Sunday, December 17, 2006

Kalam tells nations to focus on rural development

RAZEN MANANDHAR
New Delhi, December 15 :
President of India Dr APJ Abdul Kalam today urged ministers and experts on housing development from 35 countries to stress on the development of rural areas, if they want to make their countries free from urban poverty.
“If you want to reduce pressure on urban areas bring more support and development in rural areas,” he said. President Kalam was addressing the inaugural session of the first Asia Pacific Ministerial Conference on Housing and Human Settlements today. Minister of state for Housing and Urban Poverty Alleviation of India Kumari Selja said that the countries must accept "inclusion" of the poor as part of core policy in all urban programmes. She said that the secretarial meeting held during the last two days has focused on four major themes -- pro-poor urban governance and planning, slum upgrading, delivery of Millennium Development Goals for water and sanitation and financing sustainable urbanisation in the Asia-Pacific.
Anna Kajumlo Tibaijuka, the under-general -secretary of UN and executive director of the UN-HABITAT assured that the new UN secretary-general Ban Ki-moon is ready to offer the Asia-Pacific region all support in the field of water and sanitation.
"We are now at a significant turning point in history. The year 2007 will be the year in which for the first time, half of human population will be living in towns and cities. It makes the beginning of a new urban area," she said.
MoU signed
NEW DELHI: A memorandum of understanding between the government of Nepal and UN-HABITAT was signed on Friday. Kishore Thapa, the director general of Department of Urban Development and Building Construction, and Dr Anna Kajunmulo Tibaijuka, the under-secretary-general of UN and executive director of UN-HABITAT, signed the document, which will provide a grant of $2.5 million till the end of 2010. The money will be spent on development of infrastructure. Also present were Minister of Physical Planning and Works Gopal Man Shrestha and the advisor to UN-HABITAT Nepal Office Dr Ros-han Raj Shrestha. - HNS

Saturday, December 2, 2006

Rescued pangolin dead; one held


RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, November 30:
Officials of the Central Zoo, where a pangolin rescued from a taxi driver in Balkhu yesterday was kept for conservation, said today that the mammal had died.
Volunteers of the Wildlife Conservation Nepal and District Forestry Office had rescued the animal from Kiran Syangtang Lama, 25, of Hetauda.
“Our men saw the man walking with the mammal in a bag and caught him. He was probably trying to take it to the client,” said Chandra Man Dangol, the assistant forest officer at the Thankot Area Forest Office. The scaly mammal, which is found in Nepal and South East Asia, is in the protected list of 27 mammals in the country. Traditional healers use its scales for medicinal purposes and as pendants, believing that they protect the people wearing them from evil spirits.
Lama was seen with a friend and a client in a taxi, Dangol said, adding the two fled from the scene. “The mammal was found alive, but was suffering due to rough handling and consumption of contaminated food. Pangolins roam in jungles. Since the animal was in wrong hands for over a week, it suffered severely,” he said.
According to Dangol, since the animal is included in the “protected animal’s list”, the one who caught it can be slapped a penalty of Rs 100,000 and imprisoned for 15 years.
Lama, the convicted taxi driver in handcuffs, said he bought the animal from one Prem Bahadur Thokar for Rs 5,000 “without any concrete idea”.
“I came in contact with Thokar, who said he had brought the animal from Phaparbari of Makawanpur and had kept it in Chapagaon for a week. I kept the animal for three days,” he said. During three days, the animal drank water and ate nothing, he said.

Published: December 01, 2006 12:00 am On: Kathmandu
https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/rescued-pangolin-dead-one-held/

