The Nepal Digest - Feb 8, 1995 (24 Magh 2051 BkSm)

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Date: Tue Feb 07 1995 - 08:21:38 CST


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The Nepal Digest Wednesday 8 Feb 95: Magh 24 2051 BkSm Volume 36 Issue 6

  Today's Topics:

        1. Letter To The Editor
        2. TAJA_KHABAR - News From Nepal
        3. Articles - Development Issues
        4. KURA_KANI
                 Education - New VC in TU
        5. KHOJ_KHABAR
                 Namaskar Hairsharan Poudel - Om Gurung
                 Namaskar Prakash Shakya - Kishore Upreti

 ******************************************************************************
 * TND Board of Staff *
 * ------------------ *
 * Editor/Co-ordinator: Rajpal J. Singh a10rjs1@mp.cs.niu.edu *
 * SCN Liaison: Rajesh B. Shrestha rshresth@black.clarku.edu *
 * Consultant Editor: Padam P. Sharma sharma@plains.nodak.edu *
 * Discussion Moderator: Ashutosh Tiwari tiwari@husc.harvard.edu *
 * Memberlist Archives: Sudeep Acharya sa01@engr.uark.edu *
 * TND Archives: Sohan Panta k945184@atlas.kingston.ac.uk *
 * Book Reviews Columns: Pratyoush R. Onta ponta@sas.upenn.edu *
 * *
 * The Nepal Digest(TND) is a publication of the Nepal Interest Group for *
 * news and discussions about issues concerning Nepal. All members of *
 * nepal@cs.niu.edu will get a copy of TND. Membership is open to all. *
 * THE EDITOR RESERVES THE RIGHT TO EDIT ARTICLES FOR CLARITY. *
 * *
 * +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
 * "If you don't stand up for something, you will fall for anything" -Dr. MLK *
 * "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" - Sirdar_RJS_Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************

********************************************************************** Date: 6 Feb 1995 To: The Nepal Digest <nepal@mp.cs.niu.edu> Subject: KHOJ_KHABAR

dear editors and other friends,

        could you please help me find out the telephone number or e-mail address of mr. Harisharan paudel at illinois university, dpeartment of mining engineering at Carbondale. Mr. Paudel is an m.s student in illinois university. if any of you know about him and his address, please send it to me. I have an important message from Krishna pahari from ait bangkok for him.

Thanks lot for your big help. Om Gurung

************************************************************ Date: Mon, 06 Feb 1995 21:27:00 EST To: The Editor <nepal-request@cs.niu.edu> From: Kishor Uprety LEGAF 80146 <KUPRETY@worldbank.org> Subject: RE: The Nepal Digest - Feb 7, 1995 (23 Magh 2051 BkSm)

I would appreciate it if you could forward this message to Mr. Prakash M. Shakya, Sydney. Thanks

Prakash, Hi !

Pleased to know that you are at present in Sydney. Please send me your Email address.

Regards, Kishor Uprety Washington
 
********************************************************************** Date: Mon, 06 Feb 95 17:41 EST To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: "Balkrishna.Sharma" <23012BKS@msu.edu> Subject: Publication of TND member-list

I understand that TND does not have policy to publish the updated list of members periodically because some of the members wish not to do so. I also see that there are several requests asking for a updated list. Is it not possible to publish the list by removing those member's email which want to remain
'unlisted'? This way, those who want to keep their email unpublished can do so and at the same time those who wish to get a list can get it as well. I hope TND-board of members would consider such a change in policy-Bal Krishna Sharma

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****************************************************************** Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 19:34:54 -0800 (PST) From: Stephen Bezruchka <sabez@u.washington.edu> To: Nepal Digest <nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Development Issues

I enjoy the Digest very much. It is refreshing to hear Nepalis outside of Nepal intellectualizing about important issues. What do people in Nepal think who don't have email? What is attached,"Let's Discuss Development" is written by a Nepali working in the Far West, who has tried to work with local people via an NGO. He has faced many of the same issues that bedeshis do, given his background, and periods of time spent outside of Nepal. I wonder how many of the Nepalis who contribute to the Nepal Digest would be willing to do what Devendra has done, namely come to grips with the realities of trying to work for his people, and not be an office walla in Kathmandu? I hope readers may be stimulated to carry on a dialogue with him, via snail mail, for it will be a long time before email is available in Bhajang.

