When Republica met Rajendra Sharma, Chief of Flood Forecasting Section at the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology, in his office, he was monitoring water flow in our major rivers on various computer screens. He could not take a break lest he missed an important alert. But if we have such a sophisticated system to monitor floods, what explains such widespread death and destruction witnessed in the past few days in the Tarai? The senior hydrologist shared his insights with Mahabir Paudyal.

Republica's Prashant Lamichhane talked to Rabindra Adhikari, the president of the Parliament's Development Committee about Fewa Lake encroachment:

Republica and Nagarik dailies have in the past one month uncovered many cases of irregularities and corruption, amounting to billions of rupees, in our public entities. But no one has been punished so far. Is corruption in our public entities so pervasive that fighting it is a lost cause? And what is the judiciary’s role in it? Former Chief Justice Sushila Karki who during her nine months in office successfully prosecuted many senior corrupt government officials shared her insights with Mahabir Paudyal.

Among its other duties, the parliament’s Development Committee is responsible for making government agencies accountable for the vital development and infrastructure works they carry out. This includes holding those responsible for the current messy state of the roads of Kathmandu Valley to account. Republica’s Thira L Bhusal and Mahabir Paudyal spoke to the committee chairperson, Rabindra Adhikari, on the state of valley roads. What explains the woeful state of our roads, and can we expect things to get better anytime soon?

In its 54th audit report, Office of the Auditor General had disclosed in April that controversial tax discounts of over Rs 21 billion were provided to different firms and companies by the Tax Settlement Commission (TSC) led by Lumba Dhwaj Mahat. The commission formed in 2015 had decided on the taxes worth Rs 30.52 billion and settled at Rs 9.54 billion. Erstwhile Acting Auditor General Sukadev Bhattarai Khatri took the decision to disclose the issue although they were under great pressure not to do so. The audit report has questioned the opaque tax settlement, which incurred huge loss to the government. Commission for the Investigation of Abuse of Authority (CIAA) has investigated the issue and has recently filed corruption cases against all three members of the TSC at the Special Court and it has sought to recover Rs 10.02 billion from each members. TSC’s member secretary Chudamani Sharma is in custody while Mahat and Umesh Dhakal are at large. Republica’s Rudra Pangeni caught up with Khatri to take insight on various aspects of controversial tax settlements. Excerpts:

Cartographer and scholar on border issues Buddhi Narayan Shrestha brings with him 27 years of experience working in the government’s Department of Survey and 21 years of experience in private land-surveying. Republica’s Mahabir Paudyal caught up with the veteran expert on Nepal’s borders to get his views on the current standoff over Doklam tri-junction between India, China and Bhutan. Are there similar tri-junctions between India, China and Nepal? If yes, how can Nepal forestall a Doklam-like situation?

Dharan is considered a unique town due to its cultural, social and geographical features. In the recently concluded second phase of the local level elections, Tara Subba, CPM-UML candidate garnered maximum votes and was elected as the mayor of Dharan Sub-metropolitan City.

It is said that one reason the ruling Congress-Maoist coalition could not muster two-thirds majority in favor of the constitution amendment bill was the vacillating stand of Rastriya  Prajatantra Party (RPP). Was RPP, as a party, in favor of or against the bill? Is it even one united party? Is it joining the government? What is its stand on key political issues? RPP  President and former Deputy Prime Minister and Foreign Minister Kamal Thapa shared his views with Biswas Baral and Mahabir Paudyal.

Soon after his ten-month-long tenure as health minister came to an end, Nepali Congress Central Committee member Gagan Thapa was busy campaigning for the second phase of local elections. Now that the second phase results are coming in, Congress seems to be trailing its arch-rival, CPN-UML, in overall local level seats and it looks as if the party will have to settle for second place. What explains the losses of Nepali Congress, and what are the party’s strategies for the third round of voting? Separately, what were the achievements of Thapa’s ten months in health ministry, and how was his experience of working as a minister? Mahabir Paudyal and Ashok Dahal met with the Congress leader at his Ratopul home.

The National Climate Change Impact Survey (NCCIS) report released by the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS) last week showed how climate change is badly affecting our agriculture, forests, biodiversity, water resources and energy security. Is the impact of climate change really that serious for Nepal? If so, what can we do to cope, as a country and as individuals? Laxmi Dutt Bhatta, a climate and ecosystem management expert with the International Center for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), shared his views with Republica’s Mahabir Paudyal and Kosh Raj Koirala.