Republica Morning Brief: Oct 6

Published On: October 6, 2020 06:00 AM NPT By: Republica  | @RepublicaNepal

As many as 12 patients succumbed to the novel coronavirus disease (COVID-19) in the Kathmandu Valley on Monday. According to daily media updates unveiled by the Ministry of Health and Population (MoHP), nine people (six females and three males) in Kathmandu district and three other males in Lalitpur died of this viral infection. With this, the total number of people dying due to the virus has jumped to 165 in the Kathmandu Valley alone. Meanwhile, the death tally across the country hit 554. Nineteen new cases of fatalities in the past one day include 12 deaths in the Valley. The mortality rate in Nepal due to COVID-19 stands at 0.39 percent.

An expert panel formed by the government to gather historical evidence that support its claim that Kalapani, Lipu Lekh and Limpiyadhura currently held by Indian side originally belong to Nepal submitted its report to Minister for Foreign Affairs, Pradeep Kumar Gyawali on Sunday. The committee has given a number of evidences that substantiate Nepal’s long-held position that the land east of the Kali, which originates in Limpiyadhura, falls within the Nepali territories. Bishnu Raj Uprety, the panel’s coordinator and executive director of Policy Research Institute, a government-supported think tank, confirmed that they submitted the report to Minister Gyawali on Sunday evening. He declined to divulge any further details of the report saying that the code of conduct does not allow him to speak about the report. Uprety said that the nine-member panel has collected all relevant historical evidence that support the government’s claim that Kalapani, Lipu Lekh, and Limpiyadhura are Nepali territories. The expert panel has handed over a number of historical documents to Foreign Minister Gyawali so that the government can furnish concrete evidence to the Indian side when the two sides sit for talks to settle the decades-long border dispute in the Kalapani region.

A woman gave birth to quintuplets (five offsprings) at Paropakar Maternity and Women's Hospital, Thapathali on Monday. Somika Tamang, 28, from Nuwakot gave birth to five babies, according to Dr Kritipal Subedi, a gynecologist at the hospital. “Of the five neonates, four are healthy while one was delivered dead,” he added. The babies were of 1000g, 800g, 1006g and 800g. They are currently being kept at the ICU of the hospital. Women giving birth to quintuplets is considered a very rare case across the globe.

A number of government offices related to transport management and land revenue have suspended their public services after their staffers tested positive for the coronavirus. The Office of Transport Management, Bhaktapur, on Sunday announced to suspend all its services until further notice.  Issuing a public notice, the government office said mainly the staffers who were in direct contact with the service seekers are infected by the virus. Similarly, the Transport Management Office at Thulo Bharyang, Kathmandu, has also halted its services since last Tuesday after three of its staffers tested positive for COVID-19. The office’s outlet at Sano Bharyang has also suspended its services since Friday due to the same reason. Likewise, the Transport Management Office in Satungal has also cut down its services after one of its frontline officers was found infected with the virus. From Sunday, the office has started providing license renewal services based on odd and even registration numbers. Lalitpur Land Revenue Office has also announced to suspend all its services for five days, effective from Monday. According to the office, five of its employees have tested positive for the viral infection.  

 Lawmakers belonging to the main opposition party, Nepali Congress (NC), broke several tables and chairs as Province 5 Assembly deliberated on the proposal tabled earlier to finalize the name of the province and its permanent capital. The meeting which was scheduled again for Tuesday is expected to endorse the proposal to make Dang the new capital city of the province and name it as Lumbini despite protest from the NC lawmakers. Addressing the assembly meeting amid the hullabaloo of NC lawmakers, Internal Affairs Minister for the Province 5 Kul Prasad KC said the government would not backtrack on its decision to name Deukhuri of Dang district as the capital city and Lumbini as the name of the province. 

Vishal Group’s Kamala Rolling Pvt Ltd is also found manufacturing and supplying substandard steel bars in the market. The revelation of substandard steel and iron products of Vishal Group, a business conglomerate, follows a recent scam of relabeling expired fast-moving consumer products including chocolates at a huge scale. Most of the products and chocolates that the police raided and confiscated from three houses in Kalanki and Bafal were the brands that Vishal Group imports and distributes in the market. Now, it has also been revealed that another manufacturing company belonging to Vishal Group has been producing iron and steel bars flouting the standards set by the authorities. After finding that the iron and steel products of Vishal Group’s Kamala Rolling Pvt Ltd were substandard quality, the Nepal Bureau of Standards & Metrology (NBSM) has initiated an action against the company. FE 500 TMT Bars of 10mm, 16 mm, 20 mm, and 25 mm were found to have higher levels of chemical properties than allowed. Bishwo Babu Pudasaini, the department’s Director General, said that the license of Kamal Rolling Pvt Ltd has been suspended after its iron and steel bars were found to be substandard.  “We have directed the industry to halt the production after its iron bars were found to be against the standards,” he said. “ We will take action against the industry in accordance with the law.”

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