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Nation Weekly January 16, 2005, Volume 1, Number 39 Upadhyay, Akhilesh 2005-01-16

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 Will Deuba play it?
RS. 30     ISSN 1S11-721X
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Tel: 4-467922,4-478841, Fax: 4-467923
Education for Rewarding Career. For You.
JANUARY 16, 2005
VOL. I, NO. 39
22 Election on the Cards?
Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
Amid an escalating Maoist offensive and fractious politics both within and beyond
his party, Prime Minster Deuba's Jan. 13 ultimatum expires this week. Will Deuba
play his final card?
20 Human Rights
By Koshraj Koirala
I   |   -I   Recent reports about the
Army targeting human
rights activists remain
unproven. Rights
workers should at least
tell their side of the story.
26 Blockade Business
yfjcwig,     Byjohn Narayan Parajuli
I Why do the Maoists call
| blockades? One reason
is to choke the cities; the other is to
open up their own supply lines.
28 A Stitch in Time
■ -By Yashas Vaidya
The recent disaster in
Bthe Indian Ocean tells us
3 that we ignore the threats
at our own peril
30 Protecting Our
I By Biswas Baral
\ Unsupervised
constructions and
modern housing in the vicinity of
World Heritage Sites are posing big
challenges for preservation efforts
11 Vigil for Peace
By Suman Pradhan
■»   40 Party On
37 Doin' What Comes
1   ByDhritiBha tta
X~$J   The Kathmandu party scene
fl fl     is exploding, to the delight
^fl ^^ of almost everyone
42 Road to
16 Willful Misreading
By Bipul Narayan
■l^^n ^By Sudesh Shrestha
It is one thing to be thankful that our
economy has not yet sunk into a
sinkhole like Sudan's or Ethiopia's. It
1 Once seen as the most
(promising emerging
^ nation, Nepal seems to
is quite another to say that it is
have lost its way. But it
performing well.
still has a chance to qualify for the 2007
World Cup.
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
f f We treat guests as
gods while
disrespecting our
own kin   ■■
Only for tourists
tourists who can see the very best in natural
beauty on offer and all this at an extremely
low cost ('All for the Local Economy," by
Nick Meynen, Jan. 9). No wonder many
Nepalis depend on tourism for their livelihood despite living in an agrarian society.
The article vividly depicts a country the
where the foreign tourist can travel without
any fear of violence, while the security situation is bleak for the locals themselves. My
question is: Does this country exist only for
the pleasure ofthe tourist? The Maoists
would do well to mull over the question.
Over the years, many people have been made
homeless; countless others orphaned,
maimed forthe life. Many have fled the country altogether simply for their safety. What
revolution this that forces its own people to
abandon their homes? Why does tourism
matter when our own people aren't safe in
their homes and are forced to live the life of
refugees inside their own country and foreign lands? Though the tourist can contribute a lot to our economy, he can't achieve
peace for us. Yes, Meynen is right when he
says there is a huge gap between the safety of
tourists and the locals. We treat guests as
gods while disrespecting our own kin.
For a tourist, all this makes for an exciting story to tell back home: How they
bought their safety with a "little donation?" But to readers, the story also offers a poignant tale of what Nepalis have
made of Nepal. Before the Maoists make
their "people's war" "pro-tourist," they
should make it "pro-people."
Great sports articles
tion is a pioneer in good sports writing,
with Sudesh Shrestha leading the way.
He is not only insightful, but writes beautifully and conveys his passions with
conviction. How many periodicals can
boast of a regular sports column that is
so consistently readable? Thank you,
Shrestha, and keep up the good work.
Love for Nepali
bilingual literary figure of renown in
Nepal, my vote would go to Taranath
Sharma ("Old Hand," Khula Manch,
Dhriti Bhatta, Jan. 9). The younger generation, which is getting increasingly
sucked into kitsch culture, should especially take note his one advice: The new
generation should get more engrossed
in Nepali literature for the long-term
continuity of our language. Some of
Nation's young writers would do well
to heed Sharma's advice, too. Let me
quote the sentence that inspired me the
most: ".. .my love for my mother tongue
is reflected in my English texts, which
retain, if not all, some originality."
The letter to the U.S. Congress, asking
it to stop unchecked military aid to
Nepal, cited in our article "Maoist Conundrum" by John Narayan Parajuli
(Cover Story, Jan. 9) was erroneously
attributed to "an American academic."
The letter is the collective work of International Nepal Solidarity Network,
an action group based in Kathmandu. The
academic in question is a member of that
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
 Indigo Gallery &
Mike's Breakfast
A lush garden and traditional Rana/Newar
homes are the setting for Mike's Breakfast and
the Indigo Gallery, two of Kathmandu's most
delightful destinations. Enjoy fine cuisine and
soft music in the garden and come up to wander
through the gallery, which showcases traditional
Newari paintings and bronze art, as well as a
diversity of modern exhibitions.
Mike's Breakfast
Friday Pizza Night
Open Daily 7:00 am to 9:00 pm
Phone: 4424-303 Fax/istd 4413-
Indigo Gallery
Open daily 8:00 am - 6:00 pm
Phone: 4413-580 Fax 4411-724
Email: Indigo®
In Naxal, close to the Police H.Q
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EDITOR: Akhilesh Upadhyay
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STAFF WRITER: John Narayan Parajuli
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Vol. I, No. 38. For the week January 3-9, 2005, released on January 3
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nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
 REMEMBERING ROBIN: A child at a gathering In
Boudhanath in memorlam of Robin Needham, country
director of CARE Nepal, who perished In the tsunami
waves In Phuket, Thailand. Needham was on a
Christmas break with his family.
Kathmandu is rife with constant calls for peace. But hardly
anyone notices, and even less take any action toward that end.
A recent poll has found
that 93 percent of all
Nepalis think the country is headed in the wrong direction. Their biggest concern
is the lack of jobs, followed
by the Maoist violence. The
people, the poll found,
yearn for peace and want
the King, political parties and
the Maoists to sit down and
negotiate a peaceful settlement in the interests ofthe
This might sound surprising because, as some might
note, you don't need a poll to
discern the people's desire for
peace. Peace is everywhere—
at least the word "peace"—in
newspapers, on television and
on radio; in theaters, art galleries and in cinema halls.
Peace also routinely spouts
forth from the lips of Palace
officials, government ministers
and, yes, even the Maoists.
Countless community groups,
NGOs and clubs have sprung
up to work for peace. It is also
the new development mantra. You can't talk to a development worker
without encountering the word peace several times: "No development
without peace."
And yet, Kathmanduites' foremost desire for peace is not matched
by their actions. It seems that merely wanting peace is one thing, but
doing something for it is entirely another. This is the paradox of our
Kathmandu society, a paradox evident to anyone who ventures out to
attend the monthly candle-light peace vigil at Maitighar.
For those who don't know about it, the "Campaign Against Violence"
vigil is held at the Mandala at Maitighar on the first day of each Nepali
month. It is held to mark the deaths of all Nepalis who have died in this
senseless conflict in the previous month. Sometimes those being remembered are 20 in number, sometimes 45. Last month it was more
than 80. It could soon surpass a hundred, given the course the conflict
is taking. Needless deaths of fellow Nepalis unfortunate enough to be
caught in a brutal war.
But where is the outcry? Where is the anger?
This simple vigil is a paradox because, even
though Kathmandu is rife with constant calls for
peace, hardly anyone notices, and even less take
any action. The sparse attendance at the ceremony
speaks volumes about our attitude. When it comes to devoting
a little time and effort, most of us
just don't care. The confl id is eating at our social fabric, our livelihoods, our family and friends.
But aside from the occasional
tsk tsk tsk, we don't care.
This is not to belittle the
many other small and big efforts towards peace, like the
recent peace march organized
bythe CPN-UMLand its sister
groups. Nor is it to say that more
attendance at the monthly vigil
would miraculously resolve the
conflict. It won't. For that to
happen, more common citizens must band together,
whether at Maitighar or at other
places, and demand to be
heard by all sides in the conflict. And this banding together
must be done regularly, routinely and with increasingly
louder cal Is for peace.
But this too is unlikely to
happen until more
Kathmanduites get affected by
the conflict. The simple logic of
conflict is that it is always the
affected who yearn for peace
the most. Thus we have
Dailekh, where mothers have been at the forefront of anti-Maoist campaigns after their chi Idren were forcibly taken away. Thus we have the Jana
Morcha party, whose harassment by the Maoists has led to a counter-
Maoist campaign. Thus, indeed, we have the UML, which is now so concerned about the Maoists' effect on its grassroots cadres that the party
wants peace at all costs—though the cost apparently is not high enough
for it to qu it the government.
But unlike them, the elites of this Valley are far too little affected to be
serious about peace. The capital in fact bore little consequences ofthe
conflict until very recently, when the Maoists began to impose indiscriminate blockades and bandas to disrupt normal life. Small businesses,
schools, public transport are now adequately affected to concern the
general Valley population. This could provide the incentive for a stronger
civil society movement for peace. But alas, we don't yet see signs of that
happening. We don't yet see more people pouring out to Maitighar to
hold silent vigils for peace.
What more will it take to arouse the people into action? n
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
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H      1 ^BPH   H      1  ^B^fwEEKLY H
Tsunami aid
The government donated
$100,000 to help Sri Lanka in
the aftermath ofthe tsunamis
that devastated much of Asia.
Separately, the Confederation of Nepali Industrialists
contributed relief material
worth Rs.l million and
Laxmi Bank put in another
Rs.100,000. The government
has also provided $50,000 to
the Maldives, another South
Asian country hit hard by the
tsunamis. To mourn for
those who lost their lives in
the disaster, flags in all the
government buildings and
diplomatic missions were
flown at half-mast on Friday
Jan. 7.
American dream
The American Embassy in
Kathmandu made it clear that
winning the Diversity Visa
lottery alone did not guarantee visas, even if the winners
met all the qualifications.
The embassy was responding
to allegations by the "DV
Lottery Victim Association,"
with some 200 members, that
the embassy was unjustly denying them visas. The embassy said that the winners of
the DV lottery must be able
to support themselves and
their families in United States
until they secure jobs. Those
who couldn't fulfill this requirement would not get visas.
Maoist mistreatment
The Maoists allegedly manhandled a French freelance
journalist, Vincent S Prado,
and a Nepalgunj-based journalist, Netra KC, on Dec. 30
in Rukum. The journalists
were on a tour of the mid-
western districts of Rolpa
and Rukum to monitor the
situation of insurgency there.
