Nepal – the country of the Buddha and the Mt. Everest

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Nepalese who connects 150 villages to Internet honoured by “Internet Hall of Fame”

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 9, 2014

AFP

Mahabir Pun earned his master's degree in education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1992.

Mahabir Pun earned his master’s degree in education at the University of Nebraska at Kearney in 1992.

HONGKONG, APR 08 A Nepalese educator who modernised more than 150 Nepalese villages by connecting them to the wireless Internet has been honoured and introduced into the Internet Hall of Fame in Hong Kong on Tuesday.

Mr Mahabir Pun spent more than a decade providing wireless Internet services to villages which had lacked even a telephone service, opening up access to education, commerce and health care.

“I am a strong advocate of a free Internet, I want the Internet to be available to people living under the poverty line,” Mr Pun told AFP in an interview in Hong Kong , where the Internet Hall of Fame held its annual awards ceremony on Tuesday.

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HOW KATHMANDU IS CHANGING OVER NEXT THREE YEARS!

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on December 20, 2013

Kalanki Chowk in Kathmandu after Three Years

You wouldn’t believe how the face of Kathmandu is changing over next three years, or at least has been proposed to change. Nepal government’s visionary plan of overhauling the capital’s ring road structure has kicked off already and it will be interesting to see fantastic changes in road infrastructure developments of the valley.

Eight lanes with a four-lane carriageway, two-way relief lane, two-way bicycle track and two –way pedestrian path with necessary bus bay, overhead bridge, parking and more; similar to roads of developed international cities in a nutshell. Read the rest of this entry »

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Cable car in Launcing in Kathmandu

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on June 10, 2013

cable-car

People in the capital need not have to spend hours to go to Kurintar of Chitwan to ride on a cable car, they could soon enjoy the service in the Kathmandu Valley itself.

They would enjoy the service in the Kathmandu Valley within two years of the start of construction of the project to connect Chandragiri Hill (Mahabharat Hill) with Thankot VDC near Godam as it has been already started.

As per the project, Thankot VDC in the Kathmandu Valley would be connected with the historical hill, Chandragiri, above Kirtipur Municipality through a short trip of around 10 minutes. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal to boost search-and-rescue capabilities

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 14, 2013

DownloadKATHMANDU, 11 April 2013 (IRIN) – Experts have long predicted widespread devastation and death should a large earthquake hit Nepal, a country with vulnerable infrastructure and ill-equipped urban search-and-rescue teams. In an effort to prepare for such an event, officials have created a strategy to boost emergency responders’ skills.

Nepal’s Kathmandu Valley, the densely populated capital metropolitan area, has a history of major earthquakes every 70 to 80 years. The last big quake was in 1934. And though the country has building codes for each of its 99 municipalities, enforcement is scant.

The National Society for Earthquake Technology-Nepal (NSET), a local NGO, estimates 85 percent of buildings in Kathmandu Valley could collapse in an earthquake of magnitude 7.0 Mw or greater on the moment magnitude scale, claiming 85,000 lives.

Another 15,000 people could be saved, but only if there is an equipped, well-trained urban search and rescue team (USAR) in place, said Ramesh Guragain, NSET’s deputy director.

Training, equipment needed

The country currently has only light teams, which can search at the surface of collapsed structures, and a more limited number of medium teams, which can go into fallen buildings to save trapped persons. Heavy teams carry out the most difficult and complex search-and-rescue operations, using search dogs and other tools. The classifications are set by the UN International Search and Rescue Advisory Group (INSARAG), which provides guidance for the preparation and deployment of search-and-rescue teams internationally.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal turns to renewable energy

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 6, 2013

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KATHMANDU, 5 April 2013 (IRIN) – Nepal’s recently adopted policy of subsidizing renewable energy is the latest of many attempts to electrify long-deprived areas, but much more is needed, say experts.

More than half of the country’s households – almost all in urban and semi-urban areas – are connected to the national electricity grid. But 80 percent of the population is rural, and in these areas, less than one-third have electricity. With grid extension to the country’s hilly and mountainous areas prohibitively expensive, officials are looking to off-grid renewable alternatives.

“Renewable, off-grid energy solutions [are] the only realistic way to provide energy in parts of the country,” according to the government’s National Rural and Renewable Energy Programme (NRREP), a five-year framework launched in 2012.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Ishani Shrestha crowned Miss Nepal World 2013

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 21, 2013

Ishani Shrestha was crowned Miss Nepal World 2013 during the grand finale held at Nepal Academy Hall, Kamaladi on Wednesday evening.

