The second wave of the coronavirus has begun to swallow our health systems. Hospitals and health workers in cities like Nepalgunj have been pleading with the government to provide them with the necessary resources to treat the patients. Major hospitals, both public and private, in Kathmandu have said that they have run out of beds and other resources to treat additional COVID-19 patients. Dr Sagar Kumar Rajbhandari, director of Sukraraj Tropical and Infectious Disease Hospital (STIDH), said that hospitals will soon be on the brink of collapse if we do not act now. We have seen Prime Minister Oli violating public health protocols set by the health ministry.
This is the question people ask when the country’s anti-corruption watchdog fails on its duty to control corruption. They ask this when they see that the highest anti-graft body is being selective in its prosecution, sparing those with nexus to power centers, and witch-hunting those with minor cases of bribery. This is the question people ask when the corruption cases peak and yet the proven and suspected corrupt walk freely, when their corruption related deeds are not even investigated. We ask this question in this space with the hope and expectation that the Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) lives up to its mandate, and that it emerges active and strong to combat corruption which is rampant from the center to the periphery.
It’s Martyrs’ Day today. Martyrs evoke sense of sacrifice and the duty of the state to uphold the conviction and faith for which they fought. Nepal marks Martyrs’ Day every year to commemorate all known and unknown martyrs who sacrificed their lives for welfare of nation and people.
Media Council Bill registered in the parliament by the Ministry of Communication and Information Technology in May last year was flawed in many respects. It had the provision of Media Council slapping journalists with a fine of up to one million rupees for “publishing content against the media code of ethics.”
Ruling Nepal Communist Party (NCP) has made a mockery of rule of law and justice, sent a troubling message and set a disturbing precedent by fielding Agni Prasad Sapkota for speaker of the House of Representatives. This is the decision that will have long-term repercussions in party’s image and is going to further erode credibility of the government. Agni Sapkota is a wrong choice for the prestigious post of the speaker for one big reason. He has been accused of murdering a schoolteacher in Kavrepalanchowk during the insurgency and the case against him is sub judice at the Supreme Court. Now the ruling NCP is poised to elevate the murder-accused to the post of the speaker. If he had been declared innocent by the court, it would be a different matter but NCP did not show patience to wait for the court’s decision. Hearing in Sapokata’s case is scheduled for February 5.
When the government fails to speed up infrastructure development, it could mean three things. One, the government has not been able to manage fund for development, meaning there is little capital to spend. Two, the government has enough money to spend but it has no proper plans for the same. Three, the government has commitment for speeding up capital spending process but the procedural hurdles are way too many or our bureaucracy is too lethargic. But in either of three cases, it is the government or the people in the government who are responsible. Nepal’s story has been that, despite being a struggling economy, we somehow manage funds for development but we simply fail to spend. Here is the irony, the irony that is making the mockery of capacity of almost every government, of federal democratic Nepal that needs to be sorted out once and for all.
That Nepal’s agriculture sector is not producing enough to meet the needs of its about 30 million people is a reality. Despite having potentials for growing a huge amount of crops, vegetables and fruits, most of our fertile lands in the hills and plains remain barren. We are importing fruits, vegetables, even food grains, mostly from India. Official figures show Nepal imported agriculture products worth Rs 200 billion in the last fiscal year and it’s in the increasing trend.
Nepal Communist Party (NCP) co-chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal seems keen on granting amnesty to the perpetrators of 2015 Tikapur carnage. On Sunday, he said that the anti-constitution protest that resulted in lynchings of seven police personnel and a toddler in Kailali was a political uprising and that it should be dealt with as such. Such a remark from the head of ruling party is irresponsible and smacks of impunity.
Friday marked the International Day of the Disappeared, the day to draw the attention to the fate of individuals whose whereabouts and conditions are unknown to their relatives and legal representatives.
On July 31, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli gave the impression that he meant business, seriously. He had the ministers in his cabinet sign performance agreements and instructed that they should deliver as per those agreements.
As the victims of the decade-long insurgency (1996-2006) are voicing their grievances against the government for failing to provide them justice, we have discovered a disturbing development in one of such cases of the conflict era.
When the country’s anti-graft agency, which is largely seen as failing to investigate the high-profile cases and take the accused to the court, is accused of pushing the low-ranking officials to the point of committing suicides for its alleged role in framing them, what will happen to the credibility of the anti-graft body?
We are used to with cases of top government officials, including the chief justice of the Supreme Court, altering date of births in the citizenship certificates and other academic documents to prolong their stay in powerful positions or to claim the benefits from the state.
Women in Karnali are dying due to delivery-related complications and the state response to this serious problem has not gone much beyond airlifting of some desperate women to cities including Kathmandu for treatment.
Last week was a bit disappointing for Nepali cricket fans as our national cricket team got knocked out from the global qualifiers race after losing the decisive match with Singapore in ICC Men’s T20 World Cup Asia Region Qualifiers in Singapore.
At a time Nepal Police is being criticized for its failure to arrest the perpetrators of Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder, it has become the subject of public criticism over its alleged role in ‘killing’ Kumar Paudel, Sarlahi district in-charge of the outfit led by Netra Bikram Chand.
International human rights groups and various international agencies have been pressing the government to resolve transitional justice process by amending Transitional Justice Act in line with Nepal’s commitment to international conventions and verdict of the Supreme Court.
Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) issued the monetary policy for the current fiscal year 2019/20 last week. One of the major expectations of the private sector from the central bank’s monetary policy was measures to check the skyrocketing interest rates of bank and financial institutions (BFIs).
Nirmala Panta’s rape and murder must have been the only case that agitated the whole nation for justice in recent years, which brought people from various walks of life to the street protests, which dominated media landscape and which attracted attention of the international community.
Since the devastating floods and landslides triggered by incessant rains last week ravaged the settlements in various parts of Nepal, mainly in the Tarai plains, political actors have risen up to help the flood-affected people.
People in several parts of Nepal’s Tarai have started to face drinking water shortage because tube wells, taps, boring wells and ponds, which used to be the reliable source of water, are now fast drying up.
For the last few months, Prime Minister K P Sharma Oli and his cabinet colleagues have been dismissing public criticisms—even those made with the honest intentions of making the government accountable to its prime duty to rule of law and good governance—by calling them biased and politically motivated.
Kathmandu has started to give off foul stench. Once again, heaps of garbage are seen lying on the streets, uncollected for days on end, leading to accumulation of more filth and garbage every other day.