Major English and Nepali broadsheet newspapers published from Kathmandu on Thursday published news reports related to the registration of candidacy for the third phase of local level elections in Province 2 with the utmost priority. The Tribhuvan University’s decision to scrap the affiliation of Kathmandu National Medical College has also received attention.
Follow-up stories related to the seizure of 88 kg gold allegedly smuggled from China on Monday have also been prioritised.
Nominations peaceful in Province 2
Despite few reports of small-scale violence, the Election Commission has said registration of candidacy for the third phase of local level elections in Province 2 has been over peacefully. Primary reports have said more than 18,200 nominations have been filed for more than 6,600 positions in 136 local units of Province 2. However, this is just an estimate as the Commission is collect reports from all the districts, Nagarik has quoted Commission spokesperson Nawaraj Dhakal.
“Despite recent natural disasters,” Dhakal has said, “Women, Dalits, Janajatis and minority groups have also enthusiastically participated in the election process.”
Rajdhani lead story reports that though the Commission had fixed the deadline of 5 pm yesterday, candidates were seen visiting local election offices up to 7 pm.
Government to spend Rs 2.5 billion more than allocated budget for September 18 elections
The government is spending around Rs 2.5 billion more than the allocated budget for the third phase of local level elections in Province 2 scheduled for September 18, according to the lead story in Karobar.
It includes expenditures to be made by security agencies as well as the Election Commission. The report informs that the Ministry of Finance has already released Rs 1.5 billion to the Commission. Now, it will allocate Rs 1 billion to the Ministry of Home Affairs for security expenses.
“We will not let the authorities feel the shortage of needful money,” MoF Secretary Shantaraj Subedi says, ‘We will make appropriate decisions after getting requests from this.”
The MoF officials inform that the government in total is spending more than Rs 20 billion for three phases of local level elections. The expense is much higher in comparison to the spending in the second Constituent Assembly elections in 2013, the MoF says. The government had spent around Rs 11 billion then.
NOC paid thrice the price received by landowners: House panel
Republica lead story says the Nepal Oil Corporation has paid thrice the price received by landowners to buy pieces of land in various parts of the country to build petroleum storage facilities. The Industry, Commerce and Consumer Welfare Committee of Parliament has reached the conclusion after an investigation including on-site monitoring, the report said.
“It has been found that NOC paid three times more than the amount the landowners received,” an anonymous lawmaker involved in the probe tells the paper, “The committee has concluded that there was embezzlement through breach of the existing laws.”
Meanwhile, the probing lawmakers have said NOC Executive Director Gopal Bahadur Khadka should take responsibility in the case as he was entrusted by the NOC board to purchase the land.
17 foreigners held for ATM hacking in two years
A front page report in Naya Patrika says Nepal Police has arrested total 17 foreigners in past two years for their alleged involvement in ATM hacking. Just on Tuesday, a Turkish national has been arrested on the charge of defrauding bank clients by using fake ATM cards.
Last year, the Central Investigation Bureau of Nepal Police had arrested members of four European countries for their organised involvement in the crime.
Meanwhile, the report has commented that people are losing trust they had for ATMs due to banks’ negligence about security issues. It says most banks of Nepal are still using magnetic stripe technology, which is believed to be less secure and has already been obsolete in many parts of the world.
Boom in gold smuggling may give birth to ‘shadow economy’
Various newspapers have raised concerns that rising cases of gold smuggling are a threat to the overall legal economic market of the country. In this context, the anchor story in The Himalayan Times says.
The report quotes Revenue Secretary Shishir Kumar Dhungana at the Ministry of Finance, who has expressed the fear of rise of shadow economy if the smuggling is not controlled.
With the rise is gold smuggling, the government not only loses customs revenue, but it also hits income tax because the government has only authorised commercial banks to import gold into the country, the report says.
However, jewellers have multiple benefits in purchasing gold from illegitimate market. Apart from saving an eye-popping Rs 420,000 while buying just one kilogram of gold, they can evade income tax as well, according to the report.