Will India Allow Nepal-Bangladesh Trade?

After agreeing to a rail link between Nepal and Bangladesh, will India allow the two countries to use that?It didn’t happen in 1976 when Bangladesh and Nepal signed a transit agreement for boosting bilateral trade but failed to implemented it as India did not allow its territory to be used for passage at that time. Here’s a report that appeared in a Bangladeshi newspaper that caught our attention:

Doubt over benefit from Nepal rail link: Bangladeshi paper

Analysts emphasise two-way transit, use of Chittagong and Mongla ports by the Himalayan country. By Sajjadur Rahman/ The Daily Star (Bangladesh)

A rail transit between Bangladesh and Nepal, as desired by India at the foreign secretary level talks in Dhaka, could only be fruitful if Nepal is given a go-ahead for external trade through the use of Bangladesh’s Mongla and Chittagong ports, say analysts.

“This is not very clear whether Nepal will be allowed to use Bangladesh ports for its exports and imports,” said Dr M Rahmatullah, a noted transport expert and former director (transport) of the UN Economic and Social Commission for Asia and the Pacific (Escap).

No side will benefit from the proposed transit facility unless the Himalayan landlocked country does its foreign trade via Bangladesh, viewed Mustafizur Rahman, executive director of the Centre for Policy Dialogue (CPD).

“What I have understood from the talks it must be a two-way traffic and Nepal should be allowed to go to a third country via Bangladesh,” said Rahman of the private think tank. Continue reading Will India Allow Nepal-Bangladesh Trade?

New American in Nepal: Scott H. DeLisi

scott h delisi

Scott H. DeLisi has become the latest Internet celebrity. A Google search of the term “Scott H. DeLisi” displays 12,400 results as of 17/11 21:30 Nepal Standard Time. Now, remove “Nepal” from that result, (“Scott H DeLisi” -Nepal), the number drops to 5,950. [And 5,910 for “Scott H. DeLisi” +Nepal as of 23:25 NST, soon after this entry was posted online.] It is because his name has been associated with Nepal since this morning as the news started making rounds on the web that President Barack Obama intends to nominate Mr. DeLisi as American ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal [That’s the official name our country, Nepal, if you didn’t know that!].  A press release issued by the White House Press Secretary’s office today said: “Today, President Barack Obama announced his intent to nominate the following individuals to key administration posts:

·         Julie Brill, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

·         Edith Ramirez, Commissioner, Federal Trade Commission

·         Scott H. DeLisi, Ambassador to the Federal Democratic Republic of Nepal, Department of State

·         Beatrice W. Welters, Ambassador to the Republic of Trinidad and Tobago, Department of State

·         Earl F. Gohl, Jr., Federal Co-Chair, Appalachian Regional Commission

That announcement has been widely reported by the Nepali and Indian media on their web outlets (Print versions, mostly in Nepal and on Front pages, will come tomorrow). Two foreigners become celebrity, instantly, in Nepal the moment their names are announced as the ambassadors to Nepal by their respective countries: America and India. They are treated somewhat differently (and sometime as the two sides of a coin by some) in Nepal. American is perceived as, let’s put it this way, “the ceremonial head of state with limited executive power” where as the Indian “executive head of state with unlimited executive power”. Both of these perceptions are ONLY partly true. But true nevertheless. Both of the ambassadors’ words, body languages and intentions (expressed or otherwise) are closely watched, scrutinized and analyzed in the vibrant Nepali media and chaotic political circus. As Nepali polity is further polarized primarily because of selfish leaders who are engaged in endless fighting (that is exploited or sometime created by our friendly neighbor), it can be said that Nepal will only be more dependent on foreign “advices” and be subjected to outside interventions in the days to come. Sad but true. Continue reading New American in Nepal: Scott H. DeLisi

Height of Lawlessness in Nepal

A few days ago a minister of state, Karima Begam, publicly slapped a senior government official in latter’s office for not sending a better car to pick her up at the airport. Today the Prime Minister directed the Home minister not to take action against the culprit. Prime Minister chooses to save his chair at rather than performing his duty to uphold the law of the land. Nepal, the country, is doomed, friends.

durga prasad bhandari

karima begam

Today: Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal has directed Home Minister Bhim Rawal not to take action against State Minister Karima Begam who physically assaulted a senior government official, fearing an imbalance in the political equation in the coalition government he leads, eKantipur reports. According to a source, the PM told the Home Minister that any action at present might affect the equation in the coalition. State Minister for Agriculture and Cooperatives Begam represents Madhesi Janadhikar Forum-Loktantrik, the third largest party in the UML led coalition.

