From the Kathmandu Press: Wednesday, July 17, 2019

Nepal Communist Party completing its merger has been featured in most newspapers along with news of the Supreme Court asking the government to continue testing vegetables and fruits for pesticides. The fourth five-year plan being launched in the Supreme Court has also made it to the front pages of a few national dailies.

Here’s a summary of important, ignored and interesting stories from cover pages of the Kathmandu press.


File: A meeting of Nepal Communist Party’s Secretariat meeting

NCP merger complete, say chairmen

Gorkhatra, Annapurna Post and Republica report that after more than a year and a half since the announcement of the merger between two big communist parties — CPN-UML and CPN (Maoist Centre) — to form Nepal Communist Party (NCP), leaders on Tuesday announced that they concluded the party merger process by deciding the remaining work of unification. A meeting of the top NCP leaders held at Baluwatar on Tuesday finalised the work division of the central leaders, selection of district in-charges, the formation of central departments and its overall organisational structures and its heads.

SC orders govt to test vegetables for pesticides

Nagarik, Annapurna Post and Republica report that the Supreme Court on Tuesday continued its July 10 stay order directing the government to conduct pesticides residue test compulsorily on vegetables and fruits imported to Nepal from India and other countries. A division bench of justices Hari Krishna Karki and Bam Kumar Shrestha decided to continue the stay order issued earlier by a single bench of Justice Ananda Mohan Bhattarai on July 10.

The apex court issued its order following two days of hearings on whether or not to continue to stay order on various public interest litigation (PILs) filed challenging the government decision to stop pesticide residue test. The petitioners had argued that the government decision to stop the tests would jeopardise the public’s health.

Nepal starts exporting electricity to India

Gorkhapatra reports that the Ministry of Energy, Water Resources and Irrigation has exported 150 megawatts of electricity to India in the last three days and 200 megawatts on Wednesday night. Organising a press conference on Tuesday, Minister for Energy, Water Resource and Irrigation Barsha Man Pun informed that the government had started bringing the energy banking into operation as per the agreement signed with India. Minister Pun said that the excess electricity was exported to India as per the energy banking concept through Raxaul-Parwanipur and Kushaha- Kataiya international transmission lines.


No progress made on BRI

The Kathmandu Post reports that with just 10 months remaining in the framework agreement signed with China for the Belt and Road Initiative, Nepal has failed to make any headway on infrastructure project negotiations in the last 26 months.

Nepal had identified nine projects to finance under the BRI, but negotiations have come to a halt on all of them, according to officials at the Finance Ministry, which is the nodal agency to negotiate and execute projects under the BRI with various Chinese government agencies.

Nepal had initially identified 35 projects related to infrastructure, energy, connectivity, trade, and commerce under the BRI and communicated to the Chinese during Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli’s visit to China in June. The Chinese side, however, advised Nepali officials to prioritise projects and trim the list to a single digit.

NHRC urges govt to lift ban on female migrant workers

National Human Rights Commission (NHRC)

Republica reports that the National Human Rights Commission (NHRC) has urged the government to lift the travel ban on domestic workers saying that such restrictive measures were making migrant women more vulnerable to trafficking and exploitation. Countries in the Gulf and Malaysia remain closed for Nepali women workers since Nepal, responding to a growing cases of exploitation and abuse of Nepali women abroad, stopped issuing work permits to domestic help in July 2016. NHRC on Tuesday said that ‘the discriminatory’ travel ban is instead pushing women into the hands of human traffickers and agents who smuggle them via undocumented channels.

Rs 200 billion spent in the final month of fiscal year

Kantipur reports that over Rs 200 billion has been spent by the government in the final month of the fiscal year. Even though the government had revised its spending target mid-term it still failed to meet its desired expenditure and revenue collection.


Gulf employment: Free visa and free ticket programme ineffective, says NHRC

Kantipur reports that the government’s free visa and free ticket programme for migrant workers going to the Gulf countries has been a failure. The NHRC submitted a report on Tuesday stating that the migrant workers were not getting things as promised. According to the report, migrant workers were paying up to Rs 200,000 to go work to the Gulf countries. The government in 2015 had brought a programme which would take migrant workers to the Gulf countries for only Rs 10,000.

Early warning system could have saved lives, say experts

Quoting experts, Republica reports that much of the loss in life and property from floods this year could have been avoided if Nepal had an effective early warning system and rescue and relief mechanisms in place. Since Thursday, more than 78 people have lost their lives while millions of others remain affected. Eight of the deaths occurred in the heart of Kathmandu Valley.

The country has recorded 6,656.6 mm of rainfall as of Monday, according to the Meteorology Forecasting Division. With the monsoon in full swing, rain predicted for the coming days could bring more flash floods and landslide, especially in the west. Last year, the country received 8,467.8mm and 9,602.2mm of rain in July and August respectively.

Fourth five-year plan launched in Supreme Court

Nepal Samacharpatra and Gorkhapatra report that the fourth strategic plan of the judiciary was released at the Supreme Court on Tuesday. The five-year periodic plan has set a target of delivering prompt and quality justice, increasing access to justice, promoting judicial governance, improving the court management system and increasing people’s faith towards judiciary.

Releasing the plan, Chief Justice Cholendra SJB Rana said that the new strategic plan would help make the judiciary more competent in the area of justice delivery. He urged the stakeholders to play an active role in the effective implementation of the periodic plan of the judiciary.

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