Tag Archives: Kathmandu

Kathmandu is Cruel to Animals

A starved donkey...
Very Hungry….a starved donkey in Nepalgunj.

Today I am taking a break from political blogging to highlight cruelty to animals in Nepal. By Siromani Dhungana/UWB

Whatever may be the rationale behind a cruel act, cruelty cannot be hailed. Nepal’s capital Kathmandu is cruel to animals. Stray dogs, cows, oxen and cats starve to death in this city where hundreds of thousands of humans struggle to make their ends meet. 

These unlucky animals are injured or killed in fights and there are dozens of hit and run cases by speeding vehicles leaving stray animals wounded and severely injured. The question is how long can this cruelty will continue in the capital city?

Recently, staunch animal rights activists duo Pramada Shah  and Lucia de Vries sent me an email including link to a YouTube video (below) in which Nepal Police personnel were involved in brutal killing of a dog. I was deeply shocked by seeing the video in which we can see that officers first shoot at the dog and then bludgeoned it to death with bamboo sticks- all in full view of the public. The incident, in Baluwatar, does not make us feel proud and civilized.

Brutality: On the Street

Continue reading Kathmandu is Cruel to Animals

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Chinese Prime Minister Will Come to Nepal in December

wen jiabao
Wen Jiabao

Chinese Premier Wen Jiabao is arriving in Kathmandu on December 20 on a three-day visit, Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai said on Tuesday. “After the visit of the Chinese Premier, I will visit China,” PM Bhattarai told a select group of journalists. Wen will be the highest-ranking official to visit from Nepal’s immediate neighbours—India and China—since 2001. Earlier, Chinese Premier Zhu Rongji visited Nepal in 2001 and Chinese President Jiang Zemin in 1996.

However, Wen’s detailed itinerary is in the process of finalisation and  Nepali officials have begun consultation to prepare agendas to be raised during the Chinese Premier’s visit. Continue reading Chinese Prime Minister Will Come to Nepal in December

Kathmandu’s (and Nepal’s) Tribhuvan: One of the World’s Most Hated Airports (!)

We agree with CNNgo’s assessment. We also agree with what they have said at the end of their note on Kathmandu’s Tribhuvan: Never mind. The city’s markets and surrounding mountains are lovely. These photos, taken on 11 Nov, are the evidence. Pics by Dinesh Wagle [More photos at the end of this post]

tribhuvan international airport kathmandu nepal
Can you see a plane? Spot the Thai Airways logo. And the airport's international terminal building...

CNNgo recently put Tribhuvan in a list of 10 “world’s most hated airports” along with JFK, LAX and Heathrow. Kathmandu’s (and Nepal’s) only international airport joined in notoriety with those of New York, Los Angeles and London (and Paris too). Continue reading Kathmandu’s (and Nepal’s) Tribhuvan: One of the World’s Most Hated Airports (!)

A Buddha Air Plane, Returning to Kathmandu from a Everest Flight, Crashes on a Hill. All 19 on Board Killed

buddha air plane crash2
At the Buddha Air plane crash site. Pics by Prakash Mathema/AFP

By Deepak Adhikari/AFP

A small aircraft taking tourists on a sightseeing trip around Mount Everest crashed in Nepal on Sunday, killing all 19 people on board, officials said.
The Buddha Air Beechcraft plane carrying 10 Indian passengers, three other foreign tourists, three locals and three Nepali crew crashed into a hillside in heavy rain and fog at Godavari, around 10 kilometres (six miles) from Kathmandu.

“All 19 people have died. The Buddha Air-103 was returning from a mountain flight when it crashed into Kotdada Hill,” said Bimlesh Lal Karna, head of the rescue department at Tribhuwan International Airport.

Continue reading A Buddha Air Plane, Returning to Kathmandu from a Everest Flight, Crashes on a Hill. All 19 on Board Killed

The Earthquake that Rocked Us in Nepal

Read a news report on the quake here र नेपालीमा: भैचालो जसले हामीलाई हल्लायो

By Dinesh Wagle

The scary thing (or good, depending upon how you see things) is that the epicenter of the 6.8 earthquake that rocked Kathmandu and eastern Nepal this evening was, according to the US Geological Survey, 272 kilometers away (east) from Kathmandu. (68 km north west of Gangtok, Sikkim, India). It was so terrifying. (Personally speaking, the Quake Moment was the most scariest I have experienced in a looong time.) Imagine the situation if Kathmandu WERE the epicenter! [Three people have died in Kathmandu, and two in Dharan, after the British Embassy compound wall collapsed. Many people have injured themselves as they tried to ran out of buildings.] Continue reading The Earthquake that Rocked Us in Nepal

