The Nepal Digest - March 1, 1995 (17 Falgun 2051 BkSm)

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The Nepal Digest Wednesday 1 March 95: Falgun 17 2051 BkSm Volume 36 Issue 1

  Today's Topics:

          Apologies for no headers due to time constraints.

 ******************************************************************************
 * 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 *
 * TND Archives: Sohan Panta k945184@atlas.kingston.ac.uk *
 * Book Reviews Columns: Pratyoush R. Onta ponta@sas.upenn.edu *
 * News Correspondent Rajendra P Shrestha rajendra@dartmouth.edu *
 * *
 * +++++ 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 Khalifa *
 * *
 ******************************************************************************

********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 FEB 95 18:05:17 GMT From: WAGLE@VAX.LSE.AC.UK To: Nepal <Nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Interview with the Nepalese Deputy Prime Minister.

"Pragmatic Marxist" speaks on his "Marxism" in practice.

The communist leader steps out of the chauffeur-driven Mercedez in Kensington and smiles at only those who are smiling at him. He has just come from a meeting with Douglas Hurd at the Foreign Office and in a short while he is to meet a parliamentary committee at Westminster. Madhav Kumar Nepal, still in his forties, is incredibly busy these days - and this is just one of the many reasons why insiders believe that it is he who is actually the most powerful man in the kingdom now. Coming from humble backgrounds, He was a clerk at Nepal's oldest Bank before joining the then banned leftist movement. When his renamed Communist Party of Nepal (United Marxist Leninist) grew both in size and popularity under the leadership of the late lamented Madan Bhandari, he was known to be a member of the famous "Gang of four" and an influential strategist working behind the scenes. He became the General Secretary of the largest Communist faction in 1993 and life for him ever since has been less than comfortable. His fiercest critics maintain that his views and actions while an opposition leader were dangerously myopic - and even foolish. His supporters never agreed: For them, He was "Comrade Madhav" standing for ordinary men and women in the streets. For unexplained reasons, He has never faced an electorate and has been more controversial than ever after assuming power late last year. In an interview with S Wagle and C Simkhada, Undergraduates at the London School of Economics, Madhav Kumar Nepal MA, came across as a very concerned,courteous and shrewd politician. Excerpts:

* Deputy Prime Minister, what are the reasons for your being in Europe now?

There are three main purposes of my visit. The first is for an exchange of ideas between our government and the various European countries. While discussing matters of economic interest, We also intend to envigourate the present levels of friendship. The second is to represent Nepal for the 51st session of the Human Rights Council Meeting. And the third is to address our Mission Heads and ambassadors based in Europe and let them know the present government's views and thoughts.

* You have met Klaus Kinkel, Douglas Hurd and many other western leaders. What has been their general reaction to the "communist" government?

The response has been very good. The Germans even treated us as their state guests. They are all sympathetic to the new government and have all promised to help. They are particularly pleased at the fact that the new govt. came to power as a result of a valid democratic election and that things have been stable since. Talking of bilateral aid and assistance, many payable loans have been cancelled and Japan has already invited me over to Tokyo for furthering talks on various aspects of aid. The Americans are taking a keen interest in my visits too.

* You recently visited India and it was reported that you were mandated to raise the issue of the 1950 treaty.

Yes. We have agreed to discuss and look into the matter.

* How soon would that be?

I would say that a secretary level talk will begin within a month.

* While in opposition, You accused the former government of practicing biased foreign policy. Now that you are yourself the foreign Minister, How successful do you think you have pursuing the so called "Politics of Equidistance"?

Speaking of the usage of terms, I have not been using the phrase
"Politics of Equidistance". That would imply determining geographical distances using some sort of a measuring tape.

* No Deputy Prime Minister, I did not use the phrase literally.

Yes, Psychology is an important factor. Diplomatic experts make a lot of hue and cry over use of certain terms and phrases. My emphasis is on "Equality". We should not be tilted towards any one particular country. Naturally, with India our relation is based on equality, mutual respect and mutual gains. Thus, let me emphasize that we are neither "for" any country nor "against" any country. We don't entertain disputes and while making friends, we don't also lose our stance. On the whole, "Friendship Everywhere" is our guiding philosophy.

* What is happening to the DasDhunga reports of various commissions? It has been observed that the govt. has surprisingly been very reluctant to make them public.

That is not true. The published reports were taken to the Public first and then to the Parliament. By Public, I mean access is given to anybody who is interested.

* Tell us about the crux. Was it murder or an accident?

The latest report has said that the incident was an accident - It drew it's conclusion on the basis of available information and facts and we respect the commission's verdict. We also note the limitations on any legal investigation in our country and although the conclusion reached by today's commission holds for now, I can not tell you what future commissions may conclude.