KC. is also a reporter for the
BBC Nepali service. After a
half-an-hour scuffle,  the
Maoists returned the radio
transmitters they had seized
from the two.
Chinese stance
Sun Heping, the Chinese envoy to Nepal, said that China
has no intentions of interfering in the Maoist problem in
Nepal. Nepal can resolve the
problems it faces without any
outside help, he said. China's
policy was one of noninterference in the domestic affairs of others, said Heping.
At the same time, Heping
stressed the importance of
attracting Chinese tourists to
Exports down
The export of readymade garments to the United States
fell by over 30 percent in 2004
compared to the year before.
According to Garment Association of Nepal, readymade
clothes worth $85.71 million
were exported to the United
States in the past year, down
from $123 million in 2003.
United States is the largest
buyer of Nepali readymade
apparels, taking in 90 percent
ofthe total exports. The export to the European Union,
however, bucked the trend,
registering a growth of 17
percent. The figure reached
$19.4 million.
Fresh clashes
More than 500 Maoists attacked an Army outpost in
western district of Kailali,
sparking a fierce clash that left
at least three-dozen rebels
dead and 150 others injured,
according to the Army. The
attack took place in the early
hours of Wednesday Jan. 5.
The Army said that it had recovered the bodies of 41
rebels while scores of remaining bodies were carried
away by their comrades. The
Army also said that the
Maoist casualties could rise
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
above 100, possibly as high as
150. None of the security
forces were killed in the attack, according to the Army
though eight sustained injuries.
On the run
The government has issued
an arrest warrant against Sarita
Karki, the daughter of former
Prime Minister Surya
Bahadur Thapa, on charges of
fraud. She has reportedly been
cheating people of their
money luring them with the
promise of employment
abroad. Karki, 57, has reportedly duped Rs.100,000 each
from at least 80 people, after
guaranteeing them employment in South Korea. The victims have filed a writ petition
at the appellate court for
compensations. Karki remains at large.
Permission granted
Detainees at the Detention
Centre in Sundarijal will
now be allowed to see relatives and human rights activists. Among those human
rights groups, which have
been granted access to the inmates, are the National Human Rights Commission,
the U.N. High Commission
for Human Rights and the
International Red Cross Society. The visitors will be
barred from taking pictures,
recording voices and talking
on cellphones inside the center.
New chief
The Constitutional Council
recommended Hari Prasad
Sharma for the post of chief
justice ofthe Supreme Court.
Sharma is set to succeed
Govinda Bahadur Shrestha
who retires on Jan. 13. The
decision to appoint Sharma
was reached on Wednesday
Jan.5, following a heated debate between the council
members, said newsreports.
Sharma's name was forwarded to the Royal Palace
for approval on the day after.
Chopper crash
An Air Dynasty helicopter
bound for Lukla in
Solukhumbu district
crashed at Thonse VDC of
Ramechhap on Tuesday Jan. 4. All three
onboard including
the pilot were killed.
The French
Aeropatiale AS350
helicopter, chartered
by Trans Himalayan
Travels and Tours,
was scheduled to
bring Japanese tourists from Lukla to
Kathmandu. The helicopter left the Kathmandu
airport at eight in the morning and crashed at a height
of 9,500 feet, about half an
hour later.
Games pushed back
After the devastation caused
by tsunamis, the hosts, Sri
Lanka, postponed the 10th
South Asian Games, scheduled to begin on Aug. 15, by a
year. Sri Lanka was the hardest hit South Asian country in
the recent disaster. All seven
SAARC nations plus newcomers Afghanistan, which
began participating from last
time around, were slated to
take part in the upcoming
KIDNAPPED: The Maoists abducted students from various districts all over the country—Accham, Doti, Makwanpur,
Taplejung. The girl, an eight-grader, from Basladevi Lower Secondary School in Sisneri, Makwanpur was left behind by
the rebels as she is deaf.
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
Free Treatment
Neonatal ailments will now
be treated for free at the Kanti
Children Hospital. The availability of free treatment
started on Thursday Jan. 6—
the day the hospital celebrated its 42nd anniversary.
The hospital also has plans to
establish itself as an institute
for child healthcare with
teaching and research facilities.
Load shedding
The Nepal Electricity Authority has temporarily withdrawn the load shedding that
started on Tuesday Jan. 3. The
load shedding took place due
to a technical glitch in one of
turbines in Kaligandaki 'A, the
largest in the country at 144
MW The load shedding will
restart in February when the
turbines will be shut down
again for repair work.
Cricket captain
Binod Das has been appointed
the captain ofthe national team
for the Cricket World Cup
Qualifying Series Division II
matches to be held in Malaysia
in February. Shakti Gauchan is
the new vice captain. Paresh
Lohani, who captained the
team in only one game, was
freed from the job considering
his importance as a batsman.
Meanwhile, Biratnagar defeated Kathmandu in the finals
ofthe Birendra Memorial National League to lift the trophy
on Jan. 1.
iuguste Rodin
Civil Conflict
The Notion of Nationhood
Birat Shoe Company, the producers of Fit Rite shoes
in Nepal, has
brought out
new sport
shoes in the market. These shoes are
designed for jogging, walking and other sporting activities. "Fit Rite... The Rite Walk," is the
new slogan ofthe company. The new Fit Right
shoes are made with European technology.
They will soon be available in all the major
markets in the country for affordable prices,
the company says.
National insurance Company Limited has introduced several insurance schemes, including the health insurance, student personal accident cover and personal accident insurance
policy. Under the health insurance scheme,
those in the age group of five to 60 can choose
to be insured for as little as Rs.10,000 and up
to Rs. 100,000. The insurance covers the treatment of many kinds of illness, though it excludes pre-existing medical conditions and has
certain clauses clarifying what is not included.
The accident insurance scheme covers road/
rail/air accidents, violent collision and falls, fire
injuries, snakebites, frostbites, drowning and
poisoning. There is a similar student accident
insurance policy.
Old washing machines can now be exchanged
with new IFB front-load automatic washing
machines. This is the first such exchange offer
for washing machines in Nepal, said Sagtani
Exim R Ltd, dealers of IFB Home Appliances.
[Exchanges may be made in all the leading department stores. The introductory offer is valid
for the month of January. IFB washing machines are top sellers in India, the company
claims. Each IFB washing machine comes with
a one-year warranty and assured service for
10 additional years.
Confederation of Nepalese Industries, CNI, provided relief materials worth Rs.lmilliontoGrace
A Asinwatham, Sri Lankan envoy to Nepal on
Saturday, Jan.l. The aid is for the assistance
tsunami victims in Sri Lanka. Binod
Kumar Chaudhary, president of
CNI, said that the relief materials comprising noodles, medicines, wearables, tents and blankets. These would be provided
to those in dire need of immediate help. The Sri Lankan envoy
lauded the private sector's effort and believed
that this would further strengthen the two countries' bilateral relationship.
Lumbini saw a 35.07 percent increase in the
number of tourist arrivals in 2004, as compared to the previous year. According to the
data provided bythe Information Center at the
Lumbini Development Fund, 37,892 tourists
from 70 countries, excluding those from India,
visited Lumbini in 2004. The largest number
ofvisitors was from Sri Lanka—12,217 tourists came to Lumbini from the island country.
While the increase in the number ofthe tourists has been credited to the efforts of the
government and its plan to develop Lumbini,
the Second World Buddhist Summit is believed
to have contributed equally to the rise. Meanwhile, Nepal has also witnessed an overall nine
percent hike in tourist arrivals in the year 2004,
as compared to 2003.
Computer Association of Nepal has launched
its new website, The new site
is an upgraded version of its existing website.
Biplav Man Singh, CAN'S president, unveiled
the new site amid a function in Lumbini. Attention has been given to aesthetics while designing the new site. It contains information on
Electronic Transaction Ordinance and CAN'S
policies on Information Technology and Telecommunication. The website also contains the
details of the working of the organization along
with its news and reports.
Photo Concern has launched new privilege
cards. The cards will give customers exclusive
discounts and additional facilities at Photo
Concern and its 66 other associate partners.
Shanker Lai Kedia, an eminent industrialist and a social worker, passed away
due to heart failure on Jan. 1. Kedia,
68, was undergoing heart surgery in Mumbai.
Kedia came from a Marwari family in
Rajasthan. His father, Brij Lai Kedia, brought
the family to Birgunj and later established the
Kedia Organization in 1920. Shanker Lai Kedia
led the organization until his death. His businesses ranged from sugar and pulse mills to
industries of carpets, dairy, vanaspati ghee,
oil, corrugated sheets and furniture industries.
He was the proprietor of Sunder Steels, Sunder Wire and Nails, Yeti fabrics, Sitaram Gokul
Milk, IndushekharChini Udyog, Brijlal Chamal
Udyog, Birgunj Khadya Udyog, Anmol Oils, Ram
Dal Udyogand Sushil Vanashpati Ghee. Kedia
was also the promoter of Siddhartha Bank in
Kathmandu. He chaired the National Marwari
Council for two-year terms in 2001-02 and
A prominent business tycoon, Kedia was
also a social benefactor. He established the
Brijlal Kedia Sewa Trust in Birgunj and Sushil
Kedia Sewa Foundation in Kathmandu for
social service. Kedia also formed the network
of DAVSushil Kedia Vishwa Bharati schools in
Kathmandu, Sarlahi and Birgunj. He also established the Brij Lai Kedia Hindu University
and the Kedia Eye Hospital in Birgunj. Strongly
religious, Kedia was the founder member of
the Vishwa Hindu Parishad in Nepal.
He has authored many books on religion,
social service and literature. He was the founder
of Kautilya, a vernacular business weekly published from Birgunj.
Kedia is survived by a wife, two sons and
three daughters.
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
It is one thing to be thankful that our economy has not
yet sunk into a sinkhole like Sudan's or Ethiopia's. It is
quite another to say that it is performing well.
the resilience of our economy
during the conflict. The government has used this argument to
buttress its claim that all is well with
the country. The private sector has
used it to boast about its role in keeping the country going. Last month, a
leading daily joined the fray with a
front-page article, citing several economic indicators revealing a healthy
A careful review reveals that all is not
well with the economy, though; that
Nepal is indeed paying a huge economic
cost for the conflict. Moreover, this also
reveals a worrying trend of a willful misreading of the situation by the government and some sections of the media.
Economic growth has averaged 3.0
percent during the conflict compared
with 5.1 before it started. To the uninitiated, a 2.1 percent growth rate loss would
appear to be no big deal. But check out
these facts. At an average growth rate of
three percent, it would take Nepal 24
years to double its current per capita income of $270. By contrast, a 5.1 percent
average growth rate would enable Nepal
to get there in just 14 years—a difference
of 10 years. Ten long years.