Tuesday, Nov 10: Karima Begam assaulted Durga Prasad Bhandari, the Chief District Officer (CDO) of Parsa. An enraged Begam grabbed Bhandari’s shirt collar and slapped him four times for sen-ding an old vehicle to receive her at Simara Airport. She was in the district to attend a programme. “I was preparing to welcome her when she attacked me without even hearing my explanation,” Bhandari said. He claimed the vehicle sent to receive the state minister was recently repaired and in good condition. Continue reading Height of Lawlessness in Nepal

Kathmandu Life: A Drunken Maoist on the Bus

The opposition Maoist party organized massive gatherings recently to stop ministers and government officials from entering Singhadurbar complex, the official seat of the government of Nepal. Shouting of slogans were supplemented by songs and dances. The dancers included Maoist chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal ‘Prachanda’ and Nepali film actress Rekha Thapa. The crowds were jubilant. But not all participated spontaneously. It seems the revolutionary party that prides for having wide range of supporters had paid people to participate in its protest program. Here’s a story:

By Prateebha Tuladhar

As the driver clutched the brakes, the old man’s head banged against mine. And a whiff of pungent, alcohol-drenched breath sunk into my throat. I wanted to puke. In self defence, I put out my hand and held the man by his shoulder, meaning to keep him at an arm’s length.

Two women who were standing nearby told the man to behave himself. But they were confronted with euphemism and adjectives telling them how men had the liberty to touch whatever and whoever they wanted. The sexual innuendos were a complete turn-off and I put down my hand and stood back as far as possible from him, in a bus that was crowded with passengers, as though it was the last bus home.

I realized what the women and I did to keep the man at bay, had actually had a reverse impact on him. And what began was drama. Continue reading Kathmandu Life: A Drunken Maoist on the Bus

Nepal Needs to be Hindu Nation with Monarchy

UWB doesn’t agree with some of the ideas put forward by the writer of this comment, Dirgha Raj Prasai, which originally appeared here as a response to a UWB commentator. But we like to hear all kinds of opinions.

Dear Basti jee !

Why would there be a need of a King if Nepal can survive without it? But Nepal should not be compared to other nations. Monarch is Nepal’s alternate power. Nepal does not demand an autocratic royal institution but a pro-people institution. The institution of monarchy is such a force that fights off imperialist force to create a greater Nepal. The King of Nepal never sold the nation, pleaded before foreigners nor killed the people and will never do so. I wouldn’t have said so if I was a citizen of Japan or any other nation, I would have said that the nation will survive without the monarchy, but I am in Nepal. The geographical and class reality of Nepal is such, that the absence of monarchy would mean there will be no Nepal. Continue reading Nepal Needs to be Hindu Nation with Monarchy

Protests: Nepali vs Indian

They have bandas in India too, but they don’t trash the city to make their point: What’s wrong with us? Don’t we have anything constructive to do than hit the streets and shout slogans all the time? We now have the democracy and freedom that we so passionately fought for. We voted so enthusiastically and gave the ex-rebels the largest position in parliament. We did away with the monarchy that we thought was the only obstruction to our progress. Still the general public is suffering. Why?

By Dinesh Wagle
Wagle Street Journal
This article first appeared in today’s Kathmandu Post. Here’s the PDF version of the page.

kathmandu protests and demonstrations

The state government of Delhi recently hiked public bus fares in an astonishing manner. The Delhi Metro rail, a major medium of public transportation in the Indian capital, quickly followed suit. Prices of consumer goods are also going up, and the general sentiment is resentment against the establishment for its inability to curb rising prices. The opposition Bharatiya Janata Party (BJP) called a Delhi banda on Friday. Guess what happened on the banda day. Dozens of cars smashed, pro-banda activists pelting stones at shop owners who refused to close their businesses, breaking railings on the streets? Nothing like that happened. Coming from Nepal where such things are an inseparable part of any banda and bandas themselves a part of life, I was mildly surprised to see such a peaceful banda and way of protest in Delhi. The BJP, not an ideal political party in itself, but that’s a separate issue, only requested business owners and people to mark the banda, there was no force used. And, stunningly for me, the party said beforehand that there would be no inconvenience for the general public during the banda. Continue reading Protests: Nepali vs Indian

Second Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat

…and President denies Maoist allegation

The two-day Singhadurbar gherao of the Maoist ended today peacefully with their chairman Prachanda issuing a threat against the government that his party would start intensified third phase of the movement in a week (20 Nov) if their demands were not met. Wrapping up their picket from Singhadurbar, the official seat of the government of Nepal, the Maoist cadres from different entry points of the sprawling complex marched towards the exhibition road to listen to Prachanda. The Maoist had brought thousands of cadres from different parts of Nepal before the crack of the dawn.