Food in Kathmandu (and possibly all over Nepal): Almost Everything’s Contaminated

Trishuli Minerals and Beverage was selling 'mineral water' filtered thorough the filters that didn't exist. Check out the second 'filter' from the top

All Pics by Makar Shrestha

Around 80 per cent of the total 4,113 samples of foodstuff randomly collected from factories and shops across the country failed food quality test in the last fiscal year, while 23 among the 29 categories were found contaminated, according to the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control (DFTQC). According to a DFTQC report, government lab tests even showed presence of radioactive elements in samples of milk packets collected from the market. Products ranging from salt to pickles and chocolates to meat were found substandard and containing high quantity of inedible substances. Forty percent of the samples of refined milk contained harmful bacteria and pesticides, the report says. It further says that samples of “mineral water’ that is sold in jars contained 34 per cent bacteria and 27 percent harmful chemicals. “Seventy percent of the samples of meat products were not fit for consumption,” the report says.

Continue reading Food in Kathmandu (and possibly all over Nepal): Almost Everything’s Contaminated

Nepal banda: Bus burnt in Kathmandu

Bus burnt in Kathmandu, Nepal

Kathmandu: A small group of criminals set a passenger bus on fire at the Manohara bridge early in the morning today (around 4:30 am). The bus was coming out from a garage in Balkot, Bhaktapur, to ply on the Nepal Yatayat route, according to my colleague Makar Shrestha who reached at the stop some 15 minutes after the incident. There are two Nepal Yatayat services- one begins from a planned settlement three kilometers away known locally as Town Planning near Old Sinamangal which itself is referred to as Pepsi Cola because the place hosts the factory of the cold drink major. The other begins from near Koteshwor. I am a daily passenger of the first Nepal Yatayat service. By the time I took this photo the bus had already been taken to Koteshwor traffic police post. Seemed to me that the engine hasn’t been destroyed.

I heard that some vandals attacked a van belonging to Kantipur TV. The attackers identified themselves as the activists of a fringe group called Chure Bhanwar Rastriya Ekata Party (presided by Himalayabhakta Pradhananga), according to a report in eKantipur.com.

This is the first instance of a bus being attacked in Kathmandu valley during banda (general strike) in many months. Today’s strike is called by a Hindu group that seeks to restore Nepal’s status as the world’s only Hindu country. But it seems they are not the only groups that have called banda today because Chure Bhanwar group has also claimed the ownership of the strike. Various outfits calling themselves Chhetri Samaj (a group of Chhetri communities) had also called for strike today only to take back that, according a TV network, yesterday.  –by DW

[This post has been revised.]

Background:

1. From the Constituent Assembly town (two pics)

2. From the Constituent Assembly town (two pics)

3. Kathmandu Valley Banda After a Long Time (Tweets, for the record)

4. Strings of strikes take toll on mid-west dweller

American Cablegate: CRUNCH TIME IN NEPAL?

Reference ID: 06KATHMANDU2587
Created: 2006-09-22 11:11
Released: 2011-03-15 00:12
Classification: SECRET//NOFORN
Origin: Embassy Kathmandu

S E C R E T SECTION 01 OF 02 KATHMANDU 001197

SIPDIS

NOFORN
SIPDIS

E.O. 12958: DECL: 06/18/2017
TAGS: PREL PGOV PTER KDEM MARR IN NP
SUBJECT: NEPAL: INDIAN OFFICIALS TAKE TOUGHER STAND ON
MAOISTS

REF: KATHMANDU 1112

Classified By: Ambassador James F. Moriarty. Reasons 1.4 (b/d).

Summary
——-

¶1. (C) On June 15, Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee confirmed to the Ambassador that the Government of India had taken a tougher line on Maoist abuses. Mukherjee’s recent visit to New Delhi had coincided with the visit of Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal. According to Mukherjee, who sat in on a June 6 meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Mukherjee and MK Nepal, the Foreign Minister had expressed concern that the law and order situation in Nepal continued to deteriorate and Maoist abuses had gone unpunished. Moreover, Foreign Minister Mukherjee had been categorical in his discussion with MK Nepal that the Maoists should not be integrated into the Nepal Army. Ambassador Mukherjee asserted that the GOI would not tolerate continued attempts by the Maoist splinter Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (“”People’s Terai Liberation Front””) (JTMM) to derail the Constituent Assembly election. He agreed that the Maoists had not showed a true commitment to joining the political mainstream.

