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Road Blocks
Transport syndicates

It’s a damning indictment of rule of law in Nepal. Four years after the order from the highest court in the land asking the government to outlaw transport syndicates, such syndicates, instead of shrinking, continue to thrive. Successive governments have chosen to conveniently ignore the problem. It isn’t hard to see why. All our major political parties have strong labor and trade unions. In theory, they are there to look after the interests (of the otherwise powerless) laborers. In reality, our trade unions have morphed into rent seeking monsters that do little for those they were meant to serve. The impact of these self-serving unions is felt most acutely in transport sector where they have colluded to prop up syndicates in both passenger and goods transport. Most worryingly, such unholy alliances lead to hundreds of entirely preventable deaths every year.

In the last five months alone, over 600 people have lost their lives on Nepali roads. According to traffic police, six people die in road accidents in Nepal every day; and an average of 1,800 are killed every year. Besides the tragic loss of life and limb, these accidents have steep economic costs as well. Nepal loses about four billion rupees a year in damages accruing from road accidents.
If Madhesis Ruled
Sukhdev Shah
It’s now all over the world—the recent news from one small town of Missouri state in the US where a white policeman shot dead one 18-year black boy who refused to obey orders to move off the road on to a sidewalk. Another incident happened in New York City where one black person selling cigarettes on a sidewalk was arrested on suspicion of selling drugs and choked to death.

The Jury trial of policemen resulted in no-guilty verdict, despite the general feeling of excessive use of force by police—all of them white.
Dream On
Home in Kathmandu

Everyone dreams of a sweet home. Owning a home comes second after landing a job for many. However, chances of shifting to one’s own home through the earnings of any decent job are slim in Kathmandu and other urban centers. Right to own home without inherited property has remained a pipe dream for many job holders, except some CEOs and top officers in NGOs and INGOs.

Let’s imagine that a person returned to Nepal after getting excellent academic degree from abroad and landed a well-paid job in Kathmandu at an INGO drawing salary of Rs 150,000 per month. Even s/he finds it difficult with his/her income to think of purchasing a piece of land and building a house or buying a readymade home. Ready-to-shift houses are available in the market but the person hardly can think of owning his dream house that costs above Rs 10 million. One has to have disposable income of Rs 125,000 per month for paying loan spread in thirty years with interest rates of 15 percent to purchase a house worth Rs 10 million. Chances are high that the father will retire with unpaid loans of the home, leaving his children indebted if the person now begins to finance for his house. The person also cannot rule out risk of losing the job as well.
Antibiotic Abuse
Dr Santosh Dahal
Antibiotics are one of the marvels of medical science. Commercial availability of antibiotics in 1940s put an end to relentless suffering of mankind from bacterial infections.

Sir Alexander Fleming, the discoverer of antibiotics, had made the following cautionary statements on June 26, 1945, in The New York Times, “The microbes are educated to resist penicillin and a host of penicillin-fast organisms is bred out. In such cases the thoughtless person playing with penicillin is morally responsible for the death of the man who finally succumbs to infection with the penicillin-resistant organism. I hope this evil can be averted.” But the evil is still being perpetrated after all these years. Deaths out of infections resistant to all available antibiotics are increasingly being reported these days.
Not Done
Constitution hurdles
The constitutional process is in serious jeopardy. The much-awaited ‘decisive’ talks among the Big Three on Saturday ended in a shambles when Maoist leaders walked out, following a suggestion from UML Chief KP Oli that the country could not be held hostage indefinitely in the name of consensus. He reiterated his position that if there was no consensus in the next few days, new constitution should be finalized with a two-third majority in the CA. That was not all. What seems to have galled on Maoist leaders in particular was Oli’s objection to the formation of the 19-party opposition ‘pro-identity’ alliance. The old Maoist baiter is known for his loud mouth. Even so, the question of identity is a serious one, and someone with Oli’s political stature would be advised to desist from incendiary remarks like his accusation on Saturday that the Maoists were playing up ‘ethnic federalism’ and “provoking Janajatis to take to the streets.” Such remarks will only increase the bad blood between the two camps. In comparison, Prime Minister and NC President Sushil Koirala appeared conciliatory. He suggested that even while time is running out, there was still room for broad consensus on important issues.
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