Received: from mp.cs.niu.edu (mp.cs.niu.edu [18.104.22.168]) by library.wustl.edu (8.8.5/8.8.5) with SMTP id NAA06308; Mon, 5 May 1997 13:53:21 -0500 (CDT) Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA05751 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-dist); Mon, 5 May 1997 10:34:21 -0500 Received: by mp.cs.niu.edu id AA05747 (5.67b/IDA-1.5 for nepal-list); Mon, 5 May 1997 10:34:20 -0500 Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 10:34:20 -0500 Message-Id: <199705051534.AA05747@mp.cs.niu.edu> Reply-To: The Nepal Digest <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> From: The Editor <firstname.lastname@example.org> Sender: "Rajpal J. Singh" <A10RJS1@cs.niu.edu> Subject: The Nepal Digest - May 6, 1997 (23 Baishakh 2054 BkSm) To: <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu> Content-Type: text Status: O X-Status: X-Keywords: X-UID: 231
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The Nepal Digest Tuesday May 6, 97: Baishakh 23 2054BS: Year6 Volume62 Issue 2
Annual Nepali Convention in Chicago - Memorial Day Weekend
Matrimonials in Nepal Digest
The Kathmandu Post Review of Books
Visit Nepal Year 1998: A post-mortem
Lumbini home page
Hydropower Nepal Forum Questions
* TND (The Nepal Digest) Editorial Board *
* -------------------------------------- *
* The Nepal Digest: General Information email@example.com *
* Chief Editor: RJP Singh (Open Position) firstname.lastname@example.org *
* Columnist: Pramod K. Mishra email@example.com *
* SCN Correspondent: Rajesh Shrestha (Open Position) firstname.lastname@example.org *
* TND Archives: http://library.wustl.edu/~listmgr/tnd/ *
* TND Foundation: http://www.nepal.org email@example.com *
* WebSlingers: Pradeep Bista,Naresh Kattel,Robin Rajbhandari,Prakash Bista*
* firstname.lastname@example.org *
* +++++ Food For Thought +++++ *
* "Heros are the ones who give a bit of themselves to the community" *
* "Democracy perishes among the silent crowd" -Sirdar_Khalifa *
****************************************************************** Date: April 30, 1997 To: The Nepal Digest <email@example.com> Subject: Nepal News
Girl trafficking urged to be tabled in SAARC summit
By a Post Reporter
Source: The Kathmandu Post
KATHMANDU, April 30 - Sketchy
information estimates that
100,000-160,000 Nepali women are
working in the brothels of India alone.
Roughly 20 per cent of the girls are under
20 years of age and 35 per cent are
abducted to India under the pretext of
marriage and good jobs.
Studies point out that the age of the girls
being trafficked to India is declining and
the demand for virgins is increasing. Much
of this increase is due to the fear of AIDS
virus and other sexually transmitted
diseases. This was reported at the public
hearing of the judgement of "In The Court
of Women: A Roundtable on Trafficking in
South Asia", a regional seminar, here today.
According to a report provided at the hearing- about 5,000-7,000 young
girls are said to be trafficked to India every year. Another report says,
more than 45,000 Nepali girls are in Mumbai and more than 40,000 in
Sonargacchi red light area in Calcutta. The local sex
market is flourishing day-by-day because of abundant supplies coupled with
the traffickers-politicians-administration linkage and patronage. But this
is not the problem of Nepal alone. Reports from the fact-finding missions
carried out by AWHRC Trafficking
is a common problem of all SAARC nations, the major market for trafficked
victims being the Gulf countries.
According to various reports on trafficking, India serves as the basic
transitory link and stopover point for trafficked South Asian women. The
major trafficking centres are located in Calcutta, Delhi and Amritsar.
Bangladeshi girls are mostly trafficked to Pakistan. It is estimated that
there are over 200,000 Bangladeshis women in Pakistan and approximately
100-150 Bangladeshi women
are brought to Pakistan everyday.
Though Bangladesh, India, Nepal and Pakistan all have cross border trafficking
problem "Sri Lanka doesnt have much of external trafficking problem.
Sri Lanka's problem is internal trafficking from rural to urban areas" said
Surien Peiris of Sri Lanka.
"However, there is a distinctive difference between trafficking and prostitution", say activists. A trafficked girl isnt necessarily forced into prostitution. The trafficked women and children are commercially exploited and sold into slavery for begging, domestic work, illegal bonded labour, prostitution, for the thriving organ trade and little boys as jockeys for camel racing. Asian Women Human Rights Council (AWHRC) members claim that girl trafficking is a grave violation of human rightsan international problem connected to political, socio-economic and gender inequities. Though the heads of states of SAARC nations meet every year, they have yet to take up the issue of girl trafficking. In all the SAARC nations, the common obstacle in solving the trafficking problem is an unwritten relationship among the traffickers and law enforcing agencies. The network made possible with the collaboration of local police. The Court of Women demanded that trafficking be distinguished from prostitution. They claim " the response to the trafficking has always been shortsighted and targetted against the affected women than the perpetrators. They demanded that prostitution should be decriminalised as this will release the victims trafficked into prostitution from the clutches of pimps and agents. All the 30 participants of the AWHRC seminar and some human rights activists stood for one hour at Bhadrakai in black as a non violent demonstration today. It was reported that a delegation from the Court of Women will lobby the heads of states of SAARC nation at the SAARC Summit being held in Maldives from 12-14 May and present them with the judgement of the Court. They will try to convince SAARC heads of states to incorporate girl trafficking issue on the agenda.
NY plea bargain in Nepalese student's death
POTSDAM, N.Y., April 10 (Reuter) - Two fraternity brothers pleaded guilty
on Thursday to charges stemming from a
hazing incident in which a 17-year-old student from Nepal was forced to
drink so much liquor that he threw up and died
in his own vomit.
The two students are among 12 members of the Theta Chi Fraternity facing
charges in the death of Clarkson University
freshman Binaya Oja at the Feb. 8 hazing in upstate New York.
Three of the other defendants have filed to dismiss the charges and
prosecutors are waiting to hear whether the other
seven will accept a plea agreement or stand trial.
Potsdam Village Justice Thomas Wheeler ordered a pre-sentencing
investigation and set sentencing for May 29.
Prosecutor Gary Dawson said 18 of the 21 people in the initiation were
forced to drink alcohol until they vomited.
``It is amazing that people do this recreationally,'' said Dawson. ``This was supposed to be fun for them.'' Oja, whose father is a modern languages professor at Cornell University in Ithaca, New York, and whose mother lives in their native Nepal, was then left in a room of the fraternity house where he choked on his own vomit and died. His body was found the next morning. Prosecutors were planning to charge the fraternity in Oja's death, but Theta Chi's national directors stepped in and agreed to disband Clarkson University's chapter. Keith Sheldon, 21, of Fort Edward and Matthew Rizzo, 19, of Niagara Falls pleaded guilty to one count of first-degree hazing and one count of first-degree unlawfully dealing with a child, both misdemeanors, as part of a plea bargain. All 12 defendants have been free on $1,000 bail since they were charged.
Date: April 30, 1997
From: SJ Thapa <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Annual Nepali Convention in Chicago during Memorial Day Weekend
ANMA - 16TH - ANNUAL
To be held in Chicago, Illinois
May 24-25, 1997
The 1997 annual general meeting of The Association of Nepalese in Midwest
America will held on May 25, 1997 in
Chicago, Illinois. The site of the meeting will be the activities center of
St. Margaret Mary Catholic Church located at 7341
N. Claremont in the northernmost part of the city proper. As has seen the
custom, the local Nepalese and friends are the
hosts of the meeting and they will sponsor a get-together and dinner
on the Saturday evening prior to the meeting. The wiil
be a registration fee to cover the costs of the meeting itself. Holiday Inn
(Cost: $79 Phone: 847-679-5199) and Days Inn
(Cost: $59 Phone: 847-647-7700) located within five miles have agreed to block out rooms for ANMA. A limited number of appropriate, organized Vendor Booths will be allowed on Sunday. Full details including costs, preregistration forms, directions, lodging arrangements and items of local interest will be mailed separately in early April. The theme of the meeting will be "Nepalese in America (cont.)". This follows the lead of a previous ANMA meeting in which the multifarious issues facing all the people of Nepalese origin and those closely associated with them were sought to be addressed. Besides addressing the implications of the current less-than-friendly environment for immigrants we would also like to focus more on the younger set than we have previously.
The tentative programs for both days follows. Any further enquiries may be
made to Sharada Thapa in Chicago at
Note: If you are interested in performing in the Sunday night culture show,
then please call Sangita Shrestha at (733)
334-7526 before April 30th.
Saturday May 24, 1997
CHICAGO NEPALESE HOSTED
SATURDAY NIGHT DINNER
Time: 6-11 P.M.
Events: Registration, Socializing & Entertainment(movie planned)
Dinner: 7:30 p.m. (subject to change)
Indian food buffet
Cash bar for drinks
No Charge to-out-town
Guest for food.
Sunday May 25,1997
ANNUAL MEETING EVENTS
Registration 8:30 - 11:30 a.m. &
5:30 - 6:00 p.m.
Continental breakfast - coffee & sweet rolls Opening 9:00 - 10:30 a.m. Session Welcome Ambassador's remarks.
& Keytone speech Break 10:30 10:45 a.m. Main Session 10:45a.m. - 12:45p.m.
Pannel discussion, presentation on selected topics Lunch 1:00 - 1:30 p.m.
Box lunch provided for carry-out if going downtown or for other
Organizing boat tour of Chicago
(buses will take participants to a lake cruise - charge TBA) ANMA Meeting 4:00 - 5:00 p.m.
All are welcome Social Hour 5:30 - 6:30p.m.
Cash bar for wine and beer Dinner 6:45 - 8:15 p.m.
Indian food buffet Cultural Show 8:30 - 11:00 p.m.
Cultural shows, presentation of
awards and recognitions
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 12:02:52 +0800
Since I join the wave of the Internate and the eamil system
I am the regular reader of this TND. I appriciate the efforts
put in it by readers and the editors and the organization itself.