* So, In retrospect, You must be regretting the protests and series of programmes organized by your party then calling for civil disobedience?

Not at all. The movement we led then had a sole purpose - Formation of an investigative commission. It is tragic that 22 of our people had to lose their lives to fulfill such a trivial demand. Had the govt. formed such a commission immediately, we would not have had to go to the streets and sacrifice 22 lives. Now, note that we did not organize those events to question why our leaders were killed etc. but to request them to form a commission that would investigate the matter and bring forward the truth. They only did this after our people were shot dead in a series of incidents involving blatant misuse of force and abuse of authority. Culture of democratic flexibility has no place for such an action.

* While talking of oppossition, Let me ask you if you are satisfied with the role of the present main opposition, The Nepali Congress?

I am more or less satisfied with their role.[Pause] We are all learning, arn't we? [Laughs]

* After you get back to Nepal, A Cabinet reshuffle is expected. Will it actually take place? Also, how would you reply to those who criticized the earlier nominations on gender, regional and ethnic grounds?

>From the Outset, the number of members in our cabinet has been
few. So naturally, there has to be a reshuffle soon. On the criticisms, Let me tell you that we had tried our best to strike a balance then and are still committed but that can not be wholly successful. This is a difficult thing- No political party can achieve perfectness on those fronts. We believe that it is an individual's list of merits that should count not his/her ethnic origin. Ofcourse, It is desirable to have a diverse representation but as I said just now,the main criterion should be one's merits.

* Let's talk about the king. On one hand, you have these leftist republican parties who believe that they are your allies. On the other we have the whole institution of monarchy whose unbiased and passive role is vital to today's political climate.How are you handling the two forces together?

Now, the role and duties of the king and his institution as a whole have already been determined by the constitution.We have seen that things are being done as per the constitutional guidelines and for me to be completely satisfied at that is very natural. Talking of other communist parties, every nation has to confront extremist views both on the left and right at certain times. It's the people and their verdict that decides which dogma is acceptable. On our allies, Every nationalist and democrat supports our party. All those in favour of social justice and progress are also on our side. Parties who think that they can work together with us agreeing on certain issues are always welcome. This is the essence of democracy. No one party supports the other all the time - They work together when they have common ends and work independently at times of disagreement. Now, In a democracy we can not tell other parties not to do what they do - we can't impose our will on them.

* Can you elaborate on the whole issue of economic liberalisation especially in light of your decision to halt privatisation but welcome foreign investment?

There are two things to this. We have realised that there exists an immense role and prospect for the private sector in Nepal. But we do not agree that privatisation is the sole solution to all our economic problems. We oppose the view that the state should refrain from all the responsibilities and push all our helpless people into the market cycles. We thus seek to achieve a respectable balance between the important roles of the market and the social duties of the state. The state controls and directs the economy as a whole and this In English, is called "Macro Control". We can not however deal with the "Micro Controls". What the state does through it's monetary and banking policies is that it ensures that the economy is on the right course. Having said this, we are also strictly opposed to the entire state control of small firms and industries.

* So it sounds as if you are not too enthusiastic about the whole process of liberalisation.

No, Not quite.Liberalisation must and should take place. But it also depends on what you understand by liberalisation. Let me make this clear again: We are in favour of openness and and we should allow the market forces to play their role.

* Tell us Deputy Prime Minister, How long do you expect to last?

Oh....Full five years.

* Confident?

Yes. Very so. [Laughs]

The End.

[This interview took place on Wednesday the 22nd of February 1995 in London. Special thanks to the Royal Nepalese Ambassador to the Court of St. James's. A fuller text of the interview can be made available if requests are made by sending S.A.E to: S Wagle, SAMS St Clement's, London School of Economics, London WC2A 2AE]

*************************************************************** Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 19:11:40 GMT To: a10rjs1@cs.niu.edu Subj: PNEWS: Child Labor in NEPAL From: odin@shadow.net

[*****PNEWS CONFERENCES****]
[MODERATOR'S NOTE: Subscribers are encouraged to cross-post articles from PNEWS to appropriate conferences on InterNet and other Networks...HR]

/* Written 12:44 PM Jan 20, 1995 by wfs in igc:wfs.stories */
/* ---------- "NEPAL: CHILD LABOR FLOODS CARPET FA" ---------- */ Copyright, WOMEN'S FEATURE SERVICE, All Rights Reserved
  Used here with permission. This story may not be reproduced, e- mailed, or posted anywhere outside the APC without specific permission from WFS. E-mail to wfs-info@igc.apc.org for subscription information. PNEWS has obtained authorization. Cross-post with credits.
  TITLE: NEPAL: CHILD LABOR FLOODS CARPET FACTORIES By Jennifer Griffin
  Kathmandu, Jan. 12 (WFS) -- Outside a small carpet factory in Kathmandu, Nepal, old women sit on the cold winter ground and twist and wind pastel-colored balls of yarn for the young children inside the factory to weave into carpets.
 