Getting to know Devendra and his sister Sujata has helped dispell preconceptions of educated elite Nepalis and development issues.

maya namarnu hola Stephen Bezruchka

LETUS DISCUSS DEVELOPMENT

PERSONAL BACKGROUND I was educated in England and spent all my formative years in that country. During that time I had very little contact and hence little understanding of Nepal and its society. It has only been since my return to the country at the end of 1989 that I have begun to understand the complexities of the country, I am still learning. The grassroots development work that I have been undertaking in the Far West of Nepal for the past three years is part and parcel of that learning process.

PROJECT BACKGROUND In mid-1991 some friends and I established RUdaya- Himalaya NetworkS. It is a non-governmental organisation
(NGO) which is registered in Kathmandu. At present it is working in Bajhang District, Far West Nepal.It has been there since the end of 1991. Initially it began with me going out there and spending a year finding out about the situation, the power structures, social norms, economy, resource management systems and getting to know the people. It was only in the second year (around October 1992) that UHN actually began to implement programmes. At that time we undertook a relatively big (for us) project. This Project encompassed four distinct areas of Bajhang District. But the focus of our activities remained in our original three VDCs. Analysis of this Project and its impact led us to believe that our efforts would be more fruitful if we concentrated our energies in one small area rather than trying to expand too quickly or to work in too big a geographic area. So, since October 1993 we have only been working in 3 VDCs. Though we have given our efforts a title : RMotivation-Mobilisation for Self- Reliant CommunitiesS project, it is in reality a medley of programmes which have different, but overlapping life- cycles. Among them are; adult literacy and classes for neo-literates, women savings groups, drinking water project, student sponsorship, vegetable gardening and human resource development (exposure visits, trainings).

THE PURPOSE OF THIS ESSAY The topics raised below are the result of some soul- searching, the direct product of my experiences undertaking development work and of my educational background. They have been put on the board to solicit feedback. I would be specially grateful for any comments from those who have had field experience in Nepal or development -related projects in other parts of the world. My contact address is : Devendra S Rana Udaya-Himalaya Network P.O.Box 6748 Kathmandu.
(Sorry no fax or e-mail !)

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CULTURAL IMPERIALISM.
 People are, if nothing, survivalists afraid to move away from Rtradition-sanctifiedS behavior due to potential retribution (in the form of social ostricisation) from their Society. However, in our office a number of novel and contradictory concepts are being introduced. For instance, I strongly push the concept of each staff taking individual responsibility for their work. If they do right they get the credit / acknowledgment. If they do wrong I want to know why without them making a million excuses. I want them to think positively and to come up with ideas on how to overcome the problem encountered rather than bemoaning their fate. In a society where oneUs actions are thought to be pre-ordained / fated the introduction of individual behavior contrary to this belief may be considered as cultural imperialism.
         The belief that one should follow the wishes / opinions of the village elders or leaders is strongly ingrained, for example, during the just concluded elections, people first found out how Rthe villageS planned to cast their vote before voting the same way. But in our office it doesnUt work like that. If the staff feel that the RhakimS (boss) is wrong they can say so. They are empowered to question decisions. This overturns the notion of blind obedience to oneUs seniors.
         On top of these notions I have bought with me the belief that all human beings are equal. This means that the caste system is abhorrent to me and the idea of women being inferior plain silly. These notions are fundamental to my actions in the village - I sleep in Lower Caste houses, eat with them, and try to work with them. Though I expect the staff to do the same there is no compulsion
(except for maybe in their minds). Till the present only one out of nine staff members has wholeheartedly followed my lead.
        A major concern of mine is that with my educational background and upbringing in Western society do I, firstly, have the requisite understanding of rural Hindu society ?, and secondly, am I imposing a work ethic and a way of working that is inappropriate for the situation in the village ? In other words cultural imperialism. Is it right for me to challenge society in such a way ? Or to impose my views in such a manner ? Though I am questioning my own behavior the fundamental question must be, R which is the more appropriate lifestyle ?S - western (by this I mean the Protestant/ Calvinist work and individualistic ethics) or the eastern (referring particularly to rural-Hindu society) for the area where I am working and as we approach the second millennium
(according to the Gregorian calendar).