Indian Foreign Minister Concerned About Maoist Intentions
——————————————— ————

¶2. (C) Indian Ambassador Shiv Shankar Mukherjee told the Ambassador on June 15 that senior Indian officials had voiced concern about ongoing Maoist abuses during Mukherjee’s recent consultations in New Delhi. Similarly, in a meeting between Indian Foreign Minister Pranab Kumar Mukherjee and Communist Party of Nepal – United Marxist Leninist (CPN-UML) General Secretary Madav Kumar Nepal on June 6, the Foreign Minister SIPDIS had confirmed that the leadership of the Government of India (GOI) was increasingly concerned with the deteriorating security situation in Nepal. Maoist abuses needed to be punished. Foreign Minister Mukherjee had told MK Nepal that the seven parties in the governing coalition needed to stay united and take clear steps to prepare for free and fair elections in November. This was the only way, FM Mukherjee had opined, to keep the Maoists in the political process. The Foreign Minister had also made it clear to MK Nepal that the GON should not – under any circumstances – integrate Maoist combatants into the Nepal Army.

Home Minister Will Stay On
————————–

¶3. (C) Foreign Minister Mukherjee had hinted to MK Nepal during their meeting, according to Ambassador Mukherjee, that Home Minister Sitaula needed to do more to address the country’s security situation. The Indian Ambassador speculated that Sitaula had dodged a bullet because the Madhesi People’s Rights Forum (MPRF) had retracted its demand for his resignation. Mukherjee acknowledged to the Ambassador that Sitaula was a big part of the problem; unfortunately, he noted, Sitaula would probably stay on as Home Minister.

JTMM Activity Won’t Be Tolerated
——————————–

¶4. (C) Mukherjee agreed with the Ambassador that the Government of Nepal had to take concrete steps to include marginalized groups in the political process. He also noted that the Janatantrik Terai Mukti Morcha (“”People’s Terai Liberation Front””) (JTMM) should be brought into discussions and convinced to declare a “”revolutionary cease-fire”” to save face. Mukherjee told the Ambassador that the GOI would do “”everything in its power”” to address the situation if the JTMM tried to derail the Constituent Assembly election. Mukherjee felt that Maoist acts of violence would be the single most destabilizing factor leading up to the election. He asserted that the U.S. should stand firm in its decision

KATHMANDU 00001197 002 OF 002

not to communicate with the Maoists, as doing so would only reward bad behavior.

Maoists Not Invited to New Delhi
——————————–

¶5. (S/NF) When asked by the Ambassador whether the Maoists had been invited back to New Delhi for consultations, Ambassador Mukherjee said that officials in New Delhi had refused the informal requests for a visit they had received from Maoist chief Pushpa Kamal Dahal (aka Prachanda). According to Mukherjee, Dahal’s go-betweens were told by the Indian Embassy that it was not the time for a visit to New Delhi because the Maoists had continued to break their commitments to the peace process. The Maoists had reportedly lamented the fact that they had “”lost their former channels”” of communication to New Delhi. In response, GOI officials had made it clear that, since the Maoists had entered into the Interim Government, the intelligence community was no longer their conduit. “”We are the conduit now,”” Ambassador Mukherjee noted, referring to his embassy.

Comment
——-

¶6. (C) The Indian Ambassador continues privately to express much more pessimism about Maoist actions and intentions than in the past (reftel). Mukherjee shared our analysis that the Maoists continue to seek total state power — even if he is not prepared to say so publicly. Foreign Minister Mukherjee’s recent push for CPN-UML leader MK Nepal to maintain seven-party unity and enforce law and order was useful and timely. According to the Indian political counselor, Prime Minister Monmohan Singh was even blunter with MK Nepal, warning him to be wary of the Maoists and urging him to work with Prime Minister Koirala. We hope that a two-pronged message from India and the U.S. could help push the GON to address the current security situation and move quickly toward a November Constituent Assembly election while maintaining guard against Maoist machinations.

MORIARTY

:::::::::::::::::::::::::::::::

Viewing cable 07KATHMANDU1197, NEPAL: INDIAN OFFICIALS TAKE TOUGHER STAND ON

On Wikileaks

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Meaning Behind the Mask

Behind the Mask. The Kathmandu Post
Click to enlarge. TKP:07.03.10

By Dinesh Wagle

I lost my confidence in my nasal hairs last month.