I want to point out some thing through this letter.
:>* In my observation I found that the people who are access to
this facilities are all from abroad, and what they think and
what they write all are the experiences of the out side country.
They compare and admire the progress of what they learn and
what they show.They want to use that the same way in Nepal.
How a situation in America and or in China be as suitable to Nepal.
Nepal and Nepalese have their own Situation and own Cercumstances.
The persons are Blindly imposing the Policies and norms to the Country
and the out put is always ZERO ZERO 000000.
This is what the people of Nepal is sufferings.
I would like to say that the IDENTITY of Nepal and Nepalese
is going to Change .... and in next generation it will be either
Americano or Bihari (Indian). And most probably The BIHARI marka..
:>* What I see is THe Religion Will be Changed to Christian, because
Christian are giving more support to a poor Nepalese. and the Religion
and politics are all in Sale in Nepal and If some one give more money
again He or she will Cange the Religion, and become Another and ....
may be Muslims or .....
But More money is only with Christian and so most Probably Christian...
:>* The Educated peoples are now brain drain to other countries and
they can talk about Nepal and her Beautifull POOr life from outside.
Who is Responsible to Build Nepal?
THe politicians..... they are the one who are Known as the Badmas ..
Lafanga... Kam na paye ko.... and sub-middle class and ... and
got oppertunity to become Rich on an overnight..
Are they Responsible........???????
:>* The farmers , poor farmer even do not know how much he will recieve
in the next season are facing the inflession and CHORBajari. because of
the policies of Nepal.
:>* I THank all of these Educated people and specially to
Well-educated Politicians and of cource the beurocrates who are
are pillar of Administration and are doing their best and only
to save thier Chair and Enjoy the Khusamt and bossism but in the name of
:>* I thanks to PASUPATI Nath Who cares all of Us Being HIndu.
It is my cordial Request :
"Do Not Change Your Identity"
BE NEPALESE AND THINK NEPALESE way to BUILD Nepal"
Date: Tue, 29 Apr 1997 14:29:17 EST
From: "Bharat Dwa" <BDWA@uhd2.uhd.com>
Subject: Matrimonials in Nepal Digest
Dear Mr. Singh: I am new comer to Nepal Digest and have certainly
enjoyed it. I have noted that it is possible to put 'Matrimonial
Classifieds' in Nepal Digest. Could you please explain me how does
this work? I am interested in puting one. We would like to make sure
that the information (such as email address, name, location) of the
advertiser remain confidential. I would appreciate any feedback from
Thank you for your time.
%%%%%Editor's Note: You are welcome to put Matrimonial %%%%%
%%%%% requests. Just send it in to %%%%%
%%%%% email@example.com %%%%%
From: "shambhu sijapati" <firstname.lastname@example.org>
Subject: Voluteer In Nepal!
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 08:01:03 PDT
I met an American couple several months ago. They both have medical background
and they want to do volunteer in Nepal for six months ago. I gave several
hospitals' address in KTM, but it has been more than 3 months none of them
respond to them. I am running out of answers.I made several explanations and
excuses. It is a shame for the nation and shame for us.
I have seen at least 4/5 Americans and other natinalities who want to volunteer in Nepal in every TND issue. Is there any organization out there to give this simple infos? Can netters in KTM and our embassy provide infos periodically in TND so that they don't have to go thru expedition like Mt. Everest for this great cause? I would like to urge every single netter to provide every piece of info in this regard. Thanx!
Subject: Conserving Kathmandu's Urban Form
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 12:11:36 -0400 (EDT)
From: "Rajesh B. Shrestha" <rshresth@BBN.COM>
Conserving Kathmandu's urban form
An essay by Biresh Shah
(Originally published in The Kathmandu Post Review of Books, 30 March 1997.
Biresh is an MIT-educated architect, and is currently an independent
consulting architect in Kathmandu.)
The sophisticated urban forms developed in the principal
cities of Kathmandu valley essentially during the Malla period is the high
point in urban development and planning in Nepal. They demonstrate great
refinement in the handling of land-use, quality of urban space,
infrastructure provisions, monumental architecture, arts and craft coming
together to support a culturally advanced urban society. Today as the banal
formless urbanization surrounds them, these traditional urban centers are
under siege. Much of the debate is centered on the rapid loss of this great
heritage and the potential it could have for a great tourism industry
considering that such historic urban centers have been turned into tourism
gold-mines elsewhere, especially in Europe and America.
Lately, there have been extremely commendable efforts in the
actual preservation of important architectural monuments and installation of
modern infrastructure in these cities. However, the urban fabric of the
residential courtyards, which nurtured an advanced culture in these cities,
and created the setting for the great urban spaces and architectural
monuments, have been gradually divided, demolished, and rebuilt in an
altogether different manner. While the nature of this phenomenon can be
endlessly debated, there is no doubt that it has greatly mired the visual
and physical qualities of the traditional urban form.
These areas are under tremendous pressure today. And pressures come
in various forms. What were once extended family courtyards for generations
have been subject to thoughtless subdivisions, and are mired in disputes
un-resolvable within the existing legal framework. Some families have
rented out their sections of the courtyards as small tenements, leading to
slum formation Others are too poor to redevelop the courtyards or move out
to newly developed areas close-by, as cost of land and new construction is
astronomical. In short the physical environment of many inner city
courtyards is in sordid state.
This is due to a total absence of urban planning vision in the last
decade and negligible implementation of planning ideas in the newly
developed areas. The urbanization around the traditional cores created
enormous pressures within them. Urban planning in the Kathmandu valley had
the opportunity to respond to these pressures in its strategies for
development in the surrounding areas, but that did not happen. This sordid
state of urban development in Kathmandu valley, Nepal's premier urban center,
led to mythical levels of speculation on land prices, and sustained
destruction of the beautiful landscape of the valley.
Traditionally, the role of urban planning was to physically and visually structure the city form. Today, the agenda is much larger. It has to recognize and understand all social and environmental pressures of a given situation and deal creatively with them to create new possibilities. It is clear that the process of change in the traditional urban core cannot be controlled and guided by the current planning guidelines and by-laws
(instituted to save these areas) alone, as they are unable to deal with the pressures of unique situations within the core. Because of their ambiguous nature, these bye-laws are also subject to a variety of whimsical interpretations by the residents and the authorities alike.
To create a comprehensive and sustainable process of conserving the
traditional urban form, any approach has to acknowledge three spheres of
understanding. First, It becomes important to redefine and re-establish the
status of these traditional urban cores in the contemporary metropolis of
Kathmandu. Second, it is essential to look at this entire effort as a
comprehensive development project, with clearly defined objectives, goals,
and range of activities. This requires detailed urban design of the
traditional core area and its possible extensions in the immediate periphery,
so that each situation has clearly defined physical solutions within the
framework of the larger planning strategies for the area. These strategies
have to augment the larger vision of the metropolis. Third, any development
effort must promote financial systems such that even the private sector can
There is sometimes a temptation to draw comparisons with the
conservation of old city centers of the Western world. Historic districts
in the West have developed into successful touristic enclaves and
fashionable districts, earning billions for the city. But the cities of the
developed west went through major shifts in patterns of economic activities
over time resulting in major demographic shifts in space. This allowed
planners and developers to redefine and redevelop entire urban areas
according to new possibilities. But, the nature of inhabitation in the
traditional urban cores of Kathmandu has been different. Families, clans
have lived in the same neighborhood, the same house for several generations.
In the context of today's urbanization and the socio-economic pressures,
sustaining the quality of this built environment has been put to the
severest test making the effort more complex by the day.
Perhaps a more feasible parallel can be drawn with the
internationally recognized conservation efforts in cities like Tunis in
Tunisia and Fez in Morocco. Both Fez and Tunis are ancient cities which
apart from being similar in scale to Kathmandu have perhaps experienced
similar layers of formation; namely the rich indigenously developed
medieval city cores, the pre-modern (colonial) transplant, and the
unleashing of the fury of contemporary urbanization. The traditional cores,
known as the Medina, in both these cities have been the staging ground for
successful urban conservation and renewal efforts, by striking the balance
between development and conservation required of any meaningful development
If the current trend of gradual mutation and destruction of
the traditional city form continues unchecked, we will have lost not only a
great national heritage painstakingly created over centuries, but also a
great resource for the nation. Tourism is an industry of vast potential,
and as more and more people get involved with it, its dimensions have been
constantly redefined. The conservation of the traditional urban areas of
Kathmandu valley have placed before us an entire new dimension of tourism
to be developed and marketed. Will we be able to save and develop this
great "resource" before it disappears is the question that is going to test
the resolve and commitment of the citizens of this valley.
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 18:04:42 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: The Kathmandu Post Review of Books
What follows is a review -essay on
"Outward-oriented economic nationalism" A paper by Madan K. Dahal Published in Social Economy & National Development Edited by: Horst Mund and Madan K. Dahal Nepal Foundation for Advanced Research, 1996.
By Swarnim Wagle
(This essay was originally published in The Kathmandu Post Review of Books)
Dr. Dahal, an economics professor at the Tribhuvan
University, begins this 48-page paper with a clichi: That Nepal is a "least
developed, landlocked, geographically disadvantageously placed and
economically vulnerable nation of enormous ecological, cu ltural and ethnic
diversity". If Nepal is to "survive" as a viable nation-state, he suggests
that it adopt a mix of economic nationalism and globalization. Economic
nationalism, because it'd strengthen the nation's ability to survive and
secure itself ec onomically are not threatened. And globalization, because
it'd help propel the national development programs forward.
