Pokhara is a wonderful place to be this time of the year. With the mercury dipping a notch around Dashain, those who visit the scenic city in Western Nepal can expect a comfortable temperature, even as Kathmandu is starting to get a little too chilly.
The hush-hush manner in which the ruling parties have gone about the task of amending the new constitution has created suspicions among common folks that their top leaders are once again up to no good. Various aspects of the proposed amendments, which are now apparently being discussed among top leaders of major political forces, have come out in popular press.
The two-month stretch starting with Gatasthapana, the first day of Dashain which falls on October 1st this year, is a time of festivities, first with Dashain, soon to be followed by Tihar and Chhat. Businesses around the country witness brisk sells, as people look to stock up on foodstuff, buy new clothes, even new vehicles, or add a new coat of paint on their homes. What people buy, of course, depends on their purchasing power. For some families Dashain might be an opportunity to buy a new car under one of the many eye-catching schemes on offer. For others it might mean an occasion to eat meat, this one time in the entire year.
The title of a World Bank report on Nepal published back in May said it all. The report, titled Remittance at Risk, warned that a potential slowdown in remittance poses “a significant near-term risk to Nepal because of its outsized role in the Nepalese economy”.
Nepal’s foreign policy is in a complete mess. Following last year’s border blockade, relations with India reached perhaps an all-time low. Despite the ouster of the ‘anti-India’ Oli government, Nepal’s most important foreign relation is still strained, as was evident in the controversial joint communiqué issued at the end of Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal’s recent India visit.
Those who create terror in society with their criminal acts are terrorists. And they should be dealt with as such. The only place they belong is jail. In recent times criminals in Nepal have been using various political covers to justify their crimes. Some claim to be using terror for the political rights of certain ethnic communities.
The omens don’t look good as today, September 20th, the country marks a year of the promulgation of the new constitution. The all-party meeting that Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had called for Monday had to be cancelled after Madheshi parties refused to take part, saying that they were busy with their own programs to mark the ‘black day’.
No sooner than Prime Minister Pushpa Kamal Dahal had touched down in Kathmandu on Sunday after his four-day official visit to India, he was preparing to leave again. Today, he heads out again for the 70th session of the United Nations General Assembly (UNGA) in New York at the end of September. We learn that he could be gone for up to two weeks.
Potentially millions of Nepalis will be on the road this Dashain. As much as half the Kathmandu valley’s population of around 3 million could be heading out, in four-wheelers of various shapes and sizes, out and away through the crowded Kalanki junction. They will be in for a rocky ride.
Article 33 of the new constitution ensures the right to employment for all Nepali citizens. But whatever the supreme law of the land says, it is nigh impossible for any country, let alone an LDC like Nepal, to guarantee employment for all its citizens.