MANPOWER. One of the major problems that UHN has encountered in project implementation has been in recruiting skilled manpower. By this we do not mean graduate level people, just those with a modicum of understanding or development-related experience. There are no such skilled people in the District. Recruiting from outside is proving difficult - people have a set image of a Rdurgam chetraS (remote area) being one of unmitigated hardship. Inducement to come and work in Bajhang seems to be solely dependent on financial reward rather than job satisfaction , improved chances for skills enhancement, or better biodatas. Anyway, the local NGOs (Nepali organisations registered under the 2034BS RSansthaS Act of whatever size or institutional background )can never compete with international NGOs such as CARE/ Nepal, ActionAid, United Mission to Nepal, Redd Barna etc who offer much higher remuneration, better benefit packages, more prestige and greater opportunities for overseas travel. This is where people with experience go to or aspire for. So what are the potential remedies ? Better pay ? Training of local people ? Implementation of development programmes solely by local NGOs ? We have to try to find an answer to the question of manpower shortage. Otherwise development activism at the grassroots level is going to, literally, take centuries as workers gain in experience and move onto more lucrative jobs (who can blame them ?). The loss of Rinstitutional memoryS as result of the staff turnover is a serious handicap for the sustainability and growth of NGOs and for continued grassroots activism. Has anyone got any thoughts on these points ?

         BETTER PAY SCALES - how do we decide what the correct levels are ? should it be equivalent to HMG or international NGO scales ? Do you think donors will be prepared to pay equivalent salary rates to local NGO staff ? Will relatively high pay scales (in comparison to HMG salaries) create friction in the village or what about inflation ? If NGO staff do get competitive salary rates, what would be the difference between them and consultants ? - is there any difference now ?

        TRAINING OF LOCAL PEOPLE - shouldnUt this be the aim of all NGOs ? But most peopleUs idea of a training is to put the trainees in a room and get someone with a higher education to lecture to them - much like what happens in Nepali schools and campuses. Maybe this is because there are so few trainers with the necessary facilitation and participatory training skills ? Limited numbers means that they cannot meet the demand. Fortunately, some international NGOs have long recognised the need for in- house training capacity and have developed the necessary facilities. These are slowly being made available to local NGOs, but even so, much more is required. The need is also being partially fulfilled by private, profit- making training consultants, however, these are beyond the financial means of grassroots NGOs. To compound to the above problems NGOs working in remote areas have added difficulties :

        a/ Communication. Programmes in Nepal seem to remain undecided till the very last minute. This means that Organisations working in areas where the nearest phone is a dayUs walk only hear about programmes after they have already taken place.

        b/ Expenses. Trainings usually take place in locations which have the following criteria; electricity, accessibility, accommodation and training facilities. This rules out the vast majority of the country. For us at UHN the cost of sending two participants (people do not like to go to unfamiliar areas by themselves) to Kathmandu or Pokhara can be upto Rs. 8,000 for a week long course.

        Leave project implementation to local NGOs - the gap in salary scales between local and international NGOs is indicative of the vast difference in their resource bases. The international NGOs will always have more financial clout. This attracts both the rural communities and development workers to the detriment of building up local NGOs. A conversation with a politician recently is instructive. He mentioned that his NGO had requested a foreign volunteer from UNDP, as had all the Nepali NGOs who were involved in that particular Project. Unfortunately his NGO had received a Nepali volunteer instead of an expat. Local NGOs can never hope to compete with their international counterparts in terms of resources, glamour, and kudos. I believe that they should not have to, surely it should be Nepali citizens who should be working for the betterment of our country ? If we donUt give a damm why should others ? Is this too idealistic or even an unrealistic ? CouldnUt the international NGOs act as funding agencies or as support organisations i.e. look for and nurture local organisations to implement programmes ? Maybe this would help build up the institutional capacity of the Nepali people to undertake their own development process ?
(whatever that might be, but thatUs another question)

THE DONOR -

Implementing agency relationship in Nepal seems to be one which is characterised by contradictory goals, misunderstanding and mistrust.

