The Karnali Express: Bumping on for 52 Hours (Jumla to Surkhet)

QUITE A DIFFERENT GOAT CARAVAN: An unforgettable ride from Jumla, one of the most remote parts in Nepal, to Surkhet in a highway that’s being constructed.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal Pics by Wagle
ब्लगमान्डू : कर्णाली एक्स्प्रेस ५२ घन्टा उफ्रिदै मच्चिदै


Vehicles pass through the dangerous Timure Bhir in Kalikot.

“Not in this lifetime,” said Hari Shankar Chaulagain as our Mahindra Bolero Jeep left Khalanga Bazaar for Surkhet. The 27-year-old man quickly surveyed the four-wheel-drive roadster and remarked: “I had never thought I would ride in one from here!” Alongside him were seated his younger brother Govinda and five others. They too had their own strange feelings. Their hands were tightly clutching the iron rod as we started motoring on the “mother of all bumpy roads”. We all looked like a monkey that was about to jump from one branch to another. Continue reading The Karnali Express: Bumping on for 52 Hours (Jumla to Surkhet)

Verification Conundrum: Inside Story of Why Maoists Stopped the Process

After stalling the verification process for their combatants for weeks the Maoists have finally agreed to resume it, but when it will actually resume remains uncertain still.

By Ameet Dhakal
[There might be rift between the Badal-Kiran and Prachanda-Baburam factions in the Maoist Party].

The on again off again verification of Maoist combatants is only a prelude to a much complicated process that will test the resolve of the government, the Maoists, the Nepali Army and even the United Nations Mission in Nepal (UNMIN) in the days to come.

Why the Maoists refused to start verification at the second cantonment site in Sindhuli offers a small window on this unfolding complexity.

Part of the problem is the Maoists’ own doing. They sent “many”- it’s still not clear exactly how many – non-combatants into the cantonments. There are a number of reasons why they did that. First, they wanted to keep a good many of their combatants, who are among the cream of their cadres, outside the cantonments, but at the same time they also wanted enough “combatants” inside. Large numbers inside the cantonments meant a stronger political message and more money. Continue reading Verification Conundrum: Inside Story of Why Maoists Stopped the Process

Royals Continue To Default Electricity Bills

By Bikash Sangraula

The royal family and royal relatives have continued to default on payment of bills to Nepal Electricity Authority (NEA), although NEA has regularly dispatched cumulative bills during nearly two-and-a-half years of non-payment to the palace and other residences of the royals in the capital and outside. According to NEA records, the royals owe NEA over Rs 36 million in electricity bills for residences in the capital as of June 14, 2007.

The royals stopped paying after King Gyanendra’s February 1 takeover and haven’t resumed payment so far. On the other hand, the government, despite vehement protests in and outside the parliament, allocated Rs 24.5 million as allowance to the royal family in the recently announced budget. Topping the list of defaulters of electricity bills as of June 14 is the Narayanhiti palace with a whopping Rs 26.37 million in electricity dues, which is followed by Nirmal Niwas with Rs 2.73 million.

Royal relatives with hefty unpaid electricity bills include late Dhirendra Shah’s three daughters – Shitasma Rajya Laxmi Rana with Rs 909,215, Pooja Rajya Laxmi Shah with Rs 522,226 and Dilasha Rajya Laxmi Rana with Rs 486,000. Similarly, King Gyanendra’s sister Shobha Rajya Laxmi Shahi owes Rs 905,000 to NEA, while Dhirendra’s wife late Prekshya Shah owes a total of Rs 792,989 under four separate accounts to her name. Continue reading Royals Continue To Default Electricity Bills

A Young Jumlee’s Dream of Teaching

It’s not unusual in this kind of terrain to run over big mountains for a small opportunity of a job. Dreams carry people anywhere. If one desire is not fulfilled, another emerges.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
ब्लगमान्डू : तन्नेरी जुम्लीको पढाउने रहर

Lal Bahadur Dangi in the same school in Chautha where he hopes to get appointed as a teacher

Recently, while climbing the Danphe hill above Jumla bazaar one sunny morning, I met a young man clad in the jersey of Brazilian football team and blue jeans that was folded up to the knees. Record holder high altitude marathon runner Hari Bahadur Rokaya of Jumla, who was accompanying me up to the hill, and the Palpasa Cafe t-shirt that I was wearing immediately brought me closer to Lal Bahadur Dangi. Since our destination for the evening was the same remote village called Chautha that belonged to the Bumramadi Chaur VDC of Jumla. My plan was to head for Rara Lake the next day while Lal Bahadur was hiking for a ‘special purpose’ around which this article revolves.