Monday, November 6, 2006

Sikkimese Newars to study mother tongue in TU


RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, November 5:
While the charm of Newari language is on wane in Kathmandu, six Newars from Sikkim have arrived in the capital today to study their language.
Six Newar students from the Indian state of Sikkim are trying to join the Tribhuvan University to acquire degrees in Newari language, with a mission to take back academic and practical knowledge of their mother language to their hometown where people hardly understand use it.
Four aspirant Newari language students — two boys and two girls — are joining the Patan Multiple Campus to pursue Masters Degree, while two other girls have sought admission in Padma Kanya Collage in the Bachelors’ level.
“We are in search of our identity. We lately understood the value of our mother language and culture and now we want to study the language by enrolling in the university,” said Prajwala Pradhan, one among them, talking to The Himalayan Times.
With special programmes to promote local languages, the Sikkim government has made a provision to teach Newari language in some government schools and has allocated five seats for Newari teachers.
A resident from Milli of Southern Sikkim Prajwala Pradhan said she has chosen the study of Newari language as her career. Prajwala, Harimaya Pradhan, Chudamani Pradhan and Ashok Pradhan will study MA while Bina Pradhan and Babita Pradhan are studing BA.
Prof Prem Shanti Tuladhar, a Newari language professor in Padma Kanya Campus, said that thirst for cultural identity brought them here.
“It is their quest for identity which have driven them here. They have also found opportunity of winning a government job. That is why we say government policies matter,” she said.
Published: November 06, 2006 12:00 am On: Kathmandu

Sunday, November 5, 2006

Newar body stresses on ethnic autonomy


RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, May 11:
The demand for ethnic autonomy – once considered a “weird” agenda of the Maoists when they launched the ‘People’s War’,has now become a common demand of all indigenous and ethnic organisations. However, it is still unclear whether a Constituent Assembly (CA) can pave the way for such autonomy.
The political parties have agreed on restructuring the state through elections to a CA, but they are still tight-lipped on the issue of granting autonomy to the Janajatis.
The Maoist and other ethnic leaders fear that elections to a CA will in no way meet their demands.
“We will not give up our revolution if ethnic autonomy is not guaranteed,” said Prabesh Man Shrestha, the general-secretary of the Newar National Liberation Front, a Kathmandu-based ethnic wing of the Maoists.
THe told THT that the revolution would end only if the government announced ethnic autonomous regions clearly, as, according to him, the present centralised political system only allows a group of people to remain in power.
“The issue of constituent assembly itself is abstract, which is not enough to ensure that all the people will have the right to political participation in all spheres,” he said. According to him, not assuring ethnic autonomy would be labelled an anti-revolutionary step and would invite a bigger revolution.
Dr Om Gurung, the general-secretary of the Nepalese Federation of Indigenous People and Nationalities (NEFIN) – the federal body of all 59 ethnic communities – said the Janajatis are not happy with the commitment currently shown by the parties on the issue of Constituent Assembly .
“The decision to hold election to a constituent assembly is welcome, but we are not happy with this alone. We also do not expect them to take up our agenda easily as all the parties are led by upper-class Hindus who have been ruling for centuries,” he said.
“The state should be restructured as the old feudal system has not incorporated everyone’s voice. But restructuring could also mean regional autonomy, which is meaningless for us,” he said.
However, UML leader Shankar Pokhrel said restructuring of the state would automatically solve the problems of ethnic communities. “We are heading for a proportional election system. In this way we don’t even need to set up constituencies. All parties will provide their lists with representation of all sectors and it will come up with inclusive results,” he said.
Published: November 05, 2006 12:00 am On: Nepal
https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/newar-body-stresses-on-ethnic-autonomy/

Thursday, October 19, 2006

Spanish woman elated after adopting Nepali 'orphan' child

Razen Manandhar
Kathmandu, October 18 [2006]:

Paca Tomas, a Spanish woman in her forties, is elated, for her dream of adopting a Nepali child has turned into reality after three-and-a-half years. 
"It was like being on top of Everest. Everybody knows it is difficult, but you can imagine the pleasure of being there only when you are finally there," she said today, relating her feeling after she got the approval from the government to adopt the girl-child. 
It was almost four years ago when Tomas, an official at the International Oxfam, dreamt of adopting a child. "Now that Subhechha has come to my life, my professional life is a second priority," says the unmarried professional from Barcelona. 
Tomas first filed an application at the Ministry of Welfare Family and Adoption in Spain and followed an eight-month hectic process of giving interviews to the ministry officials, child psychologists, social assistants and padagogists. 
"It is a long story. They used to come to my home any time and asked any question they had in their mind. They sought my permanent work contract, bank accounts, health certificate and what not. But I was not tired. Then I felt how strongly I wanted to adopt a child," she said. 
After getting an approval from the Spanish government, she decided to adopt a Nepali girl. And the Honorary Consular of Nepal, Lluis Belvis, helped her a lot in contacting orphan homes and translating her Spanish documents into English and correspond with the orphanage from where she was to adopt the girl. 
"I came to Nepal in March to see my child. When I saw Subhechha in the orphanage, my heart told me she is the girl I love," she said. As the process of approving the adoption here was very long, she had to come here again in October to complete the "whole thing". Thereafter, she had to wait for two more weeks to get the paper signed by the secretary at the Minister for Women Children and Social Welfare. 
Meanwhile, she also found that the child, presented as an orphan by the orphanage, actually had parents and she also managed to meet them. "It was shocking. I felt sorry when I knew that Subhechha had parents but I could also understand that they might prefer her to be adopted due to poverty," she said, adding that she would be in contact with them. However, she refused to give the name of the orphanage, which gave her the "orphan". 
Tomas may have to face more bureaucratic hassles. The officials can refuse to sign papers without giving reasons. "The process is problematic and needs improvements," she said, smiling. According to the District Administration Office, there are over 600 orphanages in the capital city alone. Thanks to the conflict, many children are left without parents and some orphanages here are found showcasing children with parents as orphans to have them adopted by foreigners. 

