Friday, May 28, 2021

Finland helps Nepal

In the context of the ongoing Covid-19 pandemic, Finland has extended support of medical equipment and supplies to Nepal.

"The shipment arrived in a chartered flight dispatched by the Finnish government includes 350,000 FFP2 masks; 100,000 KN95 masks; 232,500 gloves; 30,000 gowns; 2,498,000  facemasks; and 350,000 face shields," according to a press note issued by the Foreign Ministry.

Finnish ambassador to Nepal Pertti Anttinen handed over the materials to health minister Hridayesh Tripathi, at a brief ceremony held at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) this morning, the press note reads, adding that Nepal also thanked the Finnish government for its generous support, which would help contain the surge of Covid-19 cases. "The timely support received from the Government of Finland reflects the longstanding development partnership and friendship among the people of both the countries."

The government also deeply appreciates Finland’s solidarity to Nepal at this hour of difficulty, it adds.

The support received today is in response to Nepal’s request to Finland, communicated bilaterally as well as through the European Union’s Civil Protection Mechanism, for supporting Nepal with Covid-19 related vaccines, medicines, equipment and supplies.

Thai help handed over

 Thailand has provided oxygen concentrators to Nepal.

The Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Thai Overseas Dhammaduta Bhikkhus and Verapuchong Foundation, Thailand provided forty-six oxygen concentrators to Nepal, according to a press note from the Foreign Ministry.

Thai ambassador Vosita Vorasaph handed over those oxygen concentrators to a senior official of the Ministry of Health and Population amidst a brief ceremony held at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) today.

A representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs too was present on the occasion, the press note reads, adding that those oxygen concentrators were brought today by a Shree Airlines flight. "Nepal appreciates and thanks the Ministry of Foreign Affairs of Thailand, Thai Overseas Dhammaduta Bhikkhus and Verapuchong Foundation, Thailand for their support.

A special aircraft, carrying various equipment and medical items contributed by King Maha Vajiralongkorn Phra Vajiraklaochaoyuhua and members of the Thai Royal Family in order to support Nepal in its fight against the Covid-19 pandemic, is also arriving early next week, the press note adds.

Sunday, May 23, 2021

Nepse hits yet another record

 The Nepal Stock Exchange (Nepse) index today reached yet another all time high to 2,820 points as it gained by 32.81 points today from last Thursday's closing.

Likewise, the sensitive index increased by 8.23 points to close at 507.20 points, according to the Nepse. "The volume of total transactions stood at Rs 11.60 billion as over 25 million units of shares of the total 220 companies were traded on the first trading day of the week. This is second only to the highest turnover of Rs 11.96 billion created last week.

Likewise, Nepal Reinsurance Company has the highest individual scrip turnover of a little over Rs 418.60 million, when over a dozen scrips have technically closed at the upper limit of 10 per cent gain today. Ru Ru Jalvidut Pariyojana Limited (RURU), however, lost the most of 3.73 per cent. 

The development banks sub index gained an impressive 7.54 per cent while finance sub index gained an equally magnificent 6.76 per cent but microfinance sub index lost the most 0.37%.

The share price of Sangrila Development Bank increased by 9.93 points while United IDI Mardi Hydropower 9.93 points, Kalika Power Company 9.86 points, Best Finance Company 9.85 points, Goodwill Finance 9.85 points, Saptakoshi Development Bank 9.84 points and Barun Hydropower 9.84 points.

Saturday, May 22, 2021

Nepal receives medical support from US

In response to the request of the Government in the context of the recent surge in Covid-19 cases, the United States of America has sent a cargo aircraft containing important medical supplies.

The support materials – first of the three chartered aircraft arriving within the next two days – were received by the spokesperson for the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), Dr Jageshwar Gautam from the officials of the Embassy of the USA and the United States Agency for International Development (USAID) in Kathmandu on Saturday.

The medical support includes surgical masks, face shields, and gloves, according to a press note issued by the USAID. "This is in addition to the earlier support received from USAID including 100 units of ventilators, Covid-19 testing facilities and equipment, oxygen-related materials, personal protection equipment (PPEs) and other lifesaving medical supplies."

The USAID claimed that it is scheduled to hand over 1,000 oxygen cylinders to the Ministry of Health and Population tomorrow. "The much-needed medical support has been instrumental in saving lives and complementing the national initiatives for treatment, prevention and control of Covid-19."

The government expressed gratitude to the US government and people  for the solidarity they extended to the people of Nepal, reflecting the longstanding bilateral relations marked by friendship and cooperation. "The effort made by the US Embassy and USAID in Kathmandu for the timely delivery of the support materials has been acknowledged with appreciation,” reads the press note.