    Thirteen-year-old Lwang Tamang sits on a heap of yarn during a break from the weaving. His legs are caged in braces because of polio and his face is covered in boils. Behind him is a UNICEF sticker, pasted on the window of the room where he and the other eight children employed at the factory sleep.
 
    "It's difficult to sit," says Tamang, as he shifts his legs. "I want to go back to my village. I'm not getting any money, only food." Tamang's uncle lured him to the city and promised him he would be sent to school. Instead, he dropped the boy at the factory to work to support his family.
 
    Inside the factory, the children sit cross-legged and hunched forward to tie the tiny knots that eventually become a carpet. Nepalese music blares in the dimly lit factory owned by 26-year-old Arjua Rana, who began his business five years ago.
 
    Three boys work on the same loom, their heads bowed, their eyes glazed and their fingers calloused. They sit for hours without moving, as another pint-sized boy lifts a pair of large shears to cut the knotted wool before the carpet is complete.
 
    The children work 14 hours a day in the muddy light that streams through the bars of the factory's grated windows. Some children are dropped at the factory by their parents. Others are lured there by greedy brokers, who take half their earnings.
 
    The factory where Tamang works is part of the booming carpet industry that has become Nepal's largest foreign exchange earner in recent years, surpassing even tourism. There are around 2,000 carpet factories in Nepal, which employ more than 300,000 people, half of whom are children, according to a 1992 survey conducted by the lobbying group Child Workers in Nepal Concerned Center (CWIN).
 
    Most of the children working in these factories are between the ages of 11 and 14 and over 80 percent are illiterate. Born into peasant families, they are brought to the cities by brokers, known locally as naike. On average the children are paid only 400 rupees
(under $8) per month. They work seven days a week and earn nothing during the three to four-month training period. Half of the children do not know how much they earn and most want to go home.
 
    Ironically, Nepal's carpet industry emerged 30 years ago with the help of the International Red Cross and the Swiss government, for the benefit of Tibetan refugees who had poured in from across the border in 1960 to escape Chinese repression.
 
    Now, instead of helping the adult refugees, the carpet industry employs Nepalese children who do not demand high salaries and whose tiny fingers make the finest knots.
 
    At the age of seven, Maili Tamang has been working for five months in a carpet factory. She says she has to work to pay off what her family owes to the factory, but has no idea how much it is, or how long it would take.
 
    The extreme poverty that is endemic to Nepal means that children are needed to work for families to survive, particularly in the rural areas. Most children, especially girls, leave school after only a few years to help support their family.
 
    Children comprise 50 percent of the carpet industry's labor. Girl children make up 40 percent of these and 25 percent of the total workforce.
 
    In 1993 CWIN started a campaign to improve conditions in the factories and push for children's rights. They encouraged overseas groups such as the RUGMARK Foundation in Switzerland to put pressure on European importers, particularly Germany, the largest buyer of Nepalese carpets, to look for labels that said the rug was not made using child labor.
 
    "We don't want to destroy the carpet industry. We just don't want the use of children's labor," says Gauri Pradhan, who helped found CWIN in 1987 with a handful of student volunteers. Pradhan's group also lobbied with the government to pass a law that set a minimum age for workers. Now, no one under the age of 14 can be legally employed by the factories.
 
    "The level of exploitation has not been reduced, but the business community is scared and the government has been forced to take certain actions," says Pradhan.
 
    The factory owners now put big signs in their factories saying,
"We do not employ any children under 14 years," but the truth is they still do. The owners have simply coached the children to say that they are older than they are.
 
    "They all suddenly became 14 overnight," comments CWIN worker Rupa Dhital.
 
    The children work in crowded, stuffy rooms breathing stale air laden with woollen particles. Their fingers get constantly cut by the tight loom and scratched by the metal comb.
 
    Magor, still a little boy, remembers the days he worked from 4 a.m. until noon and was fed only rice and watery lentils. "If we wanted to go to the bathroom, the broker would get angry and beat us. There would be 18 children sleeping in the same room on just one mattress and no blankets."
 
    He tried running away but he was caught and brought back. When he developed severe health problems and could work no more, he was put onto a bus and sent away. Sandhya Kharel, a program officer at CWIN'S transit home, recounts that a woman brought Magor to the hospital -- dehydrated, malnourished and near death.
 