The economic costs appear even
higher if some hypothetical scenarios are
considered. Nepal's
economy was on an
upward climb when
the conflict started.
Without the conflict,
the economy could possibly have grown
by eight percent, as India's, or by 10 percent, as China's. An average growth rate
of eight percent would have enabled
Nepal to double its per capita income in
nine years; a 10 percent growth rate
would make that possible in just about
seven years.
People convinced about the resilience of the economy are perhaps comparing Nepal's economic growth rates
with those of the European Union, Ja
pan and the United States, all of whose
growth rate range from one to four percent. But such comparisons are misleading. The EU, Japan and the United States
are all operating very close to their production possibilities frontiers, making
optimal use of almost all their labor and
natural resources. By contrast, Nepal is
operating well below its potential—
much like other developing countries
such as India and China. Nepal thus has
much higher potential for growth and
would normally be growing much more
The economic indicators of the current
fiscal year also paint no
rosy picture.
By all accounts, the
lackluster performance of the industrial
sector in FY2004 has extended into the
first quarter of FY2005. Industrial imports such as raw materials, construction materials, textile, and machinery—
all indicators of the level of industrial
activity—have declined. Manufacturing
activity has particularly slowed down
due to disruptions such as bandas, forced
closure of businesses and blockades of
key access roads from border areas to
hinterlands—the growth in the manu-
DOWNTURN: Paddy production will be
on the downside this fiscal year
 . HALT: Bandas and blockades have severely
affected manufacturing, tourism and transport
factoring production index in the first
quarter of FY2005 was 3.8 percent compared with 4.9 percent in the first quarter of FY2004.
Service sector growth, earlier resilient in the conflict, has begun to slow
down during FY2005, reflecting the
downward slide in tourism and transport. Tourist arrivals were 10 percent
lower during the first quarter of FY2005
than the first quarter of FY2004, primarily due to conflict-related disruptions,
including a Kathmandu blockade in August 2004, just before the peak tourist
season. Transport services have also been
adversely affected by the deteriorating
security situation, particularly by the frequent bandas and blockades in different
parts of the country.
Agriculture, which has buffered the
economy from severe impacts of the
conflict in the past, has been adversely
affected by the weather. Agricultural
growth in FY2005 is likely to decline
from last year, reflecting the fall in paddy
production, which accounts for almost
a quarter of the agricultural GDP Paddy
production is expected to be lower by
about four percent compared to last year,
after floods affected paddy fields in east
ern Tarai and a drought deferred paddy
plantation in western Tarai.
The situations in the fiscal, financial
and external sectors are similar. The government has been unable to hike up its
development spending in the conflict-
ridden environment, with only three
percent utilization of the government's
annual capital budget during the first
quarter of FY2005. Much needed spending on education, health and infrastructure has not materialized, with significant short-term and long-terms economic costs for the country.
Nepal's banks have been unable to
make good use oftheir liquidity—choosing instead to park their resources in low-
yielding government bonds. This has resulted in a sharp decline in interest rates
with negative implications for saving rates.
Growth of exports has been sluggish
while imports have declined, reflecting
the weakness of the economy. On a
broader level, Nepal remains ill prepared
to compete in the freer global trading system brought on by the expiration of the
Multi-Fiber Arrangement and Nepal's
entry into international trading blocks
such as the SAFTA, WTO and
BlMSTEC. For instance, the garment and
the carpet industries, two of the most
important export industries, face serious
problems. The carpet industry has nearly
collapsed in the last five years, having lost
over half its market. The garment industry has also fallen following the phase-
out of the quotas under the MFA.
Overall, the trends reveal an
economy under stress from the effects
of conflict and unfavorable weather. On
one hand, agriculture growth is likely to
decline from last year, reflecting the fall
in paddy production. On the other, services and industry especially tourism,
transport and manufacturing, have been
adversely affected by the escalating conflict and related internal disruptions. On
the aggregate demand side, both public
and private investments are sluggish.
The picture painted by the government and some sections of the media
of an economy cruising along despite
the conflict is not just
counterintuitive, but also incorrect.
While it is one thing to be thankful
that our economy has not yet sunk into
a sinkhole like Sudan's, Ethiopia's or
Rwanda's, it is quite another to say that
our economy is performing well in the
conflict.  □
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
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Recent reports about the
Army targeting human
rights activists remain un-
proven. Rights workers
should at least tell their side
ofthe story.
present-day Nepal and it is not
always easy to verify the stories.
The latest is that the Army is compiling
a secret list of human rights activists who
it believes are internationalizing the
Royal Nepal Army's poor human rights
Both national and international media have carried sketchy reports, claming
that the RNA has issued threats to rights
activists. According to the Nepali press,
19 unnamed activists are on the RNA
"hit list." The Army has dismissed the
allegation; it believes that the activists
are falling prey to Maoist propaganda.
What's the truth? Are the activists really under threat?
'We are not in a position to confirm
these allegations against the Army" says
Sushil Pyakurel, a member of the National Human Rights Commission, the
NHRC. "Though we can't rule out the
Ever since Kantipur daily reported
on Jan. 1 that security personnel were
hounding rights workers, rumors are rife
that many human rights workers are fleeing the country.
Three of those reported to have gone
into hiding told Nation Weekly that they
had neither received threats from the security personnel, nor had plans to flee
the country. This, however, doesn't
mean that the rights workers, much like
the journalists outside the Valley are not
working under extreme duress.
Mandira Sharma, the coordinator of
Advocacy Forum, denies having received
any direct threats. "It is obvious that all
rights activists feel relatively insecure in
the face of threats from the warring par-
ties," she says. "But I have not received any
death threats from security personnel."
As for her recent absence, Sharma explains that she ■was in Europe to coordinate the activities of Nepal Support
Group, ■which is lobbying to improve
human rights situation in Nepal. "I was
in Europe to seek help for the support
group," says Sharma.
But substantiated or not, the rights
workers are deeply worried for their
safety. "If there is any grain of truth in
these stories," says a rights worker, "it is
certainly scary."
Whatever the motive behind the recent campaign and ■whoever is responsible for it, the alleged threat by the Army
is going to have a chilling effect on the
human rights movement in Nepal, activists say. And the fact that many of them
have had some differences
■with the officialdom at
some point or the other
adds to the paranoia.
Last January some Army
personnel allegedly beat up
Dinesh Prasai, the president of Collective Campaign for Peace (COCAP).
The RNA however denied
the allegation.
"Following the incident, he repeatedly received threats on his life
through telephone," says
Bijay Guindel, Prasai's
colleague at CO CAP. "We
however do not have
knowledge about who
they [the callers] are."
Guindel dismisses suggestions that Prasai is currently in India to avoid the
Army's reported pursuit.
According to him, Prasai
had left for Europe and his
visit to India ■was scheduled
during the lead-up of King
Gyanendra's aborted India
visit late last December.
Prasai ■was lobbying
New Delhi to pressure the
Palace to take initiatives to
improve the human rights situation in
Nepal, according to Guindel.
Gobinda Bandi, a member of Advocacy Forum ■who ■was also reported earlier to have fled the country is now in
Kathmandu. He had accompanied Prasai
during his stay in India. A lawyer, Bandi
has been documenting cases of involuntary disappearances and arbitrary detention, among others, which have been carried out by the security forces.
Lieutenant Colonel Raju Nepali, of
the Army's Human Rights Cell, dismisses suggestions that the Army has a
"hit list" of human rights workers. "There
is no reason why we should threaten the
rights activists," says Nepali. "We believe
this is just another propaganda fanned by
the Maoists."
He says none ofthe human rights activists allegedly threatened by the Army
have yet informed its Human Rights Cell,
a logical course of action in case of
Purushottam Dahal, the president of
Human Rights and Peace
Society believes it to be a
case of "sponsored rumor."
"It is unfortunate that they
[those reportedly fleeing
the country] should remain mute in the face of a
raging controversy" says
Dahal, "instead of offering
their side ofthe story."
In  November,  Amnesty International, Hu-
Prasai is not running away from
the Army as reported (above)
man Rights Watch and International
Commission for Jurists issued a statement, saying "human rights defenders"
in Nepal are under threat. Later, Kofi
Annan, the UN. secretary general, also
expressed concern over the human rights
violations in Nepal. "The safety and ability of the national human rights activists
to carry out their essential ■works should
be guaranteed," Annan said in his statement.
Observers say the alleged threats have
to be substantiated independently and
safety concerns need to be immediately
In a country torn ■with conflict rights
activists often ■wage a lone battle to document and then publicize state atrocities.
Human rights defenders in Nepal play
an indispensable role in protecting
people against the appalling abuse committed by both the security forces and
the Maoist insurgents, says the joint statement issued recently by Amnesty Human Rights Watch and the Commission
for Jurists.
"I suspect some people are trying to
create psychological terror among us,"
says Mandira Sharma, the coordinator of
Advocacy Forum. All the more reason
then for the rights ■workers ■who have
been allegedly threatened to come out
in the open. The onus lies on the human
rights ■workers to clear the air of confusion; for the sake of credibility in the
public eye, something that is central to
their survival.  □
" i
* -r
*-■**-. fl*
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
 \r rY
Amid an escalating Maoist offensive and
fractious politics both within and beyond his party, Prime Minster Deuba's
Jan. 13 ultimatum expires this week.
Will Deuba play his final card?
Winter came in without
a hint of rain, and meteorologists looked
pleasantly surprised.
The government
might be hoping for similar surprises
on the peace front as well, though there
are storm clouds all around.
As the Jan. 13 deadline approaches,
that hope seems unlikely. Prime Minister Deuba has already laid down his
cards on the table: The Maoists have to
come to talks by Jan. 13 or risk an elec-
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
Deuba eventually got his
party, the NC-D, to endorse
his plan for elections   j
tion. We'll soon see if the prime minister ■will stick to his guns.
NC-D ministers have an affirmative
answer. "When the prime minister says
that he will hold elections," says Minister for Law, Justice and Parliamentary
Affairs Tek Bahadur Chogyal, "he is serious." Deuba's determination to go
ahead with his plan was also reflected
during the Central Working Committee meeting of the NC-D, the first
since the party came to power in June
last year.
Deuba resisted calls from some quarters of his party's central committee to
reinstate Parliament; eventually the cadres endorsed his election ultimatum.