TWO PATHS: Clearly, Dahal envisages a scenario wherein economic nationalism
and globalization would chart their own individual paths to deliver
different, yet mutually-compatible, development-oriented results. That may be
a seemingly sound conclusion. But the way Dahal goes about to give his
reasons smacks more of wishful thinking than sound political economy. Dahal
starts by lashing out against the effects of World Bank-led Structural
Adjustment Programs (SAPs). Yet he omits to say what havoc in the Nepali
context that SAP has specifically wrought. This omission is significant, for,
as far as I can remembe r, the SAP-bashing has been going on in Nepal for
almost a decade now. That is why it is sad to realize, through papers like
this one, that leading Nepali economists still have not ventured beyond the
usual vague generalities to come up with Nepal-specifi c SAP-criticisms. And
so, with the SAPs bashed obligatorily, Dahal moves on to examine some recent
economic indicators -- pronouncing boldly, and pessimistically, that the
Nepali economy is "dying".
FOUR SECTORS: To energize that economy, Dahal identifies four sectors --
bio-diversity, water resources, human resources and tourism -- that he
believes are instrumental to Nepal's sustainable development. Drawing
examples from Sweden and Finland, both small countries with large
forest-resources, Dahal argues that Nepal, with 37 per cent of forest-cover,
should plant high-value crops. To that end, Dahal would like to see citrus
fruits in the mid-hills, apples in the inner Himalayas, and Nepali cardamom
and mushrooms sold in international bazaars. All these, he says, supplement
national income. His take on water resources is less wishful. He rightly says
that water resources have remained under-tapped largely because of Nepal's
weak negotiating power. His blames our lack of a national consensus ("Nepal
does not even have an authentic map of her exact boundary lines") on how to
harness water into power coupled with India's indifference. To break this
impasse, he recommends that Nepal involve Bangladesh in tri- partite
negotiations. But why and how Bangladesh can and should come to the negot
iation-table is not made clear. Still, what really provides comic-relief is
Dahal's take on tourism. Listing the usual clichis that draw visitors to
Nepal, Dahal proposes that Pokhara be turned into a SAARC capital, that
Lumbini host a SAARC university, and that all the SAARC Centr al Bank Governors' get together to form some sort of a SAARC-ish IMF. These are all magnificent castles in the air. Missing, however, are credibly chiseled foundations underneath.
NO WAY OUT: Ultimately though, Dahal's paper, larded as it is with jargons
(e.g, tax-effort ratio, low-level equilibrium trap, index of terms of trade, and so on) and ill- developed thoughts, fails to sustain both interest and respect. On the level of a rgument, he fails to tie up his version of economic nationalism and globalization cogently with his proposed four sectors for sustainable growth. That is to say, he does not explain how tourism, water-resources, human resources, and forests are really lin ked with his starting concerns of economic nationalism and globalization. And even on the level of details, there isn't anything original or sufficiently arresting in this paper.
Problem with governance
A review-essay by Seira Tamang
This essay was originally published in The Kathmandu Post Review of Books.
Book Number One: Crisis of governance by Hari Uprety Centre for Governance
& Development Studies, Kathmandu. 1996 Price: Rs. 200; Pages: 156 Book Number Two: The challenge of good governance by Dev Raj Dahal Center for Governance & Development Studies, Kathmandu 1996. Price: Rs. 165; Pages: 78
Everyone agrees that good governance is needed. But no one seems to pin it down to a useful concept. Two recent books, "Crisis of Governance: A Study of Political Economic Issues in Nepal" by Hari Uprety, and "The Challenge of Good Governance: Decentr alization and Development in Nepal" by Dev Raj Dahal each take a stab at it. But with mixed results.
AUTONOMOUS ECONOMICS: Taking governance as "the exercise of political power
to manage a nation's public affairs", and arguing that "economic dependence
... erode[s] the powers of governance", Uprety covers the familiar ground of foreign aid, role of NG Os, debt and the open border and trade treaties with India. Highlighting India's role in Nepal's maladies, he writes that "the problems of governance, or [of] economic development for that matter, are not at all related with the political system, but the open border coupled with the [Nepal's] perceived need for a transit route".
Uprety critiques the government's privatization and liberalization schemes,
lamenting the fact that Nepal's industries are not being protected, and that
the government is not giving Nepal's own private sector a chance. His
analyses of current taxation p olicies towards the "shadow economy" are
critical of the government, reinforcing, as he argues they do, the Nepali
state's weak position vis-a-vis other states and economic realities. Uprety's
main concern with the "crisis of governance" has to do with the inability of
the Nepali nation-state to control its own economic policies in the face of
external geo-political and globalization restraints. Still, one wishes that
those concerns were framed not as issues of governance, but as issues of
sovereignty. If one substitutes the term sovereignty for governance, very
little, if anything, is lost. For example, in such arguments as "Nepal has
had to give up a significant portion of its powe r of governance to [India]
through treaty ties and agreements", or "[t]rade diversification, especially
in exports, determines the amount of governance power a state has", it
appears that sovereignty would be a more technically precise a term to use.
Uprety's own elaboration of the relationship between "sovereignty",
"autonomy" and "governance", however, does more to muddle than clarify. He states that "sovereignty is the precondition to autonomy of governance", where autonomy is "the ability of gov ernments to act independently of the different social forces they represent". But what he does not do is to distinguish among the different levels at which "autonomy" is applicable. This particular definition of autonomy, and thus of sovereignty, functions at the level of internal state to society relations. However, in so far as his whole book functions at a completely different level - at the level of the state vis-a-vis external economic constraints, this use of autonomy is misleadingly limiting. Furthermore, if one takes that "sovereignty is the precondition to autonomy of governance" sentence to understand his larger argument, confusion ensues. Untangling the above sentence, what this means is that sovereignty is the precondition to the autono my of "the exercise of political power to manage a nation's public affairs". In so far as both sovereignty and autonomy generally mean the power to self-government, the argument then stands as sovereignty (referring as it does to the level of the nation-s tate) is a precondition to the "exercise of political power to manage a nation's public affairs". The question then is: Can this be further rephrased without losing clarity and overall meaning to say "sovereignty is the precondition to governing?" And wh at does it mean anyway in terms of differentiating between "governance" and "governing"?
COGNITIVE LIBERATION: As Uprety's focuses mainly at the state-level, Dahal
discusses governance as it relates to society. He defines governance as
applying it "to the exercise of power in a variety of institutional contexts,
the object of which is to di rect, control, and regulate activities in the
interests of people as citizens, voters and workers". Summarizing Nepal's
historical experience with centralized rule and the current political
system's inability to respond to the needs of the marginalized an d poor,
Dahal thinks of decentralization as good governance.
To that end, not only does he question the government's current commitment to
decentralization (given the fact that local government institutions (LGIs)
are still accountable to the powers above than to the people below), but also
points out that in our hierarchically stratified societies, barriers to
participation arise from underlying economic, social and cultural structures.
There is thus a need, says Dahal, for movements to help build self-confidence
and self-worth to trigger a "cognitive liberation ". To achieve it, NGOs,
self-help organizations and political parties are to play an important role.
Thinking through Dahal's arguments on a conceptual level, however, I wonder
whether -- in statements such as "non-bureaucratic components of the
political system . . . can be instrumental in realizing the notion of
self-governance" and "[g]ood governan ce thrives on self-management of
functionally decentralized consumer groups whose coordinating body embodies
representatives of all those affected by their activities" -- "governance" is
really the term to be used. The term "democracy" would seem to be mo re
"Governance" appears to have implications for both internal and external
forms of rule. But what exactly it is, and how it contributes to our
understanding of Nepal still remains to be made clear. Given its limited
explanatory power (i.e., its substitut ability), perhaps the use of familiar
concepts such as those of "democracy" and "sovereignty" help us understand
today's socio-economic-political Nepal. THE END. (Ms. Tamang is pursuing a
PhD in int'l relations at The American University, Washington DC, USA.)
A weak rebuttal
A review-essay by Kishor Pradhan
(This review was originally published in The Kathmandu Post Review of Books.)
Brahmins of Nepal by Prakash A. Raj Nabeen Publications, 1996 Rs. 100.
Prakash A Raj's Brahmins of Nepal, a sort of a Brahman-nic rebuttal to Dor
Bahadur Bista's phenomenal bestseller Fatalism and Development (Orient
Longman, New Delhi, 1991), can be best described as informative yet
First the informative aspect. Raj provides ample details and descriptions
that deal with the origins of the Brahmins, their clans, castes and
sub-castes, their purbia-kumai- jaisi dichotomies, and their gotra-specific
rituals and festivals. The appendice s, which make up half the book, are on
disaggregated demographic distribution of the Brahmins. This is all a
goldmine of information, and Raj deserves credit for bringing it all in one
slim book. But when it comes to picking up cogent theses to launch a c lear
line of argument in support of the Brahmins, Raj serves up a weak fare.
EXHIBIT A Writing about ethno-political concerns that have spilled into the public arena since the Jan Andolan, Raj notes with irony that while ethnic organizations call against compulsory learning of Sanskrit in secondary schools, they have not been ab le to do so without using Sanskritized Nepali in their ethnic journals and in the naming their organizations (as in Janajati Mahasangh). He points out that the ethnic leaders themselves have names which are Sanskritic in origin. And he attributes today's
non-Brahmins' opposition to compulsory Sanskrit to their ancestors' being denied access to Sanskrit schools. Well, ho hum. Assuming Raj to be right, then what to make of ethnic organizations such as Yakthung Chumlung, Tamang Ghedung, Tamu Choj Dhi and others? And what too to make of some ethnic leaders who are increasingly using their ethnic names to raise the ir concerns in the public arena, while some, such as the Newars, have stuck to their scripts as type-fonts in their newspapers?
EXHIBIT B: Raj asserts that the Brahmins have facilitated the growth of an egalitarian society. For proof, he points to Brahmin communist leaders -- almost all of whom are married to non-Brahmins. From this, Raj goes on to argue that the Brahmins are in deed bringing about a social change in Nepal.