    "Many of the kids have tuberculosis after working in the factories and all of them need medical rehabilitation before being reunited with their families, " says Kharel.
 
     Meanwhile, Magor fiddles nervously with his fingers and does not look anyone in the eye throughout the interview. "My parents don't know that I am sick. I don't know what they are thinking." He is silent when asked if his father will be angry when he returns.
 
    "I want to go home," he says. "I want to work in the fields and help my family." (Ends1010 words)

********************************************************************** Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 17:22:16 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Information about Badri Ghimire From: anichols@cerfnet.com (Andrew L. Nichols)

Does anyone know anything about Mr. Badri Ghimire of Dhunche, Nepal? We met him last fall at the end of our trek in the Langtang. He teaches (English) and owns a pretty good hotel in Dhunche. He is interested in improving the sanitary conditions on trekking routes, and in the Langtang in particular. He is asking for modest financial support to build privies in the Langtang, and I am inclined to help him, but I would like to know if he is for real first.

Andy Nichols, Winchester, MA anichols@cerfnet.com

********************************************************** Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 17:24:00 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepal Info & Tech show & conference Jan '95 From: fkroger@coho.halcyon.com (Frank F Kroger)

tiwari@husc7.harvard.edu (Ashutosh Tiwari) writes:
>Allen's a creative guy, but I am curious as to how he arrived at the
>"estimates" that appear above. And also, I don't understand what he
>meant by "industry doubling every month" .. in output? earnings?
>imports? exports? number of programmers? number of software firms,
>so on. My own intuition is that there's lot of guesswork here, and through
>no fault of Allen's. [The govt. is supposed to keep track of such numbers!]

Here is the entire paragraph:

"When one talks fo this industry (the computer industry in Nepal), some of the common questions are asked how big is the industry? What does it comprise?. etc. Statistics from Nepal Rastra Bank show that there was a total of Rs. 115 crore of imports through L/Cs during the fiscal year 1993/ 94. This figure does not include direct imports by organizations with duty free privileges, which I estimate would be an additional 85 crores. Then, there is the local market for training, software, development, maintenance, consultancy, peripherals, stationary, consumables which would be worth another 80 croes. My personal guestimate is that this industry is about 280 cores in size. But the most interesting thing is its growth in geometric proportions of one hundred percent every month. Yes doubling every month. Sruprising but true. And when will this hyper- growth stop? Never we hope."

>From "Nurturing Co-ompetion" by Allen Tuladhar, writing in a special
supplement to the Kathmandu Post. thursday Jan 19th, 95, on the ocasion of the "Nepal Information Technology Show & Conference."

fkroger@halcyon.com
 

***********************************************************************************************

*********************************************************************************************** Date: Mon, 27 Feb 1995 17:25:26 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: DEFINE.....Nepali Taxpayer, please From: atuladhar@jack.clarku.edu

Nepali Taxpayer... Will someone define them?
=============================================

Recently there has been some pretty strong arguments Ashu has put forward on the premise that," such and such is not fair to the Nepali taxpayer.."

I noticed again in Alok Bohara's plea that TU should not waste the Nepali taxpayer's money.

Several others in the nepali net have argued in the name of the Nepali taxpayer.

Who is this Nepali taxpayer? Will someone please define...

Not being an economist myself, the incantation in the name of "Nepali taxpayer" hearkens the image of an American taxpayer who fills out their 1040 every year and frets about their 15%, 30% taxes that they pay to the US treasury to keep the military alive, the roads paved, the welfare working and the sick and elderly taken care (i.e. in pre-Newt_onian age).

When I was studying in India for 2 years, I never heard of "Indian taxpayers" in the same way it is referred to irate individual citizens who grudgingly pay theirdues every year, nor in Thailand, nor in many other countries.

Yet I know there are taxpayers in all of those countries.

But who are the Nepali taxpayers anyway?

Anyone who pays Nepali taxes even indirectly? Would a Puerto Rican tourist who buys beer in Thamel and pays the indirect tax thereof be a Nepali taxpayer? He does pay taxes in Nepal..

Or, are nepali taxpayers Nepali citizens who pay taxes? Although this appears too redundant, there is a historical tradition dating all the way back to Jeffersonian times where an American citizen was defined as one who owned property. This naturally excluded blacks, women and many poor whites (see Howard Zinn's "People's History of the US). Is Ashu referring to this corresponding social group of people in Nepal, the propertied citizens who pay taxes?

What about the rich Newari Sahus who own palatial houses in Kathmandu and who do not pay any property tax or business tax or income tax. Are they not Nepali taxpayers, and by extension and connotation can claim a voice in shouting against BKs or TU, in the name of just and equitable resource allocation of Nepali taxpayers' money?