Temasek Foundation helps Nepal

Temasek Foundation International, in collaboration with MiRXES and Lotus Life Foundation, has provided urgent medical items to Nepal in support for fight against the Coronavirus pandemic.

The Singapore based foundation provided medical items include PCR kits, pulse oximeters, RNA extraction machines and kits as well as 30 units of tele-ventilators and 6 units of ventilators, according to a press note issued by the Foreign Ministry.

A Nepal Airlines cargo flight carrying those items reached at the Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) this evening. senior officials of the Ministry of Health and Population received the medical items, the press note reads, adding that a representative of the Ministry of Foreign Affairs was also present on the occasion.

"The government appreciates and thanks the Temasek Foundation International as well as its various collaborators for this generous support."

Wednesday, May 19, 2021

Spain to send ventilators, oxygen concentrators to Nepal

Spain is sending a consignment of health materials for Nepal in a chartered flight tomorrow.

"The consignment includes ventilators, oxygen concentrators and PPEs," according to a press note issued by the Foreign Ministry.  

Director of the Spanish agency for International Development Cooperation (AECID) Magdy Martinez Soliman is also visiting Nepal to hand over the Spanish cooperation to Nepal, the press note adds.

Today foreign minister Pradeep Kumar Gyawali held a telephone conversation with Minister for External Affairs, European Union and Cooperation of Spain Arancha Gonzalez Laya, when they discussed matters relating to various aspects of Nepal-Spain relations and cooperation.

Thanking the government of Spain, Gyawali  said that the support received from Spain will be valuable at a time when Nepal is battling the surge of new variants of Covid-19.

Gonzalez Laya, while thanking Nepal for facilitating repatriation of stranded Spanish nationals, assured of continued cooperation from Spain at the bilateral level as well as through the EU and other channels, the press note reads.

Tuesday, May 18, 2021

Government approves EIA Report of electricity transmission project

The Ministry of Forest and Environment has approved the Environmental Impact Assessment (EIA) report of the Electricity Transmission Project (ETP) to be implemented by Millennium Challenge Account Nepal Development Board (MCA-Nepal) with the grant funding from the Millennium Challenge Corporation (MCC), USA, and co-funding from Nepal.

The EIA report, approved on April 29 April by the government with a ministerial level decision, is a major part of the project preparatory works now underway for the construction of transmission lines and substations under the ETP project, according to a press note issued by the MCA-Nepal office.

"The achievement is an important milestone to help meet one condition related to site access before the MCC Compact can enter into force,” executive director of MCA-Nepal Khadga Bahadur Bisht said, adding that the other important milestone will be ratification of the MCC. "The report has established the existing status of the physical, biological, socio-economic and cultural environment within the project’s footprint, and has suggested measures to mitigate the potential impacts."

The detailed EIA report, prepared according to existing laws in Nepal, is in compliance with Nepal's Environment Protection Act (EPA), 2019 and Environment Protection Rules (EPR), 2020.

The EIA used a robust methodology for data collection and analysis, and included a number of consultations and public hearings in all 30 municipalities, rural municipalities of 10 districts in the project’s footprint.

It has proposed measures to avoid, minimise or mitigate/manage adverse impacts and to optimise project benefits as per Nepali environmental laws and regulations, and international best practices.

As a requirement of the EPA (2019), the EIA includes a detail Environmental, Social, Health, and Safety Management Plan (ESHSMP) to ensure safety of workers and communities affected by the project during implementation. It also includes an Environmental Monitoring Plan, and specifies an environmental audit process to identify any non-compliance including corrective actions to ensure fulfillment of the commitments in the EIA report. Following the approval of the report, MCA-Nepal will now initiate a process to receive the approval for the use of national forest area and removal of trees and plants.

Nepal and the US MCC signed a Compact in September 2017 for undertaking two projects that the Government had identified to address major constraints to Nepal’s development.

ETP is one of the two projects under MCC, and Road Maintenance Project (RMP) is another projects. The transmission lines will pass through 30 municipalities, and rural municipalities in 10 districts. The project will also ensure affected local stakeholders benefit through partnership program and strengthen the power sector in Nepal.

Tuesday, May 11, 2021

Nepal extends international flights suspension until May 31

 As the number of death caused by Covid-19 is scaling new high everyday, Nepal has decided to extend the suspension of international commercial flights to and from Kathmandu by another 17 days.

The flight suspension, which was due to expire on May 14,  will remain in place until May 31 midnight, confirmed Civil Aviation Authority of Nepal (CAAN).