Again, it is difficult to see what we are to make of such an assertion based
so obviously on anecdotes. For it is still not clear whether the communist
Brahmins were and are really conscious agents of social change (when it comes
to advocating inter-cas te marriages) or they just happened to get married to
whoever they individually fell in love with while underground. The latter may
or may not have resulted because of the former, and it's easy to argue
either way. Still, I fail to see how a few communis t Brahmins' marrying
inter-caste necessarily help(ed) pave the way for an egalitarian Nepali
EXHIBIT C: Raj is correct in pointing out that Brahmin writers have played a
big role in the development of Nepali as the national language. But this
claim is so obviously true and well-accepted that it's not clear why Raj
thinks this even needs a defen se. But what Raj does fail to do is to
distinguish between those who oppose the dominance of the Nepali language
alone and those who also want recognition for their own ethnic languages and
heritage alongside in today's democratic setting. Two are distinc t groups of
ethnic activists, and by portraying them as singularly anti-Nepali-language
(and by extension, anti-Brahmin) people, Raj only further blurs the gradations of wants and aspirations that exist within various ethnic leaders' demands.
EXHIBIT D: Raj says that the Brahmins too had fought for a democratic system,
in which all have an equal chance to participate in governance. This is fine
and good. But he fails to explain why (and how) is it that the hill
Brahmins, who make up 13 perc ent of the population, take up almost fifty
percent of membership in the House of Representatives formed after the 1994
poll. After all, by way of a comparison, the Magars, though 7.24 percent of
the national, take up only 1.46 percent of seats in the Pa rliament.
Obviously, Brahmins, as a group, have been better able to gain access to
governance in ways the Magars have not been.
Raj ends his book by saying that writers like Bista are wrong to blame the Brahmins for introducing a fatalistic (bahunistic) caste-system in Nepal, and he shows little patience with what he calls "Bahun baiting" writings. Raj is entitled to his impati ence, but let me extract this short quote from Fatalism and Development itself: "The people who imposed the [caste system] upon the Nepali society were not the Bahuns. They could not have done so it by themselves as they were weak, dependent immigrants at that time . . . It was the local ruling elites who were responsible for doing this by applying the bahunistic principles of caste system for further entrenchment of their own class status."
Bista's claim remains popular yet provocative enough to invite serious
further discussions -- both to bring up more searching theories that better
shed light on the complexity of Nepal's societies or to present (so far
lacking) well-documented ethnogra phic accounts of afno manche/chakari
practices which he says emanated from bahunistic ethos. Unfortunately, weakly
argued and primarily descriptive books such as this one by Raj are of little
help to serious readers to raise the level of debate on so-pe rceived
bahunism higher. (Mr. Pradhan is a Kathmandu-based social scientist.) THE
(What follows is about 1100-words long. If pressed for time now, please save this to read later.) Sharpening the (Hindu) liberal an essay by Ashutosh Tiwari
A number of liberal Nepali Hindus (let's call them, LNHs), who argue that
women should have as much right to parental property as men, are attacking
conservative Nepali Hindus (let's call them, CNHs). And my point here is that
in doing so, the LNHs seem to be: a) using misleading examples, and, b)
failing to understand why their adversaries are taking an increasingly
organized and militant stand to oppose women's right to parental property.
MISLEADING EXAMPLES: In their arguments, the LNHs never take the trouble to
clearly define what aspects or which sect of Hinduism they are talking about.
Always taking Hinduism as though it were one big monolithic religion inside
Nepal, they then go on to lamely declare that Hindu beliefs are being abused
to disrespect women.
Now, no one doubts that women ARE treated with disrespect in Nepal and
elsewhere. But how much of that disrespect can be isolated as coming
specifically from a religious, Hindu or otherwise, belief? No one knows for
sure. Yet, the LNHs express their cer tainty by almost always presenting the
'deuki' system as their evidence.
But, as bits of research seem to indicate, deuki as a system of making women
publicly available for sexual use has historically more to do with ethnic,
feudal and political constructs of the Far Western Nepal than with uniquely
pan-Hindu values, howsoe ver defined. Just because some Hindu temples are
used for deuki, that doesn't give the LNHs a license to toss in this extreme
example to insinuate that ALL forms of Hinduism do not respect women in
An extreme example, the LNHs should know, is more likely to be an exception
than the rule, and pushing it to make a general remark is just plain
misleading, as in this example: Since every Mormon man can religiously have
more than one living wife, and s ince all Mormons are Christians, it then
follows that all Christians can religiously have more than one living wife!
This issue of deuki aside, another example the LNHs never seem to tire of is that of 'sati'. The analogy here goes like this. Since sati, a decidedly Hindu practice, is no longer legally tolerated, why should women's not having a right to parental prop erty, another decidely Hindu practice, be legally acceptable? But such a question, though well-intentioned, is needlessly patronizing on two grounds.
First, the LNHs should know that the outlawed practice of sati is not the
same as women's not having a right to parental property. And second, even
without the LNHs' telling them so, the CNHs themselves are probably relieved
that their widowed daughters do not have to commit sati today. Moreover,
these CNHs are also likely to be aware of plurality within Hinduism, and can
therefore disarm the LNHs by informing them that well before sati had been
outlawed in Nepal and India, Hinduism itself had dynamical ly thrown up many
rebellious/reform-oriented religions and movements such as Buddhism, Jainism,
Sikhisim and others.
Against this backdrop, the lessons the LNHs can draw from this are two. One,
to make sound arguments in public, the minimally responsible thing they can
do is to define their terms unambiguously, while using representative
examples to advance their line of thinking, even when the CNHs are likely to
disagree with the conclusions. And two, if the LNHs really want to let their
arguments speak for themselves, then they should stop casting the CNHs as
prissy morons still trapped in some medieval time warps. Their adversaries,
the LNHs should recognize, are organized, conservative, modern-day Hindus
whose positions need to be carefully understood. Otherwise, the LNHs
untenable examples end up weakening the liberals' own arguments.
UNDERSTANDING THE CNHS' POSITION: That is why, the LNHs first task is then
to figure out why the CNHs are taking the position they are taking against women's right to parental property. With detached sensitivity, the LNHs can then perhaps explain to th e public the confused and the distressed states in which most of the CNHs in Nepal are found these days. The CNHs are confused because they are now unsure about where in the continuum of Nepal's legal regime does the Hindu jurisprudential view on the right to parental property (as taught by Hindu sage Manu, and as codified in Nepal's 'muluki ain') end, and where the English common-law view on the same
(as influenced by British philosopher John Locke, and as broadly embodied in spirit in Nepal's 1990 Constitution) begins. The CNHs are also distressed because now that, broadly speaking, by ordering the Parliament to come up with a bill that would grant women the right to parental property, the Supreme Court of this Hindu Kingdom seems to have decided against Manu's poin t to side more with Locke's. And the CNHs worry that this and other similar SC orders may eventually go on to disrupt their particular Hindu/Nepali way of life which they -- of course, naively and arrogantly -- think that the rest of Nepal is also made u p of. To their credit, the CNHs are smart enough to know that it is too late to persuade the SC to order otherwise. Their only hope now is to create just the right filibusters at the right places to keep on spinning a miasma of fear about cultural degradation , social upheavals, religious impurity, and all the horrible things that are going to happen if women are legally granted the right to parental property. But this, the LNHs should realize, actually exposes the CNHs' double-standards. That is to say, the CNHs want to have their 'cake' of West Minster-style parliamentary democracy (which has been updated so that women can vote), and
'eat it' with Manu's Smriti (which has not been updated so that women are still second-class citizens). Still, the way LNHs need to deal with this contradictory stand is not by using extreme examples, and by continually
painting their adversaries in a negative light. But by vigorously arguing that Nepal's legal system, though far from perfect, is ultimate ly here to codify, even for non-Hindu Nepalis, what the CNHs also admit Hinduism teaches anyway: That women too are to be respected. Thus, in coming months and years, the challenge facing the liberal Hindu Nepalis is this: How to make that religiously recognized respect of women legally codified in ways that empower women.
[The above essay was originally published in The Kathmandu Post.
Comments/criticisms, especially from Pramod Mishraji at Duke, are most
Date: Wed, 30 Apr 1997 22:29:05 -0500 (EST)
Subject: book review on Nepal deforestaton and social dynamics (fwd)
To: THE NEPAL DIGEST <NEPAL@cs.niu.edu>
Deforesting the Social Construction of Deforestation=20
A Book Review of The Social Dynamics of Deforestation
by Amulya R Tuladhar
Clark University, USA.
Book:The Social Dynamics of Deforestation: Case Study from Nepal
Author: John Soussan, Bharat K Shrestha, and Laya P Uprety
Publisher:The Parthenon Publishing Group, New York
Just when the thick stand of the deforestation discourse about
Nepal is being rapidly deforested by academic critiques and on-ground
forest realities, we see this one last wolf-tree of a social
construction of The Social Dynamics of Deforestation.
Why this book? Why this time? Who does the authors want to
convince? These are questions I will explore while reviewing this book.
But, first, a quick overview of its contents. The book has for
its core four case studies of deforestation in Nepal, sandwiched between
a chapter on deforestation debate and forest policy in Nepal. The four
case studies are from Koshi Hills, Rasuwa and Nuwakot, and Kailali and
the Dhanusha districts. The key research question was whether there
could be any generalizable lessons learned from such a collection of
studies. The attempt is laudable since Nepal is now so swamped in the
plethora of place-specific studies of deforestation and forest change
that we have a paucity of generalizable inferences.
Even simple questions have not been answered with a respectable
degree of scholarly consensus. These include the following questions
Are the forests increasing or decreasing? Are the causes of forest
change State, Market, Institutions, Resource Scarcity, Ethnicity, Labor
Shortage or what? We can find many case studies for each one of these
questions but we are at a loss to figure out what is going on for the
entire country. Soussan and his Nepali colleagues (hereafter referred as
Soussan only) attempt to fill this void. One such contribution they try
to make is a case that deforestation in Nepal is really two different
problems: one for Hills and one for Terai. Otherwise, they cannot draw
any generalizable inferences. The studies are limited to place specific
descriptions of how various factors such as development dams,
urbanization, resource scarcity, or roads at work. All of these
insights have been described in fuller analytical detail by others
(e.g. Blaikie (1985): roads; Gilmour and Fisher (1991): resource scarcity; to name just a few).