Ah.., some land tenure expert may claim that all those who own land or property that has a govt seal of approval, the "Lal Purja" pays taxes in the form of annual "tiros". Legal experts opine that nobody really owns land like the Americans do. Land is not an inalienable right guaranteed by the Constitution as in US, land in Nepal is the property of the State and by extension the King, at whose "pleasure" one may USE it by paying rent in the form of annual tiros. Can this be called tax? Again are only the property owning class the Nepali taxpayers?

does this mean the landless, the propertyless are not Nepali taxpayers and by extension not entitled to get angry and righteous about the waste of taxpayers' monies?

If the right to criticise and participate in politics and development of the country is couched in the strange, Western copy-cat concept of the Nepali taxpayer fiction, it follows that the more taxes a Nepali pays, the more right he has to have a say in Nepali politics. By this hilarious logic, our King would have absolutely no right to lead and govern Nepal by virtue of his tax-immune royal status.

How much right does this fictional group of Nepali taxpayers have when compared to the totality of Nepalese economy. The latest statistics place the total internal mobilization from taxes to around 10 percent of the total revenues internally generated. Given this scale of mismatch, the foreign donors who contribute up to 70% of the Nepali development budget should have 70% say in the running of the country. They do, perhaps more.

But what about the faceless Nepalese who constitute the Nepali taxpayers who bring 10% of the Nepali's annual wealth? Who are these? I know that a few NGO's who pay fat salaries such as the ICIMOD automatically deduct 35% of the income, some income tax isdeducted from civil and government service if they earn more than the tax free bracket (usually above Gazetted Second class) in thier basic pay ghus and allowances and consultancies are not "tax-deductible" in the US sense but "tax-vanishable".

I really wish to know who these Nepali taxpayers, who are included, who are excluded, whether all have equal right or are their rights commensurate with their tax contribution.

Yours economically dumb,

******************************************************* Date: 27 Feb 95 20:18:19 EST From: Rajendra.P.Shrestha@Dartmouth.EDU (Rajendra P. Shrestha) Subject: BBC's request To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

I got the following request from a producer at BBC Television in London. If anyone has suggestions, please send it to him (or else you can send it to me, I'll forward it). It's a chance to get better, and non-stereotypcial, exposure of Nepal in the Western media.

Forwarded message

I work for a British televising programme called Tomorrow's World, a weekly science programme on our main channel, BBC1. At present we are planning a trip to Nepal and I am looking for stories. I have been in touch with Intermediate Technology who are one of the NGO's implementing micro-hydro plants, The King Mahendra Trust and various small clinics but at present don't seem to have all the stories I need.

I would be very keen to talk to you about possible stories, my phone number is (44) 81 895 6959 and my e-mail address is peter.georgi@bbc.co.uk

I am interested in any science story where there was once a problem and a technical, medical, environmental etc solution has been used (or is proposed) to improve the situation.

I would be extremely grateful if you could help me in my search. Many thanks in anticipation

Yours sincerely

PETER GEORGI Assistant Producer, Tomorrow's World

************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 00:03:33 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: yesto pani SLC!!! From: baniya@engrs.unl.edu (Pradip Baniya)

The SLC exam was over just few days back, but it was full of very interesting things like (I got them frome Bimarsh, Feb 10): Minister for E&C expressed the intention of passing more students this year in SLC, but examinees and even guards, inspectors and in some cases even the Principal of the school took it differently. Cheating and copying the answers from the book were very comman.

In Tanhu, Chandravati Ma.Vi: In the exam center answers were distributed among the students by lithography. few local teachers had active involement in this act. when the "Mabini", running guard and central inspector went there to inspect and control such act, they got thrased heavily and were running for their lives.

Nuwakot Chuwadi: One student named Shreehari thapaliya was expelled by CDO in the account of cheating and the whole examinees from that center boycotted the exam. Then teachers and other officials were requesting the examinees to cheat or do whatever they want but not to go away from exams.

Banepa: In one center nearly 2 "bora" of books, cheats and notes were snatched from the examinees possession. In khotang one student was found taking exam for other. Same case was in Danusha. There were reports from the CDO of varoius dist. that there has been lot of irregularity in the exam and it was very difficult for them to conduct exam properly. Pradip Baniya. UNL, Lincoln.

********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 10:08:42 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Arun concerned group's letter to WB From: rajendra@coos.dartmouth.edu (Rajendra P. Shrestha)

Forwarded by Bhanu Niraula at UPenn.
-----------

Following is the text of a February 22, 1995 letter sent to the World Bank Executive Directors from the Arun Concerned Group, a coalition of Nepalese NGOs, regarding the Arun III Claim against the Bank. For more information on Arun III and the Inspection Panel Claim, contact Gopal Siwakoti at INHURED in Nepal or Lori Udall at IRN-DC, Fax:202-879-3186.