“I am beyond happy. Thank you for getting me here. My hard work and determination has paid off,” said an emotional Shrestha right after being crowned.


Miss Nepal 2013 Ishani Shrestha (C) along with First Runner-up Rojina Shahi Thakuri (L) and Second Runner-up Shritima Shah wave to crowd after winning titles. (Photo: Keshab Thoker)  Read the rest of this entry »

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थाइल्यान्डमा लुम्बिनी भ्रमण वर्षको प्रचारप्रसार (फोटो फिचरसहित)

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 10, 2012

बैँकक । लुम्बिनी भ्रमण वर्ष २०१२ को प्रचार प्रसारमा टेवा पुर्‍याउने उद्देश्यका साथ नेपाली राजदूतावास, बैंककले पर्यटन प्रवर्द्धन सम्बन्धी एक भव्य कार्यक्रम गरेको छ । दूतावासले शनिवार थाइल्याण्डको पर्यटकीय दृष्टिकोणले अत्यन्त महत्वपूर्ण फतया शहरमा कार्यक्रम गरेको हो । खासगरी बुद्धको जन्मथलो लुम्बिनीका वारेमा प्रचारप्रसार गरी नेपालको पर्यटन प्रवर्द्धन गर्ने उद्देश्यले आयोजना गरिएको उक्त कार्यक्रममा लुम्बिनी भ्रमण वर्ष तथा लुम्बिनी सम्बन्धी सुचनाहरु लेखिएका बिभिन्न ब्यानरहरु समाएर तथा भगवान वुद्धको मुर्ति समेतले गाडीलाई सजिसजाउ पारेर शहर परिक्रमा गरिएको थियो ।

राजदूतावासका पदाधिकारीहरु, एनआरएन तथा थाइ नेपाली संघका पदाधिकारीहरु तथा नेपालबाट आएका सांस्कृस्तिक टोलीका कलाकारहरुले लुम्बिनी भ्रमण वर्ष लेखिएका तथा लुम्बिनी भ्रमण बर्षको लोगो राखिएका टिशर्टहरु तथा अन्य नेपाली भेषभुषाका पोशाकहरु पैरिएर सास्कृतिक कार्यक्रमका साथ शहर परिक्र गरेका थिए । व्यस्त शहरमा करिब २ किलोमिटर पैदल यात्रा गर्दा नेपालबाट आएको सास्कृतिक टोलिले बाजाघाजाका साथ नाचगान गर्दै लामबद्ध भएर शहर परिक्रमा गर्दा स्थानीय निकायबाट सडक उपलब्ध गराउने तथा सुरक्षा प्रदान गर्ने लगायत उल्लेख्य सहयोग गरिएको थियो । उक्त कार्यक्रम उत्सुकताका र कौतुहुलका साथ ठूलो जनसमूदायले हेरेको थियो र स्थानीय पत्रकार, जनसमूदाय, पर्यटकहरुबाट फोटो तथा भिडियो खिच्न त घुइचो लागेको थियो । लुम्विनी विकास कोष र एनआरएन थाइल्याण्डले लुम्बिनी भ्रमण वर्ष २०१२ उल्लेखित लोगो समेत राखेको टिसर्ट उपलब्ध गराएका थिए ।

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Nepal’s Crisis: Can a Broken Nation Remake Itself?

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on July 7, 2012

After a decade of war and nearly half a decade of political dysfunction, the impoverished Himalayan nation is struggling to refashion itself as a secular, pluralistic republic. Political bickering and factionalism is getting in the way.
Prakash Mathema / AFP / Getty Images
PRAKASH MATHEMA / AFP / GETTY IMAGES
Nepalese student activists shout slogans during a protest demanding the resignation of Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai in Kathmandu on June 17, 2012. The Himalayan nation plunged into political crisis after the constituent assembly was disbanded having failed to agree on a new constitution.

Not long ago, a gleaming white edifice in the Baneshwor neighborhood of Kathmandu evoked hope and optimism. The Chinese-built hall for Nepal’s Constituent Assembly, a 601-member body tasked with writing a constitution for the fledgling republic, was supposed to be the site of the country’s remaking after a decade-long Maoist insurgency that ended in 2006.