Find the same story also in :
http://thehimalayantimes.com/fullstory.asp?filename=aFanata0scqzpa4a3Ua1sa.axamal&folder=aHaoamW&Name=Home&dtSiteDate=20061019 

Wednesday, October 11, 2006

International day for natural disaster reduction : Week-long ritual events planned to mark day

RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, October 10:
Nepal is celebrating the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction by organising a series of ritual week-long events. Though the government is not organising any programme on the Day itself, a series of programmes, including inter-school debates, youth rallies, gallery shows on rescue and preparedness, street dramas on school and community preparedness, will be held throughout the week. The Ministry of Home Affairs, preoccupied with the government-Maoists talks, has given the least preference to the celebration of the day, activists said.
The United Nations General Assembly had designated the second Wednesday of October as the International Day for Natural Disaster Reduction through resolution 44/236 on December 22, 1989. "Since the UN has chosen a theme, concentrating on school-related activities, we are doing our best to raise awareness through schools," said Shyam Sundar Gyawali, senior team leader, Emergency and Disaster Management at the Action Aid Nepal. Gyawali said that two schools in the Kathmandu will be chosen to highlight the issue of disaster preparedness in cooperation with Lumanti Support Group.
Though Nepal, too, adopted the 'Hyogo Framework for Action 2005-2015: Building the Resilience of the Nations and Communities', the government has not been able to implement the framework. "May be the Ministry of Home Affairs has not been able to implement the framework because it has to focus on more crucial issues like talks with the Maoists. We hope the government will make enough efforts to keep save thousands of lives from disasters," he said.
Mahesh Nakarmi, project Manager at the National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (N-SET), said: "There is a tendency to forget the theme and objective of celebrating this day."
Annan's statement
KATHMANDU: UN secretary-general Kofi Annan, in a statement issued on the eve of the International Day for Disaster Reduction, said: "It is essential to make disaster risk education a component of national school curricula, and to ensure that children understand how natural hazards interact with the environment. Young people should also be included in community risk-mapping exercises, and have opportunities to share experiences and best practices with others, including their peers. "The theme of this year's observance of the International Day for Disaster Reduction highlights the need to keep our children safe and to involve them directly in our work to strengthen disaster preparedness, he said, adding: "Children are especially vulnerable to the threats posed by natural hazards." HNS
Published: October 11, 2006 12:00 am On: Nepal
https://thehimalayantimes.com/nepal/ae%C2%A2-intael-day-for-natural-disaster-reduction-week-long-ritual-events-planned-to-mark-day/

