Friday, April 30, 2021

Some 22 districts are extremely hit by Covid-19

Of the total 77 districts in the country, some 22 districts are marked as extremely hit based on the number of new Covid-19 infections, according to a press note issued by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP).

The districts in the southern plains are severely hit by the new variant of the deadly coronavirus, the press note reads, adding that all three districts in the Valley including Kathmandu, Bhaktapur and Lalitpur, and Tarai districts including Morang, Jhapa, Parsa, Bara, Dhanusha, Chitwan, Dang, Banke, Rupandehi, Bardiya, Kapilvastu, Kailali and Kanchanpur are also categorised as the extremely-affected districts. "Few The hill districts including Makwanpur, Palpa and Kaski are also effected by the second wave of Covid-19."

The trend of new infections is at an alarming rate which could not be addressed by the health system.

The ministry has also aurged people to abide by public health protocol like wearing face masks, maintaining physical distance, avoiding crowds and washing hands with soap and water frequently as precautionary measure.

Monday, April 5, 2021

Nepse ends on a fresh high

The share market closed with a new historic high on Monday. The index had created a new high just yesterday.

Nepal Stock Exchnage (Nepse) index closed 1.13 points up to 2,658.75 points, confirmed the Nepse. The market has scaled the new high after seven weeks, though it has posted gain yesterday too. But the turnover dropped to Rs 7.30 billion. Yesterday, the market witnessed over Rs 9 billion worth trading of shares. 

Some 15,853,993 shares changed hands through 73,598 transactions. The trading of 212 scrips brought the total market turnover to a little over Rs 7.29 billion.

Trading, and hotels and tourism indices led the list of top gainers with sub-groups surging by 4.39 per cent and 3.24 per cent, respectively. Likewise, hydropower and ‘others’ sub-indices also rose over 1 per cent each. Microfinance, manufacturing and processing, and mutual fund sectors inched higher in the market, where investment and non-life Insurance groups lost some 0.84 per cent and 0.75 per cent. Banking, development bank, life insurance and finance sectors also ended marginally lower.

Shares of Upper Tamakoshi Hydropower were traded the most with turnover of Rs 348 million, whereas IME General Insurance and Nepal Infrastructure Bank followed with turnover of Rs 313 million and Rs 289 million.

While the float index lost 0.18 points and closed at 182.75 points, the sensitive index is at 471.84 after gaining 1.09 points.

Sunday, April 4, 2021

PAC directs to recover dues of dedicated feeders and trunk lines

The parliamentary Public Accounts Committee (PAC) has directed the government to recover billions due of dedicated feeders and trunk lines -- from the industries -- after Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA) failed to take action against them.

A meeting of the mini parliament today, validating the study report of its sub-committee, also asked the government to recover the dues within a month.

In July 2019, the PAC had formed a five-member sub-committee led by Nepali Congress (NC) leader Minendra Rijal to study the issues of controversy on whether it is legitimate to charge the industries with the premium charges or not. The sub-committee has sorted out Rs 14.08 billion dues of the industries for the use of dedicated feeders and trunk lines.

The NEA supplied electricity to around 300 industries under the special facility -- as dedicated and trunk lines -- even when the country was reeling under up to 18 hours of load-shedding. The NEA had imposed 65 per cent as premium charge for the users of such dedicated and trunk lines. However, the industries refused the premium charge, after the NEA asked them to pay. The NEA has since then repeatedly sent notices to the industrialists asking to settle their electricity dues. Instead of paying their charges, the industrialists went to the Prime Minister asking for waiver of the charges. Due to the private sector's lobbying, a cabinet meeting, last year, even waived the premium charge for eight-and-a-half months of the total dues to minimize excess financial burden on the industrialists. After the cabinet decision, the industrialists now are supposed to settle the dues of only 28 months and 11 days.

But the industrialists have been reluctant to clear their dues, arguing that it is not appropriate for the NEA to levy additional fees even after the power utility announced the end of load-shedding in 2016.

Friday, April 2, 2021

It took two decades to reach Melamchi water to Kathmandu valley

President Bidhya Devi Bhandari today inaugurated Melamchi Water Supply Project, the most awaited project by Kathmandu denizens since more than 20 years, by opening the tap at a programme at Brikutimandap in Kathmandu. The tap water was supplied through facilities of the Melamchi Water Supply Project, according to a press note by JICA.

JICA has been one of the major development partners of Nepal to implement the Melamchi Water Supply Project by constructing the 85 million litter par day (MLD ) Water Treatment Plant (WTP) at Sundarijal, the press note reads, adding that since March 2001, with signing the Loan Agreement amounted 5.49 billion JPY between the government and JBIC1, to construct the WTP, the project faced several disruption until it was substantially completed in December 2017. Even after its substantial completion, the Water Treatment Plant had been awaiting the water from melamchi diversion tunnel for its full operation. "The Water Treatment Plant is the largest water treatment plant in the country equipped with modern technology and database system." 

Components like SCADA system are some of the salient features of the Water Treatment Plant.

Completion of major infrastructure of the project would bring additional 170 MLD water to Kathmandu valley. Since current supply of water is considered 91 MLD in average considering the loss, the Melamchi Project will dramatically improve water supply in Kathmandu Valley with fulling the huge gap of water supply services provided by the Kathmandu Upatyaka Khanepani Limited (KUKL), the sole water utility of the capital city.

President Bhandari inaugurating the project at the presence of high dignitaries from government agencies, development partners including chief representative Yumiko Asakuma, remembered the then Prime Minister Krishna Prasad BHattarai, who pushed the project to implementation.

Not only the financial support to construct facilities, JICA is providing technical support in strengthening the capacity of KUKL in order to effectively operate and maintain the newly constructed facilities of the Melamchi Water Supply Project.

JICA asserts its firm belief that with strong and self-reliant leadership of Nepal, the water supply sector of the country will observe significant improvement, and it commits its continuous support for social development sector of Nepal.