Does this book say anything that is new? Unfortunately, it is
precious little. If this book is compared with other publications in
this genre, it is really a disappointment. The scholarly work of this
genre, i.e. those that have attempted to draw generalizable lessons from
a collection of studies of different areas in Nepal, include: Blaikie
and Brookfield (1987) Land Degradation and Society; Ives and Messerli
(1989) The Himalayan Dilemma; Jodha (1995) Nepal Chapter In Kasperson et al (1995) Regions at Risk. Building upon earlier work and new empirical work of their own, these studies made original contributions to the understanding of forest change and social dynamics in Nepal. These include: an enunciation of a theory of regional political ecology using Nepal as the major problematic in Blaikie and Brookfield (1987); a drastic toning down of alarmist social construction of deforestation in Nepal by reviewing empirical evidence to date by Ives and Messerli
(1989); and a further challenging of the Nepal-as-a-Critical-Region by analyzing environmental and economic wellbeing trajectories of several villages across the country in Jodha (1995). While the bulk of recent scholarly work in forest change has moved from a preoccupation with deforestation and other crisis creation to the more careful exploration of factors promoting stabilization and recovery of landscapes with trees
(Joshi, 1997; Kanel, 1995; Gilmour and Fisher, 1991; Ives and Messerli, 1989; Forest Survey Division, 1993; FACTS, 1993; Fox, 1990; Robinson and Joshi, 1993: to cite a few), we have Soussan still taking us to the central problematic of deforestation with neither new theory, nor new empirical understanding.
In terms of "theoretical" underpinning, the book
demonstrates a pedestrian version of political ecology closer to
political economic antecedents seen in Blaikie (1985) Political
Economy of Soil Erosion in Developing Countries than the more
ecologic version of Blaikie and Brookfield (1987) seminal book on
political ecology: Land Degradation of Society. Let me explain. The
political economy approach is distinguished by the interest in local
places and communities interacting with the larger forces of global
economy: including State, Market, and Global Capitalism. The entry of
this theory was a major contribution for the understanding of
deforestation in Nepal because most the earlier work from 1950-70s were
uniformly human ecological, an ontology that presaged an assumption in
closed ecologic and economic system. The political economy approach
broke this theoretical impasse by explicitly problematizing the
interaction between local and global from a political and economic
analytic. After the first flurry of the political economy approach entry
in environmental studies beginning in early 1980s, there was a great
deal of refinement and development of this approach throughout the late
1980s to include two directions: the enlargement of what constitutes
"political" to include feminist agenda, cultural politics, discourse analysis, and historical contextualization to name a few; the enrichment and defining of the "ecology" to include challenges of chaos theory, biotech, and deconstruction. Soussan's book seems to have adopted proven methods and theory espoused by Hecht (1985); Peluso (1992) for the original studies of tropical deforestation in particular countries and later formalized by UNRISD for the comparative study of tropical countries with similar categories by Barraclough and Ghimire (1990). This is hinted by choice of the title (same!) and theoretical categories for the design of case study of Nepal excerpted below from page 3, paragraph 1:
All of the case studies consider the local and
external pressures (the political economic
problematic)=85The first two case studies Rasuwa and
Nuwakot=85 close to Kathmandu (i.e. core-periphery=20
categories) =85 Koshi Hills. in remote Eastern Hills=20
(i.e. relatively unaffected by core-periphery)
=2E=09Soussan=92s book adds precious little in theoretical understanding=20 nor empirical depth to earlier works done in the political economic=20 tradition by Shrestha (1990), Ghimire (1992) or Blaikie (1985).
=09Perhaps, the British geographer may be forgiven his uninterest=20 in newer theoretical developments of political ecology that is his=20 preferred entry into the understanding of social dynamics of=20 deforestation in Nepal. But given that his central problematic is the=20 local-external interaction that define the social dynamics, it is=20 strange that this =93social=94 does not include the Western scholars who=20 are in-between the local (Nepal) and the external (Western donors with=20 interest in sustainable development) forces with very much effect on how=20 deforestation is understood, both in terms of forest change and in terms=20 of social dynamics. To prove this, just skim the range of literature on=20 social dynamics of forest change in Nepal: clearly over 80% are=20 emanating from the West.
=09Even if Soussan may think this might be peripheral, (although he=20 does admit in his introduction that =93that there is an element of=20 political opportunism that surround current interest in=20 environmentalism=94), there have been a resurgence of scholarly writings=20 dealing specifically with this nexus: the Western academia that is=20 involved in constructing deforestation and other crisis to justify their=20 continued intervention. Let me briefly review this in the hopes of=20 placing Soussan=92s current activity in the global social dynamics of=20 deforestation.
=09The Social Construction of Deforestation is a process that=20 directly mediates and intervenes in the local-external social dynamic.=20 The social construction of deforestation assert that deforestation,=20 especially its alarmist version and the politics of external=20 intervention into the environment and sustainable development of=20 developing countries is a Western concoction steeped in the political=20 economic interests of the West. Most alarming and very disturbing in=20 this theory is the implication that scientists and scholars who have=20 been creating this discourse have been active participants in this=20 political projects and that their vaunted scientific objectivity and=20 authority is subservient to larger political interests.=20 While the more theoretical formalization of this concern owes=20 their intellectual traditions to marxist academics more steeped in=20 humanities and literary theory than economy and ecology, the=20 intellectual query is now sufficiently developed to be applied to=20 Nepalese environmental change. Of note are two recent publications.=20 First, Julie Guthman (1997) of University of California Berkeley traced=20 how the discourse on deforestation was created and enlarged to specific=20 history and situations in Nepal as an offshoot of the interests of=20 Global Capitalism. Second, Sabine Hausler (1993) has deconstructed=20
"Community Forestry of Nepal" as neither Nepalese, nor community, nor=20 forestry, but as technicist obfuscation of a political problem produced=20 by the import of Knowledge/Power Regimes from the West. These critiques=20 of the role of Western scholars in constructing a deforestation crisis=20 to justify their intervention can hardly be dismissed as mere, leftist,=20 out-of-touch theoretical rantings. Not only are these theoretical=20 critiques supported by in-country, dirty-boots experience (e.g. Sabine=20 worked as Silviculturist for the United Mission to Nepal for three=20 years) but also by mainstream, empirical scholars with long experience=20 in Nepal and far from the theoretical and political lineages of these=20 critiques. I will note a few.=20 Nigel Allan (1995) has just published an introspection based on=20 30 years of experience in his book, Mountains at Risks. Here he traced=20 the role of Swiss and German construction of mountain theory (the=20 Obergugle model) that served to obfuscate and hinder the understanding=20 of social dynamics of environmental change in Nepal. Scientific=20 understanding developed from an idyllic landscape (the image of mottled=20 dairy cows peacefully grazing on an undulating green landscape of=20 condensed milk cans comes to mind) had as its assumption an artificially=20 closed ecology maintained by State subsidies. This ontology is=20 drastically different from weak local subsistence facing the ruthless=20 forces of external Markets and State in Nepal. Similarly, in one of the=20 benchmark publications, Ives and Messerli (1989) summarized the works of=20 the Himalayas mountain scholars meeting in Mohonk, suggesting how=20 earlier scholars have allowed themselves to believe in The Himalayan=20 Theory of Degradation without adequate empirical proof.=20 An example of this fallacy is the social construction of a=20 fuelwood crisis by showing the growing shortfall between the total=20 fuelwood supply (area of forest times yield per hectare) and total=20 fuelwood demand (per capita fuelwood demand per year multiplied by the=20 runaway population of the country). Missing from this early "scientific=20 discourse" was how per capita fuelwood demand was estimated, the=20 uncertainties of measuring forest area, or the adaptive strategies of=20 people switching to non-tree fuels. Donovan (1981) illustrated this=20 dramatically by reviewing all studies on per capita fuelwood use in=20 Nepal and showed that the range was a magnitude of 67! In other words,=20 while a minimum estimate created catastrophic fuelwood crisis, the=20 maximum would have gigantic fuelwood surplus. Just because World Bank=20 and other respectable institutions conferred legitimacy on certain=20 fuelwood estimates to predict that "all accessible forests would=20 disappear by 1990s" does not mean that they are true: in fact, in the=20 1990s we have more reports of forests increasing!=20
=09Soussan justifies this book as the contribution to "an=20 understanding of sustainable development=85 in Nepal where the livelihood= of the majority of the population is intimately connected with the fate=20 of tree and land resources." Coming from an earlier talk by Richard=20 Schroeder, a political ecologist who has worked in Gambia, who showed=20 how the feminist political ecological construction of the Sahel led to=20 the promotion of food security (by promotion of cereals over cash crops)=20 and trees (for fuelwood and bulwark against the creep of the Sahara into=20 their agriculture). When these "solutions" were accepted and pushed by=20 the development dollars of hundreds of do-gooder NGOs, there was a big=20 conflict in which women who were very successful in managing and=20 profiting from commercial vegetable gardening were cutting trees and=20 resisting rice cultivation as regressive steps against their empowerment=20 and their local ecologies.=20 In Nepal, we too have plenty of such examples of negative=20 effects resulting from the altruistic sounding goals of Soussan's book.=20 In the early 1970s, the characterization of Nepal=92s environmental crisis= as massive soil erosion: (re: Blaikie=92s (1985), massive official=20 propaganda that Nepal was losing its top soil to Bangladesh, and that=20 Nepalese mountain farmers denuded the hills to create massive floods in=20 the Gangetic basin) resulted in do-gooder donor aid, like the USAID=92s=20
$32 million Resources Conservation and Utilization Project, whose=20 primary aim was to reduce this soil erosion. One such strategy was=20 massive afforestation of trees that can grow on these denuded slopes:=20 Pinus roxburghii or Chir pine. When these trees did become established,=20 foresters and their foreign allies had to confront local villagers who=20 wanted broadleaved fodder trees not unpalatable pines. Moreover,=20 villagers did not appreciate the capture of local common property where=20 villagers had free grazing so sustainable development projects could=20 meet their environmental (soil) conservation goals (Schreier et al,=20 1994).=20 While the interests of the poor Nepalese are on the minds of =20 this book's authors, the end results for Nepalese and their environment=20 are far less benign and certain than the payoffs of grant and=20 consulting monies that European academic institutions have to tap from=20 international sustainable development agencies (unlike their American=20 counterparts who tap mostly national sources). It may be noted that the=20 book's Dhanusha study was supported by EEC through the ETC foundation=20
(O=92Keefe et al, 1988) and the current book was published by UNRISD. =20 Both of these facts hint at the real audience of this book: not cutting- edge theoreticians in the field committed to greater understanding, nor=20 on-ground policy makers in Nepal who are celebrating the successes of=20 community forestry afforestation (Joshi, 1997), but the large pool of=20 money controlled by donor community in Europe and UN agencies. These=20 do-gooders with money still subscribe to the notions that there is a=20 deforestation crisis in Nepal and that such environmental crisis is=20 driven by population explosion and primitive social relations. For this=20 semi-literate community, cutting-edge theory is too abstract, and on- ground feedback from Nepal is too beneath them, so we have the niche for=20 these bridgers, like Soussan.
