by Suman Raj Panta (Chief Editor of Asal Sasan)
Frequent strikes and closures even for small causes have made life difficult for the common people.Resorting to banda (strike) even for a tiny cause is shaping up a bad culture in the country. At one hand, it is making a mockery of the laws whereas on the other, it is severely hampering the peace, security and economy of the country. Isn't it the time to work seriously for the closure of the closures?
Fed up with banda (strike)? Here follows an interesting story for you then - three incidents of banda in one single day, i.e., July 6, 2008:
Incident 1: At 9 in the morning, there was a chakka-jam (bringing vehicles to a standstill) on Bridge No. 2 of Amlekhgunj. The chakka-jam was announced as a truck driver of Bridge No 2 threatened to stab another truck driver of Bridge No 3. Not more than 1 hour of the jam, police arrested the one who gave the threatening. But the jam organisers pressed police to surrender the driver to them. At last, the passengers themselves pressed the truck drivers and opened the highway.
Incident 2: At 11 in the morning, locals of Manahari, Makwanpur closed transportation in protest of not compensating Rs 250,000 for the death of a minor killed by a truck. "The truck owner had promised to compensate in 10 days. It's now 13 days. And he says only Rs 235,000 will be given. That's why, we came to the streets," said the locals. The police was requesting both the parties to settle their transaction later but open transportation first. When they did not agree, the police used force and opened the road.
Incident 3: At 1 in the afternoon, farmers of Taadi, Chitwan resorted to chakka-jam saying that they did not get diesel for their tractors at the time of tilling their farmlands. Finally, the jam was opened when the district administration promised that it will request the government to increase the diesel quota for them.
The incidents above, occurred within 150 kilometres of distance on a same day, had no connection with the passengers travelling from Mechi to Mahakalit and in-between on the highway. Nor they were the authorities to fulfil the demands of the banda (strike) organisers. But they suffered due to the trend of using the helplessness of the passengers as the "key weapon" to fulfil one's demands.
There is not a single day when such incidents do not occur in Nepal. According to a website, www.nepalbandh.com, which disseminates information on banda, there were more than 300 banda and closures nationwide in the last one year from July 2007 onwards.
There are no clear sources of information on how the strikes began in Nepal. It is, however, supposed to have begun when the "Jayatu Sanskritam" movement began in 1947 (2004 B.S.). The culture of banda effectively resurfaced after the Popular Movement of 1990. CPN-UML, which was the then opposition party launched various strikes against the then ruling government of Nepali Congress. The trend was later promoted further by the CPN-Maoist when they began "people's armed rebellion" in 1996. Some the main party of Maoists and sometimes their regional, linguistic and ethnic outfits took the strikes ahead. The trend was then followed by other political parties and the common people as well and continued growing during all kinds of rules. Even those supposed to be the ruling parties, did not refrain from resorting to strikes.
Height of impunity
There are legal provisions which prohibit strikes of "tough" nature. According to Local Administration Act 1971 (2028 B.S.), acts such as road jam, vandalization, seizing of property and locking up of public offices, among others, are disallowed. If such things are done, the chief district officer has then the right to fine Rs 10,000 or detain for 6 months or slap both the punishments and even compel the culprits pay compensation. But this legal provision has not been brought into effect. Instead, the obstructers themselves act as the bosses of the local administration and the government mechanism.
It is a revelation that most of the strikes are due to the death of individuals from the hammering of vehicles. Other reasons of strikes are: asking for huge compensation from vehicle owners and murder on political and extortion issues, among others. "In vehicular accidents, asking for a compensation less than Rs 1 million from the vehicle owner is a mater of past now," says Gokarna Parajuli, chairperson of Narayani Transport Entrepreneurs' Association. "There are instances where as more as Rs 6.4 million was asked for compensation. The number of vehicle owners leaving their profession is growing owing to their failure in compensating the victims," adds he.