But two flights a week on Kathmandu-New Delhi route will remain operational as usual under the Air Bubble Arrangement between two countries, a press note issued by the CAAN reads, adding that the Kathmandu-New Delhi flights will see one flight each by Nepal Airlines and Air India.

The CAAN, in its press note, also directed the airlines companies not to open new booking to and from Nepal until further notice. "Airlines are informed to facilitate refunding of air tickets or extension of travel date as required by passengers,” the press note reads, adding that Nepal had suspended all international flights except two flights per week from New Delhi under the air bubble agreement, from May 6 midnight till May 14. Nepal decided to halt all domestic flights from May 3 midnight and all international flights from May 7 midnight until May 14 to check the rapidly growing spread of the Covid-19.

The cabinet had decided to halt all domestic flights from the May 3 midnight as recommended by the Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) but this time, the government has not yet decided to either open or keep closed the domestic flights.

Monday, May 10, 2021

अर्थतन्त्रमा सुधार गर्ने गुमेको अवसर

 इतिहासकै सबैभन्दा बलियो तथा करिब दुईतिहाइको प्रधानमन्त्री केपी शर्मा ओलीको सरकार प्रतिनिधिसभाबाट सोमबार विश्वासको मत लिन असफल भएपछि अर्थतन्त्रलाई पुनर्जीवन दिने सुनौलो मौका गुमाउँदै स्वतः पदमुक्त भएको छ ।

संसद्मा विश्वासको मत लिने प्रस्ताव बहुमतले अस्वीकृत भएपछि प्रधानमन्त्री ओली स्वतः पदमुक्त भएका हुन् । संसद्मा जम्मा उपस्थित संख्या २ सय ३२ जनामा प्रस्तावको पक्षमा ९३ मत परेको थियो भने विपक्षमा १ सय २४ मत तथा प्रस्तावमा मत दिन्नँ भन्नेमा १५ मत परेको थियो । सबैभन्दा ठूलो दल एमालेका १ सय २१ सांसद छन्, तर एमालेको माधवकुमार नेपाल पक्षका सांसदहरू बैठकमा अनुपस्थित भएपछि उनको पक्षमा ९३ मत मात्र परेको हो । प्रधानमन्त्री पदमा कायम रहन ओलीले १ सय ३६ मत पाउनुपर्ने थियो । यदि एमालेको माधवकुमार नेपाल पक्षका २८ सांसदहरूले मत दिएको भए प्रधानमन्त्रीको १ सय २१ मत हुने थियो । अर्थात् १ सय ३६ मत पुग्ने थिएन । नेपाली कांग्रेस, नेकपा माओवादी केन्द्र, जनता समाजवादी पार्टीका बाबुराम भट्टराई–उपेन्द्र यादव पक्ष, राष्ट्रिय जनमोर्चाले विपक्षमा मत दिएका छन् भने जसपाको महन्थ ठाकुर–राजेन्द्र महतो पक्षका सांसदहरू भने तटस्थ बसे ।

ओली सरकार ढलेसँगै एकपटक फेरि राजनीतिक अस्थिरताले मुलुक कता जाला भन्ने प्रश्न उठेको छ । राजनीतिक स्थिरता तथा करिब दुईतिहाइ बहुमत भए तापनि ओली सरकारले विगतका तीन वर्षमा आशातीत आर्थिक वृद्धि तथा जनजीविकामा सुधार गर्न सकेन । २०७४ सल फागुन ३ गते प्रधानमन्त्री बनेका उनको कार्यकालमा लगातार तीन वटा बजेट ल्याएर पनि अर्थतन्त्रमा खासै कुनै परिवर्तन गर्न नसकेका कारण निवर्तमान अर्थमन्त्री डा. युवराज खतिवडाको धेरै आलोचना भएपछि उनलाई अमेरिकाको राजदूतमा नियुक्त गरियो । उनको कार्यकालको पहिलो आव २०७४-७५ मा ७.३७ प्रतिशत आर्थिक वृद्धि भएकोमा २०७५-७६ मा ६.३९ प्रतिशत तथा गत आर्थिक वर्षमा कोरोना कहरका कारण २.२१ प्रतिशत ऋणात्मक आर्थिक वृद्धि भएको थियो भने चालू आवमा केन्द्रीय तथ्यांक विभागले ३.९८ प्रतिशत आर्थिक वृद्धि हुने र कोरोनाको दोस्रो लहरको कहर बढ्दै गए घट्न सक्ने अनुमान गरेको छ । यसरी २०७४ फागुनमा प्रधानमन्त्री भएका केपी शर्मा ओलीको तीन वर्षभन्दा अलिक बढी समयको कार्यकालमा औसतमा ५ प्रतिशतभन्दा कमको हाराहारीमा मात्रै आर्थिक वृद्धि भएको देखिन्छ ।