I wonder how my former science teacher would react to this news. Buddha Pramod Rai had full faith in his nasal hairs. While teaching science at Adarsha Janapremi High School in Bhaktapur in the 90s he used speak confidently about their capabilities. “You don’t need to wear a mask,” he used to say. “Trust your nasal hairs. They are capable of stopping dust from entering into your lungs.”

I trusted him till last month.

The last time I wore a mask was in 2005 when I was agitating and blogging against the then autocratic royal government. It was part of a political statement. Journalists were rallying for freedom. They wanted to show, by covering their mouths with black masks, that they didn’t have freedom of expression. As a statement against the autocracy, I kept that photo of mine—mouth covered with a black mask—on the front page of my website for several weeks.

This time around there is no king to protest against.

Now, a mask is a key part of my pollution survival strategy. I wear it whenever I walk on the streets or ride pillion. Over the years, the Kathmandu environment has deteriorated to the extent that it’s almost impossible to walk around in the city without wearing a mask if you don’t want to get sick from air pollution. Vehicles are the primary (and most visible) culprits. With the dark exhaust billowing out of their pipes, most buses (of all forms: micro, mini and large) deserve to be banned from roads. Gurujis lack basic driving etiquette. Somebody needs to tell them, perhaps the traffic police, that keeping the engine running for extended lengths of time (like 10 to 20 minutes) when the bus is not moving is a crime against the environment. It is bad for the economy too—just look at the long queues snaking from the petrol pumps.

Our ‘polluted image’ has gone international.

Internet forums are rife with complaints from foreigners regarding Kathmandu’s environmental condition. “Air pollution in Kathmandu is pretty bad,” writes a traveller on an internet forum. “I felt as if I was standing on the top of the factory chimney facing down.” World-weather-travellers-guide.com writes: “Air pollution in Kathmandu is known to cause considerable respiratory problems for travellers.” Continue reading Meaning Behind the Mask

Bryan Adams in Nepal: Perspective of a Nepali Youth

A brilliant piece on the rockstar’s tour to Nepal.

by Ushaft

The attendants of the at Dasarath Rangashala last week expected no more understanding from the cynics among us than what we are already known to be capable of. The performer hasn’t been known to be an active promoter of drugs like many other rockstars are, and I would be surprised if his lyrics would offend anyone reading this piece. He represents a brand of music bordering between pop and rock, that is easy to understand and popular among many youths in Nepal, a country which is said to have “opened up” after the late 80s’, which incidentally happens to be the hey-days of this artist. This is why I failed to understand the rationale behind all the self -righteous comments, blogs and some video commentaries on the internet, describing why they don’t belong to the crowd that flocked Rangashala in almost an uneducated and outdated manner, at a time when the writers had more important things to do and take care of. All such pieces came from young men and women, inside and outside Nepal, and from both sides of the political spectrum.

One Man’s Trash is Another Man’s Treasure

The economic realities of Nepal’s middle class didn’t allow most children to attend expensive boarding schools and feel-as-one with the western culture, or even the English language. Most of these families used to, and still do live outside Kathmandu, and believe it or not, even the luckiest of people in some of Nepal’s big cities only got to watch Nepal Television years after it started broadcasting in Kathmandu. FM Radios didn’t happen until a few years ago. While Kathmandu was humming the tunes of Def Leppard and AC/DC, many kids in Nepalgunj, Butawal, Dhankuta and Hetauda were still dancing to Mithun Chakravorty’s “I’m a disco dancer,” and later Michael Jackson’s beats, if at all they were dancing or singing. I think kids in other lesser known cities were dancing to Kumar Basnet’s “geets” or the “madals” and flutes in their own locality.

If  I can attend a concert, why can’t my countrymen do that in Nepal?

Few years later, people in mofasal (a nepali word that means: part of the country excluding the capital city)  would move on to boybands and pop music, and more often than not, Bryan Adams’ voice would be the one they’d first listen to. The AC/DC generation would move on too. This process continues today also. A majority of the educated ones from other districts come to Kathmandu after their higher secondary school (earlier, they had to come right after the school, but things have improved a bit) and almost a proportionate number of Kathmandu’s youth leave for the West to pursue their dreams. A country of modern nomads, our people continue to migrate from mountains to hills, from villages to towns, from hills to plains, from outside to inside Kathmandu and from Nepal to abroad. All in search for a better and respectable lives for themselves and their children.