Arun Concerned Group Secretariat c/o Inhured International P.O. Box 2125 Kathmandu, Nepal Tel: 977-1-419610 Fax: 977-1-412538

February 22, 1995

The Board of Executive Directors The World Bank 1818 H Street NW Washington, D.C. 20433

Ref: Your Decision of February 2, 1995 Regarding the Investigation of the Proposed Controversial Arun III Hydroelectric Project in Nepal

Dear Members of the Board of Executive Directors,

With reference to the information that we have received from the inspection panel regarding your decision of February 2, 1995, we would like to welcome the initial step of your decision to allow the investigation of certain aspects of the proposed controversial Arun II Hydroelectric Project by the panel. We understand that the decision was based on the report and recommendations of the panel over the first ever filed claim by the undersigned and others against Bank management for its violations of basic IDA policies and procedures regarding financing of Arun III.

However, we are highly disappointed with the way that the Board of the Executive Directors (EDs) decided to allow the investigation of only some select areas relating to the project such as environmental assessment, indigenous peoples and resettlement strategy. We have serious objections to the Board's arbitrary one- sided decision that has left out the investigation of some of the fundamental controversies which are of major concern to us. Economic analysis of the project, timely disclosure of basic projects documents and information, as well as meaningful public participation in this discussion is of utmost importance. There is lack of sufficient explanation as to why these issues of controversy were unilaterally removed from the investigation although specifically highlighted by the panel and the claimants.

On one hand, it seems that the Bank management, the defendant of the claim, has used all available means and tactic to directly influence the decision making by the Board since it has easy access to do so. On the other hand, the Claimants have neither the privilege of such access nor were they ever consulted by the Board before taking such a harsh decision against the claims for investigation. We strongly feel that this is a serious denial of justice to the claimants by the Board and the undermining of the adjudication process.

The Board's purposeful misinterpretation of the Panel's desire and recommendations for the investigation of the alternatives to Arun III and information disclosure has seriously undermined the credibility of the Panel as a new mechanism which was supposed to play a role of a watch-dog body on policy violations committed by the Bank worldwide.

The Board's denial of investigation of any major claims by he claimants in absentia and its biased decision in camera have clearly established the facts that the Board is siding with Bank management's inaccurate reporting and arguments regarding economic analysis and information disclosure. We strongly protest the way that the Board has violated our right to receive information and thus protect our interests. We now have serious doubts that the panel was established as an independent and credible institution to monitor the Bank's compliance with IDA policies/procedures and Bank accountability.

The Board must be aware of the gravity of debate over the Arun III project in Nepal and rising protests against the Bank's direct and indirect pressure and intervention in Nepal's sovereignty and her decision-making authority. We see no reason or logic for the Board to demand that the Panel should "commence field work only after the Bank receives a decision from the Government of Nepal requesting the Bank's financing of the project". We take this conditional decision of the Board as putting Nepal into a no option trap. The question here is who will be responsible if the Panel's investigation of policy violations is found to be of serious enough nature to lead to the cancellation of the financing of Arun III? Thus, we strongly urge the Board to reconsider its February 2 decision and firmly establish that the Bank shall only request the Government of Nepal to say "yes" or "no" to the project after the completion of a thorough investigation of all aspects of the Arun claims and after a guarantee by the Bank that it would fully comply with the IDA policies and procedures.

The Water Resources Minister Hon. Hari Prasad Pandey has been repeatedly stating that the Arun III project is not a least cost project. According to him, it is an expensive project and the electricity generated from this project could never be sold at a competitive price. The Government also has serious reservations over the lending conditionalities [imposed by the Bank] that are against the long term interests of Nepal.

We feel that it is highly important to ensure the credibility of the panel by seriously considering its conclusions and recommendations as per the complete investigation of the project. The Board's failure to do so will undoubtedly discourage the victims of such projects worldwide and disempower them from using the Inspection process.

Thus, we immediately demand that the Panel's mandate include the economic analysis, access to information and public participation process of the project during its investigation. If this is not adhered to then the claimants may have to decide the status of the claim and its importance. This situation will certainly lead to the degradation of the Bank's image and credibility in Nepal and throughout the World. We also want to know whether the Board will be in favor of seeking the Nepali Government's approval of the project only after the Board's final decision over the Panel's investigation report.

Looking forward to hearing your favorable response soon, before major steps are undertaken to investigate the project.

