Fast and loose

Published On: August 1, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

To internalize the great risk of speeding in our highways one need only board an outbound microbus at Kalanki. Hop on board one bound for Pokhara or Butwal. Then be prepared for a ride to hell. No sooner has the microbus left Kalanki, the driver guns it, madly twisting and turning the vehicle at unseemly speeds to avoid the rush of oncoming traffic. The most dangerous bit is not the demonic speed

Halt it now

Published On: July 30, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

New cholera cases have been detected in Kathmandu Valley over the past one week. The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) under the Department of Health has confirmed cholera in 21 people. But the actual number of infected, the division warns, could be many times more.

What’s new?

Published On: July 28, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

As we went to press on Wednesday, at least 50 people had already been killed in floods and landslides right around the country. The unusually heavy rains this monsoon have swollen all the major river systems in Nepal to dangerous levels. With heavy rain forecast for at least one more month, the country has to brace for the worst and prepare accordingly. The Prime Minister’s Office has directed local authorities to work with the respective district disaster relief committees (DDRC) in order to make search, rescue and rehabilitation efforts more effective. To expedite these efforts, it has written to various ministries not to grant leave to civil servants in affected areas. Likewise, security forces have now been mobilized in all flood-affected regions.

The checklist

Published On: July 27, 2016 12:35 AM NPT By: Republica

With CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal scheduled to take over government leadership from KP Sharma Oli in the near future, what should be the priority of the new coalition government? The first priority, in our view, has to be to try to adjust the concerns of the protesting Madheshi and Janajati outfits in the new constitution. This should be easier for Dahal than it was for Oli, who had, rightly or wrongly, come to be seen as “anti-Madheshi”. The big challenge for Dahal on this front will be to sell the reworked federal map to Oli and his CPN-UML party, which will now be in the opposition after the recent Maoist ‘betrayal’. A breakthrough is possible as there is now a realization, right across the political spectrum, that all the sides will have to be flexible if there is to be a viable constitutional settlement. We learn that four or five separate options on redrawing federal boundaries are now being discussed. A change of guard in Kathmandu could be the prod that finally solves the federal puzzle.

Nobel-worthy

Published On: July 26, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

It was a classic case of David versus Goliath. Dr Govinda KC of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital was single-handedly taking on the entrenched medical mafia. In the arsenal of the frail sexagenarian was nothing but his unshakable moral conviction, built over an impeccable career founded on selfless devotion to the sick and the needy. But in the end, this proved enough to transform the way medicine is practiced in the country. Dr KC believed that the medical sector these days had become commercialized and urban-centric and it had become nigh impossible for those of limited means, or the vast majority of Nepalis, to get affordable and reliable healthcare. This is why the most recent agreement between Dr KC and the government comes as a music to the ears of all those who had supported his lone crusade against the medical mafia. The new agreement provisions for at least one medical college in each (future) federal province; it brings the controversial Manmohan Medical College under the ambit of Bir Hospital; it provisions for 50 percent free seats in government-run medical colleges; and it forestalls the likely construction of new medical colleges inside Kathmandu valley for a decade.

Get talking now

Published On: July 25, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

OIi government, like its many predecessors, seemed intent only on milking the state for the benefit of ruling parties.

Poor and vulnerable

Published On: July 23, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change. All its major rivers are snow-fed, originating in the high Himalayas bordering China’s Tibet. As the snow cover up in the mountains steadily recedes, less water flows into the rivers downstream during the winter season.

Immeasurable

Published On: July 21, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

It is always easier to destroy than it is to build something. No other force epitomizes this saying more than the Nepali Maoists who, in the course of their decade-long insurgency, bombed and destroyed vital infrastructures like police posts, courts, schools, telecommunication towers, even national monuments and heritage sites with complete abandon. This is not counting the around 15,000 lost lives, nearly 1,500 enforced disappearances and hundreds of thousands of families who were displaced by the violence unleashed by both the Maoists and security forces. According to the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction, just rebuilding the destroyed infrastructures will cost the country around Rs 50 billion. Since the signing of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement in 2006, the government has already spent Rs 8.8 billion in successfully rebuilding 2,870 structures that were destroyed during the conflict. But this also means less than half of the reconstruction work has been completed. Moreover, the real economic cost of the Maoist war is far more than the Rs 50 billion needed to rebuild damaged physical structures.

Dubiously distinct

Published On: July 20, 2016 12:01 AM NPT By: Republica

It is hard to find a silver lining in the bleak skies over Nepal these days. Last year’s earthquakes, swiftly followed by the Indian border blockade, are together estimated to have pushed an additional two million Nepalis under the UN-defined ‘poverty line’ of US $2 a day.

Unwanted attention

Published On: July 19, 2016 12:45 AM NPT By: Republica

Political parties must understand that the rights of conflict victims are not things that can be bargained away.