Wednesday 7th December 2022

Round Table Discussion on Kashmir Solidarity Day

Kathmandu, Pakistan Embassy organized a Round Table Discussion on “Kashmir Solidarity Day”, today. The event was attended by journalists, writers and analysts as well as human rights activists. Messages of the President, Prime Minister and the Foreign Minister of Pakistan on Kashmir Solidarity Day were read out.

In his message, President Arif Alvi paid tribute to the Kashmiris on their resilience in their just struggle for the right to self-determination. More than a year-and-a-half has passed since 5th August 2019 when India took unilateral and illegal actions to alter the internationally recognized disputed status of IIOJK and change the demographic structure of the occupied territory. President Alvi reiterated Pakistan’s full support and solidarity with its Kashmiri brothers and sisters.

The President said that Pakistan will continue to extend all-out support to the Kashmiris till the realization of their unalienable right to self-determination. In his message, Prime Minister Imran Khan reaffirmed Pakistan’s resolute support for the Kashmiri brothers and sisters. He reiterated Pakistan’s solidarity with the Kashmiri people until realization of their legitimate and inalienable right to self-determination, in accordance with the United Nations Charter and relevant UN Security Council Resolutions.

Prime Minister Khan demanded immediate lifting of the military siege and communications blockade as well as rescinding of India’s illegal and unilateral actions in IIOJK. He called for the release of all those arbitrarily arrested and illegally incarcerated. He also called for the immediate repeal of draconian laws providing impunity to Indian occupation forces. He demanded access for international human rights and humanitarian organizations, as well as the international media, so as to investigate the grave human rights situation in the occupied territory.

Foreign Minister Shah Mahmood Qureshi highlighted that IIOJK had been under continuous Indian military siege for the last 18 months, with Kashmiris virtually caged in their own houses, reeling under communications blockade, and facing severe media restrictions. Kashmiri leadership remained incarcerated. Under the suffocating military siege and in the face of ravaging Covid-19 pandemic, Indian army had continued cordon-and-search operations, staged fake “encounters”, and indulged in a killing spree of Kashmiri youth in IIJOK which had further accentuated the grave humanitarian tragedy there.

Mr. Qureshi reaffirmed Pakistan’s strong and steadfast support to the valiant Kashmiri people in their just struggle for human dignity and their inalienable right to self-determination in accordance with United Nations Security Council resolutions. Ambassador Syed Haider Shah recalled the genesis of the long-festering dispute and numerous UNSC resolutions which enshrined the promise not just from the United Nation but from the international community to the people of Jammu and Kashmir about their right to self-determination.

The non-implementation of these resolutions had subjected several generations of the people of IIOJK to grave injustices, sufferings and jeopardized the peace and stability of the entire region. Participants at the event expressed serious concern over the worsening human rights situation in Kashmir resulting from more than 18 months clamp down on millions of people in the occupied territory.

The event concluded with a Q&A session in which several journalists and analysts asked questions about the history, human rights dimensions and the future of the disputed territory.

Nepali territory will be retrieved at any cost: PM Oli

Kathmandu, Jan 10, Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli has made it clear that although his party was given huge number of votes for political stability, the government was obstructed to work. PM Oli said it while putting forth his views at the National Assembly meeting on the contemporary issues and the issues raised by lawmakers today.

He commented though the government was moving ahead as per people’s mandate, the undemocratic bargaining was made to foment political instability in the country. “There was machination to topple government every six month though it was mandated to continue for five years. Now, with the announcement of fresh election, country will engage fully for election,” he asserted.

PM Oli reminded, “People had wished five year term to the government. But sheer unhealthy competition within the ruling party created present situation. The situation was that even the government’s proposals were denied.” He took the opportunity to share the historic works of the government in the front of physical development, education and health. The construction of Ranipokhari to which he had laid foundation stone completed recently.