यता, केपी ओलीको सरकार ढलेपछि विपक्षीले आफूले सरकार बनाउन पाउनुपर्ने भन्दै तीन नेताको हस्ताक्षरमा राष्ट्रपतिसमक्ष दाबी पेस गरेका छन् । संविधानसभाको निर्वाचनपछि मुलुकमा राजनीतिक लडाइँ सकिएको र अब आर्थिक क्रान्तिको नेतृत्व गर्ने दाबीसहित करिब दुईतिहाइको सरकार बनाएको नेपाल कम्युनिस्ट पार्टी (नेकपा) का प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीले समृद्ध नेपाल सुखी नेपालीको नारा गुन्जाउँदै हिँडे पनि अन्ततः भ्रष्टाचारमा चुर्लुम्म डुबेको, कोरोना महामारीमा नागरिकको सुरक्षाका लागि केही पनि नगरी आफैंले अनुशासनहीन काम गर्दै हिँडेको लगायत आरोप लगाउँदै संसद्मा प्रमुख प्रतिपक्षी नेपाली कांग्रेसका सभापति शेरबहादुर देउवाले प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई चुनावी प्रतिबद्धताको याद दिलाए । प्रधानमन्त्रीले विश्वासको मत लिने प्रयोजनका लागि बोलाइएको प्रतिनिधिसभाको विशेष अधिवेशनको दोस्रो बैठकलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै सरकार मुलुकमा समृद्धि ल्याउन असफल भएको, शान्ति–सुव्यवस्था कायम गर्न नसकेको तथा संविधान मास्न केन्द्रित रहेको पनि उनको आरोप थियो । मुलुकमा भ्रष्टाचार मौलाएको भन्दै देउवाले घरघरमा ग्यासको पाइप, कसैले रोजगारीका लागि बाहिर जानु नपर्ने भनेर गरेका भाषणको याद दिलाएका थिए ।

व्यापारिक घराना पोस्न प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीले जनताको जीवनलाई दाउमा राखेको आरोप लगाउँदै देउवाले कमिसनको लोभमा खोप रोकेर सरकारले जनताको जीवनलाई दाउमा राखेकोमा जनताको जीवन दाउमा राख्न नमिल्ने तथा खोप नपाउँदा र अक्सिजन नपाउँदा जनता मरेको पनि स्मरण गराए । विगत २४ घण्टामै सोमबार १ सय ३९ जनाले कोरोनाका कारण ज्यान गुमाएको स्वास्थ्य मन्त्रालयले जनाएको छ । यो संख्या हालसम्मकै उच्च हो । औषधि नपाएर जनता मर्दैनन् भन्ने आफ्नै प्रतिबद्धता प्रधानमन्त्रीले बिर्सेको पनि उनले बताए ।

देउवाले नेपालको कूटनीतिक क्षमता कमजोर भएको, विगतमा भएका सहमति, सम्झौता कार्यान्वयन नभएका कारण देशको विश्वसनीयतामा ह्रास आएको, प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीले अधिनायकवाद र सर्वसत्तावादी चरित्र देखाएको, संविधान, विधि र पद्धतिलाई नै समाप्त पार्ने काम गरेकाले मुलुक राजनीतिक जटिल अवस्थामा पुगेको टिप्पणी पनि गरे । स्वयम् मन्त्रीहरू नै कमिसनको खेलमा लागेको, कोभिड–१९ को रोकथाम र नियन्त्रणसँग सम्बन्धित सामग्री, औषधि र खोप खरिदमा अनियमिता भएको, राष्ट्रिय गौरवका महŒवपूर्ण योजनाहरू आर्थिक अनियमितता र भ्रष्टाचारका कारण अलपत्र पर्दा पनि प्रधानमन्त्रीले भ्रष्टाचार नियन्त्रणमा कदम चाल्नुको सट्टा अनियमितताको बचाउ गरेको आरोप पनि देउवाले लगाए ।