It is not that there are no political understandings at central and local level for not restoring to strikes. Some districts and cities have even declared themselves as the "strike free zone". But these commitments are hardly implemented. "The non-implementation of various declarations and understandings is the result of the law implementing bodies' inactiveness," says rights activist Arjun Basnet, who was once a leader of a movement which aimed at making Jhapa district a "strike free zone". Likewise, Badri Prasad Subedi, acting director of National Human Rights Commission in Far Western region, says "the anarchy has swelled up due to the growing feeling of statelessness." Similarly, Khadga Raj Joshi, INSEC Coordinator in the same region says "political protection to the strike organisers is an important factor in this regard."
On the other hand, Mod Raj Dotel, a former chief district officer for a long time and the current Home Ministry spokesperson, do not admit that the administration plays an "inactive" role. "The use of force is needed to stop anarchies such as strikes," he says. "But when the police force is used, everyone starts protesting against it. The National Human Rights Commission people start crying foul. That's why, we keep quiet." A police officer (DSP) who works in the Tarai region has no different views on it, as he says: "The administration uses force representing the state. But all impose blames on the officer who mobilises the force. That's why, it is our compulsion to plead to the strike organisers and fulfil their unjustifiable demands in the hope that they will call off strikes."
First target is vehicles
In most cases, the first target of all kinds of strikes is the vehicles plying on the road. Whether it is the negligence of the driver for hitting a person or the Nepal Oil Corporation increasing the fuel price, people express their ire, first of all, on vehicles. The more vehicles are vandalised, the more successful is the banda and the more, the chances of demands being fulfilled – this is a common perception of all strike organisers. As a result, vehicle owners become the most victimised ones due to the strikes. "There is a trend of seeing the faults of the vehicle owners only from the local administration, political parties and all," says Balram Lamichhane, secretary of Prithvi Highway Bus Owners' Association. "Legal provisions have limited the fine of road accident to Rs 60,000, but we have instances when the vehicle owners are pressed to pay even Rs 2 million," adds he. Fielding a query on why the transporters themselves have many times resorted to strikes, he says: "We have just followed the state's trend of listening to you only when you resort to banda." It may be noted here, the supporters of the Prithvi Highway Bus Owners' Association themselves had vandalised a tourist bus on 24 June, 2008 in Pokhara. A Korean citizen was injured in the incident.
Daily loss of millions of rupees
A single day of banda causes the losses of more than one billion rupees nationwide, according to Suresh Basnet, first vice president of Nepal Chamber of Commerce. "Many transporters have quit their professions," he says. "Those who are still here, are marginalised and those who want to do some new and creative works are frightened," adds he. The impact of strike falls not only on transporters, but also on consumers and finally on the state. Consumers have to face inflation as the strikes propel rise in the raw materials' supply and production costs, and finally, strikes also affect the national income, opines Mohan Raj Sharma, member of Kailali Chamber of Commerce and Industries.
Even when the commodity prices go up, consumers are deprived of buying them due to closures. Basic commodities, such as, water and medicines, also become dear during the strikes. Even at the time of Maoists' "people's war", ambulance and media and tourist vehicles were allowed to play during strikes, but these days, these vehicles also become the target of striker organisers. Such a trend has affected the tourism industry as well. As a consequence, the number of tourists visiting Nepal has slipped down. And those who have already arrived want to shorten their stay. It's French citizen Bruce's first visit to Nepal, but he complains that he has not been able to travel to all desired placed due to strikes. "We had expectations that the ailing tourism industry will get a rebirth after the Maoists' armed rebellion coming to an end," says Pashupati Sharma, chairperson of Nepal Tours and Travels Association, Pokhara. "But it could not happen due to frequent strikes even in tiny issues."
If one gives a cursory look to the data of strikes, then this fact comes to the fore – students are the strike organisers in most of the cases! It seems that it's the "duty" of the students to take the educational demands, political agenda and protest on fuel price hike to the streets. And the key activities of such strikes include resorting to chakka-jam, burning tyres and vandalising vehicles. Madan Ale Magar, central member of ANNFSU (Revolutionary), the student wing of CPN-Maoist, however, says, the strikes and closures are in the "favour" of people and the country. "We become aggressive when peaceful demands are not heard," he says. "And it happens due to the failure in addressing ordinary issues and demands in time."