        CONTRADICTORY GOALS. They find it very difficult to fund long term amorphous programmes which talk of empowerment or attitudinal change for a number of reasons
:

        a/ These kind of projects tend to have ill-defined milestones and targets and donors do not have the tools for evaluating such things as perception and attitude. Because of their own weakness they are afraid of supporting projects which they believe that they cannot oversee / monitor ( but as anyone with field experience will tell you, donors presently do not have the capacity to monitor the programmes that they support. They only know as much as the implementing agency will show or tell them.)

        b/ Most donor are constrained by their headquarters to funding cycles of one to three year. Because of this the Kathmandu office need to show quick results. But such activities as gaining the trust of the community members who you are trying to work with, listening to their needs, strengthening their capability to analyse their problems and seek their own solutions does not occur overnight. Because of these factors donors tend to support projects which is RflashyS i.e., easy to see in terms of number of beneficiaries (x number of adult made literate, x number of people who now receive water etc), easy to show to their bosses who come on evaluation trips from head office, and easy to reach when they go for their evaluation. Do these project empower or do they only pauperise us by building a belief in our minds that outsiders will meet all our requirements without us having to lift a finger ? In instances where the goals of the donor and implementer are different, it is usually the will of the donor that prevails, after all they are the ones with the money. In these cases, the NGO has to rationalise its behavior / beliefs to conform with that of the donor which in the long run may lead to a distortion of its objectives and philosophy.

        MISUNDERSTANDING. Though donors do realise the benefits of channeling funds through NGOs (a greater proportion of their money reaches the grassroots, there is less leakage etc.) their institutional mindsets have yet to adapt to interacting with such organisations. They have yet to simplify their procedures for proposal submission, fund disbursement, accounting and reporting. USAID is meant to be the best example of this bureaucratic jungle. Even before an Organisation can submit a project proposal that Organisation has to fill 10 pages of information and submit various other documentation. If USAID HQ. in DC is satisfied, the Organisation then receives a certificate of registration that entitles them to bid for projects etc. How can small, grassroots NGOs go through all these hoops ? In fact, probably most NGOs in Nepal, are incapable of fulfilling these procedural requirements. Is this the reason that the only US INGOs seem to receive AID money ? This leads onto the third side of the donor - implementing agency relationship.

        MISTRUST. It is a fact that donors do not trust local NGOs. Maybe there have been too many examples of these Organisations siphoning money into the pocket of their founders ? But surely the blame can be apportioned in equal parts to both the partners. There is never any foolproof system for ensuring that money is not lost, but donors in Nepal have been notorious with their profligacy, be it to HMG or to NGOs. Could this mistrust be removed if Donors and NGOs discuss, on an equal basis, what is required from each other ? For instance, could all donors operating in Nepal come up with a single reporting and accounting format ? CouldnUt NGOs who first receive funding be trained in the requisite procedures ? And couldnUt these procedures be as easy as possible ? CouldnUt the donor office staff take on the burden of reinterpreting or reformulating the NGO reports so that it matches their particular office format ? I believe that the donor - implementing agency relationship can only be improved if the international NGOs re-evaluate and re-assess their role in the development field, the local NGOs have to help them in this task.

WRAP-UP This essay has been a mental cleansing process for me. The topics that have been touched upon are just a few that have been playing around in my mind over the past couple of years. I wished to share these with you in the hope that you could provide me with fresh insights and analysis on these topics.
 I believe that there has to be a fundamental re-ordering of the development process that is taking place in our country, but the outiline of a new development philosophy is still very fuzzy. Maybe while addressing some of the topics raised in this essay a new paradigm may begin to take shape ?

Devendra S Rana. Date : December 27, 1994.

PLEASE EXCUSE THE LACK OF APOSTROPHE'S in the text, I don't know how to get them in such a text transfer, it didn't work as an attachment. STephen Bezruchka.

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*********************************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 6 Feb 1995 22:43 EST From: ATULADHAR@vax.clarku.edu Subject: Re: The Nepal Digest - Feb 6, 1995 (22 Magh 2051 BkSm) To: NEPAL@cs.niu.edu

NEW TU VC: DR KAMAL KRISHNA JOSHI
==================================

This is in response to Mary Des Chen and Ashu interest on who and what type of person the new VC Dr. Kamal Krishna Joshi. Here is what little bit I know of him.