But before that, the meeting saw heated
exchanges, including calls for the prime
minister to quit. "This government cannot risk big undertakings," said NC-D
central committee member Bal Bahadur
KC. "The government should quit ■when
it cannot fulfill its mandate." Though the
prime minister prevailed in the end, he
is acutely aware of his shaky position: If
he fails to hold elections this time, even
the NC-D faithful are not going to spare
him. Back in October when Deuba incorporated the peace or polls refrain in
his agenda, he surely knew the gravity of
his statement. He understands how difficult it is going to be to conduct polls in
such a precarious situation. Nonetheless
he responded to growing pressure by
issuing an ultimatum to the Maoists in
November. Observers say they ■won't be
surprised if the government announces
a date for polls. Even those ■who say elec-
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
tions are impossible are starting to believe in Deuba's resolve. "This government came with the mandate to hold elections," says Minister of State for Foreign
Affairs Prakash Sharan Mahat.
But holding elections is going to take
a lot more than just a one-man crusade.
It will take consensus among the big
players to agree on getting started with
polls, a Herculean task indeed. Deuba
needs to convince his coalition partners,
at a minimum. The UML and the
RPP have already aired dissenting
views. UML leaders say the government hasn't consulted them on
polls. "The government hasn't exhausted all options yet," says UML's
Bhim Rawal, who resigned from
the High Level Peace Committee
last week accusing the government
and the committee of failing to prioritize the peace process. "Let's exhaust all options first," he says,
"both nationally and internationally before going to polls."
There is even speculation that
the UML might quit the government if Deuba pushes ahead with
polls. That would put the government in more trouble, weakening
its appeal and placing its legitimacy in doubt. It's again hard to
tell which way the UML will go.
The party famous for its inconsistencies and double takes on almost every issue is, not surprisingly
divided over elections.  Dissident
groups in the UML
See Last Page are as active as ever
__   in sending mixed
[  signals. The UML's
prime minister issued the ultimatum in
November. With only four months remaining, a defiant Deuba seems committed to play his last card. Until recently even the
prime minster's
close aides
hinted that the
talk  of
stand is crucial for Deuba and his plans
for elections. But the friction between
Deuba and UML ministers is slowly
unfolding. The prime minister and the
UML ministers aren't on the same
page and perhaps not even in the same
book when it comes to elections.
UML boss Madhav Kumar Nepal has
time and again criticized Deuba for
choosing parliamentary elections over
peace. And this time, not surprisingly
Nepal smells conspiracy from all sides
to "stifle democracy."
According to the terms of the prime
minister's appointment, he has to restore
peace and start elections by April or risk
dismissal. Realizing his difficult task, the
■COUNTDOWN: Time is'
running out for Deuba
was a pressure tactic; they remained
hopeful that talks would take place and
that they wouldn't have to gamble on
No one could be more ambivalent
about elections than the prime minister
himself: The issue has deeply damaged
his political reputation in the past and
could do so again. Since elections are
crucial to his tenure as prime minister,
he is likely to do everything to champion them. The government is now left
with no option: The Maoists have so far
spurned the ultimatum; analysts believe
it's unlikely that they will suddenly
change their position in the next few days.
Even the government might be finding
it hard to believe that the Maoists will
come to the table before Thursday.
As it heads into the crucial week the
government seems to have concluded
that elections are inevitable. That's not
surprising, since the Maoists have never
seemed inclined to accept the
government's ultimatum. Instead they
have intensified their offensive and are
likely to do their best to subvert an election, ■which has the potential to renew
the government's legitimacy. They have
already declared that they will disrupt
the polls and have also made clear their
doubts about the government's credibility to hold meaningful dialogue. The
fractious politics has taken its toll on the
government's credibility even among the
constitutional forces, both within the
prime minister's party and beyond. During the NC-D's
crucial central committee
meeting that authorized
Deuba to go to the polls,
party leaders indirectly expressed reservations
about their party
president's democratic credentials.
"Party -workers
have reached the
conclusion that
Deuba has come to
an understanding
with the King," said
NC-D General
Secretary Bijaya
Kumar Gachedhar,
during the meeting. "They are saying that the prime minister has submitted democracy to the Palace." Six
months ago the party workers were
firmly behind their party president.
More emphatically so when the King had
unceremoniously sacked Deuba.
When King Gyanendra ousted Sher
Bahadur Deuba in Oct. 4, 2002 on
charges of incompetence, the NC-D was
the first party to call the King's move
unconstitutional. Other parties, who had
implicitly incited the King's move, took
days to react officially to the move. Suddenly in June 2004, the monarch cleared
Deuba of all charges and found him competent again to head the third royal government ■within a span of less than two
years. The NC-D described the King's
move as "correction of regression."
The jubilant party declared Deuba's
return to the helm a reinstatement and
made it sound as ifthe King had reversed
the ■wheels of time and had, in fact, accepted the situation prior to Oct. 4, 2002.
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
 The party regained its lost power after 20 months on the streets ofthe capital. At the time many ■wondered
■whether Deuba's appointment had
come ■with strings attached.
Now after more than six months in
power, the prime minister's party had
its first central committee meeting since
the comeback, and some members
openly asked Prime Minister Deuba to
step down.
Deuba perhaps hasn't heard such
sharp criticism from within his party
for some time. Some NC-D members blame the government of being
ineffectual and are con
cerned that Deuba's apparent appeasement
of the Palace has
sent a bad signal to
their cadres. The
overriding fear in the
party is that it is losing its popular base
by giving in to pressure from the Palace.
Despite the hue and cry the
NC-D central committee endorsed
Deuba's plan to go ahead ■with elections. "The prime minister has said
he ■will hold elections," said Narayan
Khadka, an NC-D leader, in an in-
election deadline is April
terview ■with Dristi, a vernacular ■weekly
"We should give him the benefit of the
doubt." Khadka also said that the prime
minister has agreed to reinstatement as
an alternative if he fails to hold elections.
Since that ■would almost surely put
Deuba's archrival Girija Prasad Koirala
in the prime minister's chair, the promise makes the election an even greater
gamble for Deuba. Why ■would he risk
so much?
He may have no choice. Government
spokesman and Palace point man in the
present Cabinet, Minister Mohammed
Mohsin has been saying all along that
Deuba must push ahead. "The government ■will have to quit if elections cannot be held," Mohsin said in an interview with the BBC Nepali Service last
■week His ■words carry a lot of ■weight:
The election has reached do or die proportions for Deuba. Failing to go to the
polls could be fatal for his administration.
Last ■week Deuba dismissed suggestions that he ■was pro-Palace. In his defense, he said that he ■would vindicate
himself ■when the time came. Perhaps
Deuba sees elections as an opportunity to prove his democratic credentials, never mind how tough they will
be. □
TOUGH TASK: With the Maoists vowing disruptions,
the Election Commission faces the Herculean task
of conducting polls
Why do the Maoists call blockades? One reason is to choke
the cities; the other is to open up their own supply lines.
blockade of the Valley, the
Maoists withdrew in dramatic
fashion on Dec. 29. Like the previous
time, they said they were giving in to
pressure from civil society and human
rights activists. The Maoists have
proven that they have the ability to
choke the capital, at least for short durations, whenever they want. The experience of living under a blockade is a
new one for city dwellers, but it has
already become part of daily life in
Nepal's other districts.
The frequency of blockades and
bandas has skyrocketed during the last
few years. Why do the Maoists call so
many of them so often? The propaganda
value of flexing their muscles and the
open threat to the government are obvious, but there is another reason. "The
Maoists need blockades to ensure their
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
 own channel of supply" says an Army
officer, "especially in the areas leading
to the Maoists heartland of Rolpa and
Rukum." With the security forces preoccupied ■with keeping the roads open
and protecting the cities, there is less opportunity to carry out search and destroy
operations elsewhere. The Maoists use
the breathing space provided by blockades for transporting supplies—provisions, explosives and arms.
In September, military analysts say
the Maoists not only succeeded in sending a message that they have the ability
to call the shots, even in the capital, but
als o managed to hold a party central
committee meeting. While the media
and  the  civil  society
■were preoccupied ■with
the      blockade,      the       5
Maoists ■were in Rolpa
discussing the
insurrection's future,
free from Army interference. "I don't know
if that's true," says the
Army's spokesman,
Brigadier General
Deepak Gurung. "I can't
say if there are any intelligence reports about it."
The ambush on the
Prithvi Highway at
Krishnabir on Nov.22
and the subsequent
clash ■with security
forces ■was a feint, intended to cover the
movement of a Maoist
brigade to the East, say
the military sources.
Waves of insurgents
■who are members ofthe
Maoist Special Task
Force, the STF, charged
with infiltrating the Valley reportedly come and go under the
cover of blockades, ■when the security
forces are focusing their energy on
keeping the roads open. The unified
command, comprising all security
forces, claims that it has neutralized the
Maoist special taskforce in the Valley:
Last ■week, military commanders invited
journalists to see a large cache of arms,
explosives, and communication equipment recovered from different locations in the Valley over the period of
last two months. Though the Army refuses to divulge how many STF members have been arrested so far, security
sources say all the actions followed tip-
offs from locals and the intelligence
gained from Maoists arrested earlier.
The Army claims that after the arrest of
Prashant, the Maoist point man in the
capital, many members of the Maoist
task force have retreated. A new Maoist
leader, a member of the Newa Rastriya
Mukti Morcha—a Maoist affiliate organization—is in charge of the Maoists
forces in the capital, says an Army officer. Observers say that the security
forces' refusal to mention the number
of arrestees probably means that only a
OPEN, YET CLOSED: Mahendra Highway
during one ofthe Maoist blockades
few of the reported 300 STF members
are actually in custody and the rest
might have retreated or melted into the
local population.
Army officers do admit that blockades divide their energy and that the
Maoists utilize them as opportunities for
large-scale movement of supplies and
equipment. Places like Kailabas,
Bhaluwang and Kohalpur have the highest rates of blockades: That's because
these areas are the supply arteries for the
Maoists, say security officials. Kohalpur
is significant because of its proximity to
India, from ■where the Maoists get most
of their arms and other ■war supplies.
From Kohalpur, the Maoists have easy
access to the Dang Valley. From there,
they spread out in their base areas of
Rolpa, Rukum, Salyan and Jajarkot.
During Maoist blockades, the security forces become extra-cautious about
ambushes and sudden offensives: This
slows down the security forces' responses. The roadblocks are also very
dangerous. One Army officer told civilians ■who ■were impatient ■with slow
progress in clearing a road blockade in
Mahendra Highway near Kanepokhari of
Morang: "We understand you are late,
but no one wants to die in vain. We can't
just clear it off. No one knows ■what's in
there." The extra caution is understandable, but that's how the Maoists get
breathing space for their activities.