Ministers and several top bureaucrats including the Home minister Bhim Rawal, reportedly reached at his office at 6 am to avoid the blockade. But public transportation was largely affected in the capital. General people were forced to rush towards their destinations a few hours earlier as its uncertain what’s going to happen next. Thousands of police were deployed at different parts of the city. Yesterday some cadres clashed with police personnel after, what the police said, they tried to overstep the prohibited area, leaving around one hundred persons injured. Continue reading Second Phase of Maoist Agitation Ends With a Threat

Maoists at the Gates of Singhadurbar

Many people in Kathmandu who were affected by the traffic jam caused by the Maoists today expressed their anger in personal conversation and twitter even as ex-rebels sang, danced and recited poems while picketing at the front gate of the central administrative complex of Nepal.

Thousands of Maoist cadres reached in front of Singha Durbar (the central secretariat complex). Their leader, the chairman of the Unified CPN (Maoist) Pushpa Kamal Dahal Prachanda) went later to encourage them. The Maoists are running the second phase of their protests aimed at establishing ‘civilian supremacy’ in the country. Others feel they are just trying to establish their own supermacy. The bad thing is they plan to do the same tomorrow (Friday) as well. Maoists intended to stop ministers and government employees from entering the office complex. But the ministers and secretaries entered Singhadurbar prior to the commencement of protest. Continue reading Maoists at the Gates of Singhadurbar

Ian Martin asks: Is Peace Process in Nepal Failing?

Ian MartinFIVE Fundamentals of Nepali Peace Process, according to Ian Martin:

The first fundamental is the commitment to power-sharing and consensus. The second fundamental is the commitment of the Maoists to the transformation of their movement, to conform to democratic multi-party norms and to respect the rule of law. The third, the commitment to transformation in the security sector: to the “integration and rehabilitation” of former Maoist combatants, and to an action plan for “democratisation” of the Nepali Army. The fourth, the commitment to political, economic and social transformation, where the Comprehensive Peace Agreement set out a radical and ambitious agenda. The fifth and last fundamental is the commitment to address the needs of victims of the conflict, and to build the rule of law by ending impunity.

By Ian Martin
[Martin is former Special Representative of the Secretary-General in Nepal for the United Nations Mission in Nepal]

In recent days there have been calls for the revision of the Comprehensive Peace Agreement, accusations and counter-accusations that it is being broken by Maoist agitation or threats of mobilisation of the Army, and calling into question even of the 12-point Understanding which was the very foundation of the peace process. It is thus timely to ask whether the peace process is failing; if so, why; and what is required to save it.

I no longer speak for the UN on Nepal, and I want to make very clear that I am speaking only for myself. I do so solely as a friend of Nepal, and as someone who deeply wants to see Nepal go forward in peace, respect for human rights, and socio-economic progress for all its diverse peoples.

I want to try to address what I regard as the larger underlying issues of the peace process in Nepal, which I believe is the way to address the question of what needs to be done to get it back on track.

Five aspects of the peace agreements have been unchanging and are fundamental, and it is the extent to which they have been respected or not respected which I want to examine this evening. Continue reading Ian Martin asks: Is Peace Process in Nepal Failing?

Maoists Enforce Kathmandu Blockade

They want to establish ‘civilian supremacy’ in Nepal but they want to do that the cost of people’s right to live peacefully. The Maoists today began second phase of their agitation aimed at bringing down the current government by enforcing blockade in the Kathmandu valley. They have picketed at the entry-exit points in the Kathmandu valley. The pre-announced “blockade” began early morning with flag-waving Maoists gathering at Thankot and Sanga, reports Republica. As a result, vehicles coming to and fro the capital have been stranded at the entry points. There is heavy presence of police at Thankot and Sanga. Continue reading Maoists Enforce Kathmandu Blockade