The 36 kilometer road from Mugling to Narayanghat has been under construction for over two years now. More than 7,000 vehicles pass through this section every day, directly affecting the lives of thousands of people. After Prithvi Highway, this road serves as a major lifeline to Kathmandu. However, landslides due to heavy rain along the Mugling-Narayanghat stretch have made it worse for travelers who have to wait for hours to reach their destinations.
If your dream is to be a successful Olympian, South Asia would be among the worst places on the planet to be born into. The eight SAARC member countries, the home to one in five people on earth, didn’t win a single gold medal at the 2012 London Olympics. With the exception of India (two bronze, four silver) and Afghanistan (one bronze), the six other countries did not win a medal of any kind. Historically, too, the Olympic record of every SAARC country has been woeful. This is one way to make sense of Nepal’s habitual under-achievement in Olympics.
Pushpa Kamal Dahal could become the prime minister of a new coalition government as early as Wednesday. The parliament initiated the process for formation of a majority government on Monday when the deadline given by the president for a national consensus government expired. With so many political parties vying to join the new government, possibly even the constituent parties of Madheshi Morcha, it will be difficult for Dahal to share portfolios.
To internalize the great risk of speeding in our highways one need only board an outbound microbus at Kalanki. Hop on board one bound for Pokhara or Butwal. Then be prepared for a ride to hell. No sooner has the microbus left Kalanki, the driver guns it, madly twisting and turning the vehicle at unseemly speeds to avoid the rush of oncoming traffic. The most dangerous bit is not the demonic speed
New cholera cases have been detected in Kathmandu Valley over the past one week. The Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) under the Department of Health has confirmed cholera in 21 people. But the actual number of infected, the division warns, could be many times more.
As we went to press on Wednesday, at least 50 people had already been killed in floods and landslides right around the country. The unusually heavy rains this monsoon have swollen all the major river systems in Nepal to dangerous levels. With heavy rain forecast for at least one more month, the country has to brace for the worst and prepare accordingly. The Prime Minister’s Office has directed local authorities to work with the respective district disaster relief committees (DDRC) in order to make search, rescue and rehabilitation efforts more effective. To expedite these efforts, it has written to various ministries not to grant leave to civil servants in affected areas. Likewise, security forces have now been mobilized in all flood-affected regions.
With CPN (Maoist Center) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal scheduled to take over government leadership from KP Sharma Oli in the near future, what should be the priority of the new coalition government? The first priority, in our view, has to be to try to adjust the concerns of the protesting Madheshi and Janajati outfits in the new constitution. This should be easier for Dahal than it was for Oli, who had, rightly or wrongly, come to be seen as “anti-Madheshi”. The big challenge for Dahal on this front will be to sell the reworked federal map to Oli and his CPN-UML party, which will now be in the opposition after the recent Maoist ‘betrayal’. A breakthrough is possible as there is now a realization, right across the political spectrum, that all the sides will have to be flexible if there is to be a viable constitutional settlement. We learn that four or five separate options on redrawing federal boundaries are now being discussed. A change of guard in Kathmandu could be the prod that finally solves the federal puzzle.
It was a classic case of David versus Goliath. Dr Govinda KC of Tribhuvan University Teaching Hospital was single-handedly taking on the entrenched medical mafia. In the arsenal of the frail sexagenarian was nothing but his unshakable moral conviction, built over an impeccable career founded on selfless devotion to the sick and the needy. But in the end, this proved enough to transform the way medicine is practiced in the country. Dr KC believed that the medical sector these days had become commercialized and urban-centric and it had become nigh impossible for those of limited means, or the vast majority of Nepalis, to get affordable and reliable healthcare. This is why the most recent agreement between Dr KC and the government comes as a music to the ears of all those who had supported his lone crusade against the medical mafia. The new agreement provisions for at least one medical college in each (future) federal province; it brings the controversial Manmohan Medical College under the ambit of Bir Hospital; it provisions for 50 percent free seats in government-run medical colleges; and it forestalls the likely construction of new medical colleges inside Kathmandu valley for a decade.
Nepal is highly vulnerable to climate change. All its major rivers are snow-fed, originating in the high Himalayas bordering China’s Tibet. As the snow cover up in the mountains steadily recedes, less water flows into the rivers downstream during the winter season.