"The Maoists divert our energy and
concentration during blockades," says
the Army spokesman Deepak Gurung.
That's how the Maoists seem to outsmart
the state's security apparatus to get their
things done. □
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
The recent disaster in the
Indian Ocean tells us that
we ignore nature's threats at
our own peril
earth-quake off the island of
Sumatra and the resulting tsunamis devastated Asian countries from Indonesia to Sri Lanka and caused damage
as far away as Somalia and Kenya.
Nepal also faces a threat from earthquakes. We live in fear of a big quake: An
equally powerful quake could strike
Nepal any time. But it wouldn't take a
big one to cause havoc in the high mountains in the north ofthe country. There
are over 2,000 glacial lakes there, according to a study carried out by ICIMOD
with support from the United Nations
Environment Program between June
1999 and March 2002. The study identified 20 of these as "potentially dangerous." Small disturbances in the region—
earthquakes, landslides or avalanches—
could cause one of these to breakthrough
its natural dam, resulting in a "glacial
lake outburst flood," GLOF in short.
And at times even a small disturbance is
unnecessary. The natural dams that hold
these lakes can fall apart simply due to
ageing, releasing great amounts of stored
"Rapid processes are unstable," says
Arun Bhakta Shrestha, with the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology.
Shrestha, an engineer and hydrologist with
Snow and Glacial Hydrology Section of
the department, is talking about the phenomenon occurring high in the mountains.
These glacial lakes—some less than half a
century old—are fed by rapidly retreating
glaciers. The process is accelerating: Climate change and global warming are speeding up the rate at which the glaciers melt.
Shrestha points to a study carried out for
his department in 1999 that showed
"warming trends after 1977 ranging 0.06 to
0.12 degrees Celsius per year in most of
the Himalayan region." The rates of warming were greater in the highest regions of
the country.
With such increasing temperatures,
many lakes are growing rapidly, some to
the point of bursting, while some have
already burst.The outbursts are even
more dangerous when they feed streams
that are the sources of rivers: An outburst from one of them could cause damage far downstream. As much was evident when the Zhanzangbo Cho lake in
Tibet burst in July 1981 and destroyed
three bridges, including the Nepal-
China Friendship Bridge at the border,
and also caused damages to the Sun Koshi
Hydropower Plant. It also damaged extensive sections ofthe Arniko Highway,
causing losses of around $3 million.
There are several things that can be
done to mitigate the effect of such outbursts. Early warning systems can be installed in danger areas. The dangers of
such outbursts can be minimized by letting the water stored in the lakes escape
in a controlled manner. Both methods
have been tested. Tsho Ropla has been a
prominent example in this regard. The
Tsho Rolpa lake, the head stream ofthe
Rowaling Khola, located at 4,580 meters
in Dolakha, comprised a few small ponds
Glaciers and glacial lakes in Nepal
River netwoft;
Poienttairy dangerous glacial lakes
2CC km
Source: "Inventory of Glaciers, Glacial
Lakes and Glacial Lake Outburst Floods,
Monitoring and Early Warning System in
the Hindu Kush-Himalayan Region,"
 in the 1950s. By 1997 it covered an area
of 1.39 sq. km.
If Tsho Ropla's natural dam ■were
breached, the resulting flood ■would cause
damage more than 100 kilometers downstream along the river, affecting thousands
of people and threatening bridges and also
the $138 million, 60-megawatt Khimti
Hydropower plant, located about 80 kilometers downstream from the lake.
In 1998, an early warning system was
placed in 17 villages that ■would be affected if Tsho Rolpa lake ■were to burst.
By mid-2000 the lake level had been
lowered by three meters by constructing an open channel and letting the water flow out in a regulated manner. The
project is still maintained by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology. It
provided much needed experience of
■working in remote, high-altitude areas
and managing GLOF risk. "It helped our
confidence and increased our knowledge
ofthe subject," says Kamal E Budhathoki,
the project's assistant director, who now
looks after what remains of the project.
Curiously there has been no significant follow-up. Tsho Rolpa is only one
of the 20 lakes cited in the ICIMOD
report as being "potentially dangerous."
Rising concerns have brought about attempts to attract attention to the situation. About two months ago, organizations like Pro Public and International
Public Interest Defenders put forward a
petition to UNESCO's World Heritage
Committee requesting the inclusion of
the Sagarmatha National Park in the list
of World Heritage Sites in Danger. Their
concern: Thirteen glacial lakes in the
Sagarmatha National Park are "potentially dangerous," they say pointing to
the UNEP/ICIMOD study.
Prakash Mani Sharma, a public interest lawyer and executive director of
Pro Public, was in the United Kingdom
recently to gather support for the petition. "We don't have the resources to do
something about the dangers ourselves,"
says Sharma. Putting the park on the endangered list, he argues, ■would make the
World Heritage Committee responsible
for the protection of the park.
Sharma got a good hearing abroad, but
at home the petition has received a lukewarm response. Its detractors say that it
was done hastily and without much consultation at the local levels. Also the petitioners have been accused of crying ■wolf
The department's Shrestha says that
■within the Sagarmatha National Park
there are only two potentially dangerous
lakes, not 13. "The petition has caught
public imagination by bringing something as ■widely recognized as the Everest
into the issue," says Shrestha. "But it's not
good to make the whole exercise a publicity stunt." Putting wrong information
on the table is surely not the best way to
present a case to an international body
like the World Heritage Committee.
But the petitioners have a point. The
problem's roots—climate change and
global ■warming—are beyond our con
trol, and their solutions lie beyond our means.
Conducting simple field
visits to study these remote
lakes is difficult; work to minimize the dangers is doubly so.
"The efficiency of both man and
machine decreases at high altitudes," says Bhandari, who was
involved in the project at Tsho
Rolpa. For that project alone,
the Netherlands provided
about $3 million, over Rs.200
million at current exchange
rates. That is 200 times ■what the
Department of Hydrology and
Meteorology's budget this year
is for studies of glacial lakes, glacial activity and flooding.
It comes down to a question
of priorities. Ifthe government
can't afford to fight poverty and reduce
social inequality ■which are the driving
forces behind the insurgency that plagues
the country how can it manage to find
funds for disaster prevention? The funds,
experts say ■will have to come from outside. The UNDP in its Disaster Risk
Analysis calls Nepal a disaster-prone
country "mainly due to its young geology mountainous terrain and ■widespread
poverty." And because the country remains disaster prone, proper infrastructure cannot be put in place to tackle poverty and bring equality to all. The situation smells like a "vicious cycle."
It's a cycle that has to be broken. The
recent tsunami pointed out the dangers of
not preparing for natural disasters. Tsunamis in the Indian Ocean are very rare—
the last one of note occurred in 1945. It
originated off the Mekran coast in Pakistan and caused deaths as far away as
Mumbai. Even so, rare events can have disastrous effects. Greater awareness and even
a rudimentary ■warning system could have
saved many lives. A tragic event such as the
one that occurred in the Indian Ocean carries an important lesson: At times, a stitch
in time can save more than nine.
We ignore obvious and far more likely
risks, like GLOF disasters, at our own
peril. Human ingenuity cannot, at the
moment, prevent natural disasters. But
human foresight can lessen the extent
of the tragedy. A relatively small investment in the high Himalaya could
save many lives and much more.
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
Unsupervised constructions and modern housing in the
vicinity of World Heritage Sites are posing big challenges
for preservation efforts
built from a single tree 800 years
ago," says the tourist guide. "Just
imagine the size of that tree!" The tourist
inside the Kastamandap at the Kathmandu
Durbar Square remains uninterested.
Perhaps the huge buildings at the
back of Kastamandap divert the attention
of the tourist. Or, maybe, it is those
hoarding boards trying to sell everything
from momos to toothpaste.
Modern houses, with little room for
tradition, are just about everywhere
around Kathmandu Durbar Square.
Huge, gaudy cemented buildings flanking the heritage site indeed are a sore
"The houses have been built illegally; I am sure those houses do not
have the approval of the municipality
or the Department of Archeology," says
Suraj Sakya, the program manager ofthe
Kathmandu Durbar Square Area Conservation Program. "But after they are
constructed we cannot do anything.
That is the responsibility ofthe Department of Archeology."
Rajesh Mathema, an archeologist and
the chief of the World Heritage Section
of the Department of Archeology, says
the department is quite helpless, too.
"Yes, such houses are illegal but the department didn't approve their blueprints," he says. "Those have been built
without our consent." According to
Mathema, such houses are constructed
either during the night or on holidays to
escape the department's supervision.
"Once the construction is complete,
there is little the department can do,"
says Mathema.
Kathmandu Durbar Square is
one of the seven sites in
Kathmandu that have been classified as World Heritage Sites
along ■with the Durbar squares
of Bhaktapur and Patan; Chagu
Narayan; Pashupatinath;
Syayambhunath and Boudhanath.
But UNESCO, during its 27th
convention in 2003, degraded the
status of the sites in Kathmandu
to "World Heritage Sites in Danger."
It ■wasn't the monuments that
the UNESCO had problems
with; it found their condition satisfactory. But not the environs around them.
A survey team from UNESCO, in 2003,
■was satisfied ■with the condition of
Bhaktapur Durbar Square; the Changu
Narayan and Patan Square ■were in pretty
good shape as ■well, the team said. But it
found that the modern constructions had
significantly undermined the beauty of
Boudhanath and Kathmandu Durbar
WELL PRESERVED: Bhaktapur Durbar Square is
the best managed of the World Heritage Sites in
the Valley
In response, the Department of Archeology agreed on a 10-year plan to be
carried out in cooperation ■with
UNESCO to safeguard the seven threatened sites in May 2004. According to the
UN. body the structures of many indiscriminately built private houses ■were
incompatible ■with the architecture ofthe
monuments they surrounded.
UNESCO has given special mention to
131 monuments inside Kathmandu that
need preservation if Kathmandu is to
hold on to its World Heritage Site status.
Delegates at the 2003 UNESCO
convention that enlisted Kathmandu
among the endangered sites gave the government three clear mandates: It called
for the redefinition of the existing
boundaries of heritage sites; the redefining of the core (the area ■with the
monuments and the artifacts) and buffer
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(supporting) zones in those sites; and
the improvement in the management
system for their proper maintenance.
The 28th convention in China in 2004 has
given the government clear guidelines
to respond to its mandates and reassess
our preservation efforts.
