friday, DPM Shrestha mentioned that the government was effortful for the improvement along with good governance.

            Automation system in the Department of Immigration and all offices office under the Department is essential, he said, expressing commitment to making immigration of international standard.

            “Providing service to the people in a smooth manner is also the mandatory condition of the good governance. But we have now forwarded activities as per this concept”, the Deputy Prime Minister reminded. 

            He, however, argued that qualitative stride was in immigration. “We will run immigration of international standard within short span of time,” he reiterated.

            Similarly, Home Secretary Dinesh Bhattarai shared the improvement made in immigration sector, informing that preparation for ‘Global Payment’ was mulled.

Immigration Department launches e-visa, automated system and online payment

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: The Immigration Department launched e-visa, automated system and online payment on Friday. Deputy Prime Minister and Home Minister Narayan Kaji Shrestha inaugurated the services amidst a programme at Immigration Department Office, Kalikasthan.

            Director General at the Department, Rudra Singh Tamang, informed that new services would be available at Department Office from 8:00am to 8:00pm from February 13.

            The Department, for now, has enforced ‘electronic trial authorization’, a preparatory work to implement e-visa. Under the trial authorization, any foreigner willing to apply for Nepali visa can fill up the online form and submit fee accordingly.

            Similarly, all sorts of service fees and fines can be submitted via mobile banking and wallet service providers.

            The service seekers can track the status of their application and payment online. The Department also provides information on it via email and SMS. The employees will facilitate communications with the customers having low digital literacy.

            Director General Tamang informed that automated and online services were being put in place to ensure transparency, accountability and frugality in the entire immigration administration.

            He further shared that digital signature would be launched within this year. The Department also launched its new website on Friday.

Maoist Centre starts discussion on statute draft   

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: The Standing Committee of the CPN (Maoist Centre) has started deliberation on statute draft.

            During the standing committee meeting held at the headquarters of the CPN (Maoist Centre), Parisdanda, on Friday, coordinator of the of statute drafting taskforce and party Vice-Chairperson, Pampha Bhusal, gave a presentation on the main features of  the statute, said Spokesperson Agni Sapkota.

            General-Secretary Dev Prasad Gurung, Deputy General-Secretaries-Giriraj Mani Pokharel, Barsha Man Pun, and Janardan Sharma, Secretaries—Ganesh Saha and Ram Karki and Standing Committee member Shashi Shrestha put forth their views on the statute.

            Most of the members who spoke on the statute stressed the provision of establishing social norms, values and ideologies as well as socialist thoughts in the statute.

            The leaders had expressed the views that party committees should be manageable and functional. The central committee should be of 151 members, she suggested.

            Sapkota, however, shared that the issues raised during discussion would be sorted out from statute conference. 

            The standing committee would meet again on Saturday. The CPN (Maoist Centre) has called central committee meeting coming Sunday and Monday to discuss the statute. The statute convention of the party is scheduled for February 13-15.

‘Agriculture training must be in field, not on table’          

            Karnali, Feb 9: Minister of Land Management, Agriculture and Cooperatives in Karnali Province, Bhim Prakash Sharma, has said training relating to agriculture must be in field rather than on table. He viewed Karnali government is honest to this regard.

            Addressing a concluding session of Karnali Province-level training on ‘citrus decline management and farming technology’ at Birendranagar on Friday, Minister Sharma argued that the programmes and training on agriculture held at hotels fail to ensure result.

            “Farmers do not need grants but technological support,” he said, adding, “It is time to pay heed to their needs and concerns.”

            According to him, the province government was going to conduct training in farmers’ field for the first time.

            Province government is responsible for ensuring safety to agriculture and livestock, Minister Sharma reminded, urging farmers to foster entrepreneurship rather than seeking grants. Both practical and technical knowledge are essential to make farming successful.

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EC concerns ensuring franchise rights to NRNs  

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Chief Election Commissioner Dinesh Kumar Thapaliya has expressed willingness of the Election Commission to ensure franchise rights of Non-Resident Nepalis as per the Supreme Court’s directive order.

            It may be noted that the apex court had issued the order on 21 March 2018.

            In a consultative meeting with the political parties representing the parliament on Friday, Chief Commissioner Thapaliya said a draft bill related to electoral management addressing the concern was submitted to the Home Ministry on last July 1 but it has yet to be tabled in the parliament.