I have observed that that most pundits who loathed the Rangashala crowd are the ones who have themselves already attended rock concerts elswehere. You and I can shrug our shoulders for being trendy cosmopolitans, not knowing who Bryan Adams is, but for many in Kathmandu, the city where thousands of students from all over the country come to study, dream and work, he is still something. When Scorpions (another 80-90s band) toured India 2007, I remember my friends lamenting why western rock bands could not come to Nepal when they could go as far as Shillong. Artists like them tour many parts of the world every year, and people pay money to see them everywhere. This one was the first of its kind for Nepal, and people were naturally excited. It should not have been a big deal.

Let’s talk the issues now

It is always refreshing to have diverse arguments and opinions, but they should not come at the cost of deliberate omissions of facts and fallacies of  reasoning. I agree that the concert tickets were expensive. There was no connection between the concert and Nepal Tourism Year (some people still confuse it with “Visit Nepal Year”) or development and it was just a propaganda, a rather poor one.

It’s not about a concert

Come to think of it, aren’t the reactions brought out by this one concert the symptoms of our other social diseases? Also, if just one concert could evoke such reactions, doesn’t that speak for itself of the more deep-seated issues?

We are a country discovering itself, in search of a new identity. Yes, we are very much in search of even the most insignificant of things that we think makes us visible around the world. We have an obsessive fascination for foreigners and especially fair-skinned people. We think that the world loves us because we are the best country in the world- with a wonderful history, marvelous landscape and amazing people. Did we already forget how some people were killed in the aftermath of a rumor that some actor down South said something bad about us? We are so much in search of our lost (or yet-to-be discovered) pride and recognition. The things we do in search for attention could be compared to a toddler crying for sweet. At the same time, we are also a very young population, almost half of our people were born after the 80s. We are restless, very ambitious and maybe stupid. But our national issues mostly revolve around boisterous arguments over issues that most people never cared about. While our youth population knows what it wants, they perhaps don’t know how to achieve it. Neither does anybody show them the way.

Why humiliate the youths?

In response to a very long general strike called by a political party last year, thousands of youths spontaneously came out to the streets asking for peace and freedom. Everybody knew there were armed goons in the streets to beat and scare them away, there were strong worded warnings and the civil-society’s leaders were literally peeing in their pants (there were on and off rumors of cancellation of the event). By and large, it was a gathering of educated, young (middle class) people, including those who couldn’t attend it. But another day, some top notch leaders called names and criticized those who attended the protest. Almost at the drop of a hat, there were pieces in big media that said that the gathering went a bit too far, carried the agenda of the regressive forces and was made to appear big by the trickery of camera lenses. Nobody defended the young people and even those who used it for their political mileage said no word about clubbed goons in major streets who were intimidating people.

If one has to criticize the way some newspapers crossed the limits while mixing business-promotion and news, one should remember our newspapers also promote the annual pen-drive sales named CAN Infotech, education-consultants’ events and regular (also insignificant) meetings of political parties in similar ways. I despise the way the event organizers were given media space but how no coverage was given to the disrespect Nepali artists had to face at their hands. But let’s not mix symptoms with causes here – these are topics for a separate debate.

Similarly, the spending habit of our people might be another subject of debate, as can be how quick-riches has become more of a norm than exception in our society. Then there’s also how consumers in Nepal are looted at every step, and there’s no monitoring whatsoever these days. But I also know many self-earning, hard-working young people attend the concert- why let our personal biases come in the way of them trying to have some fun?

If we’re a poor country, there are already plenty of things we do that we perhaps shouldn’t be doing. We have lavish and gold-studded marriage parties in Kathmandu, all the imported goods in our malls and expensive Japanese SUVs that crowd our roads. At a time when our exports have hit rock bottom, we have the most corrupt leaders in history and a lifestyle where we can’t grow our own vegetables. At the same time, we have public commentators who criticize the youths for attending a concert, as if a crime was committed. Let’s not compare apples and oranges- attending a concert of a artist you admire is one thing, and its another thing if the media blew the story out of proportion or if I smell foul in the way the concert is organized and promoted. As goes a popular movie quote, I missed the part where that’s my (concert-goer) problem.

A friend tweeted last week, about the way concert goers were criticized: it is as if we are entitled to live in agony, always talk about poverty, beg for fund and rant about bad politics. Of course, anyone who takes the newspapers too seriously should not forget that some of them sold us a bloody war, many of them sold us a futile revolution and went on to their usual business when things started getting less interesting.

[This article was originally published in Ushaft’s blog.]