Allan, N. J. R. 1995. Human Aspects of Mountain=20
Environmental Change, 1889-1992. Mountains at Risk, Current=20
Issues in Environmental Studies. Manohar, New Delhi, 3-26.
Barraclough, S. and K. Ghimire. 1990. The Social Dynamics=20
of Deforestation in Developing Countries: Principle Issues=20
and Research Priorities. Geneva:United Nations Research=20
Institute for Social Development UNRISD.
Blaikie, P. 1985. Political Economy of Soil Erosion in=20
Developing Countries. New York: Longman.
Blaikie, P. and H. Brookfield. 1987. Land Degradation and=20
Donovan, D. G. 1981. Firewood: How much do we need?=20
Institute of Current World Affairs, Hanover, New Hampshire.
Forestry and Conservation Technology Services [FACTS]. =20
1993. Air Photo Interpretation and Land Use Mapping of=20
Selected VDCs in Sindhu Palchowk and Kavre Palanchowk=20
districts. Kathmandu: Nepal-Australia Forestry Project.
Forest Survey Division, 1993. Forest Resources of the Terai=20
Districts, 1990-91. Kathmandu: Ministry of Forests. 56 pp.
Ghimire, K. 1992. Forest or Farm? the Politics of Poverty=20
and Land Hunger in Nepal.Delhi: Oxford University Press.
Gilmour, D. A. and R. J. Fisher. 1991. Villagers, Forests=20
and Foresters, The Philosophy, Process and Practice of=20
Community Forestry in Nepal. Kathmandu: Sahayogi.
Guthman, J. 1997. Representing Crisis: The Theory of=20
Himalayan Degradation and the Project of Development in=20
Post-Rana Nepal. Development and Change, 28(1).
Hausler, S. 1993. Community Forestry: A Critical=20
Assessment, The Case for Nepal. The Ecologist, 23(3):84-90.
Hecht, S. 1985. Environment, Development and Politics:=20
Capital Accumulation and Livestock Sector in Eastern Amazon. =20
World Development, 13 (6): 663-684.
Ives, J. D. and B. Messerli. 1989. The Himalayan Dilemma-
Reconciling Development and Conservation. London and NY: The=20
United Nations University and Routledge.
Jodha, N. S. 1995. Nepal: The Middle Mountains. In Regions=20
at Risk: Comparisons of Threatened Environments. J. X.=20
Kasperson, R. E. Kasperson, B. L. Turner II (eds.) Tokyo:=20
United Nations University Press.
Joshi, A. L. 1997. Community Forestry in Nepal: 1978-2010.=20
Fax submitted by Chief Forest Offer in Ministry of Forestry=20
to =93Mountain Law and Policy=94 Internet Discussion Forum=20
moderated by Mountain Forum. April.
Kanel, K. 1995. Farmer and Tree Linkages in the Terai of=20
Nepal. Ph.D. Thesis. University of Minnesota.
O'Keefe, P., J. Goodman, E. M. Gevers, K. Ghimire, A. R.=20
Tuladhar. 1988. Dhanusha District Sustainable Woodfuel=20
Strategy and Action Plan. Leusden: ETC Foundation. 156 pp.
Peluso, N. 1992. Rich Forests, Poor People: Resource=20
Control and Resistance in Java. Berkeley: University of=20
Robinson, P.J. and M. R. Joshi. 1993. Private forestry:=20
needs and opportunities. Banako Janakari, a Journal of=20
Forest Information of Nepal. 4(1): 103-108.
Schreier, H., S. Brown, M. Schmidt, P. B. Shah, B. Shrestha,=20
G. Nakarmi, G. Subba, S. Wyman. 1994. Gaining forests but=20
losing ground: a GIS evaluation in a Himalayan watershed.=20
Environmental Management, 18(1): 139-150.
Shrestha, N. R. 1990. Landlessness and Migration in Nepal.=20
Page 9 of 3
Amulya Ratna Tuladhar
Graduate School of Geography
Date: Thu, 1 May 1997 14:10:52 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Visit Nepal Year 1998: A post-mortem
Visit Nepal Year 1998: A post-mortem
(A satire by Ashutosh Tiwari)
Last week, I got on the Time Machine in Ratna Park, and
travelled to April 15, 1999. At two pm that day, I had an appointment in
Putali Sadak, at the office of Anup Raj -- my pal with a Harvard MBA,
who'd just been made a Partner at McKinsey & Company's Nepal office.
The reason for my visit was this. Since His Majesty's the Government had hired McKinsey to look into what had gone wrong during the preceding Visit Nepal Year (VNY), I wanted to know what Anup Raj had come up with. And over mud-brown coffee and oven-fresh samosas, Anup Raj did share a summary of his findings.
A FOISTED IDEA: The Visit Nepal Year, stated Anup Raj's report, was conceived entirely by Mr. Daanbir Muni -- a clever Nepali hotelier -- as a yet another state-subsidized way to fill up his and his friends' hotel-rooms in Kathmandu, Nagarkot and Pokhara.
To his credit, Mr. Muni -- who also gets uncritically raving press about his being a writer, an environmentalist and a heritage-conservationist -- persuaded the Tourism Ministry Officials to adopt the VNY idea as their own. Once that was done, Mr. Muni then uncharacteristically assumed a lower public profile -- letting the government get the rap all through 1997 and 1998 for being disorganized about the VNY.
A COVERT PURPOSE: From the very beginning, the VNY idea was designed to help neither countless small tourism operators nor thousands of tourists. High-altitude porters were still not to be insured. Fines were still not to be imposed on those who pollute. There were no talks about standardizing the basic hygiene at most hotels and restaurants that have horribly fetid kitchens. Hindu temples, Buddhist bihars and Kathmandu's public spaces were not to be tidied up at all. What's more, official green stickers that were to say "pollution-free" on vehicles were up for sale. And the emphasis was not on serving tourists, but on extracting more money out of them to maintain the status quo of a handful of Kathmandu's upper-class "travel and trade" professionals..
No wonder then that there was no autonomous yet publicly accountable Tourism Development Board that would, among others, zone in heritage-sites to protect them from ugly encroachment. None of these provisions were there because the real purpose of VNY was to fool the public to quietly allow a few import/export-wallahs to import duty-free phoren goods
(fridges, building materials, kitchen equipment, vehicles and so forth) so that they and their friends alone could open up their chains of clubs, resorts, inns and hotels in Bandipur, Tansen and many other yet-to-be-spoiled places in the mid-hills.
Of course, lest the press found this out and then diminished the value of their loot, Mr. Muni and his colleagues had cleverly devised an incentive-system whereby the VNY Secretariat would dole out a monthly cash prize to whichever newspaper that gave them the most sugary propaganda. This, of course, killed every journalistic initiative to investigate into the whole VNY charade.
MAOIST GUESTS: The VNY failed to attract 500,000 visitors in 1998 in part because it unwittingly brought Maoist guerrillas from Albania, Peru and Zaire. Surviving on doughnuts and dosas for a few days in Thamel, those guerrillas later went on village-tours,and vanished in the hills of Rolpa, Sindhuli and Jajarkot to provide, as it later transpired, support to Babu Ram Bhattarai.
Officially later denounced as the "terrorist-tourists", they gleefully participated in the Maoist fight against the state, and their wars effectively ended all other village-tours. Since other tourists did not want to stay put in the polluted Kathmandu, they fled -- fanning exaggerated horror-stories everywhere. By the time, Mr. Muni had his Sai-Baba-style counter-publicity machine spinning through the faxes and the Internet, it was too late to revive the VNY '98.
If the above is a mere summary of Anup Raj's findings, what did the rest of the McKinsey Report say? If you have an access to the Time Machine, you know what to do. If not, let's wait till 1999, shall we? [This fictional satire was originally published in The Kathmandu Post] THE END.
******************************************************** Date: Sat, 3 May 1997 13:33:16 +0700 (GMT) From: Shyam Sundar Shrestha <email@example.com> To: firstname.lastname@example.org Subject: Lumbini home page (fwd)
The Nepal Digest
I have just started to create a Lumbini pages under my home page.
I will like to circulate this information to all over the world that
Gautama Buddha was born in Nepal, not in INDIA. I request you all to
download the pictures from my home page for making better pages.
I wish you all the best for peace, good health and prosperity on the
occasion of Buddha Jayanti.
The Internet URL of Lumbini pages are:
I will like to forward belated happy New year's greeting to all of you on
behalf of AITNS (AIT Nepalese Society).
Date: Mon, 05 May 1997 09:30:28 +0530
FROM: Pramod Amatya, PO Box 25, Lalitpur, Nepal.
tel: 533 236
Would you please kindly send me e-mail address of Mr. Puspa Man Joshi who is working/studying in Transportation Department of Ohio State University.