यस्तै, नेकपा माओवादी केन्द्रका अध्यक्ष पुष्पकमल दाहाल ‘प्रचण्ड’ले प्रधानमन्त्री केपी शर्मा ओलीलाई विश्वासको मत माग्ने नैतिक अधिकार नभएको बताए । प्रतिनिधिसभा बैठकलाई सम्बोधन गर्दै प्रचण्डले प्रधानमन्त्रीले संविधानलाई आईसीयूमा पु-याएको आरोप लगाए । प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीलाई संघीयताविरोधीको संज्ञा दिँदै दाहालले संवैधानिक संरचना कब्जा गर्न संसद् बोलाइसकेपछि पनि विधेयक ल्याएर संवैधानिक आयोगमा मान्छे भर्ना गरेको पनि बताए । बजेट अधिवेशन छल्दै अचानक विश्वासको मत लिन संसद् बोलाएकोमा पनि दाहालले प्रधानमन्त्रीको नियतमाथि शंका व्यक्त गरे ।

बैठकमा आफूलाई विश्वासको मत दिन आग्रह गर्दै प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीले विकास निर्माण, पूर्वाधार, सडक निर्माण, पुल, धरहरा पुनर्निर्माण, सिँचाइ आयोजनाहरूलगायतको फेहरिस्त प्रस्तुत गरे । उनले आफ्नो नेतृत्वको सरकारले जनजीविकाका सवालमा नयाँ कामहरू गरेको दाबी गर्दैै सरकारले राष्ट्रियता, राष्ट्रिय स्वाधीनता र सार्वभौमसत्ता अक्षुण्ण राख्ने सवालमा उपलब्धिमूलक काम गरेको पनि बताए । सरकारले असाधारण र दूरगामी महŒवका काम गरेको र मान्छे बस्न लायकको देश बनाउनुका साथै हेर्न लाज नहुने समाजको निर्माण गरेको दाबी पनि उनको थियो ।

“प्रधानमन्त्रीमाथि हिलो छ्याप्ने र सरकारमाथि हिलो छ्याप्ने तथा कोभिडविरुद्धको औषधि खरिदमा भएको भनिएको भ्रष्टाचारको नाममा कुरा उछाल्ने र नभएका कनेक्सन अनुचित ढंगले देखाउने खालका क्रियाकलाप भए,” ओलीले गुनासो गरे ।

यस्तै, संघीय समाजवादीका नेता उपेन्द्र यादवले प्रधानमन्त्री ओलीले पटक–पटक धोका दिँदै आएका कारण फेरि पनि धोका दिने बताए । यादवले जुन संसद्माथि आफैंलाई विश्वास छैन, त्यही संसद्मा कसरी विश्वासको मत लिनुहुन्छ भन्ने प्रश्न गर्दै प्रधानमन्त्रीलाई संघीयता समाप्त पार्ने काम गरेको आरोप लगाए । बितेका तीन वर्षमा संघीयतालाई संस्थागत नगरेर केन्द्रीकृत मानसिकतामा मुलुक चलाएको पनि आरोप लगाए ।

सरकार गठन कि प्रतिनिधिसभा विघटन ?

नेपाली कांग्रेस, नेकपा माओवादी केन्द्र र जनता समाजवादी पार्टीले राष्ट्रपति विद्यादेवी भण्डारीलाई संविधानको धारा ७६ को उपधारा २ बमोजिम प्रधानमन्त्री नियुक्त गर्ने प्रक्रिया प्रारम्भ गर्न आग्रह गरेका छन् । प्रधानमन्त्री केपी शर्मा ओलीले प्रतिनिधिसभाबाट विश्वासको मत नपाएपछि अब अर्को सरकार गठनका लागि बाटो खुलेको छ । नयाँ सरकार गठनका लागि तीनवटा विकल्प छ । संविधानको धारा ७६ मा दुई वा दुईभन्दा बढी दलको समर्थनमा बहुमतको सरकार, सबैभन्दा ठूलो दलको नेताको नेतृत्वमा अल्पमतको सरकार र कुनै सांसदको नेतृत्वमा बन्ने सरकार गरी तीनवटा सरकार बन्न सक्ने संविधानको परिकल्पना छ ।