Dr. Kamal Krishna Joshi came to national limelight in the dying days of Panchayat rule in 1989/90. During this time, he coordinated with the democratic leaning professors led by Narahari Acharya to run a parallel Nepal University Teachers Union which was considered lost under the elected leadership of the Panche professor, the late Dr. Chandra P. Gorkhali and Secretary Hemant Rana, both said to be manipulated by the famous "Bhumigat Giroh" of Nepte Sharad Shah and Damodar Shumsher.

Before that, the Professors Union kept party politics alive by voting alternatively for democratic and progressive panel, the code names for congress supporting and communist supporting professors. When the Panche candidate Dr. Gorkhali took over with explicit Administrative support, the multiparty advocates were stunned.

Things came to a head when Ganesh Man Singh and Chandra Shekhar made a sppech for the Nepali people to rise up against the tyranny of the king. The casette of this speech was surreptiously and efficiently circulated within the TU. TU professors and administrators who wanted to prove their pro-Panche links then started to force professors to sign up condemnations against the "interference of foreingers in Nepali politics". Many professors who were active in underground politics openly refused to do so, there were many others emboldened by India's progressive squeeze on Nepal's economy and dictatorial regime falling all over the place who refused to go along and sign on some subject without knowing what it was about.

It was at this moment Dr. Gorkhali came up with a statement condemning this foreingn interference and that was seized as evidence of compromizing the sacrosanct academic freedom ofprofessors and toeing the party line. Dr. Gorkhali effectively lost thier moral legitimacy and their appeals were rejected by the professors at large and underground appeals by the coordinating committee of congress-communist (Acharya-Joshi) took ove rthe leadership of the professors union.

After democracy, Narahari Acharya was nominated as an Upper House member by the Nepali Congress while Dr. Kamal Krishna Joshi fought against Suprabha Ghimire of the democratic panel and lost. The Congress have accused Dr. kamal Krishna Joshi of leading the coordinated moves of the leftist professors includings such step as orchetrating mass resignations of leftist office holders such as Ram man under VC B.C. Malla, a former President of Professors' Union and then accusing the congress of "Amalekaran"

There has been a tradition of picking up presidents of professors union to lead the University as evidence of leadership capacity. I guess his working with the democrats proves that he can build coalition, if the historical conditions are right. Some people have voiced objection that Dr. Joshi is not much of an academic or scholar or a "Full Professor" but then last three VCs have hardly been shining intellectuals but party animals and some good administrators, others terrible still they get to be ambassadors or in Panche time, Anchaladhish.

Perhaps others can add more or correct what little I know.

Amulya Tuladhar

************************************************************** Date: 06 Feb 95 23:02:45 EST From: Rajendra.P.Shrestha@Dartmouth.EDU (Rajendra P. Shrestha) Subject: News2/3-6 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

 February 3 Nepal to visit Europe, USA Excerpts from DPA report

    Nepalese deputy Prime Minister Madhav Kumar Nepal - seen as the most powerful figure in the government - is to visit the United States, Britain and Germany later this month, it was reported Friday.

    The English language weekly People's Review said Nepal would make the visits in mid-February soon after his official visit to India February 6-10.

    The weekly said considerable importance was being attached to the visits, as they come immediately after Nepal's India visit and before an official visit to India of Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikari.

World Bank Agrees to Probe Arun-III Project Excerpts from DPA and Reuters reports

   The World Bank, bowing to criticism by an independent inspection panel last December, Thursday authorized the panel to investigate its plans to help fund the controversial Arun-3 dam in eastern Nepal.

   The bank, in a statement released late Thursday, said its board of executive directors agreed with the panel's recommendation that certain aspects of the proposed project should be further investigated.

   The three-member panel had sharply criticized the bank for its handling of the proposed Arun Valley dam, which has been sharply attacked by environmentalists.

    The panel will examine whether Bank policies on environmental protection and the treatment and relocation of indigenous populations were followed during construction of a road leading to the Arun III hydroelectric project, World Bank's spokesman, Paul Mitchell, said. The road construction was supported by about 34 million dollars in Bank funds.