Strikes and closures have become a custom due to the state's status-quo and people's perception of getting "more" achievements if the strike consequences are huge, opines Thakur Gaire, chairperson of ANNFSU, the student wing of CPN-UML. "Memorandum and delegations are often ignored," he says. "When the smoke of tyre reaches their cerebral, only then the same demand is fulfilled. In such a situation, there is no option than to resort to strikes."
Those who are in-charge of the state mechanism, however, do not agree with what the student leaders say. "Thousands of memorandums pour to us in the centre and in districts," says Home Ministry spokesperson Dotel. "Who will give an ear to our practical problem?"
The legal provisions on strikes were made tougher introducing an amendment in the existing Local Administration Act, 1971 on 26 August, 2007. The provisions say that the strikes, closures and lock outs are totally banned and the organisers will have to compensate the victims if they resort to such activities. In severe cases, the strike organisers can also be imprisoned. As sad as it could be, these all provisions do exist, but only in the law books. There is no implementation at all. There is a dire need of bringing the "dead" laws into effect so that the bad culture of banda could be halted effectively.
Monday, 24 August 2009
Posted by Krajend at 12:55
Sunday, 23 August 2009
This is a small video clip (unedited) about the TEEJ celebration in Goettingen, Germany. As it is unedited movie clip, you may find lots of errors and mistakes however the main intention of the sharing this movie clip is just to share how we observed TEEJ in Goettingen. We would like to wish all the best and HAPPY TEEJ to all of you!
Posted by Krajend at 16:43
Posted by Krajend at 10:56
Saturday, 22 August 2009
And, very very happy TEEJ!
I know that all of you might have been busy and different programmes, however I would like to invite all ( especially female) members of our GöNeS family for Sakahari DAR at my apartment! Addionally, it is our welcome honour to new member of GöNeS Anju jee. The programme would run from 7 pm and last until mid night (possibility of extension).
I hope that all of you accept my heartly invitation. The condition of participation is just one that is "dancing" compulsary.
I need your confirmation earlier for the programme!
Once again, very happy TEEJ !
Rajendra and Aasha
Albrecht Thaer Weg 24D/11
Posted by Krajend at 17:43
Does any of you know more about further management principles beyond this about which I am going to talk tonight. Can you guess how this business runs?
Posted by Krajend at 09:52
Thursday, 20 August 2009
The Department of Spatial Information Science and Engineering and the National Center for Geographic Information and Analysis announce the availability of two funded PhD research assistantships. Students will be working with advisor Professor Mike Worboys and will register for the degree of PhD. The funding will cover a stipend, tuition, and a contribution to the health insurance premium. The first position relates to a recent project funded by the U.S. National Science Foundation entitled "Information integration and human interaction for indoor and outdoor spaces." The project abstract may be found at http://worboys.org/projects/Title%20and%20abstract.pdf.
The second position relates to recent funding received on the use of spatial information systems and sensor technologies in emergency management. The main focus of both assistantships will be the creation of underlying models and fundamental theories. Candidates for both positions should hold a Master’s degree, or equivalent, in a subject that can be applied to spatial information systems and geographic information science (e.g., computer science, information systems, mathematics, or geography). The positions are available immediately, but we are prepared also to wait for the right candidates. Further information can be obtained by emailing Professor Worboys at: email@example.com. The University of Maine is an Equal Opportunity/Affirmative Action Employer.
For more details:
Posted by Baburam at 23:33
Sunday, 9 August 2009
Nepal is situated in South Asia. Its ancient cultures, rich biodiversity, panoramic and beautiful Himalayan range, the Mount Everest (the highest peak of the world), birth place of Lord Buddha and Goddess Sita are the some major features contributing to make Nepal an unique country in the world. The total area of Nepal is 147,181 sq. km which harbors about 28.8 million populations (UN 2008). Nepal abolished 240 years-old monarchy and became a republic in May 2008 after the election of historic constituent assembly.
Germany is located in the heart of Western Europe. It is the continent's most industrialized country. The total area of Germany is 357,027 sq. km and total inhabitants of Germany are 82.5 millions (UN 2008). Total per capita income (PCI) of Germany is 38,860 US$ (World Bank, 2007). If we compared Nepal with Germany in terms of the total area, population and PCI, Germany is greater than Nepal by 2.53, 3 and 114 times respectively. It is famous on technological achievements, celebrated composers, philosophers and poets. It comes in the top position in the world's economic prosperity and technological advancement. So Nepal including other countries should learn many good things from the Germany's innovations and development initiatives.