            He stressed the need to ensure registration in voters’ rollout in view of the by-election to the member of the parliament.

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Health Minster Basnet inaugurates eye surgery unit

            Baniyani (Jhapa), Feb 9: A ‘laser refractive surgery unit’ has started under the eye specialized treatment in Mechi Eye Hospital at Birtamod municiplaity-3 in Jhapa.

            At a programme organized here today on the occasion of the 27th anniversary of the hospital, Minister for Health and Population Mohan Bahadur Basnet inaugurated the ‘laser refractive surgery unit’.

            On the occasion, Minister Basnet said he was effortful to make health education and health sector effective.

            Hospital’s secretary Ganesh Pokharel informed the ‘laser refractive surgery unit’ has been established by purchasing machine at the cost of Rs 160 million in collaboration with the Matrika Eye Centre as per the Dhristi Public Private Partnership.

            He informed that the hospital has provide eye checkup services to 197, 872 under the OPD service and 79, 000 through different camps in 2023.

            Under the surgery service, the hospital had provided surgery to over 36, 000 patients. — 

President Paudel greets on Lhosar  

            Kathmandu, Feb 10: President Ramchandra Paudel has extended his best wishes to all brothers and sisters at home and abroad for their happiness, peace and prosperity on the occasion of Sonam Lhosar festival of Tamang community.

            In a message delivered today, President Paudel expressed his confidence that the festivals like Sonam Lhosar would help enhance good will, tolerance and fraternity among all the people in the Nepali society enriched with diversities in terms of castes, languages and cultures, thereby further consolidating the broader national unity.

            The Sonam Lhosar is celebrated as the New Year of Tamang community. The community people offer prayers to their ancestors, nature and impart the message of Buddha as well as exchange mutual happiness among their kiths and kin.

‘Report on Ncell share deal is being studied’

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Minister for Communications and Information Technology Rekha Sharma has said that the report of the probe panel on telecommunications company Ncell’s share deal was under consideration in the council of ministers.

            Responding to the lawmakers’ concerns in today’s meeting of the Committee on Education, Health and Information Technology, Minister Sharma said study on the report submitted by the probe panel is ongoing.

            She stated that the report cannot be made public right now as no decision has been taken so far. Minister Sharma said so as some of the committee members sought to share the probe panel’s report with them.

            In today’s meeting, the clause 19 to 26 of the Bill on Security Printing were discussed and approved from the committee meeting.

Economy returns to normal condition, PM says

            Nuwakot, Feb 9: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has said that his government was successful in bringing the failing economy in the state of gradual improvement.

            Inaugurating the Eight Nuwakot Mahotsav at Bidur of Nuwakot district on Friday, the PM said country’s economy which was pushed to severe crisis when he came to office some 13 months ago is now in right track.

            “The indicators of economy are now in positive status. We have achieved a success from several efforts of the Prime Minister’s Office, Finance Ministry and Nepal Rasta Bank after holding continuous discussions with the agencies and stakeholders at home and abroad,” the PM said.

            The PM expressed the confidence that the country could be taken to prosperity if the current pace of progress could be maintained for some time.

            “Bank’s interest rate has decreased now. There has been improvement in the tourist arrival and revenue collection has increased 10 per cent and the foreign exchange reserve has reached all-time high,” PM Prachanda shared.

            He went on to say that remittance inflow has increased 30 per cent and transactions of real estate has improved. 

            The PM shared that the new budget for the upcoming fiscal year would be centered on boosting production and employment generation.

            The government is actively working to modernize the agriculture sector’s development for enhancing production and employment creations.

            The PM expressed the belief that the country would reach a new stage of development and prosperity soon as discussions are ongoing with the neighbouring countries’ counterpart for Nepal’s tourism development.

Three kms fencing to reduce human-wildlife conflicts in Chitwan

            Chitwan, Feb 9: A three-kilometre-long fencing is to be built in four wards of the Bharatpur Metropolitan City to reduce the possible human-wildlife conflicts. The district has reported several cases of human-wildlife conflicts due to animals coming into the human settlements from Chitwan National Park and the forests in the buffer zone areas. The fencing is expected to reduce the human-wildlife conflicts.

            The task of fencing will begin in wards no. 23, 24, 27 and 28 of the metropolitan city. Mayor of Bharatpur Metropolitan City Renu Dahal marked the beginning of the construction bid adding that the total cost of the project is estimated to be Rs 40 million.