सुरुमा राष्ट्रपतिले संविधानको धारा ७६(२) बमोजिम संयुक्त सरकार बनाउन दलहरूलाई आह्वान गर्नुपर्छ । यो धाराअनुसार प्रधानमन्त्री नियुक्त हुन १३६ सांसदको समर्थन चाहिन्छ । हाल २ सय ७१ सदस्य कायम रहेको प्रतिनिधिसभामा सबैभन्दा ठूलो दल नेकपा एमालेको १२१, नेपाली कांग्रेसको ६३ (दुई निलम्बित), नेकपा माओवादी केन्द्रको ४९, जनता समाजवादी पार्टीको ३४ (दुई निलम्बित), राष्ट्रिय जनमोर्चा, नेपाल मजदुर किसान पार्टी, राष्ट्रिय प्रजातन्त्र पार्टी र स्वतन्त्र १÷१ सांसद छन् । एमालेबाहेकको दलले सरकार बनाउनका लागि नेपाली कांग्रेस, नेकपा माओवादी केन्द्र र जनता समाजवादी पार्टीका सांसदको समर्थन आवश्यक पर्छ । यसै क्रममा सोमबारै तीनै दलले राष्ट्रपतिसमक्ष आफ्नो दाबी प्रस्तुत गरिसकेका छन् । यसरी बनेको संयुक्त सरकारको प्रधानमन्त्रीले नियुक्त भएको संसद्मा ३० दिनभित्र विश्वासको मत लिनुपर्छ । विश्वासको मत लिन नसकेमा सरकार निर्माणको अर्को प्रक्रिया सुरु हुन्छ ।

यदि त्यो प्रक्रियामा शेरबहादुर देउवाले संसद्मा ३० दिनभित्र विश्वासको मत लिन नसके संविधानको धारा ७६(३) अनुसार दोस्रो विकल्पमा प्रतिनिधिसभाको सबैभन्दा ठूलो दलको संसदीय दलका नेता नै प्रधानमन्त्री बन्न सक्छन् । हाल संसद्मा सबैभन्दा ठूलो दल नेकपा एमाले छ । जसअनुरूप संसदीय दलको नेता केपी शर्मा ओली नै फेरि प्रधानमन्त्री बन्नेछन् । यसरी नियुक्त भएका प्रधानमन्त्रीले पनि संसद्मा ३० दिनभित्र विश्वासको मत लिनुपर्ने हुन्छ । विश्वासको मत लिन सकेनन् भने सरकार गठनको अन्तिम विकल्पको रुपमा धारा ७६(५) अनुसार संसद्को कुनै पनि सदस्य प्रधानमन्त्री नियुक्त हुन सक्छ । तर, ती सांसदले संसदको विश्वासको मत पाउने आधार राष्ट्रपतिसमक्ष प्रस्तुत गर्नुपर्नेछ । यदि कुनै पनि सांसदले विश्वासको मत पाउने आधार प्रस्तुत गर्न सकेनन् भने कामचलाउ अवस्थामा रहेको अल्पमतको प्रधानमन्त्रीले प्रतिनिधिसभा विघटन गर्न सक्नेछन् । तर, यदि विश्वासको मत पाउने आधार पेस गर्ने सांसद प्रधानमन्त्री नियुक्त भएमा ३० दिनभित्र विश्वासको मत लिनुपर्नेछ । विश्वासको मत लिन सकेन भने उसले पनि संसद् विघटन गर्न सक्नेछ । यसरी हेर्दा, कामचलाउ प्रधानमन्त्री ओली फेरि पनि संसद् विघटन गरी निर्वाचनमा जाने देखिन्छ । आफ्नो विश्वासको मतको प्रस्तावका सम्बन्धमा सदनमा आएको जिज्ञासाको जवाफ दिँदै उनले संसद्को स्थायित्वका लागि आफूलाई मतदान गरी संसदलाई बचाउन आग्रह गरे । उनले भने, “संसद् विघटन होला कि भन्ने चिन्ता छ । मत दिनुहोस् न, कसरी विघटन हुन्छ ?” अर्थात् उनले घुमाएर आफूले विश्वासको मत नपाए फेरि संसद् विघटन गर्ने चेतावनी दिए ।

Saturday, May 8, 2021

China to provide 20,000 oxygen cylinders, 400 to come on Tuesday

 The government is bringing 400 empty oxygen cylinders from China through air Monday.

According to a press not issued by deputy prime minister Ishwar Pokhrel, a meeting of the Covid -19 Crisis Management Centre (CCMC) held Friday, under the chair of its coordinator and deputy prime minister Ishwar Pokhrel, decided to bring 400 cylinders, out of 20,000, in the first phase, from China.

Nepal Airlines Corporation's (NAC) wide body aircraft will leave for China on May 10 to bring the cylinders, the press note reads, adding that China has decided to provide 20,000 empty oxygen cylinders to Nepal as the country is struggling with shortage of oxygen cylinder due to massive spread of second wave of Covid-19. The government has requested China to provide the oxygen cylinder.

Of the agreed assistance, some 2,000 cylinders will be brought by air and remaining 18,000 will be brought via land route, the press note reads.