The diplomatic relations between Nepal and Germany (then West Germany) was tied in 4 April, 1958 (Nepalese Embassy in Germany, 2008). Since 5 July 1965, Nepalese Embassy in Germany is in operation. Similarly German Embassy was established in Nepal in 1963. Now, the Government of Nepal has appointed Honorary Consuls General in different cities namely Munich, Stuttgart, Frankfurt am Main, Cologne and Hamburg of Germany.
After establishment of diplomatic relations, Germany has started its economic cooperation to Nepal in 1961 in the form of technical assistance for the establishment of the Technical Training Institute at Thapathali.
Now Germany is one of the key countries to support in Nepal's development initiatives. Germany has been supporting on various sectors in Nepal namely socio-economy, governance, natural resources management, energy and hydropower, roads and infrastructure, urban area development, research and technology, education and capacity enhancement and institutionalization of the ongoing peace process etc. These programmes are based on the priority areas of Nepal Government and the major thrust areas of German policy towards Nepal. Establishment of sustainable peace, deepening democracy, promotion of human rights, alleviation of poverty, and consolidation of good governance and institutions are some of the guiding principles to continue the relationship between two countries.
Federal Ministry of Development Cooperation (BMZ) of Germany, the German Development Bank (KfW), German Technical Services (GTZ), German Academic Exchange Programme (DAAD) and German Volunteers Service (DED) are very active institutions on the behalf of German Government in promoting Nepal's development.
The number of Nepalese nationals in Germany
Every year a lot of Nepalese visit different countries including Germany for different purposes. The official figure of the German Government (as of April 2008) shows that there are 2,509 Nepalese in Germany. Among them, 1616 are males, 889 females and 4 are unidentified. In the recent years, the number of Nepali students coming to Germany is in increasing trend. The German Academic Exchange Service (DAAD) grants regular scholarships every year to about 25 students to study in different Universities of Germany.
The number of Germans Nationals in Nepal
However the number of German national who visited to Nepal is varied year to year. The information provided by Nepal Tourism Board in 2007, altogether 21,323 German Nationals visited Nepal. This number comprises about 4% of the total tourists who visited Nepal in 2007.
Posted by D. Gautam at 14:41
Saturday, 8 August 2009
Rakshabandhan is popularly known for the celebration of the festival to strengthen the love, affection and ties between sisters and brothers. There are two big festivals in Hindu culture namely Tihar and Rakshabandhan which is mainly meant for brothers and sisters. In these festival, sisters offer Tika to their brothers in Tihar and Bandhan (Rakhi) in the Rakshabandhan. With the offering of this cotton bands, sister wishes the long life, better health and prosperity of her brothers. In the family, where the children are together, sister ties the rakhi band to their brothers, presents some sweets and delicious foods to their brother. In return, brothers provide gifts to their sisters. The gifts include nice clothes, money or such other things. Even after the marriage, the sisters used to come to the house of their brothers or invite them to her house to celebrate this occasion.
As the MUDULA karki, we never celebrate Tihar (the second largest festival of Nepalese Hindu), we used to celebrate Rakshabandhan. Some people used to say that this is the imported culture from India. Might be or might not be! In Goettingen, due to some technical problems, we celebrated Rakshabandhan today, however it is few days ago in fact. Beloved daughter, Aarju offered RAKHI to her brothers (Ravi and Avi). In return, ravi and avi presented her small gifts and few moneys that we gave to them! Here are some photos of the event. I hope that you will recall your celebration and enjoy it...
Posted by Krajend at 20:33
Friday, 7 August 2009
On Janauary 2008, I got an opportunity to travel Antarctica for a scientific study with a group of Korean Scientists under the organization of Korea Polar Research Institute (KOPRI). I worked in KOPRI for 2 years as a post doctoral researcher. Although it is a long back story, today, I am going to share some of the experiences regarding my Antartic trip with the valued readers of this blog.