Sincerely Yours,

Signed by

Ganesh Kumar Ghimire Gopal Siwakoti Claimant Claimant

also on behalf of the Arun Concerned Group and the two anonymous Claimants

cc: Lewis Preston, President
    Ernst-Gunther Broder, Inspection Panel
    D. Joseph Wood, Vice-President for South Asia
    Hon. Hari Prasad Pandey, Minister of Water Resources, HMG\Nepal
    Ministry of Finance, HMG\Nepal
    Nepal Electric Authority, Kathmandu
    Arun III Hydroelectric Project, Kathmandu
    Co-financiers of the Proposed Project
    Members of Parliament
    The Media and the Interested Public
     
********************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 10:09:11 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Sierra Club Arun Press release From: rajendra@coos.dartmouth.edu (Rajendra P. Shrestha)

Forwarded by Bhanu Niraula at UPenn
-------------

/* ---------- "Sierra Club Arun Dam Press Release" ---------- */ FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: FOR MORE INFORMATION CONTACT: January 9, 1995 Stephen Mills (202) 675-6691
                                                 Roni Lieberman (202) 675-7903

     SIERRA CLUB CHARGES WORLD BANK WITH VIOLATING ENVIRONMENTAL POLICIES

Washington, D.C.... Citing recent reports which reveal the World Bank's attempts to conceal investigation results of a proposed venture in Nepal, the Sierra Club today called for the colossal Arun Dam project to be canceled, and for smaller, less environmentally destructive projects to be considered.

The Sierra Club is supporting Nepalese environmentalists who believe that the Bank is pressuring their government to sign off on the $764 million project in an attempt to circumvent the World Bank's Inspection Panel findings and to preempt a comprehensive investigation.

The World Bank, Asian Development Bank and several bilateral aid agencies are proposing to finance the million-dollar project, costing more than Nepal's entire annual budget, in an isolated, biologically-rich and ethnically diverse mountain valley near the base of Mt. Everest.

"This dam represents precisely the kind of foreign aid rat hole that has caused some members of the new Congressional leadership to support sharp reductions in U.S. contributions to the World Bank," said Stephen Mills of Sierra Club's International Program. "One would think that after years of local and worldwide opposition to such environmentally destructive projects that the Bank would have learned a few things. Maybe 50 years is enough," continued Mills, referring to World Bank's 1994 50-year anniversary.

Nepalese citizen organizations have proposed a more sustainable approach to hydropower development, based on local knowledge and indigenous capacity. This alternative approach is based on decentralized, smaller-scale hydropower development, and emphasizes public participation and practical projects that take advantage of local knowledge, skills, materials, and equipment. This approach would result in much greater social and economic benefits for the Nepalese, while providing sufficient electricity for the country, starting with those who need it most in rural areas.

On December 20, 1994 World Bank management issued an internal update to staff which stated that the Bank's internal Inspection Panel "does not recommend that further work be done on exploring alternatives". The memorandum directly contradicts a December 16 Inspection Panel report which found policy violations in the Bank's alternative project evaluation.

The panel memorandum clearly states that the World Bank has not demonstrated
"that equivalent levels of effort were devoted to an alternative economic analysis," and that there was an "absence of a close examination of alternatives." "For Bank management to come into compliance with its own policies, a full investigation of viable alternatives must be a part of the project analysis," said Mills.

The World Bank has a long history of excluding indigenous people, non- governmental organizations, local experts and government officials from its decision-making process. In this case, the Nepalese government, which is still prepared to consider alterative energy projects, has repeatedly asked the Bank for more time to review the project proposal. The Bank is unyielding and is pressuring the Nepalese government to immediately indicate whether it wants to proceed.

Last year in an effort to further reform the lending practices of the Bank, Rep. Barney Frank (D-MA) former Chair of the House Subcommittee with jurisdiction over development banks, insisted on an exchange. In return for U.S. funding of the World Bank's International Development Assistance fund
(IDA), the Committee required the Bank to increase its "transparency" or openness to public review and to create a new independent inspection panel to review controversial projects.

"The World Bank is attempting to subvert the work of its own panel. A unanimous Bank board vote is required for an inspection to even occur," said Larry Williams, Director of Sierra Club's International Program. "These guys aren't even willing to play by their own rules when the risk is they may lose one of their pet projects," he continued.

"This represents the antithesis of sustainable development: a mega-project in a small country for the benefit of a small urbanized elite of industry, government officials and foreign contractors," said Mills. "In Nepal, the rural taxpayers and the environment will bear the burden."