But first, the need is to identify
■what is to be changed. The department
has started the categorization of the
houses. The ones incompatible ■with
the environment of the monuments
■will be renovated. This includes replacing the doors and windows with
the traditional wood-carved structures, taking down the extra stories of
the buildings that exceed the recommended height of 32 feet, rebuilding
the fagade of the houses to match the
surrounding structures and so forth.
The old and dilapidated houses will
be completely rebuilt.
New buildings in the areas surrounding the monuments can be built with the
permission of the department, but old
houses may only be renovated in special
circumstances ■with traditional materials.
The law prohibits demolishing the old
structures to replace them with the new
ones in culturally sensitive places.
The Kathmandu Valley Preservation
Trust, the KVPT, an American INGO,
which has been working since 1990 to safeguard "the extraordinary and threatened architectural heritage of Nepal," works in
close collaboration with the department.
The KVPT helps in the restoration and
maintenance of old monuments in various heritage sites. It uses traditional materials—mud, brick and timber—to repair
old houses and restructure the new ones.
"Though we are not directly involved
■with the World Heritage program, we
are actively participating in the restoration of the monuments at many of the
heritage sites," says Raju Roka, a management official at KVPT. The trust is
also involved in various awareness and
fundraising programs.
There have been steps to address the
problems, but many glitches still remain. New buildings in the vicinity of
the monuments need to get their blueprints approved by the Department of
Archeology ■which nearly all the builders do, but very few follow the guidelines given. The houses are often different to the blueprints submitted.
Though the department supervises the
construction, its efforts have not been
effective so far. The government is now
considering new legal procedures to
bring the perpetrators to justice. "The
existing ones have too many loopholes,"
says Mathema of the department.
People, it seems, find different ■ways to
get around the law.
The indifference of the people is
the main obstacle the preservation efforts face. People are unsupportive
and the co-ordination between various government agencies in stopping
the law violators is poor. Without the
realization among people that the
sites are important and inescapably
linked to their own identities, the
preservation efforts ■won't go anywhere.   □
ENDANGERED: Boudhanath, the worst affected of
all sites by uncontrolled construction
t'a-   I*.
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
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The entries for the third annual Wave Web Winner,
Nepal's first and biggest ■web
designing contest, have started
to come in. The contest is
open to all Nepalis under 30
living inside Nepal. All sites,
including corporate sites,
hosted on free servers like
Geocities are acceptable.
However, socially sensitive,
political and adult oriented
sites ■will not be accepted. A
participant may submit multiple entrees. The submitted
sites can be in any local language, but only Nepali and
English sites will be eligible
for the Best Site Content
Award. Participating sites
must have the tag <! —WWW
2004 participant—> at the top
oftheir homepage. To provide
\X/ I  l^wl   l^wl  |h  lv       JI II JZL Three young artists, Sushma Shakya,
Rukmani Maskey and Dal Bahadur „_
Rai exhibit a total of 48 prints in a     ^J1?
group exhibition at the Siddhartha
|L_ Art Gallery. These three aspiring art-
\l      I ists are students of the famous
1—t   "■"■" "■"•" "■"■" printmaking husband-wife team
WAVE J.I" ' '.: "■ Uma Shanker Shah and Seema Sharma. Printmaking is not easy.
These young printmakers have immersed themselves in learning the technicality of time bite, gum bite, colograph, ■wood
block and sugar-lifting to understand the crux of this modern
all participants a fair playing      graphic artwork. Dal Bahadur Rai has depicted the natural heri-
field, a contestant may submit      tage of Nepal; Rukmani Maskey has her work influenced by
more than one site for the in-      religion and culture and Sushma Shakya surprises the viewers
dividual categories visual      with elements of mystery in pictures that might seem conven-
appeal, user friendliness, con- tional at first glance. Till Jan. 18. For information: 421-8048.
tent and technicality. It will be
compulsory for the participants to design the sites using
the contents
to be eligible to ■win the Wave
Web Winner 2004 title. For
further information: 554-3333.
Or log on
Tripureshwore. Date: Jan.
16. Time: 2 p.m. For information: 424-1163.
Malaysia holiday
Marcopolo Travels presents enchanting and af
fordable holidays. State-of-
the-art metropolis, sun
kissed beaches, bargain
brand name shopping, theme
parks, fusion cuisine and
much more. For information: 201-2345.
Basketball Training
The Godhavari Alumuni Association is organizing a basketball training camp at the
GAA Hall, Thamel. Children between 6 tol4 years
are eligible to participate.
Date: Dec. 22 to Jan. 22.
Price: Rs.500. Limited seats
only. For information: 441-
Cine club
Movie: Le Libertin (2000).
Director: Gabriel Aghion.
Starring: Vincent Perez. At the
Alliance Francaise,
District Development PROFILE of NEPAL 2004
District Section includes-
C    O   V t   A   it    I District Maps/Development Indicators of Each District/VDC data on
Divided mainly Of lliree part* Population & Infrastructure /District wise database on-
■ - Topography Demography Household Characteristics, Economic Activities, Social Characteristics,
mUpubllfCltlOfl   tOtCn Agriculture,Irrigation,Forest,Co-operatives,NGOs,Transportation,Communication,Energy
L Unfcnaal ■ DiitririT ||i   MunlaDnlHl'lK System, Education, Health, Drinking Water, Gendei Children and many more
Basic Information on all 58 Municipalities
Available at Renowned Bookstores in Town
1130 Pages
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JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
 For insertions: 2111102 or
Dwarika's treat
Krishnarpan, the Nepali specialty restaurant at Dwarika's
Hotel, offers ceremonial
dining cuisine. Four to 16
courses of the most wanted
ceremonial dishes will be
served for lunch and dinner.
Also enjoy the Dwarika's
Thali for Lunch at The
Heritage courtyard. For information: 447-9488.
Jomsom Trip
For just Rs.5999 for
Nepalis and $199 for expatriates, the Jomsom Mountain Resort provides two
nights and three days accommodations. The price
will also include roundabout airfare from Pokhara
to Jomsom, daily buffet
breakfast and dinner, pick
up and drop from the airport to resort and a walking
tour of the Marpha village
in Jomsom. For information: 449-7569.
Shahanshah Winter
Want to sweat in the winter? Go
and experience Shahahshah's indoor heated pool and relax in the
steam and sauna. At Rs.350. Exclusive ladies' day on Tuesdays
and Thursdays. Time: 7 a.m. to 7
Nepali Platter
At the Radisson Hotel every
Wednesday, Friday, Saturday and
Sunday. Come and enjoy this special moment in the festive season.
The scheme applies to Royal Stag,
Ultimate Gin and Ruslan Vodka.
Time: 6-8 p.m. For information:
Jukebox Experience
The jukebox experience with Pocja
Gurung and The Cloud Walkers
every Wednesday, Friday and
Saturday at the Rox Bar. For information: 449-1234.
Seasons Specials
Exotic Thai, sizzling tandoori, traditional Nepali and Italian cuisine,
daily for lunch at the Shambala
Garden Cafe, Shangri-la Hotel.
Date: Dec. 1 onwards. Price:
Rs.450 per person, includes a
bottle of mineral water or a soft
Tickling Taste buds
Barbeque every Friday Evening.
Att he Shambala Garden Cafe,
Shangri-la Hotel. Time: 7 p.m.
onwards. For information: 441-
Fusion Night
The Rox Bar welcomes everyone
to be a part ofthe Fusion Night.
The rhythmic and harmonic beats
of eastern and western instruments—a treat for the senses.
Enjoy the sarangi played by Bharat
Nepali with a well-blended mix of
western tunes played by The
Cloud Walkers. Every Wednesday.
Time: 6 p.m. onwards. For information: 449-1234.
Cadenza Live
Listen to the best livejazz in town.
Enjoy every Wednesday and Saturday at the Upstairs Jazz Bar,
Lazimpat. Time: 7:45 p.m. onwards.
All That Jazz
Presenting "Abhaya and the
Steam Injuns" and the best of
jazz in Nepal at the Fusion Bar,
Dwarika's Hotel, 7 p.m. onwards,
every Friday. Entry fee: Rs.555,
including BBQ dinner, and a can
of beer/soft drinks. For information: 447-9488.
"The r 'e for the
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Near Radisson Hotel, Lazimpat,
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tel. 4413874
Parking facilities available
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
 Dnondup ^/Qiangsar
Tridevi Marg, Thamel   Opp. of Sanchayakosh Building
Tel: 4416483,4417295   E-mail:
Doin' What Comes Inevitably
Some resolutions are meant to be broken
As 2004 began to disappear with unseemly haste, a cru-cial
high-level meeting took place in my flat. Chaired by yours truly
and consisting of a motley menagerie of multi-faith, multi-cultural and multi-ethnic friends spanning an interesting range of ages and
sexual preferences, a decision was reached after much deliberation: We
would, under no circumstances, fork out obscene sums of money to
attend a New Year's Eve party in any of the 5-star hotels, discotheques
or clubs in the city. No, no, no. We knew—from our collective past
experiences—that these parties quickly degenerated into evenings headlined bythehighly annoying music ofMr. Marshall Mathers (aka Eminem)
and his hip-hop-cum-rap buddies; overcrowded with lurching party animals unable to cope with the rapid
ingestion of vast quantities of alcohol (not very surprising, considering
most of them were barely out ofthe
nursery and just recently weaned);
ending in free-for-all fightfestsfeaturing khukris, swords and helmets.
What's worse, the bottomless bars
and unending buffets included in
the ticket prices ran out within
hours. In any case, the bars only
served dodgy local spirits well past
sell-by dates and buffets laid out
in a zero-watt-lit hall with zero cost,
zero taste and zero culinary accomplishment. Now wait a second:
Don't get us wrong. We are not
over-the-hill codgers who complain
ceaselessly, having lost the ability
to have fun and sex. We can still
shuffle to music, stay up late without collapsing over ourselves, and,
yes, hold down our drinks, bought
with our own hard-earned cash, without ending headfirst in a toilet bowl.
However, the time had come, we
decided, for a radical new plan: Collect money from close friends; decamp to a private venue; serve
drinks and food which wouldn't
cause us to wake up early in the new year with a splitting hangover or
a belly-bursting ache; play music which would be kind to our ears; and
look forward to the year change with excitement and optimism. Alas,
more easi ly said than done.
The December days rolled by easily; our much-vaunted plans didn't.
