Editorial: Say no to war

Published On: June 18, 2020 07:25 AM NPT By: Republica

There is a real reason to worry for Nepal and the countries in Asia and beyond: China and India look headed toward military confrontation along the Line of Actual Control region in the Himalayas.  In the worst ever "skirmishes" in LAC in Ladakh on Monday night, as many as 20 Indian soldiers, including a top officer, have been killed. The number of casualties in the Chinese side has yet to be revealed by the Chinese authorities but Chinese side too is said to have suffered a considerable loss.

Tragedy in Rukum is our national shame

Published On: May 27, 2020 02:48 PM NPT By: Republica

Those involved in the murder of Nabaraj must be punished so that it becomes a turning point in the way our nation treats its most vulnerable.

New Delhi and Kathmandu must sit for talks

Published On: May 20, 2020 05:25 PM NPT By: Republica

When you have facts and historical evidence on your side for a piece of land that actually belongs to you, there should be no dispute on who that land belongs to. Strangely, Nepal has had to face this situation for over sixty years for over 380 square kilometres of Nepali land, which its southern neighbour claims as its own and some places of which it has been occupying as well. The Limpiyadhura-Lipu Lekh-Kalapani region in Nepal's western frontier has remained a seed of occasional discord between Nepal and India for many years now. Nepali side has always stood for resolving the issue through diplomatic and bilateral negotiations. The Indian side has not been very forthcoming about it.

Speed up testing

Published On: April 15, 2020 08:39 AM NPT By: Republica

Two of the three patients who were admitted to Patan Hospital on Monday have been tested positive for the coronavirus. They were from the same family. They had returned home from the United Kingdom a month ago and were staying at an apartment in Pepsicola. They are said to have been tested as per the decision of the government to test all the individuals arriving in Nepal after mid-March. The couple came to Nepal about a month back but we have come to know about their status now. This signals that we are not testing. Our health facilities do not have enough kits for testing and even that some of those who returned to the country from abroad do not really care about testing for coronavirus. Our war on coronavirus must, therefore, be focused on testing.

We need border regulation

Published On: April 14, 2020 08:34 AM NPT By: Republica

Three Indian nationals, who had entered Nepal defying the nationwide lockdown enforced by both India and Nepal, were tested positive for coronavirus on Sunday. The National Public Health Laboratory (NPHL) in Kathmandu has confirmed the results. The Indian citizens, who had entered Nepal some 20 days ago, were staying at a Muslim orphanage in Birgunj Metropolitan City-2. As many as 21 Indian nationals are said to have entered Nepal during the lockdown to join a Muslim convention in which thousands of others had also participated. Most of them are known to have come from India’s Uttar Pradesh and Delhi. With this, the number of COVID-19 infections in Nepal jumped to 12 from nine. There have been a couple of other cases like this. Two persons who entered Nepal through the Far-western border had been tested positive earlier this month. Another 65 years old woman who reached Kailali from Birgunj has also been tested positive.

Keep it going

Published On: April 13, 2020 08:06 AM NPT By: Republica

In nearly three weeks since the nationwide lockdown to contain the COVID-19 pandemic, life is changing across the country. In Kathmandu, scarcity of essential goods such as rice, lentils, cooking gas, vegetables, and meat has become acute. People are purchasing these items at much higher prices. Fresh vegetables have become the scarce commodities in Kathmandu since the lockdown disrupted transportation channel and vegetable sellers have also confined themselves within their households due to the fear of transmission. The people to suffer most from this situation have been the farmers, who have not been able to harvest the crops and vegetables from their fields and supply them to the market. As a result, in many places across the country, they have left the ripe harvest uncollected. Elsewhere they are spilling the milk on the road or feeding the cattle with the fresh vegetables. The situation today is while fresh vegetables and crops are rotting or remain uncollected in the fields in some parts of the country, people in other parts are struggling to obtain the same.