A wide-body aircraft of Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) is flying to Beijing, China on Monday to bring some health equipment and oxygen cylinders, confirmed the national flag carrier. "The wide-body A 330 of the NAC will fly to Beijing to get oxygen and ventilators provided on a grant by China," the NAC said, adding that it will be bringing 400 units of oxygen cylinders and 20 units of ventilators. "The flight is scheduled to take off for Beijing at 11:30 am on Monday and will arrive at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) at 2:35 om on Tuesday."

Friday, May 7, 2021

Kami Rita Sherpa scales Mt Everest for 25th time

 Amid the bad news of Corona infection rising everyday, here is a good news to boost the morale.

Kami Rita Sherpa, 52, claimed the highest peak of the world for the record 25th time, breaking his own past record.

"Kami Rita Sherpa led the group today and became the only person to reach the 8848.86 metre tall Mt Everest for the 25th time, breaking his own record set in 2019," confirmed Tourism Department.

Kami Rita Sherpa is working as a senior climbing guide at Seven Summit Treks. He had scaled the Mt Everest for the first time in 1994 May 13. Between 1994 to 2021 he scaled the peak 25 times, K2 and Lhotse one time, Manaslu thrice, and Cho Oyu eight times. He also holds the record for 'Most climbs over 8000m'.

Kami Rita Sherpa made his first ascent of Everest in 1994 when he was 24 years old. “With the new record, Kami Rita has now set his sights on climbing the world’s tallest peak for the 26th time next week," according to chairman at Seven Summit Treks Mingma Sherpa. "As many as 12 climbing Sherpas led by Kami Rita Sherpa from Seven Summit Treks under the management of Expedition Operators of Nepal  have reached the top of Mt Everest.

Kami Rita Sherpa will be leading an Indian team, Seven Summit Treks informed.

Twelve sherpas, who fixed ropes to the top of Mt Everest today became the first climbers to summit the highest peak of the world this year, making it the earliest spring climb in two decades," the department informed, adding that Kami Rita Sherpa led team is the first team of climbers to reach the summit Mt Everest at 6:00 pm today. 

They became the first climbers of the season to conquer the new altitude of the world's highest peak from the Nepal side, according to chairman at Seven Summit Treks Mingma Sherpa. "With the opening of route, more than 400 foreign climbers along with their high altitude workers will attempt to scale the mountain."

Meanwhile, a Bahraini team led by Prince Sheikh Mohamed Hamad Mohamed al-Khalifa is also waiting to conquer the Mt Everest. According to Seven Summit Treks, the first climbing weather window is favourable until May 12.

This is the first time Mt Everest has been scaled since Nepal and China jointly announced last December the new and common height - a figure 86 centimetres higher than the earlier established height - but a record 408 climbers have received Mt Everest permits.

Earlier in 2019 some 381 climbers had got permission from the Department of Tourism to scale the mountain. Due to lockdown imposed to contain the spread the covid-19 pandemic for four months, no permits were issued in 2020. 

Thursday, May 6, 2021

Private sector opposes government's ulilateral minimum wage fixation

The private sector has opposed the government's unilateral minimum wage hike, and asked not to hike the minimum wage at the time of pandemic.

Issuing a joint statement, the three private sector representing bodies said that the raised minimum wage to workers, which the government is implementing from new fiscal year, cannot be implemented as the second wave of the Covid-19 prolongs and continue to impact businesses and the economy further.

The Federation of Nepalese Chambers of Commerce and Industry (FNCCI), Confederation of Nepalese Industries (CNI) and Nepal Chamber of Commerce (NCC), in the joint statement, said that more than 700,000 businesses across 54 districts across the country have been affected due to the ongoing prohibitory order. As most of them are small and medium entrepreneurs (SMEs), it will be difficult for the private sector to manage their daily expenses, they said.

"As businesses are already finding it difficult to make regular payment to workers, we cannot implement the increased minimum wage, if situation further deteriorates,” the press note reads, adding that increment of wage to workers is untimely and might also impact foreign investors and investment in Nepal.

The government has increased minimum wage of labourers from Rs 13,450 per month to Rs 15,000. It has been already published in the Nepal Gazette on May 4. 

Expressing reservations against the government's recent decision of increasing minimum salary of workers, the private sector also has asked the government not to interfere in the arrangement of fixing wages by mutual consent.

At a time, when the private sector has been unable to get any respite from the government despite announcement in fiscal and monetary policy. "In the current context, the private sector is taking all possible measures to improve the supply chain and promote economic activities as far as possible," the press note reads, adding that special emphasis should be placed on measures to keep the economy afloat and save employment. "The pandemic has affected tourism and dependent industries for more than a year and has further impacted SMEs."