The local dailies began to fill with advertisements for all manners of
parties in all kinds of places that could hold more than 10 people. Our
resolute defenses began to crumble. We had no chance, up against the
determined generosity of McDowell's No. 1 to give us "40 reasons to
celebrate," a cunning list of—you got it—40 restaurants and bars. Real
Fruit Juices countered with their "Eleven (cocktails and mocktails) hotspots
to shake you... way past twelve." If ads are to be believed, all we want
for New Year is... Carlsberg; "The king of good times" is Vijay Mallya
(oops, sorry, Kingfisher); "Fine men surrender to" Director's Special Black
Deluxe Whiskey; and Seagram's Royal Stag wants us to "Make it large."
Oh dear. As if this was not enough, the Red Onion Bar touted itself as the
"Perfect place for perfect union," apparently with the Prism Band. With
"The Phantom ofthe Opera" lurking inside instead of Kubla Khan, Radisson
welcomed us to "Xanadu," while a "Neurotic" party held in Nagarkot
tantalized us with "maximum freedom minimum governance," neatly
describing the state of our nation. Celebrities, reasons only known to
themselves, were at the "F-Party."
No one seemed to know what "F"
stood for, and I wouldn't want to venture a guess. Mukti & Revival were
"Live & Full Throttle" at the Shangri-
La, though the mind boggles at how
they could possibly hope to achieve
that, supported as they were by DJ
Massacre & Maddox.
Unable to resist the devious
temptations of fun and revelry, we
decided to hit Freedom Zones 2, 3
and 4 ofthe partynepal.corn-organized night at the J-Bar/Himalayan
Java complex in Thamel. It turned
out to be a judicious choice. We got
therejust before midnight, our bellies full of Cafe Mitra's delicious
"Festive Season Menu" offerings.
The Zones were alive with an
equally festive crowd. Itwasanice
change to see the super-modern J-
Barfull of revelers, though the resident DJ was a bit mean with his
music. My mates dissipated into the
crowd, some seeking brand new
partners for a brand new year, others trying to relight the fire with ex-
lovers. Black-overcoated dudes with
pointed shoes vied for the attention of mini-skirted babes teetering on unforgiving stilettos. Merry party
people were in a fun, celebratory mood, jousting with their friends,
boogieing to house music, jamming up the bar which, occasionally,
went up in flames that sent them back, their noses twitching with the
smell of methylated spirit hanging in the air. Bythe time we went back
to our homes, relieved that we didn't have to clear ashtrays, dirty
dishes and empty bottles, the new year was already a few hours old.
So were we. Sigh. Happy 2005! □
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
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The Kathmandu party scene is exploding, to the delight
of almost everyone
Tt's a quiet Tuesday evening
at the Funky Buddha Bar &
Cafe in Thamel. The cafe is
empty except for a few youngsters,
probably in their late teens. On
New "Year's Eve, though, the place
was jumping to funky sounds and an
electronic beat. One of the open
-• u
bamboo sheds at the back of the garden
had been converted into a DJ booth. All
eight tables in the garden had been
moved, and the chairs were lined up
around the sides to accommodate more
than 250 partygoers.
Kathmandu saw many similar parties on the eve ofthe New "Year. Almost every club in Thamel plus big
hotels like the Radisson, the
Everest and the Hyatt hosted parties that night.
The Subterrania Club in
Thamel had one ofthe largest. The
club, perhaps the oldest nightclub
in Kathmandu, was packed with
more than 400 people. Launched in
1997 as the Jolly Blues Night Club by
Mukhiya Ghale and Thomas Kilroy it had
almost no competition when it started.
Club Galaxy at Hotel Everest and small-
scale discotheques inside the Casino
Royal and Casino Annapurna were the
only other places for partygoers to get
Nearly eight years on, more than a
dozen  clubs,   pubs  and  bars  in
Kathmandu have at least one party
every weekend. The party
scene in the capital is bur-
t   geoning, to the delight of an
increasing     number     of
partygoers and nightclub
owners too. It's a big turn
around for the increasingly profitable industry.
"Six or seven years ago, there used to
be small turnouts, not more than 100 to
150 per party," says Bhusan Thapa of Partynepal has become
one of the biggest party organizers in the
Valley. Since their establishment in April
2003, they have organized more than 40
parties. Thapa is one ofthe three founding members ofthe organization. He recalls the days when clubs had empty
dance floors and guests retreated to dark
corners with their drinks. Not anymore.
Thapa speaks from experience.
Partynepal organizes all kinds of parties,
big and small, from intimate affairs to
■--j j
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
 open-air dance parties for huge crowds.
Thapa claims that more than 30,000 people
showed up for the second annual Peace
Project dance party in November last year.
The swelling numbers aren't the
only change: The party-going crowd is
dramatically different too. Sunil
Gurung, owner of the Funky Buddha
Club & Bar, has been in the business
for six years. "Mostly foreigners used
come to the parties in the early days,"
says Gurung. "The domestic crowd was
pretty small," and they were mostly
Nepalis who had jobs or homes overseas and had come home on a holiday.
Today, neither group dominates the
crowd at Gurung's club.
Youngsters, both teenagers and working professionals, have replaced the earlier clients. And business is booming
year-round, not just in the tourist season. Good crowds are on hand even during monsoon or the cold season. The
club organizes an Electronic Open Air
Party every Friday. Gurung says, 200 to
250 partiers show up each week.
More people are opting to let their
hair down and go out to a big party once
in a while. "Clubbing is looked on as a
healthy pastime now," says partynepal's
Thapa. The change in attitude is not the
only reason that clubs draw bigger
crowds these days, though. The quality
of music has gone up now that better
sound systems and better performers are
common. Only a few professional DJs
worked in the Valley five years ago: Today almost every club has its own, and
big-name international DJs are routinely
invited by party organizers to bring in
big crowds.
One thing hasn't changed: The revelry often leads to brawls and fights. Security is a serious concern for some
partygoers. Srijana Gurung, a 12th-grade
party buff, says that there has been a fight
at virtually every party she has attended.
"At one ofthe parties I went to, two girls
ended up bashing each other for a guy's
attention," she says. "When the guy came
back later with his girlfriend, both girls
went after her."
Party organizers try to keep things
under control. Most clubs hire bouncers to keep things quiet. Rowdy patrons
are given a warning or, if necessary,
shown the door. That helps, but the organizers believe that it's ultimately up to
the crowd to behave themselves.
Some unpleasantness notwithstanding, the festivities continue. At the Funky
Buddha, Quiet Tuesday gives way to
Electronic Friday. Thousands of neon
lights swirl around the otherwise dark
dance floor. The ear splitting, electronic
music gets the people moving. The show
must go on.  □
Ri ad t* Redempti n
Once seen as the most promising emerging nation, Nepal seems to have lost its way.
But it still has a chance to qualify for the 2007 World Cup.
When the Asian Cricket Coun-cil,
the ACC, entrusted Nepal to
host the Second ACC Trophy
in 1998, detractors expressed doubts
whether the newly enthroned associate
member would rise
up to the challenge.
Jai Kumar Nath Shah, president of
Cricket Association of Nepal, had one
firm answer to all of them: "We've got
everything—the interest in the game, the
talent and hardworking people. I'm sure
we can stand up to the test."
Indeed he did. Nepal's own dismal
performance aside, the tournament
turned out to be a grand success. It was
possible because of an exemplary co-ordination among Nepali cricket officials.
More evidence of Nepal's potential
an international cricket venue followed with the success ofthe Under-19
Youth Asia Cup in 2001. This one even
thrilled the local fans. The Under-19
team asserted Nepal's claim as the
most promising emerging
nation in cricket.  The
youth brigade made it all
the way to the plate
championship final of
the U-19 World Cup
in New Zealand.
Naturally, the
newfound success added to
the aspirations of cricket officials
to press for one-day international
status. Shah even went a step further,
saying Nepal would win a voting power
at the ICC and be the 12th country to
reach cricket's most elite league—that
of Test-playing nations. "We will get
there within five to 10 years," Shah
Sadly, that prediction has
gone awry. For an association
that was once seen as a trail-
blazer in Nepali sports,
CAN seems to have lost its
magical touch. The association has, in fact, been accused
of financial irregularity and the
CIAA has stepped in to investigate
the allegation.
Shah, along with CAN Secretary
Pradip Raj Pandey and Treasurer
Sashi Subedi, has been implicated
in the irregularity concerning the purchase of cricket equipment from
Redstone International, an Indian supplier based in Meerut.
Ignoring its own rulebook, CAN had
paid more than Rs.2 million through several bearer checks for the purchase of pitch
rollers, cricket mats and nets. For any
purchase that exceeds Rs. 10,000, CAN
needs to issue account payee checks.
Then there are other worries, too. Although CAN has been constantly encouraged by the game's world governing body,
the ICC, and its Asian chapter, the ACC,
its imprudent ways of dealing with sponsors, event partners and international
dole-outs worry those who are anxious
to see the Nepali cricket go far.
Nepal started receiving $30,000 in annual grant from the ICC since 1997, a
year after it entered the cricket headquarters at Lord's as an associate member. The
grant was later increased to $40,000. But
the constant increase in demand to improve the game's domestic structure and
international commitments meant the
grant alone would be insufficient to foot
all the bills.
The 10-year deal that CAN struck in
2002 with the leading Indian sports management and marketing company, Percept D'Mark, was expected to further
boost cricket in the country.
Under the deal, CAN would avail
grounds for the Percept D'Mark to host
international cricket events as well as
bring renowned cricketers to Nepal.
The event organizer had guaranteed at
least two international cricket tournaments each year. The proceeds would
have allowed CAN to pay more attention to strengthen the domestic cricket.
The deal would have been a watershed, but it fell through after the 2003
tour ofthe Indian U-19 team when the
two parties failed to agree on terms and
conditions. The Indian tour turned out
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
 to be the last big draw to be hosted by
Percept D'Mark started in 1994 as an
events division of Percept IMC, a joint
venture with Aegis Group Pic, UK. Its clients are among the largest sponsors of
cricket in India. Sahara, one of them, has
signed the world's single largest deal ever
in cricket valued at about IRs.l billion with
the BCCI, cricket's ruling body in India.
Last month, CAN gave more evidence of its casual approach to business
management during the lead-up to the
national league, the Birendra Memorial
National League. It decided to hold the
competition from Dec. 15 - Dec. 30,
much earlier than its original schedule.
Carlsberg has a sponsorship
agreement for the running ofthe
league with CAN for one more
While the decision might
have upset the sponsor, it has been
generous in ruling out suggestions that it would withdraw its
support for the league. Besides
annual sponsorship fee amounting to Rs.700,000, Gorkha Brewery, the producer of Carlsberg
beer in Nepal, also bears the cost
for the national team's outfit and
other promotional activities.
