Although Nepal has never been a drug-using nation, historical records show the country as a large producer and exporter of marijuana, popularly known as ganja. Most of the production went to markets in India that provided much needed Indian currency to fund imports. There is no reliable data on the volume and earnings from ganja export because of the unofficial nature of much of this trade but one estimate put the figure at three million kilograms annually, valued at Rs 6 billion at street price in India.
Most of this earning accrued to ganja traders both in India and Nepal. Even at a fraction of the value received by Nepali growers, it represented a staggering sum for farming communities along the Indo-Nepal border where little else was available for cash income.
Balzac’s great novel Lost Illusions ends with an exposition of the difference between “official history,” which is “all lies,” and “secret history”—that is, the real story. It used to be possible to obscure history’s scandalous truths for a long time—even forever. Not anymore.
Nowhere is this more apparent than in accounts of the global financial crisis. The official history portrayed the US Federal Reserve, the European Central Bank, and other major central banks as embracing coordinated action to rescue the global financial system from disaster. But recently published transcripts of 2008 meetings of the Federal Open Market Committee, the Fed’s main decision-making body, reveal that the Fed has effectively emerged from the crisis as the world’s central bank, while continuing to serve primarily American interests.
Last week, on the occasion of World Wildlife Day, the Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation (DNPWC) along with national and international stakeholders and conservation officials celebrated ‘365 days of zero poaching’ of rhinos in Nepal. Speaking on the occasion the Director General of DNPWC also revealed the data on smugglers and poachers caught during the year, which reflected the success to find the crooks and punish them.
According to records, of around 3200 one-horned rhinos in the world, Nepal is the home to 534 (Census 2011). Among these, Chitwan National Park shelters 503, Bardiya National Park has 24 and Shukla Phanta Wildlife Reserve, seven rhinos. The population of rhinos has gone up by 99 since 2009. Analyzing the past, turning ‘zero-poaching’ project into a success, however, was not an easy task.
There is just no way Nepali Congress and CPN-UML top leaders can justify the protracted wrangling over who authenticates the draft of the new constitution with a straight face. As we have maintained all along, this essentially is a non-issue. After the constitution is finalized by the sovereign CA, it really does not make any difference who authenticates the final document. It’s just a matter of putting down a signature, no more. The reason this issue has been blown out of proportion has partly to do with both the parties wanting to take credit for promulgating the new constitution, and partly with the zero-sum mentality of the two sets of leaders, whereby conceding even small ground is seen as a colossal loss. Most damagingly, this unseemly (and unwarranted) row has delayed the finalization of the CA Rules of Procedure (that among other things will mention who authenticates the new statute), which in turn has hindered all the CA-related tasks.