    The inspection, authorised Thursday by the Bank's board of executive directors, will be the first test of the new panel which was established to counter criticism that Bank-funded projects harmed local populations and the environment. That increases the significance of the inspection, which in other respects is relatively minor, Mitchell said.

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    The panel will examine whether Bank directives were complied with when the Nepalese government decided to relocate a new road providing access to Arun III from the top of a ridge to the Arun valley floor, whether the eight families displaced by the original construction on the ridge were properly compensated, and whether 150 other families who were affected by the construction (but did not have to be relocated) were properly treated.

    The inspection is expected to last three months, and will begin once the new Nepalese government formally requests Bank funding for the Arun III project, Mitchell said.

    "This certainly is not stopping the project at all," he said.

    Mitchell stressed that the hydroelectric project itself has not been questioned. Arun III is a "run of the river" project which will drill a tunnel in a hill between two bends of the Arun River so that water can flow through the tunnel and power electrical turbines.

   The board's decision is sure to be welcomed by environmental groups, who have voiced fears that the project could damage one of the few pristine forests in the Himalaya mountains that houses a number of endangered species, including Asiatic black bear and clouded leopard.

   Critics also charge that Nepal cannot afford the costs of such a mega-project and have proposed a series of smaller dams along the country's numerous rivers.

   But the bank said the panel had not requested investigation of alternatives to the dam, and most directors believed that alternatives were sufficiently examined.

   It said the probe by the independent Inspection Panel would consider data and studies provided by the government of Nepal, the bank and other co-financiers, as well as any remedial measures agreed by the bank and the Nepalese government.

    The Bank is expected to provide about 20 per cent of the funding for Arun III, with the rest coming from the government of Nepal and international donors such as Germany, Sweden, France and Japan, Mitchell said.

Nepal Prepares for talks with India By Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu for Reuters

   A powerful Nepalese minister will visit India next week to discuss issues that could determine the future of the minority Communist government of the Himalayan state.

   The visit by Madhav Kumar Nepal, the deputy prime minister who is also the foreign and defence minister, has generated much interest because of the tough stand the Communists took in last November's elections on the country's relationship with India.

   It will be the first foreign trip for Minister Nepal, who is also the general-secretary of the Communist Party, since his party came to power after the elections produced a hung parliament.

   Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikary is scheduled to visit New Delhi next month.

   ''The outcome of Nepal's visit to India will show how capable the Communists are in conducting diplomacy,'' said Rishikesh Shah, a human-rights activist and a former diplomat.

   The Nepalese Communist Party-Unified Marxist Leninist was a staunch critic of Nepal's relations with India and used it as one of its main election planks.

   In particular, it took exception to an accord with India over sharing of resources from the Tanakpur hydroelectric project on Nepal's western border with India.

   The project was built by India after Nepal allowed the construction of a portion of the embankment into Nepal in exchange for two megawatts of electricity and some irrigation water from the facility.

   UML leaders, while in opposition, said Nepal had been shortchanged by India on the project.

   But since coming to power they have not expressed a stand on the issue, opposition leaders said.

   On Tuesday, the entire opposition walked out of parliament during a debate on the project saying the government was not clarifying its position.

   The government said it needs six more months to study the project, which the opposition sees as a backdown from its earlier stance.

   ''Safeguarding of our national interest will be the main basis of tapping the water resources with India's cooperation,'' Minister Nepal said on Thursday at a seminar on Nepal -India relations.

   The opposition Nepali Congress Party said there was little room for the Communists to gain from India at this point when that country was in the midst of a political crisis.

   ''India is itself not in a position to do anything at this point because of its own political situation and a strong opposition where the Bharatiya Janata Party has a special hatred towards the Communists,'' said Chakra Prasad Bastola, a former ambassador to India and a Nepali Congress Party deputy in parliament.

   The Communists are also under pressure from smaller communist groups outside parliament who have demanded that the 1950 Treaty of Peace and Friendship, which governs relations between India and Nepal, be scrapped.

   India is Nepal's biggest trading partner with a 28.4 percent (20.4 billion rupees, or $409 million) share of its foreign trade.