"We're committed to promoting
cricket in Nepal," assures Ashish Bista,
marketing manager at Gorkha Brewery.
"However, as sponsors, we would much
appreciate ifthe programs are carried out
For now, Carlsberg's unstinted support must have relieved the cricket officials. But the officials will do well to
realize that as any other sponsors,
Carlsberg would like to get due mileage
for its investments. And nothing would
be better than seeing Nepali national
team get back to its winning ways at international level.
The two-week-long national league
is now over and cricketers are preparing
for a big challenge to retain a place
among cricket's fast-track nations.
They face a potentially more difficult
assignment in the qualifier for the ICC
Trophy, starting Feb. 21 in Malaysia.
With the ICC announcement that
there would be two additional slots in
the World Cup, cricket officials predict
Nepal has a decent chance to qualify for
the tournament scheduled for 2007 in the
West Indies. But disappointing results
in the last ACC Trophy deprived Nepal
of automatic qualification to the ICC
Trophy, which serves as the qualifier for
the World Cup.
"It's quite unfortunate that we couldn't
wrap up the matches we should have," says
Binod Das, the newly appointed
captain ofthe Nepali cricket team.
"Nevertheless our guys are all set
to give a good performance whoever the opposition."
Das, who has started training
in the camp under coach Roy
Dias since Jan. 7 along with other
13 teammates, knows failure this
time around means other competitors in the pool of cricket's
emerging nations would nose
ahead. Let's hope cricket officials, too, will change their ways
to redeem Nepal's flagging stature.  □
CRICKET CULTURE: Nepal has passion for cricket
but does it have the organization?
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For Peace
The Kathmandu Municipality has given the
first-ever "Peace Award Kathmandu" to
Daisaku Ikeda, a Japanese philosopher and
president ofthe Sokka Gakki International.
The Sokka Gakki, which also has a branch in
Kathmandu, isa Buddhist organization actively
involved in establishing institutions related to
peace, culture and education in more than
170 countries. Why the award for Ikeda? "By
presenting a peace award to a figure known
the world over, we thought convey our
message easier," says a Kathmandu city
official. And the message? "That peace is
really important for Nepal today."
Long Stretch
Ifyou go on writing, someone will eventually notice. This is what Sudha Tripathi
who's been writing for newspapers and
books for more than two decades believes.
She was awarded the "Sahityik Stambha
Lekhan Award" by the Press Council on Jan.
2. This has left her pleasantly surprised. "It
seems that sooner or later, someone will
notice you and your work," she said. The
lecturer of Nepali is presently working for
her doctorate and has been teaching at the
Tribhuvan University for the last 19 years.
Well, that's a long time indeed.
Lemi Lama, 16, was rapturous with joy when sh
was crowned the tirst Miss teen sherpa on Dec.
30. Lama presently has got bigger things in mind
as any other 10th-grader would. It's the much-
feared Iron Gate—the School Leaving Certificate exams—in four months time. So how is
this student from Young Hearts School
preparing for the SLC? "I don't study for
long hours," says Lama. "But when I'm
with books, it's all about concentration
and dedication." Lama aspires to be a doctor someday and says the walk down the
ramp helps her build her confidence for
walks down life's long roads.
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
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• The incumbent should be MBA with excellent communication and Public Relation skills with 3-5 years of working experience in
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The incumbent should be graduate in hotel management with 2-3 years of working experience in a similar position in 4/5 Star Property.
Should have a good staffing skill and should be able to independently manage kitchen. Basic computer knowledge and other related trainings
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The incumbent should be a female graduate with a pleasing personality, excellent communication skills (both English and Nepali), a high
standard of proficiency in computers with good typing speed, and preferably, knowledge of shorthand . Preference will be given to the
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The incumbent should be a graduate, preferably MBA, with very good communication skills(both English and Nepali), pleasing personality,
basic computer skills, and a very good attitude to deal with different customers. Preference will be given to candidates having hotel
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The incumbent should be a graduate, preferably in hotel management, with very good communication skills (both English and Nepali),
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Remuneration is not an issue for deserving candidates.
Applications are welcomed from eligible candidates with a covering letter stating own strengths and weaknesses, completed curriculum vitae,
and 1 pp sized photograph before 15 Jan 2005 addressed to:
Human Resources Manager
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Durbar Marg, Kathmandu.   ROB.- 140
Applications can also be sent by e-mail at:
nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
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nation weekly |  JANUARY 16, 2005
 Dangerous Mines
r i
When Purnashova Chitrakar started the Ban
Landmines Campaign Nepal in June 1995, the
exercise seemed pointless to some; the "people's
war," and the violence that has prevailed since, started on
February 1996. Nearly a decade on, Chitrakar has been
credited with displaying foresight uncommon to many.
Today, landmines pose serious threats to
people's lives. During 2003,48 civilians died
in landmine explosions. In the first five
months of 2004, that toll had risen to 120.
Kumud Nepal talked to Chitrakar, who has
also been nominated recently as the South
Asian representative to the Advisory Committee of the International Campaign for
Ban Against Landmines, about the dangers
of landmines and her own experience as an
activist against their use.
When you started the campaign nearly
a decade ago, the violence that is
prevalent today wasn't there. So why
the campaign against landmines?
Sure, landmines weren't as serious an issue as they are today in Nepal. But there
were more than 20,000 people in 70 countries who had become the victims of
landmines. We wanted to establish a global solidarity against landmines. My own
experience in Cambodia had shown me
how landmines could destroy people's
lives. I saw people blinded, handicapped
and paralyzed by landmine explosions. I
wanted to make people aware.
How would you describe the menace
of landmines in our country today?
Both sides to the conflict are using
landmines indiscriminately. While the
Maoists are relying more on improvised
explosive devices, IEDs, the government
forces use manufactured landmines.
There are also command-detonated
mines, and remotely-controlled and timer
mines that both sides are using recklessly.
Why is their use so widespread?
In any conflict-hit area, the use of
landmines is inevitable. They are widely
used because they are easy to produce
and cost effective. Also, in the type of
war that is being fought in Nepal—the
Maoists have embarked upon a guerilla
war—landmines make it possible for the
warring sides to fight their battles from
far away; it's not a face-to-face conventional war.
During 2003, 48 civilians
died in landmine
explosions. In the first
five months of 2004,
that toll had risen to 120.
How would you describe the level of
danger posed by the landmines in
Landmines pose a serious threat to
people's lives, especially in rural areas.
More often than not, it is the innocent
who suffer, caught in the middle. During
2003, 225 civilians were victims of
landmine explosions. While 177 of them
survived, 48 died. Among the dead were
18 children. In the first five months of
2004, out of a total of 120 civilians who
died in such explosions, 32 were children.
Most of these children toyed with the
landmines not knowing what they were.
Some others died trying to extract metals
out ofthe explosives to sell as scrap metal.
Then there is the bigger post-conflict
danger of using landmines indiscriminately.
How so?
The landmines are buried underground
and will remain there even after the conflict is over. These landmines will lead
to the needless loss of human lives. Take
Cambodia for example; even after the
civil war ended in 1975, people are still
dying due to the carelessly laid mines. It
is really difficult to completely dispose
of these explosives. A poor country like
ours will have similar problems dealing
with the cost of cleaning up the
landmines, if and when the war ends.
What have been your efforts
to combat this problem?
We have been trying to reach out to the
people. Our awareness programs are focused on 10 districts for the time being:
Rukum, Rolpa, Salyan, Banke, Morang,
Ramechhap, Sindhupalchowk, Kavre,
Dhading and Dolakha. We are looking
to run programs that will tell students
about the risks of mines in 150-200
schools within the next two months. We
have also been helping with the rehabilitation of landmine victims.
How about banning the
use of landmines?
We are trying that as well. We are pressing on the government to sign the Ottawa treaty that was formulated on Dec.
3, 1997. The treaty is a common agreement on the ban of nuclear weapons and
landmines. Similarly, we are appealing
to the Maoists to sign the Deed of Commitment under the Geneva Convention
that says any side in a war will not arbitrarily use landmines and other ammunitions.
And their response...
The government is always positive in its
response, but there's a huge gap between
what it says and what it does. As for the
Maoists, we haven't received a response
from them yet. □
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
H                    ^m
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Putalisadak, Kathmandu
Tel: 4412017, Fax. 977-1-5539787
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To Be or Not To Be
"To be, or not to be: that is the question:
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The slings and arrows of outrageous fortune,
Or to take arms against a sea of troubles,
And by opposing end them?"
Prime Minister Deuba faces a dilemma of Hamletian proportions this
week. Will he announce elections if the
Maoists defy his Jan. 13 deadline to come
forward for talks? Or will he decide that
the country is in no better shape now
than it was in October 2002, when he
told the King that the elections were not
possible, and by so doing risk another
When the King made a near-impossible comeback possible for Deuba in
June, he explicitly told the new prime
minister to prepare groundwork to hold
elections within 2061 B.S., by April.
Seven months on, no one, certainly not
the big political parties who believe in
elections, want elections. At present
Deuba's own NC-D is the only party
to have come out openly in support of
elections; even that support is ambiguous. Two senior leaders—Bijaya Kumar
Gachhedar and Bal Bahadur KC—have
voiced serious misgivings about the
prime minister's election plans.
While the junior coalition partner,
the RPP, is expected to fall behind the
election call, the CPN-UML, the largest party supporting the government,
seems deeply divided on the election
issue. Should it decide to join forces
with the Nepali Congress, which first
wants to see the issue of "regression"
addressed before elections, Deuba's
election call will be politically dead
even without the Maoists opposing it.
The Maoists of course want elections,
but of a different kind: elections to a
constituent assembly to draft a new
We are not against elections. Indeed,
there can be no democracy without elections, no matter how messy they may be.
But we aren't sure whether elections
now are the best option before us. This
is no time to split hairs over the terms of
a Constitution that, at best, remains in a
suspended animation. At the risk of
sounding hackneyed, we repeat one
more time: The Maoist problem will
not be resolved militarily. The political
process should be
revived and nurtured with care before those in the
RNA and the CPN-
Maoist with militarist mindsets take the
whole country hostage. There is a remote hope that elections may yet unite
See Cover Story
Page 22
all political parties and that they will rally
together to oppose the Maoists, who will
go to great lengths to disrupt the polls.
But for that to happen, Prime Minister
Deuba will have to display a higher level
of statesmanship than he has yet shown.
Akhilesh Upadhyay, Editor
JANUARY 16, 2005   |  nation weekly
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