The relay hunger strike of the constituent parties of the protesting Federal Alliance at Khullamanch in Kathmandu is now over a month old. During this time the government of KP Sharma Oli has repeatedly called on the protestors to come sit for dialogue.
Infertile land, difficult terrains, earthquake-prone, and frequent witness to floods and landslides: the odds are stacked against Sindhupalchowk district.
So despite being so close to Kathmandu it is among the least developed districts in Nepal. During last year’s earthquakes, nearly 3,600 people were killed there, the most among the 14 hardest-hit districts; 97 percent of its houses were either partially or completely damaged. Most dismaying for Sindhupalchowk has been post-quake closure of the Tatopani border with China, which in many ways is the district’s lifeline. Before that, in 2014, over 150 people perished in landslides in the district’s Jure VDC. In the most recently landslides at Tatopani, the foundations of around 100 houses on the Kodari highway have been eaten away; it’s only a matter of time before they tumble down into the raging Bhotekoshi below. With the forces of nature so heavily ranged against the district, it is also hard to see what practical steps can be taken to ensure continued livelihood of around 300,000 people who call it their home.
It’s an ingenious concept; sounds good, too. In the words of the World Bank, “nutrition experts worldwide have determined that the window of opportunity for improving nutrition is small, i.e., the first 1,000 days from the first day of pregnancy through the first two years of life”.
Climbing Mount Everest is expensive. For a good reason. It is the highest peak in the world. Those who want to have the rare privilege of scaling it must, goes the justification, be ready to pay a price that is as steep as the arduous climb.
Every day, one Nepali migrant worker dies in Malaysia. A Nepali worker dies every alternate day in Qatar while they die at the rate of five a month in the UAE. And they die young. The average age of Nepali migrants who die abroad is just 30 years.
The tragedy that unfolded at the Pushpanjali Boarding School located at Lalitpur’s Toukhel on Friday, leading to the deaths of two young students and injuries to 20 others, perfectly epitomizes the great risk school-going students face in the 14 districts affected by last year’s earthquakes.