Approximately 450,000 people from 10 ethnic groups would be adversely affected if the project is funded. The Arun III hydroelectric project will also directly impact the area's forests and wildlife because the forests surrounding the site would be cleared. A Nepalese NGO, the King Mahendra Trust has said that total deforestation is likely to occur in the Arun basin in less than 15 years because new roads would make access to the forest easier. And the World Bank itself recognizes the dam will block the movement of migratory fish, although no studies have been done regarding those impacts and the economic and social implications.

********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 11:52:25 -0500 (EST) From: Ashutosh Tiwari <tiwari@husc.harvard.edu> Subject: Re: RONAST To: nepal@cs.niu.edu

                                                                
        Just one point re: Amulya's recent posting on RONAST:

        I am sure that Amulya is aware that I have NEVER said or even implied that other officials at RONAST are "incompetent, corrupt, lazy" on my postings on SCN. Many good people and good activities languish everywhere if the leadership and the vision of the organizations are not
"good". On SCN, I was talking about these abstract notions of "visions and leadership" by naming a few individuals who, in my opinion, regardless of their caste/class and education seem to be striving for them.

        Talking about three officers does not imply neglect of or even disrespect for hundreds more.

namaste ashu

********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 19:16:18 +0000 (GMT) From: GIRI J N <J.N.Giri@city.ac.uk> To: The Nepal Digest <Nepal@cs.niu.edu> Subject: Amnesty International (AI) and nepali in Bhutan and Korea

I think Niraulaji should definitely post the press release of the Columbia conference on' genocide of southren Bhutanese' to AI 's Asia regional programme particularly to Petrina Macnaughton. I know for fact that she is doing research on the Southern refugee problem.

 AI's add:1 Easton St, London WC1x 8DJ,
 fax(44) (171) 956- 1157
      e-mail: (Green net) amnestyis@gn.apc.org
                                        & (Geonet) mcr1:amnesty-is

Probably the letter expresing the Nepal's outrage on the mistreatment of Nepali Korean worker can also be posted to her also.

One last thing on a lighter note; are the Nepali restaurant in US similar in their menu like their sisters in UK , basically all-indian but only spiced up to add a Nepali restaurant on the title as a pure 100% marketing gimmick.

Can someone out there answer a 6 million $ question for me, what is Nepali cusine any way beside D-B-T and probably tama. Can you create a whole menu of Nepali food like Thai, Mughalai, Chinese etc

Probably you guys in states just dream about them due to lack of them
, here in central London in area called Fitzrovia/ Euston, it is littered with them i.e Gurkhali/Tandori curry house Did you know that the good old Brits love their curry with their pint of Beer, totally bizzare if you ask me!!!

take care people

joti

********************************************************************** Date: Tue, 28 Feb 1995 15:17:27 -0500 To: nepal@cs.niu.edu Subject: Nepali Congress To Review Support To Communist Govt . From: ramani@saathi.ncst.ernet.in (S.Ramani)

Sent By: S.Ramani, NCST, Bombay

        Calcutta, Feb 21 :PTI: the Nepali Congress, the main opposition party in Nepal, will hold its ''maha samiti'' meeting on March five (Falgun 21, according to the Nepali calendar) to review, among other things, the results of the
''critical support'' extended by it to the ruling United Communist Party of Nepal (Marxist and Leninist).
        The chairman of the rashtriya sabha of Nepal (national council-upper house), currently on a private visit to calcutta, told PTI today that the ''maha samiti'', equivalent to the AICC of the Indian National Congress(I), would also ratify the amended party constitution as passed by the executive committee earlier.
        Mr Karki, who was elected chairman of the 60-member rashtriya sabha as a Nepali Congress nominee, said that there was, however, no political crisis although the communists were heading a minority government.
        He said that though the Nepali Congress was a little short of majority with 83 seats and the UCPN (M&L) had 88 seats in the pratinidhi sabha (lower house) of the parliament, it had double the strength with 31 seats in comparison to the 15 seats held by the ruling UCPN (M&L) in the rashtriya sabha (upper house).
           Mr Karki said that three seats of the 205-member pratinidhi sabha (lower house) of parliament would fall vacant as the present prime minister, Mr Manmohan Adhikary of the UCPN (M&L) and two former prime ministers-- Dr Girija Prasad Koirala of the Nepali Congress and Mr Lokendra Bahadur Chand of the Monarchist Rashtriya Prajatantra Party-- had contested two seats and had vacated one each.
           In accordance with the ''constitution of the Kingdom of Nepal, 1992), he said, bye-elections would be held within six months of the November general elections and these were scheduled to take place latest by May next.
           Referring to the internal strifes in the Nepali Congress, Mr Karki said that the prospects of the erstwhile ruling party--Nepali Congress-- in the forthcoming bye-elction did not seem to be bright due to the leadership crisis and groupism in the party which had percolated to the grass-root level.

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