Page last updated at 2015-01-28 08:01:20 RSS
  OPINION
Vanishing Act
REPUBLICA
LPG cylinder shortage

The continuing shortage of LPG cylinders in Nepali markets is a great mystery that has so far evaded easy answers. Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC), the oil monopoly, says it has recently increased daily import of LPG cylinders, up from 40,000 a month ago to 70,000 today. The estimated daily national demand is around 56,000 cylinders. So where are the 14,000 missing cylinders? There could be several ways to explain this shortfall.

The Barauni refueling plant of Indian Oil Corporation, which supplies 70 percent of LPG used in Nepal, was closed for repairs for a fortnight earlier this month. This created an acute shortage in the market. But it’s been nearly three weeks since supplies from Barauni resumed, and yet there is an acute shortage of LPG. It would be easy to infer from this that LPG traders are creating artificial shortage by hoarding cylinders, which, according to anecdotal evidence, they have been selling at up to double the going rate of Rs 1,500 for a cylinder. But, interestingly, government market monitors have found that artificial hoarding has played ‘minimal’ role in the current shortage.
Missing Skepticism
Trailokya Raj Aryal
Nepali diplomacy

The tragedy of Nepali diplomacy is that it lacks healthy skepticism vis-à-vis neighbors. We seem to have forgotten the fact that all nations, including our neighbors are driven by their own national interests and that we need to critically analyze their overtures in the context of our national interests. We have failed to question, let alone answer, the reasons behind the newfound Chinese interests in Nepal. Naively, we have swallowed all the diplomatic rhetoric.

The analysts and specialists, for the reasons only known to them, are portraying China as a benign power and a concerned neighbor that wants nothing but economic growth and political stability in Nepal. Not dissimilar to this view is that it wants to portray itself as a reliable development partner to thwart anti-China (read, Free Tibet) activities emanating from Nepali soil. Then there are some who are optimistic about China making us a bridge to connect itself with India which will transform us without exactly explaining how. And we all went gaga when China announced to increase its development aid to us and we are included in its proposed New Silk Road initiative. To summarize, we are led to believe mistakenly that China wants us developed and that its only security concern is the probable rise of Free Tibet activities in Nepal. Let us not kid ourselves: The Chinese state is not that concerned with Free-Tibet activities emanating from Nepal and its reasons for appearing too friendly toward its impoverished neighbor has other security/strategic concerns.
Long Wait
Shambhu Ram Simkhada
The madness witnessed in the Constituent Assembly (CA) is one more episode of the tragic drama of Nepali national self-annihilation, the seeds of which were planted long ago.

Seen outside are only symptoms, the real problem goes deeper. Naturally, prescription without proper diagnosis and prognosis cannot cure the disease. So, one CA fails, you elect another one and it too suffers from the same ailment.
Road To Constitution
Prakash Bhattarai
As feared by a large segment of people, the second Constituent Assembly (CA) also failed to deliver the constitution within the parties’ self-imposed deadline of January 22. This article is an attempt to present some of the broader reasons behind the failure of the CA for delivering a constitution and provide some solutions, which political leaders and other concerned stakeholders may consider as a future roadmap for writing a constitution with best possible consensus.

Key political leaders could not demonstrate enough individual as well as institutional capability to find negotiated solutions to the unresolved issues relating to the constitution-making process. All conditions were favorable for the political leaders yet they failed chiefly because of their own inability and partly because of other factors, such as inter-party and intra-party political rifts. They were incapable of sequencing the negotiation process as well as adequately engaging in simultaneous negotiations.
Infographics: Women In Agriculture
REPUBLICA
Women are the backbone of the rural economy, especially in the developing world. Yet they receive only a fraction of the land, credit, inputs (such as improved seeds and fertilizers), agricultural training and information compared to men. Women, on average, comprise 43 percent of the agricultural labor force in developing countries and account for an estimated two-thirds of the world’s 600 million poor livestock keepers. Here are some infographic details
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