Instead, after yet another deadline for Nepal’s feuding lawmakers to draft a new constitution passed on May 27, the area has taken on a worn, deserted look. Gone are the thousands of protesters who converged here; so too, the hordes of security forces in riot gear. An eerie silence pervades life in Kathmandu, a capital city that has grown accustomed to political deadlock and dysfunction.

Nepal’s uneasy calm hides crises that are deepening every day. The major dispute centers around how this country of 26.6 million will be reshaped. That question has remained unanswered since the peace process began under U.N. auspices six years ago, marking the end of a nearly three-century-old Hindu monarchy and the awkward beginnings of a secular republic. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal calls elections as constitution deadline passes

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 28, 2012

Nepal’s prime minister has announced elections in six months time after the country’s political parties failed to agree a new constitution.

Members of a special assembly have been struggling for years to find consensus ahead of Sunday’s deadline.

The parties were divided on the issue of whether states in the new federal system in Nepal should be formed and named along ethnic lines.

Baburam Bhattarai said there was “no alternative” to fresh elections.

“Though we were unable to promulgate the constitution, we have decided to seek a mandate through elections for a new Constituent Assembly on 22 November,” he announced in a televised address to the nation. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepalese leaders fail to strike deal on constitution

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on May 28, 2012

From Manesh Shrestha, For CNN
Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattara, second from left, speaks during a press conference in Kathmandu on May 27, 2012.
Nepalese Prime Minister Baburam Bhattara, second from left, speaks during a press conference in Kathmandu on May 27, 2012.

STORY HIGHLIGHTS
  • The parliament, which had since 2008 to draft the constitution, is dissolved
  • “I do not want to blame anyone. We have to move forward,” the prime minister says
  • He calls for elections to be held in November

Katmandu, Nepal (CNN) — Political leaders in Nepal failed Sunday to reach any kind of agreement on the country’s new constitution, prompting the parliament to dissolve and pushing the nation even deeper into crisis.

Parties have had since 2008 to draft the constitution.

“We have failed,” said Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai. “I do not want to blame anyone. We have to move forward on the basis of political consensus.”

He expressed hope that a new parliament might be able to reach a deal, calling for elections to be held on November 22.

That proposal was rejected by some other leaders.

“We should not lose heart. There is no alternative to moving forward,” the prime minister said.

The content of the new constitution proved too contentious an issue between Maoists rebels, who fought a decade-long insurgency to end the Nepalese monarchy, and other parties. Read the rest of this entry »

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Republic Tower in Kirtipur

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 25, 2012

The government has, for now, decided to construct the Republic Tower (Ganatantra Stambha) on the Tribhuvan University premises in Kirtipur. The Ministry of Physical Planning and Works said Prime Minister Baburam Bhattarai will lay the foundation for the historical tower at TU on Thursday. “Preparations for building the Republic Tower are complete,” said Tulasi Prasad Sitaula, secretary at the ministry.The government has, for now, decided to construct the Republic Tower (Ganatantra Stambha) on the Tribhuvan University premises in Kirtipur after changing its mind on the issue several times. Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal Army takes charge of cantonments

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on April 11, 2012

Kathmandu, April 10: In a dramatic turn of events, the Nepal Army and the Armed Police Force on Tuesday took control of all the

Developed handshake culture

Maoist cantonments, their security, arms and the combatants as the security situation deteriorated in the cantonments and the chain of command of the Maoist army turned dysfunctional.

The army and the APF were deployed for security at the cantonments — APF is responsible for security of three satellite cantonment — following an instruction from the government. A company led by a Nepal Army major has been deployed for the security of each main cantonment while a platoon under a captain has been deployed at each satellite cantonment.

The government issued the instruction as per the decision of the Special Committee meeting held following a meeting of the top leaders of the major three parties.

“The situation in the cantonments seemed to be going out of control of the commanders. The chain of command in the cantonments became dysfunctional,” said Balananda Sharma, coordinator of the secretariat of the Special Committee, of the dramatic move taken by the government and the Special Committee.

“We also fear that arms used for the security of the perimeter of the cantonments might also be taken out,” he further said.