Date: Mon, 5 May 1997 01:23:50 -0400 (EDT)
Subject: Hydropower Nepal Forum Questions
The following list of questions/issues were raised in our research team
the upcoming hydropower forum during the ANA convention (July 3-5,1997) in
Please feel free to send in your comments to email@example.com, so that we can
consider them in refining and consolidating our questions.
1. Development of Hydropower in Nepal should be view in the overall
development of Nepal and over the India particularly of Northern
Comment:There are two potentially exclusive issues in the above
statement. First, "overall development" could imply self-sufficiency
in generating power to meet the national load demand growth. This may
imply that we should go for power plant sizes in the order of 30-60 MW
( the approximate annual load demand growth is about 30MW) where private financing can and has been viable (eg Khimti Khola project) And second, India becomes an important player when we are looking at larger projects (eg Panchewsar, West Seti, Karnali Chisapani) where India is the targeted market for power exports. This latter issue not only requires financing that is beyond either government's capability but is politically sensitive and, thus, harder to ratify, implement, and monitor. A private power project promoter, depending on the depth of its pocket, would ! be interested in either type of i nvestments as long as country and project risks are manageable.
This is the market where we can use it. Due to the non durable nature of the
energy, unlike of fossils fuel, the development of market potential
for its consumption is one of the key factor which determines the
level of development of hydropower in Nepal.
2. Moreover, due to the geopolitical reason and limited market scope Comment: The first issue above implies a "build-within" approach. Nepal,the development of Hydropower in Nepal should have to view pragmatically in the changing context Comment: How far has the the "context"actually changed at the negotiation table is an issue that needs to be examined. of Indo-Nepal relationships. That means, obviously what the political leaders think obviously matter much than what engineers and economists advice. Therefore, the how warm the diplomatic relationships exists between Sital Niwas ( at least not Narayan hiti now) at South block at any time is crucial in this respect. Of course, the lobby by business community, pressure by Multilateral agencies also matters but are not successful yet. Therefore, how wise and pragmatic leaders hold power in Kathmandu and in Delhi clearly determines the future direction and coarse of the Hydropower development in Nepal.
3. The present wave of economic liberalization and openness in India and also in other members of SAARC countries has clearly raised the importance of low cost and environmentally sound source of energy i.e. hydropower Comment: What kind of investors are coming to India and what kind of investments are being made? How are private power investors performing in India? If economic liberalization slows down or fails in India, what does this mean for Nepal's hydropower development? Is there a connection? Moreover, the development of hydropower in Nepal is obviously linked with the India, therefore, Nepalese Politicians,Diplomatic personnel, business communities and intellectuals have at least able to monitors the Indians power sectors.
4. In addition to talking only with Delhi government, if NEA or WECS, etc also try to involve the UP, Bihar or West Bengal governments in the talk and power sharing process then Nepal's bargaining power could be increase substantially. Comment: What are the current regulatory/legislative/administrative realities for Nepal vis a vis an Indian state and for Nepal vis a vis India's central government? Which, Enron Comment: has it? and Australian Power company Comment: which state, what provisions?Bikash have already initiated in the recent power bidding process. -
1. How much savings ("disposable income", is that the lingo?) exists
in the hands of Nepalis?
Comment: We need to look at domestic private savings: households and firms.
Out of that, how much are they willing to invest in the hydro industry?
Comment: First, what is the stock market capitalization, i.e., total value of
stocks enlisted in the local stock exchange, of Nepal's stock market?
Second, how much of local private equity has actually gone into hydropower investments? How good is the bond market? Considering the distorted prices of land, buildings and gold, there is reason to believe that there is a fair amount of money!
2. What is the government doing to attract small to medium-pocket
entrepreneurs' money into hydro? Most people are reluctant to invest
in hydro for two reasons: First, it is a relatively young industry
when it comes to local private investment; second, it takes a long
time before you start getting returns on your investment. On the other
hand, there are an increasing number of adventurous people like "Bir
Bahadur Gurung" who have a few lakhs to spare and would like to see
their bazaar light up while also making profit. How is /how should the
government help them?
Comment: Individuals would be least interested in making such investments
for the reasons mentioned above. However,countries from Latin America
and East Europe that have divested their power utilities have used their
private pension and insurance companies ( who generally are capable
of offering debt with long maturities) to invest in their utilities.
What is the status of insurance and pension companies in Nepal?
3. Finally as a side question, should not the government be
encouraging/ helping the end-uses market? (Note: End-uses is a term
used to describe non- lighting uses of power, like milk chilling,
apricot drying, bakery oven, cold- storages etc. These activities
often use the otherwise wasted power during the day and increase the
power factor of the plant). It is a fact of life that Jumla's or
Helambu's apples don't quite make it to Kathmandu. And milk goes
wasted in some nearby village while Kathmanduites wait in lines to get
two pounds of milk!
Comment: This question pertains to micro/mini-hydro systems where government
presence may be warranted, but at what level? If the market for the
above economic activities exist, private entrepreneurs may just be
interested in having easy access to low interest loans. Are these
loans forthcoming from institutions like the Agricultural Development
Premise#1: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in neighboring countries
will increase Nepal's trade deficit.
comment: This assumes either that Nepal will lose its comparative advantage
in terms of exports to third countries or that Nepal will import
more and cheaper goods from its neighbors. We need numbers to work
Premise#2: Government proceeds from private sector investments should
trickle down to the common man by having energy intensive industries
outside the country.
Question#1: Are advocates of private investment addressing the
importance of inviting energy intensive industries?
comment: From the investor's perspective, if a current market exists and
if that market has potential to expand (commercial, industrial,
or residential), it really won't bother about what kind of energy
intensive industries are likely to come up. Instead, it may be
an issue for the government to worry about if long- term economic
growth is its agenda.
Question#2: Is the distinction being made between companies that plan
to use generated power inside the country and those that plan to
generated solely for export?
comment: The Hydropower Development Act of 1992, which essentially stipulates
guidelines for all types of private-sector investments, does not
differentiate between the two.
Premise#1: Foreign Direct Investment (FDI) in neighboring countries
will increase Nepal s trade deficit.
comment:This assumes either that Nepal will lose its comparative advantage
in terms of exports to third countries or that Nepal will import
more and cheaper goods from its neighbors. We need numbers to work
Although what you have mentioned is going to be true as seen from
trends today, that was not really the issue I wanted to point out. And
we hardly have a choice on FDI in our neighbors, esp. India. Given our
present situation of importing trash-cans to trucks from there, it is
not too hard to see what will happen when Toshiba VCR and MS Office
also start getting shipped from there. However, the issue that I
wanted to touch on was something much closer to home - exporting
resource and buying it back in forms with much higher markup price on
the portion of the resource such that the economy loses on overall.
Jute and herbs are the classic examples with India; cement market is
slowly turning towards that direction and will surely be helped by
coarse power export. As worse the situation is in our case, numbers
are definitely good for pedantic purposes but a walk through the
market is all it takes to see it.
|> Premise#2: Government proceeds from private sector investments should
|> trickle down to the common man by having energy intensive industries
|> outside the country.
Outside? I guess you meant to rephrase to "inside the country". The
people should be the ultimate beneficiary of utilizing resources and
it'd be interesting to hear otherwise and its reason. With public
funding system just for namesake like ours, the real benifit comes to
people not in the form of tax to government but as employment and its
supports. Having an energy intensive industry in the country serves
the purpose than sending the energy across the border with only return
as that to government from the power producer.
|> Question#1: Are advocates of private investment addressing the
|> importance of inviting energy intensive industries?
comment: From the investor s perspective, if a current market exists and
if that market has potential to expand (commercial, industrial,
or residential), it really won t bother about what kind of energy
intensive industries are likely to come up. Instead, it may be an
issue for the government to worry about if long- term economic
growth is its agenda.
The question is not from investor's perspective but rather from the
perspective of resource-owners, Nepalis. From that point of view, our
policy makers should now be pushing for combining power production
with domestic utilization, at least partly and partly for export - the
very principle used by countries like Singapore, Indonesia and
Malaysia with their production. Country like ours seldom gets such
upper hand and the result of missing it now is easily thinkable.
And can there be anything else besides long-term economic growth as
objective of utilizing our resources? If our policy makers are on it
now just because everybody else seems to be doing it, which is not
that unlikely in our case though, there is not much to say.
|> Question#2: Is the distinction being made between companies that plan
|> to use generated power inside the country and those that plan to
|> generated solely for export?
comment: The Hydropower Development Act of 1992, which essentially stipulates
guidelines for all types of private-sector investments, does not
differentiate between the two.
Hopefully HNC's efforts can help see the missing issues in act like
these and bring them before people in policy making. There can be
light at the end of the tunnel if they can take the right steps now,
and may be just now, 'cause once our big neighbor takes off, there is
hardly going to be any chance of re-adjusting again.
Local capacity can be defined as domestic capacity to survey, design,
produce, finance and manage hydro projects. As such, I believe this
would include projects mainly to supply domestic needs. Even at the
domestic demand level we are looking at two distinct groups - one at the
micro level, probably not more than 200KW, stand-alone projects,
supplying local communities, and the other up to 60MW (?), connected to
the national grid. Lets label the two as micro and mini projects.
Micro projects would be owned by communities they serve or by individual
entrepreneurs and mini projects would be owned by a company.
Local capacity building (micro level) can be divided into three separate
a. Capacity to design and construct - physical facilities and generation
- - site and demand survey
- - project design
- - civil engineering
- - production of turbines, penstock, generators, and transmission and
distribution equipment b. Capacity to finance projects
- - private ownership (individual and company)
- - community ownership
- - stock/bond issuance
- - gov subsidies - grants and low-interest loans
- - grants from donors c. Capacity to manage and maintain projects.