    Nepal's trade deficit with India was 15.2 billion rupees ($305.7 million) last year.

   The long-open borders and free movement of people as well as the vast Indian economy have played a determining role in Nepal's economic policies.

   ''Proper management of borders, control of illegal trade and crime along the borders will be in the interest of both countries,'' Minister Nepal said.

February 4
 43 Passengers Killed in Nepal Bus Accident Excerpts from PTI, UPI, AFP, Reuters, DPA and Xinhua reports

      Kathmandu, Feb 4 (PTI) Forty-three passengers died and 22 others injured when a passenger bus slipped off the road and plunged 100 metres in Palpa district in mid-western Nepal late Friday night, police said. The accident, one of the worst bus accidents in Nepal in recent years, happened at Jhumsa, 260 kilometres (160 miles) southwest of the capital, according to the Home Ministry spokesman Sri Kant Regmi. The bus was heading to Butwal from Palpa township.

   Witnesses said the bus crashed over the edge of the road after failing to negotiate a bend.

   ''The toll could increase. Efforts are being made to lift the wreckage. We believe some bodies may be inside the wreckage,'' Regmi said. An army and police rescue team was at the scene attempting to retrieve bodies. It was not known how many people were on the bus.

     41 passenegrs were killed on the spot and two while undergoing treatment at the butwal hospital where the injured were admitted.

   Regmi said three of the dead were Indian nationals from Uttar Pradesh state. They were named as Mithai Harijan, Kailasi Harijan and Sada Nanda Harijan.

      Only 15 out of the 41 deceased have been identified so far, police said.

   An investigation was started into the cause of the accident.

Voters to get ID cards for By-elections DPA report

    Nepalese voters are to be issued with identity cards to prevent election malpractices, the official RSS news agency quoted the Nepalese Election Commission as saying Saturday.

    Three constituencies have fallen vacant following resignations of three parliament members who were elected from two constituencies each in the November mid-term polls.

    The prime minister, Man Mohan Adhikari ( Nepal Communist Party United Marxist-Leninist), resigned from one of the two Kathmandu constituencies from which he was elected, former prime minister Girija Prasad Koirala resigned from Sunsari constituency, retaining Hfnagar constituency, and former prime minister Lokendra Bahadur Chand resigned from one of the two Baitadi constituencies.

    According to the constitution, the by-elections must be held within six months.

    The election commission was to have begun the distribution of the voter ID cards last July but mid-term polls were ordered and there was little time for distribution of the cards for the November polls.

    The ID cards are expected drastically to reduce such election malpractices as multiple voting, proxy voting and in constituencies adjoining India, the influx of bogus voters from across the open unregulated border.

    Though all major political parties are said to have indulged in malpractices including proxy and multiple voting, they have all agreed on the need to issue ID cards. dpa sb vc

Government to take Final Decision on Arun-3 Excerpts from Xinhua report

    Nepal is to take final decision on the controversial multi-million dollar arun iii hydro-electricity project by february 1995. minister of state for industries and water resources hari pandey said friday that he and his delegation had put across three points during the talks held early this year in the united states with the world bank, the lead agency for the project. the points include the reduction of the tariff rates as agreed upon between the nepal electricity authority and the world bank, the investment conditions of the same agreement under which nepal would have to take prior permission of the world bank for investment in any future power projects that has 10 mw or capacity and the alignment of the approach road to the dam site.

NC constitutes Shadow Government Excerpts from Xinhua report

   the nepal congress (nc), the largest opposition in nepal, has formed a shadow government to evaluate and analyze the activities of all ministries of the newly elected government led by the communist party of nepal (uml). the so-called nc shadow government consists of various committees concerning various ministries of the present government formed under the constitution of the nc parliamentary party friday, local press kathmandu post reported today. the committees will specify party policy and programs of their respective fields, study and evaluate the activities of various ministers and present reports to the parliamentary party. the committees will also make necessary preparations for presenting private member bills, resolutions, resolutions of public importance and call attention motions concerning their respective fields on behalf of the nc parliamentary party.