Saturday, August 26, 2006

Water supplied in Valley substandard: Report

RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, August 26 :
A report has revealed that the drinking water supplied by the government for half the Kathmandu Valley is below the expected standard.
Drinking water samples examined from 28 of 59 places did not contain any chlorine, the simplest method of disinfecting water.
A joint body, formed on July 27, with representatives from the Ministry of Physical Planning and Works, Nepal Water Supply Corporation (NWSC), Environment and Public Health Organisation and NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation has been testing the quality of piped water in 115 places in all three districts throughout the Valley from August 1.
The consumers who have private taps first test the water for presence of Free Residual Chlorine by using simple kits and submit the report to the joint body. The water samples from these taps are again tested in advanced laboratories to confirm the initial findings.
A recently compiled report of the tests revealed that water samples from Balaju, Chikanmugal, Asan, Bhotebahal, Kamalachhi, Guchha Tole, Jhhochhen, Tebhal, Rabi Bhawan, Bauddha, Jaisideval, Hyoomata, Kamalpokhari, Mahaboudhha, Mahankal Galfutar, Naradevi, Nayabazar, Swayambhu, Tebahal, Bansbari, Gongabu, Kirtipur and Balkumari had no chlorine traces.
Chlorine presence was 1 mg/l in China Road of Thimi, Sallaghari, Basagopal of Bhaktapur and Dhapasi of Kathmandu, which is equally hazardous.
“Only in Baluwatar, Pako, Maitidevi and Pachali, the presence of chlorine is found to be between 0.2 to 0.5 mg/l, which is said to be drinkable according to the WHO standard,” the report said.
According to WHO standard, the water with 0.2 mg/l to 0.5/l is drinkable while lower than 0.2 is contaminated and over 1 mg is hazardous.
“The report shows that the water quality is still far from being acceptable in many places,” said Prakash Amatya, the executive director of NGO Forum for Urban Water and Sanitation.
He added that the examination of water quality is even more important during the rainy season, when probability of infiltration of sewage in water pipe is high and that can also result in epidemic outbreak in the urban setting.
Deputy general manager of NWSC Madan Shankar Shrestha said that noticing low or nil chlorine is a natural process because the presence of it decreases in highly polluted water and also with time. “In such places raising chlorine presence also is not a solution. But we have to admit that water pollution increases in the rainy season,” he said.
He urged that the consumers of the areas where the water samples showed nil chlorine presence take precaution to disinfect drinking water before they consume it.

Published: August 27, 2006 12:00 am On: Kathmandu
https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/water-supplied-in-valley-substandard-report/

Monday, May 1, 2006

When politics is staged as street play

RAZEN MANANDHAR
Kathmandu, April 30:
The statue of late King Prithvi Narayan Shah was standing as ever at the entrance to the Singha Durbar and a score of youths came to the street and immediately the mass turned into a street show.
Within 20 minutes or so the artists depicted political developments in the last three years.
The street drama that took a shape out of a mass gathered in for a sit-in protest organised by civil society members artistically presented how people’s force can force autocrats to return people’s sovereignty. It was a product of Gurukul, a modernised theatre group, and included known stage artists like Nisha Sharma and others.
They started with a queue of laymen applying for the post of prime minister — fighting among themselves in hilarious atmosphere.
Then they turned into demonstrations for total democracy and police suppression started. People were bewildered when they found state-run media and private media disseminating information about the people’s movement in completely different ways.
The policemen, standing at the back for security, became emotional when the artists performed how brutally the peaceful protestors were thrashed.
And finally the people won. A joyful mass came out and joined artists with a cheerful slogan “Loktantra Jindabad!”
Director of Gurukul, Sunil Pokhrel, said that the performance was a token of solidarity with the civil society members, who were staging a sit-in on the street.
“It was not a well-written drama but an impoverished piece. We prepared it just this morning with inputs from artists,” he said.
Badri Adhikari’s solo performance was another hit on the street, where senior human rights activists were demonstrating peacefully.
He played roles of common people, protesters, policemen, doctors as well as the King in his 60-second drama. During the acting, he used only one word — “loktantra” — to convey the meaning of the story.
And poet Arjun Parajuli cited his revolutionary poems, which were also applauded by the protesters. "Kings are for sale in my shop," read one line.
Civil society members Dr Devendra Raj Pandey, Krishna Pahadi, Shyam Shrestha and others were demonstrating in front of Singha Durbar to make sure the parliamentarians announce constituent assembly.
Meanwhile, some youths were chanting slogans against corrupt parliamentarians.
They warned that they would not let corrupt MPs to enter Singha Durbar.Later, the protesters blocked the road and burnt some banners and boards. They changed anti-monarchy slogans and demanded a republican set-up.
Published: May 01, 2006 12:00 am On: Kathmandu
https://thehimalayantimes.com/kathmandu/when-politics-is-staged-as-street-play/

"जि राजिनामा बिइमाःम्ह मनू हे मखु" (सापारु ध्याचु)

राजेन मानन्धर जि उलि खँ ल्हायेमाःम्ह मनू ला मखु । अप्वः त्वारत्वार हालाच्वने मयः । बरु जि छु धाल व यायेमाःम्ह, अले यायेफूगु जक नवाइम्ह । थुल...