Our travel was started with the Korean Air from the Incheon International Airport, South Korea. After crossing the largest ocean in the earth, the Pascific ocean, we reached to Los Angelos Airport (LA), USA which was 13 hours long flight. After 4 hours of transit in LA, again the travel was continued with the Latin American Airline (LAN) Chile. With one hour transit in the capital of Peru, Lima, the flight was landed in San Tiago International Airport, Chile after 13 hours long flight. Then, with the domestic LAN, we reached to southern city of Chile, Punta Arenas in three hours.
On the flight, we saw beautufil scenes of live volcanoes and I tried to catch some snaps with my camera. On the airport, the hotel bus was waiting for us and we reached to the hotel. With that hectic 29 hours long flight we were so tired that we just slept for almost 2 days in a hotel. So horrible and unforgettable experiences in my so far journey which I can hardly forget. But, after getting there and taking a full rest I was so excited finding myself in complete another part of earth. To reach the Antarctica from Punta Aranes, we need to cross 1200 km long Antarctic Ocean.The weather of the Antarctic ocean is so unstable that the flight cancellation is very common there. Actually the flight is very rare and cancellation is so often. Luckily, after 3 days of Punta Aranes stay, we got a chance of flight with the Army plane of Chile Airforce. After 2 hours long flight we reached to Antarctic station of Chile. The flight was so terrible that there was no toilet, folding seat and sound proof system in the plane. A plastic bucket was a toilet, all the passengers were tied with a rope so that they will be intact in their plastic belt in a long bench. The situation was similar to army who are deployed for a airforce mission or war. The sound was so loud that no one could listen even we shout near the ear. From the Chile station, by using a moter boat, we reached to Korean station after 30 minutes.
The weather of the Antarctica consists of strong wind, wind speed 200 km per hour is very normal, high UV radiation and so cold even in summer. I remembered that we stayed 96 hours continuously with in a single room because of bad weather. Such horrible times comes very frequently. So, to pass time there is well facility of free telephone to call arround the world, TV
channels, fitness center and DVD vedio library.
Even, we can conduct some experiments, prepare the sample. Some time I watched 4 movies with in a single day just to pass the time. There is no dark in the night during summer.
Posted by Hari Datta Bhatarai at 21:53
(Photos:John celebrating his birthday with sisters and friends).
Yesterday, on 7th of the August, John Mahat celebrated his birthday among his friends. Lots of Nepalese and other friends of him joined the party and extended their wishes for the betterment and properous future! All his friends have enjoyed the party alot! They drank, sang, ate and finally posed to express their excitement and enjoyment! Read more...
Posted by Jeetendra at 20:53
Saturday, 1 August 2009
Hem Raj Bist and Anju Upadhyaya had been selected amongst others for DAAD scholarship from Nepal in order to pursue M.Sc. in Tropical and International Forestry (TIF) in University of Goettingen for the academic year 2009-2011. These fellows safely arrived in Goettingen on 31 of July, 2009. Hem Raj Bist has more than 12 years of working experience as Forestry Officer in Ministry of Forest. Similarly, Anju Upadhyaya has also more than 6 years of working experiences in forestry program in different bilateral and NGOs sectors in Nepal. The tremendous practical experiences they acquired in different work situation and places of Nepal would definitely be proved as the milestone in their higher career.
They will start their Deutsche language course from 3 August to September 2009. After then, they will continue their academic course on TIF Programme which is due to start from 15 October, 2009. Both of the friends will stay in Albrecht Thaer Weg.
Nepalese Society in Goettingen warmly welcome these energetic an active fellows in Goettingen. Let's hope their staying at Goettingen would be more pleasant and worthwhile. God may always bless for every success in their entire careers. Read more...
Posted by D. Gautam at 02:36
Today I spent complete one year in Goettingen. It was a very day of the August 2008 when I put my first step in the Frankfurt airport in Germany. The words used by my friends - Rajenda and Netra in the orientation are still sounding in my ears. But I don't notice - how fast these 365 days flew from me. During this period, I found many pleasures and happiest time in my life. In the contrary, I came through many ups downs; challenges, hardships and some bitter moments that I faced with my own life and studies. I also experienced some excitements and some confusion on interlinking long working experiences into real academic field. These all things gave me the sense of real life.