Tulsi Lal Amatya to be Ambassador to China Excerpts from UPI and Reuters reports

    Nepal's King Birendra has appointed a moderate communist, Tulsi Lal Amayta, as its ambassador to China, replacing an academician, an official statement said on Saturday.

   Amayta, 78, led a small faction of the Communist Party till last year when he joined the Communist Party of Nepal -Unified Marxist Leninist, which formed a minority government after elections last November.

   In 1959, he was among the first four communists to be elected to Nepal's parliament.

 February 5 Nepal to Ask India for Softer Trade Terms Excerpts from Reuters report

    Nepal's communist government will ask for softer trade terms and discuss ways to reduce a deficit with India, its deputy prime minister who will visit New Delhi this week, said.

   "I don't have anything concrete in my mind to correct the trade imbalance, but we may find out or explore any possibility in this regard," Madhav Kumar Nepal told Reuters.

   India accounts for more than 28 percent of Nepal's total foreign trade. Its deficit with India, its largest trading partner, was 15.2 billion rupees ($ 305.7 million) last year.

   Trade ties are guided by a 1978 treaty under which India offers preferential terms to Nepal's exports if they have at least 50 percent local or Indian content, including labour.

   But Nepalese businessmen, demanding better trade terms, say the provision was not relevant in the open market economy followed by the two countries.

    Nepal said he did not intend to solve any problems with India while in New Delhi, and described his visit as a "goodwill trip."

   "We will create a political understanding between the two countries. I am going to read the minds of Indian leaders," he said.

 February 6 New Ambassador to Washington Named Excerpts from UPI report

    Nepal appointed on Monday a new ambassador to Washington, a leftist lawyer recommended by the communist government. The new envoy, Basudev Dhungana trained as a lawyer in Moscow and served as Justice Minister under the Panchayat system.

Ruling Party Battles Internal Struggle By Gopal Sharma in Kathmandu for Reuters (excerpts)

   The ruling Nepalese Communist Party, battling an internal rift, said on Monday it was reorganising its executive to ensure that those in the government did not hold party posts.

   A statement by the Communist Party of Nepal -Unified Marxist Leninist (UML), said instead of Deputy Prime Minister and party general secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal, the day-to-day affairs of UML would be looked after by deputy general secretary Bam Dev Gautam.

   '' Nepal, however, retains his position as the general secretary of the Communist Party of Nepal -Unified Marxist Leninist, while all his executive powers concerning the functioning of the party have been delegated to deputy general secretary Bam Dev Gautam,'' a party statement said.

   A meeting of the UML's powerful Central Committee also named Jhalanath Khanal as the head of the party's state affairs department to work as a bridge between the party and the government, the statement said.

   Party sources said Prime Minister Man Mohan Adhikary was in favour of a separation of power between ministers and party officials.

   They said Nepal, who as foreign minister was about to begin a visit to India, was not willing to give up his party position, which led to an internal power struggle with his junior, Gautam.

   The UML created the deputy secretary's post after Nepal became a minister in the minority Communist government formed two months ago.

   ''The effort is to evolve an effective mechanism to run the government and the party. This is the first step,'' Khanal told Reuters.

   A spokesman of the Nepali Congress said he did not want to discuss UML's internal problems.

   ''It is their internal thing in the party and it is not necessary for us to discuss about it, but it is good for them to make power sharing arrangements and work accordingly,'' Paranath Rana Bhatt said.

************************************************************* Date: Tue, 07 Feb 95 08:49 EST To: nepal@cs.niu.edu From: "Balkrishna.Sharma" <23012BKS@msu.edu> Subject: bus rolls off road;43 people killed

There was a tiny but a sad piece of news from Nepal published in Lansing State Journal, a local newspaper in Lansing Michigan.The exact wording of news is reproduced below without permission: Kathmandu-a bus rolled off a mountain road in Western Nepal and fell about330 ft, killing 43 people and injuring 17, a news agency reported Saturday. The accident occurred Friday (4th of Feb) near the village of Jhumsa, 110 miles west of kathmandu, the Nepalese national news agency reported. Rescue workers recovered 41 bodies from the accident site. Two passengers died in the hospital-From wire reports.'' Source: Lansing State Journal, MI, Dated Feb 5, 1995.-bks

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