            Mayor Dahal shared that a new bidding would be called by immediately carrying out a survey in the missing site. Every year, a huge amount of property is destroyed and human casualties take place due from the attacks of tigers, rhinos and wild boar in the human settlements of western Chitwan.

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Social media including YouTube should focus on social responsibility: Media experts

            Kathmandu, Feb 9: Media experts have viewed the social media including YouTube should be attentive to social responsibility in the wake of broader reach among public. 

            At a editors dialogue on ‘Impacts of Social Media in Journalism’ organised by Press Council Nepal here Friday, they suggested strict adherence to social responsibility to make journalism dignified, reliable and sustainable.   

            They pointed out the need of addressing influence and challenges of social sites including YouTube seen in media along with changes in information technology. 

            On the occasion, noted journalist and former President of the Federation of Nepali Journalists, Kishor Nepal, stressed, “Journalists should not run to increase viewers and forget the responsibility towards the nation and society. Social sites users should understand these things.”

            Sharing that major components are found missing in news in recent period, he mentioned that even mainstream media are also disseminating incomplete news. Nepal viewed social sites, new media houses and newspapers are in crisis in lack of implementation of existing laws.

            The supervision and monitoring carried out by Press Council Nepal on media running through YouTube platform is being effective, he added.

            Similarly, Press Council Nepal Chairperson Bal Krishna Basnet explained that media running through YouTube platform are being monitored. He expected suggestions from editors for making such media effective.

            Basnet argued legal obstacles would be removed to carry out monitoring and supervision of all media if the term ‘newspaper’ is replaced with ‘media’. 

            Likewise, Chief Editor of the , Yek Raj Pathak,   suggested the Press Council that it focused more on curbing copy-paste journalism as it has been polluting journalism.

            President of FNJ, Bipul Pokhrel, shared that there is negative impact in the society in lack of monitoring, control and editing on news content of social media including YouTube while Chairperson of Digital Media Society and Chief Editor of Bahrakhari online, Prateek Pradhan, explained that one should think properly while putting its opinion in any incident through social media.

            Similarly, Chairperson of Advertisement Board, Laxman Humagain, senior journalist Shambhu Shrestha, General-Secretary of Sancharika Samuha, Basanti Bastola, among others laid emphasis on the need of monitoring social media. 

            Editors-Gunaraj Luintel, Hari Bahadur Thapa, Arun Baral, Gajendra Budhathoki, Bimal Gautam, Pushpa Hari Campa Rai, Matrika Poudel, Upasana Ghimire, Jyoti GC, put forth their views on the occasion.

            Total 90 people including editors and news desk chiefs of print media, online, radio, television, YouTube channel were present on the occasion.  

Govt effortful to realize national ambition of prosperity: PM Dahal

            Kathmandu, Feb 10: Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ has said government was actively working to realize the national ambition of prosperity. 

            Giving a message of best wishes on the occasion of the Sonam Lhosar today, PM Dahal reiterated that government was effortful to address present challenges and ensure good governance and social justice.

            He reminded that the constitution has institutionalized national unity and identity based on diversity. The diversity in terms of language, ethnicity, cultures, religions and geography are solid backbone of unity and nationality, PM Dahal stressed.

            PM Dahal wished the Lhosar, the festival of the community based on labour culture and worshiping to nature, fostered mutual harmony and tolerance.  The festival would inspire all to work together and cooperate with the government to achieve the goals of social justice, good governance, sustainable development and prosperity, he believed.

            The religious and cultural faiths of diverse communities are respected in the country where language, art, culture, scripts, costumes are protected well.

Vice President Yadav’s message on Sonam Lhosar

            Kathmandu, Feb 10: Vice-President Ramsahay Prasad Yadav has said the Sonam Lhosar will help further strengthen national spirit of the Nepali people with social unity.

            In a message given on the occasion of the Sonam Lhosar today, Vice-President shared that the new constitution and republic has connected all areas, geography, religion, community and culture.

            Extending best wishes for happiness, peace, prosperity and good health among all Nepalis in the country and abroad on the occasion of Sonam Lhosar, he expressed the belief that such festivals helps to protect and promote Nepal’s original culture and cultural heritages. 

            He further wished prosperity, national unity, integrity, sovereignty and nationality along with mutual trust and social harmony.

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