After completing all the formalities at emigration check in Frankfurt airport, me and Bharat approached directly to the luggage counter to look for our baggage. It was already 10.00 o'clock, but still we could not find our baggage. Some other co-passengers were also looking for their baggage. After 2 hours, we registered our concerns in Lost Baggage Tracing counter in the airport. Then through Inter City Express (ICE) we travelled to the 'Goettingen'. University of Goettingen was our destiny for at least two years from August 2008.
We had a call to Antje (our tutor) once we reached out to our University at Buesgenweg-1. Despite she was on leave, she responded us very kindly and sent her friend Mr. Malte to pick up us from North University to Albecht Thear Weg. He was the first German to give us the first impression about the German people in Goettingen. His simple and friendly behavior made me to architect positive attitudes towards whole German people.
The friendly welcome of Rajendra and Jitendra at the very beginning in Goettingen made us to forget all our exhausts, stresses and loneliness. Moreover tasty Nepalese meal prepared by Asha Bhauju at that day reminded me that still I was in Nepal. Rajendra gave his very important time to orient us about Goettingeli system. He took us in the market where we did shopping for our basic things. Similarly, I met my other colleagues Netra, Dr. Ajaya, Dr. Lok, Sabita Khatiwada and Bhagawati Mahat. Rosan was in Nepal for his field work at that time. Their supports and orientation made very convenient to mix up in the new setting and environment. Otherwise, I could not imagine how difficult it would be. In the meantime, I got my lost baggage through DHL after couple of weeks which made me more than happy.
I learnt German Language course for about two months from August 2008. Gradually, I could speak some very basic things of German language like "Hallo! Ich heisse Dev, Ich komme aus Nepal, Ich bin gut und du?.........................." To communicate properly, the knowledge of the language is the most important aspects in human life. It reminded my preparatory time for IELTS in Nepal where I had practiced to write essay on 'major difficulties in the abroad'. In March 2009, I competed my first semester. The result was not 'too bad'. Again, I am taking my second semester exams and waiting for 'not too bad' result with complete patience. 'Not too bad' is frequently using word in Australia. There people prefer to say 'not too bad' like a slang word, instead of 'good'.
My wife (Kalpana) and children's arrival in Goettingen, added me a lot of pleasure and love. Still I have fresh memory while I first time saw them at Frankfurt in the last December. My life became very comfortable after they arrived here. In cold winter, we played with full of snow which we have never experienced before. It was amazing while we saw it for the first time. We, including my kids greatly enjoyed with the snow in Goettingen.
We celebrated our greatest festival Dashain collectively in Stutgart where many Nepalese friends from different parts of Germany were gathered to participate in 'conference' organized by the Trpoentag. That moment brought much happiness among us and we collectively felt proud of being Nepali. Other social gathering in Goettingen among the Nepalese during different festivals and other occasions reminded our tradition, brotherhood and nationality at every step. I met my good friends again in Goettingen. It reminded me some 13 years back student life at Institute of Forestry in Pokhara where we studied in the same level. I still remember some funny incidences of those days! Here, I could understand them again more than I knew before. I could experience their emotions and their broader perspectives on different aspects of life. Moreover, I am so much impressed from their tremendous outstanding performance and excellence in Goettingen. I also met completely new friends, even from Nepal namely Dr. Ajaya J Kunwar, Dr Lok Nath Paudel, Dr. Hari Datta Bhattarai and Dr. Babita Bhattarai including others many friends from whom I learn many things. Their simplicity and the love towards Nepal are the commendable things for me.
The wonderful opportunity to be familiar with many friends from different countries including Nepal would be one of the unforgettable memories in future. Mixing up with their life style, cultures, feeling and other human-sides was the very golden opportunity in my life. I could enrich my level of knowledge and skills on scientific forest management from an international perspective. I am very much thankful to my colleagues especially Netra and Rajendra for all the efforts they made towards me. Importantly, I am very much thankful to DAAD and German Government for providing such a unique opportunity to experience and learn many things through the medium of stipendium.