Comedy of errors

Published On: April 12, 2020 08:24 AM NPT By: Republica

Prime Minister’s office sometimes make such egregious mistakes that people wonder who actually run his office, if those who are inside his office even possess the basic minimum common sense and, more than that, if the prime minister himself even cares about how these activities are earning bad name to him and his office. This happened again on Thursday. The verified Facebook page of the Office of the Prime Ministers and Council of Ministers (OPMCM) posted a note at 4 PM, saying that those stuck in Kathmandu due to lockdown would be allowed to go home. Online news outlets quickly posted breaking news saying that those who are interested to go back home will be able to do so from Kathmandu and that the transportation for this purpose will be managed by the government. Soon after OPMCM posted the status, ruling NCP’s leader and Province 5 Chief Minister, Shankar Pokhrel, wrote a contradictory post denying the decision.  Around the same time Lekhraj Bhatta, Minister of Industry, Commerce and Supplies, told a TV channel that the government was indeed going to facilitate people’s movement to their hometowns.  Then the coordinator of high-level coordination committee formed to prevent and contain the COVID-19, Ishwar Pokhrel, posted a message on Facebook at 6:29 PM, saying that no such decision has been made.  Then the Ministry of Home Affairs issued a statement around 7 PM informing that no decisions to allow people to leave Kathmandu have been made. Then the verified Facebook page of the OPMCM was suddenly deleted around 8 PM. So within four hours on Thursday, there was one after another contradictory message coming out through the social media posts of the responsible government ministers and OPMCM. It was as if they were playing a prank with the people who are struggling with a lockdown in Kathmandu and wish to leave for their hometowns if a safe arrangement for that purpose is made by some authorities.

Take it seriously

Published On: April 9, 2020 08:20 AM NPT By: Republica

The country is already in two weeks of lockdown and we don’t know how long it will go. While the government is concentrating efforts (though inadequate and less effective in some cases) to combat the threat of COVID-19, including testing and tracing of the possible and suspected cases, it’s getting too late to address the adverse implications stemming from this, particularly shortage of essentials to carry on day-to-day life, which if ignored for too long, will become the matter of life and death for the people. Yes, people have forgone their livelihoods, abiding by the government’s request and also in the hope that the lockdown is in their best interests, but lives must be taken care of. People have begun to say: ‘We will die of hunger before the virus kills us. We are running out of foodstuffs and we have no money left to replenish it with new ones.’

What’s the plan?

Published On: April 8, 2020 09:01 AM NPT By: Republica

Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli addressed the nation on Tuesday. But frankly, his address does not inspire optimism, confidence, and hope among the people who have been struggling to keep going during these hard days of lockdown. The PM has touched on all aspects. He talked about the deaths of Nepalis abroad, spoke of how many are infected across the world and in Nepal, how suspected people are being put in quarantine, what is the situation of Nepalis returning home from India stuck at the border due to lockdown, how the government is providing additional facilities to the health professionals working from the frontline, how it is coordinating and working together with provincial and local governments in the fight against the coronavirus pandemic, so on and so forth. He urged all to stay home to remain safe and asked to maintain physical distancing, asked foreign returnees to stay in quarantine for at least 14 days and also informed that he had started holding talks with the head of states/governments to take stock of Nepali nationals in various countries. Appreciating the role played by media, he urged them to disseminate positive news and information to encourage people to be strong enough to cope up with adversity.

Slow, unsteady

Published On: April 7, 2020 08:51 AM NPT By: Republica

Nepal’s response to the threat of coronavirus has been too slow from the very beginning. Come to think of it, the threat of alarm about this deadly virus was raised as early as late December, 2019 when cases appeared in China. By January, it was known to everyone in Nepal and the world about the rapidity of spread, the prospect of recovery and the fatality rate. Within this month, the first case was reported in the US as well as in other countries. By January end, the WHO had declared it a global public health emergency. Nepal too had the first coronavirus case this month. In February, the outbreak spread as far as Italy and Iran and the number of fatalities was fast increasing in these countries. And on March 8, the WHO declared it a global pandemic. What were Nepali authorities doing all this while?