By 10 pm, the army had taken control of the arms and security at the cantonments in Chitwan and Ilam, according to Sharma, while the process of handing over the arms and the security of the cantonments at Surkhet, Rolpa and Nawalparsi was under way.
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Government Plans for Kathmandu Metro Railway

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 30, 2012

Korean consulting firm Chungsuk Engineering Company to prepare a Detail Project Report (DPR) for the construction of Bardibas-Birgunj section of Mechi-Mahakali Electrical Railway system and negotiations with the same firm are underway for the feasibility study of the proposed metro train service in the Kathmandu valley.
The committee is engaged in final negotiations with the same Korean firm (Chungsuk Engineering Company) to finalize the contract agreement after evaluating its technical and financial proposals for the feasibility study of metro railway – a Mass Rapid Transit (underground and elevated railway) system for the capital.
The government pushed for a Mass Rapid Transit system in the valley about two years ago in a bid to manage the worsening traffic conditions in the capital due to unchecked rise in the number of vehicles and poor transport infrastructure. An estimated Rs 80 million is needed to complete the feasibility of the Metro railway line.  Read the rest of this entry »

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Nepal plans biotechnology centre

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on March 8, 2012

[KATHMANDU]  Nepal’s ministry of science and technology plans to establish by 2013 a national biotechnology centre (NBC) to promote research and development in agriculture, health, environment and industry.

By setting up the new centre — estimated to cost US$ 13 million over five years — Nepal hopes to follow the success of its neighbours China and India in biotechnology.

“But without a proper government entity in place you cannot do that,” Sameer Dixit, country director of the non-profit Centre for Molecular Dynamics, Nepal, and team leader for the NBC project planning, told SciDev.Net.

Nepal has no government agency to oversee biotechnology development and there has been no significant advance since 1982 when the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology, started a biotechnology unit.

It took until 1997 before a second biotechnology unit could be set up at the Nepal Agriculture Research Council (NARC).

In 2003 Kathmandu University launched the first undergraduate degree in biotechnology and by 2009 Tribhuvan University, Nepal’s oldest and largest public university, had established a masters programme.

The university programmes produced 50 degree holders per year, but with no industry or job market to assimilate them many had to seek opportunities abroad.

“It seemed like we were teaching biotechnology just to export people to foreign countries en masse,”  observed Mukunda Ranjit, president of the Nepal Biotechnology Association, who is also involved in planning for the NBC. Read the rest of this entry »

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Analysis: When aid meets arsenic in Nepal

Posted by Ram Kumar Shrestha on January 27, 2012

Photo: Marcus Benigno/IRIN A girl drinks from a public tap installed last year in Nepal's Nawalparasi District

27 January 2012 (IRIN) – After the discovery of unsafe levels of arsenic in Nepal’s groundwater more than a decade ago, government officials and aid groups are finally taking a critical look at whether their efforts have made a difference. 

“We didn’t raise money for broken filters,” said US-based geologist Linda Smith, expressing frustration during a recent visit to Nawalparasi District in the southern Terai region, one of Nepal’s hardest-hit areas by arsenic-contaminated groundwater, when she came across abandoned water filters. 

At one home, two broken cement water filters were being used as planters, while another filter distributed by the NGO she heads, Filters for Families (FFF), sat dismantled in the yard. 

At a neighbouring home, parts were missing from a two-bucket filtration system from Bangladesh known as a Sono. The filter stand had been converted to a clothes-drying rack. 

Smith retrieved unused filters and reimbursed families for the US$5 they had paid per filter, which has an actual cost of $70. 

“There are people who need filters, and they need to realize this,” she said. 

Some 2.7 million people in Nepal – nearly 10 percent of the population – are drinking water with arsenic concentrations above the World Health Organization (WHO) recommended 10 parts per billion (ppb), according to 2011 government estimates. 

In Nawalparasi District alone, a 2008 government survey of tube wells (shallow wells 14-24m deep controlled by hand pumps) found almost 4,000 wells had arsenic that exceeded national standards (50ppb). 

Another 4,418 met national standards, but not the international 10ppb threshold – altogether affecting nearly 140,000 people who depend on those tube wells for drinking water. 

Not a priority?

More than half of the country’s 33,000 tube wells that contain unsafe levels of arsenic have been addressed with the distribution of filters, but it does not mean the filters are used or maintained properly, said Madhav Pahari, water and sanitation specialist for the UN Children’s Fund (UNICEF) in Kathmandu, which supports the government with arsenic containment.  Read the rest of this entry »

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