The one and the only primary school in Chautha, that was run by the government had a vacancy for a teacher and this 23-year-old was hiking to try his luck for the post. Himself a teacher at Kanika Nisha English School in Jumla Bazaar, Lal Bahadur was visiting the remote place just for the heck of it. “I don’t mind working in a primary school,” said Lal Bahadur who holds the license to teach at lower secondary level and is waiting for his B Ed third year exam results”. If I get the job, I can compete internally to teach at secondary level as soon as I pass B Ed. That’s equivalent to a Section Officer. Nothing like that happens in a private school.” He was confident of getting the job if the selection was done in a transparent manner. He added: “If not, boarding jindabaad!” Continue reading A Young Jumlee’s Dream of Teaching

A Young Jumlee’s Dream of Teaching

It’s not unusual in this kind of terrain to run over big mountains for a small opportunity of a job. Dreams carry people anywhere. If one desire is not fulfilled, another emerges.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
ब्लगमान्डू : तन्नेरी जुम्लीको पढाउने रहर

Lal Bahadur Dangi in the same school in Chautha where he hopes to get appointed as a teacher

Recently, while climbing the Danphe hill above Jumla bazaar one sunny morning, I met a young man clad in the jersey of Brazilian football team and blue jeans that was folded up to the knees. Record holder high altitude marathon runner Hari Bahadur Rokaya of Jumla, who was accompanying me up to the hill, and the Palpasa Cafe t-shirt that I was wearing immediately brought me closer to Lal Bahadur Dangi. Since our destination for the evening was the same remote village called Chautha that belonged to the Bumramadi Chaur VDC of Jumla. My plan was to head for Rara Lake the next day while Lal Bahadur was hiking for a ‘special purpose’ around which this article revolves.

The one and the only primary school in Chautha, that was run by the government had a vacancy for a teacher and this 23-year-old was hiking to try his luck for the post. Himself a teacher at Kanika Nisha English School in Jumla Bazaar, Lal Bahadur was visiting the remote place just for the heck of it. “I don’t mind working in a primary school,” said Lal Bahadur who holds the license to teach at lower secondary level and is waiting for his B Ed third year exam results”. If I get the job, I can compete internally to teach at secondary level as soon as I pass B Ed. That’s equivalent to a Section Officer. Nothing like that happens in a private school.” He was confident of getting the job if the selection was done in a transparent manner. He added: “If not, boarding jindabaad!” Continue reading A Young Jumlee’s Dream of Teaching

A Radio Report From Jumla: Information Revolution

A small FM radio station, powered by unreliable electricity and run by a dozen staffs who face daily challenge of providing balanced news, has brought information revolution in one of the most remote parts of Nepal.

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal

Staffs of Radio Karnali FM 105 timko 2 MHz in their office building in Bijaynagar, Jumla. Pics by Wagle

Bijaynagar (Jumla)– “There is a saying in Jumla,” started Prakash Chandra Khatri. “People here came to know of the 1950 revolution in 1951 (saat saal ko kranti bare aath saalma thaha bhayo). The success of the 1990 movement was also known a day later. But people got to know of the April Movement live as it progressed.” Thanks to 105 “timko” 2 MHz, this remote area of mid west Nepal is witnessing a revolution in information in the past few years. A local campus teacher, a young student (transmitting the local news all over the globe), an ex-representative of the people distressed by politics and a bearded Gazal writer are some of the members of “Radio Karnali” who prepare news and programs people living in one of the most remotest part in Nepal. Theirs is a daily struggle to provide balanced news on a station that’s marred by unreliable electricity. Continue reading A Radio Report From Jumla: Information Revolution