- - local participation from conception to completion
- - day-to-day operation and regular maintenance
- - revenue collection and loan repayment
- - increasing load factor through promoting end-uses, especially
during off-peak periods
Bichar Garnu Parne Bisaya: 1.Is there an organization responsible for disseminating information on micro hydro. Such an organization would be a one-stop-shop for hydro info. It's responsibilities would include:
- - giving promotional "presentations" to potential hydro
- - help in surveying, financing, equipment purchase, developing
end-uses suitable for that particular community
- - training on management and maintenance
- - organize "educational tours" for interested parties This organization would not have to provide all these services by itself, but should be able to at least direct interested parties to suitable companies and organizations. Should the gov be involved in this or should it be left to NGOs like ITDG? comment: To take the above question a step further: (a) What is the gov's role, if any, in coordinating/facilitating the different NGO efforts (not necessarily in microhydro alone) to provide for an integrated approach to rural electrification where the power plant is just a component. Other components may be micro-credit through Agricultural Development Bank for market-driven cottage industries; adult literacy programs, and health clinics where vaccines, etc, may require cold storage, and so on.
2. My understanding is that Nepali companies have the capacity to
manufacture generation equipment for micro level projects. The main
constraint seem to be the local communities' ability to finance and
manage such projects, or even generate enough demand to justify an
The most popular method of financing seems to be part gov subsidy, part
loan, part grant and part local contribution.
comment: The government had a policy of providing subsidies between 50-75%
(to remote and far-remote, respectively, I think) of the total project costs which, I think, got modified to 50-75% of total capital costs later on. If this policy still exists, does the gov have the financial resource to actually provide subsidies? As Hemendra mentions below, some communities are better off economically and/or have the tourism industry to rely on. Should/has the gov discriminat(ed) subsidy handouts based on need and demand prospects? In many of the tourist areas, such as Annapurna, there is a demand for electricity and people are willing and able to bear a significant portion of the total cost. But in many other areas, even when the system is just for lighting, and so the project small, communities can't contribute much, other than voluntary labor. In such cases, should the gov and donor agencies pitch in? How does the gov decide which communities to give subsidies to from its limited budget? Should the gov take into consideration the communities' ability to pay, and the overall benefit of the project to prioritize its subsidy-giving? If so, how to measure the communities'ability to pay and the benefit of the project? Should the gov just give grants or should it rather give low-interest loans? Even in the case of donor agencies, they tend to give grants to exotic areas - such as Everest, Annapurna,
(Karnali and Makalu area are hot these days). comment: Exoticism aside, is it possible that the demand and need for an alternative fuel (to fuelwood) are more in the trekking/mountaineering trails? Who is willing to give grants to communities in Darchula - where there are no Sherpas or Yetis or mountains like Annapurna and Everest? Or maybe, a small portion of the hydro-royalties (to be generated from the proposed mega-projects) could be used to create a micro-hydro fund.
3. The ability to pay back loans and recover initial investment will
depend much on how the project is managed and maintained after
completion. If projected amounts of revenues can't be generated either
because of low load-factor or due to continuos malfunction of machines
it will be very hard to even keep the project running, much less pay
back the loans in time. The success of management will depend on not
just the composition(gender, ethnic, income) of the management committee
but also on their knowledge of the project. The management committee
would not only have to ensure that revenues are collected properly, but
would also have to determine how the revenue is used in day-to-day
operation, loan repayment and provisions for maintenance and repair.
Proper training would be needed for this purpose. The training would
emphasize capital planning, recognition and promotion of end-uses,
employee management, tariff setting... Training on the technical
aspects of the project would also be required to ensure smooth
day-to-day operation of the plant and minor repairs. Which
organization is responsible for providing such management and technical
training? What kind of communication exists between this organization
and projects - feedback system?
1. There are many problems within NEA.
comment: We need to get indicators of in/efficiency that currently
exist and back them with numbers and then analyze where NEA stands
Can these problems be solved by the present set of agreements?
comment: We probably need to look at the provisions of NEA Act.
In theory, the corporatization of NEA should have formed the basis
for financial AS WELL AS decision-making autonomy. Under the
commercialization plan, NEA is required to cover for all its
development expenditures through internal cash generation by
2002 [check]. After that, the NEA board, chaired by the gov,
will decide whether 10% of NEA shares should be offered to the
public. Now my questions are:
*While financial autonomy of NEA is a good sign, does this necessarily mean that Nepali consumers are getting the cheapest possible energy from NEA? In other words, if NEA continues to be inefficient in reliable service provision and puts its money in bad investments, it can still continue to show profits in its balance sheets (upto a point, I hope) by simply raising tariffs to cover its costs that are likely to higher than the sum of short
-run and long-run marginal costs.
*Going by the above argument, financial autonomy may not even make sense if NEA managment cannot insulate itself from the vested interests of a the ruling party for which the NEA Board provides a convenient conduit. If for example, the managing director of NEA cannot fire its bloated staff to make itself more efficient or is forced to buy power from a independent power producer at a cost higher than what it would have preferred, how AUTONOMOUS is NEA anyway?
Is privatization the only way out?
comment: Privatization comes with different shades based on the
degree of participation. Public ownership with private operation may
be one such provision. If outright sale of NEA is politically unpalatable
or infeasible (for other economic, regulatory, legal reasons), is the
the gov even considering the possibility of awarding management contracts
to operate its main power plants or even to collect revenues at the
distribution level (it is believed that half of the roughly 25% system
losses of NEA is non-technical, i.e., attributed to poor billing and
revenue collection mechanism, illegal hook-ups, poor billing records,
2. Is it even realistic to think of privatization of NEA? In light of the
problems NTC is going through in its privatization attempt, can NEA be
privatized in the next 20 years?
3. Giving more autonomy to NEA is one way of creating a more efficient
structure without having to resort to privatization. However, the
Minister of Water Resources and hence the ruling party, has always
been in control of NEA through the Chairmanship of the Board. Can NEA
become more autonomous with the ruling party running the Board? In
light of the sheer importance of the hydro-power sector to Nepal, is
it desirable not to have direct political control?
4. Does the legal infrastructure exist for the mutual coexistence and
cooperation between the various entities of the hydro-power
industry--NEA, Ministry of Water Resources, private producers, foreign
producers, foreign consumers, domestic consumers?
comment: The inability of the government to keep an arm's length
relationship can seriously distort an economically efficient outcome
especially with private players coming into the field. One one hand,
the Ministry of Water Resources has created a department called the
Electricity Development Center to regulate NEA like any other
private investors (NEA now requires project licenses to operate
the power plants which are now "owned" by the gov) and on the other
hand it corporatizes what is essentially a gov undertaking (i.e. NEA)
to be responsible for planning, construction, operation, and
maintenance of all aspects of electricity supply in Nepal. Is there
a serious institutional check-and-balance conflict here?
5. Does the administrative infrastructure exist for the governance and
regulation of the various entities of the hydro-power industry--NEA,
Ministry of Water Resources, private producers, foreign producers,
foreign consumers, domestic consumers? At the moment it seems that
these entities are dealt with on a ad hoc basis very much dependent on
who is in power.
6. The concept and enforcement of property rights in Nepal seems
inadequate to support collection of electricity bills by private
parties, and even to allow for private ownership of the national grid.
Faced with this reality, how serious are the policy makers about
privatization of revenue collection and power transmission?
7. With more non-NEA power generation in the future, it is hoped that
the competition will make NEA more efficient. However NEA will have
control of the national grid and will still be a state entity. These
factors could shield NEA from the pains and subsequent benefits of
competition. Hence, shouldn't more financial, legal and political
autonomy for NEA go hand in hand with the emergence of the private
power generation? Is this being considered by HMG?
a) The 'transit for water' idea was suggested during the Farakka Accord
(Dec. 1996) between Bangladesh and India. Has HMG considered trading water facilities with improved transit relations with India? Can this strategy lead to a win-win outcome? b) In the past (Panchayat era), most water-sharing treaties were worked behind closed doors by elite bureaucrats. Partisan politics has led to intense politicization of water management agreement between Nepal and India. How has partisan politics influenced Nepal's tactics/capability in making deals with India? Do you think the degree to which information on water treaties gets distorted before reaching the public has increased or decreased in recent years? How can we promote objective transparency? Is this possible at all? c) Most water-treaties in South Asia have been of the bilateral nature
(India-Nepal, India-Bhutan, India-Bangladesh). HOwever, the consequences are regional. e.g. Any treaty between Nepal and India that alters the flow of Ganges will necessarily affect Bangladesh. While preaching regionalism on one hand (SAARC), we have witnessed narrow bilateralism in treaties relating to international water. Should steps be taken to invite third parties on the table? However, it might be harder to reach a consensus with too many players on the table! d) As Nepal builds its hydro-capacity further, shouldn't the gov't make a concerted effort to market its product (energy) to India? Rather than passive suppliers, we might need to view our hydro-plants as business units that are actively trying to increase their market share. What kind of 'attractive' packages could be offered for this purpose? comment: As addressed by Dr. Gyanendra Pradhan's Computable General Equilibrium (CGE) model, macroeconomic implications of foreign direct investments (export- or import-oriented) need to be studied by policy-makers well in advance. Has the government considered the need to dynamically stabilize its macroeconomy through fiscal, monetary and exchange rate policies in the face of massive foreign capital inflow?
1. Power shortages pose huge economic costs - conservative estimates in India
and Pakistan put at least between 1 and 2 % of GNP. And power shortages
have several sources - from technical ones as insufficient capacity,
transmission faults to socio-economic ones as misallocation of capital
investments, misaligned pricing and subsidy, and theft. Given the
generation capacity, what are some policies taken by the government of
Nepal to counter and minimize these costs due to power shortage? comment: Can NEA implement a pricing policy that reflects time-of-day usage? Consumers, in effect, would pay more for electrical energy during peak hour consumption.
2. How is Nepal going to handle decidedly huge inflow of private investment
from foreign investors into Nepal? What would the government's role as a
public policy entity be in terms of income distribution, electricity
distribution, co-ordination of NGOs, environmental and relocation
Put it differently, how does the government see itself "developing" Nepal
through projected inflow of hydro-dollars?
3. As an aside, how is the government dealing with Build-Operate-Transfer
BOT) issues? Does it view operating the plants, renovating etc.?
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