At present, many tourism-related enterprises have reached a mutual agreement with their staff regarding pay in the absence of work," the press note reads, adding that increasing the minimum wage will further affect these businesses and entrepreneurs. 

Quarantine hotels for passengers from India

The government has shortlisted eight hotels in the valley to accommodate passengers coming to Nepal from India.

As the government has halted operation of most international flights from midnight of May 6, it has allowed flights to and from India. The government has shortlisted eight hotels to quarantine passengers arriving from India, according to the Ministry of Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation (MoCTCA). "The air travellers from India will have to stay quarantined in the designated eight hotels only."

The ministry has shortlisted View Bhrikuti Hotel at Godavari, Madhav Hotel at Guheswari, Airport Hotel at Gaushala, Amadablam Hotel at Gaushala, Readers Inn at Gaushala, Ananda Ashram at Gaushala and A-One Resort at Jagati for hotel quarantine. The hotels have allocated between 10 and 91 rooms in their facility for the quarantine of the passengers.

According to the ministry, these hotels will transport passengers from the airport as well as provide food and accommodation at Rs 3000. "The hotels have been instructed to charge Rs 3,000 per person, including value added tax (VAT) and service charges," the ministry said, adding that Nepal Tourism Board (NTB), in coordination with the Nepal Airlines Corporation (NAC) and Air India, has been assigned the responsibility of collecting the details of the passengers and assisting in quarantine management of the passengers. "Passengers from India must stay in quarantine for 10 days."

If they're found to be not abiding by the rules, the hotels will have to report them to the police.

though, the government has stopped the international and domestic flights, there will be emergency flight as and when required.

Wednesday, May 5, 2021

Government suspends issuing new work permits for foreign employment

 The Department of Foreign Employment (DoFE) has suspended issuing work permits physically to foreign employment seekers with effect from Friday, though online work permit issuance will continue with limited quota.

Issuing a press  note, the Foreign Employment Office said the the department has directed not to issue new work permits for foreign employment physically until further notice as the government has already suspended domestic and international flights. "Since the international flights have been suspended from Thursday, there will be no issuing of work permits physically.

However, the online access for renewal of the work permits will  continue, the department's press note reads.

Last year, the government suspended issuing work permits on March 12 after the government imposed the lockdown across the country. It reopened only after six months.

Saturday, May 1, 2021

PM Oli pledges to raise minimum wage to Rs 15,000, Private sector says 'not possible'

 Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli today announced that the minimum wage of workers will be increased to Rs 15,000 from the nest fiscal year that starts from July 16.

The premier's pledge to hike the minimum wage from the current Rs 13,450 in the time of Covid-19 pandemic has however surprised the private sector.

"Though the prime minister announced to increase the minimum wage, we are in no condition to pay regular wage due to second wave of pandemic, let alone increasing it," said one industrialist. "There has no been discussion on minimum wage hike either," he said, adding that the announcement came to a mere surprise to the private sector. "It could be the prime minister's election propaganda."

On the occasion of the 132nd International Workers’ Day today, Oli extending his best wishes to all working-class people said that minimum wage will be increased from the beginning of the new fiscal year.

But the private sector players think the prime ministers move is election oriented. "Since he has lost confidence from every quarter for his failure in securing livelihood of the people, he announced unilaterally the wage hike to get votes in the election," one of the industry players said, adding that such uncertainty in policy will not only discourage the private sector and investment but also force the industrialists to rethink their investment plans. "We are already suffering from the high cost economy, and the increase in wage will make Nepali products not only costly but also incompetent in the market."

Another industrialist said that the cost of production has been increasing lately due to various circumstances, and the increase in minimum wage will not only hurt the industries but also government plan to create employment in the country. "The government is forcing the Nepali youths to foreign employment by pushing the Nepalis industries to the closure."

The industries that have been hit by the lockdown from last March 24 for four months, and subsequent prohibitory order for another almost half year, have just started to gain momentum, the second wave of the pandemic struck the country. The government has imposed prohibitory order restricting the movement from Thursday to break the chain of coronavirus spread. The second wave seems more dangerous as it has posted over 5,000 new cases everyday.

There is a provision to hike the minimum wage every two years. But the industries, labours and government agreed last year not to increase the minimum wage during the pandemic.

"Job security and creation of additional job opportunities will be the priority of the government,’’ the prime minister said, adding that Nepali trade union movement had brought the people’s hardship and sufferings to the limelight.