Some 700 thousand houses damaged by the earthquake were reconstructed; reconstruction of Dharahara reached the final stage; beauty of the Kathmandu Valley increased; cultural heritages were built; industrial estates were expanded; agriculture was modernized and commercialized; sewerages made in Tarai cities; and irrigation facilities were expanded.

Even the education and health sectors witnessed remarkable progress, the PM made elaborate, arguing that such progress had never occurred before. According to him, notable initiative was made to solve problems in the relations with India by holding comprehensive dialogues. “Since 1928, water is supplied to India via Sharada barrage, but our land is not irrigated. Still, none spoke on it.

When I spoke, why the question is raised over the discussion on Nepal’s relations to India during my tenure?” Some have said the relations with India would be strained when new map was issued by incorporating Nepali lands as Limpiyadhura, Lipulek and Kalapani, but the territories were brought with the issuance of new map and made it a part of constitution, he reminded.

“Now, the discussion with India is held on the basis of friendship. Nepali land will be retrieved at any cost,” he stressed while addressing the seventh session of the parliament. Moreover, PM Oli said Nepal bravely faced the blockade imposed for promulgating constitution. Nepal was land-linked by making transport and transit agreement with China. Earlier too, efforts were made to topple his government being nervous over the good works it did, he claimed.

Largest solar power project of Nepal

Jhapa, Jan 10, The construction of the largest Solar Power Project of Nepal has been gaining speed in the district. Founded two years ago, the Jhapa Energy Limited is constructing the 10 MW solar power plant in 22 bigaha of land in ward no. 3 and 4 of Shivasatakshi municipality of the district.

The project is estimated to cost Rs. 790 million rupees and Rs. 600 million is being managed through bank loan, said the chairperson of the Company Lal Bahadur Sanwa. Sanwa is the former Constituent Assembly member.

The project is expected to go on a trial production by early January 2022 and start commercial production soon after, according to manager of the company, Subash Bhattarai. The power produced from the plant will be sold to the Nepal Electricity Authority.

The company targets to produce 17.6 million units of power in a year. According it will sign a power purchase agreement by the end of this month, and also award the project contract by March.

The company was established considering the great potential of solar energy in Jhapa district and the successful projects in different countries, said one of the proprietors of the project, Ram Chandra Upreti. The company held its second annual general meeting on Saturday.

Oil pipeline to be extended to Lothar, Chitwan

Birgunj, Jan 10, After the success of the Motihari-Amlekhgunj petroleum pipeline project, the government is extending the pipeline from Amlekhgunj to Lothar of Chitwan.

A study is now underway to materialize the 69-kilometers pipeline from Amlekhgunj to Chitwan, said Nepal coordinator in the Nepal-India Pipeline Joint Study Group, Birendra Goit. The study will help to identify the method of extending the pipeline and the estimated cost.

A joint task force to be formed following an understanding between the governments of Nepal and India will develop the detail project report. Lothar in Chitwan will have a storage capacity of 100,000 kilolitre of petroleum.

The pipeline from Motihari of India to Amlekhgunj depot of Nepal Oil Corporation is being used to transport diesel and a study is now being carried to start transportation of petrol as well, using the same pipeline, said Chief of NOC Province-2, Bharat Regmi. For this two petrol tanks of 4.2 million litre capacity each are being constructed at the Amlekhgunj depot for storing petrol.

Petrol can be supplied at the rate of 300,000 to 400,000 litres per hour using the pipeline. Transportation of fuel using the pipeline has saved transportation cost, ended technical loss and helps maintain quality and control leakage, Regmi said.

Majhi community demand resettlement along Dudhkoshi River

Kedar Magar,

Khotang, Dec 8, The local Majhi communities residing in the bordering place in Khotang and Okhaldhunga district-Rabhuwaghat- have demanded their resettlement along the Koshi River and other riverbanks as 635-megawatt hydropower project with reservoir is going to be made here displacing the them.

As many as 80 households at Rabhuwaghat at Rawabeshi Rural Municipality-3 in Khotang district will be displaced by this national pride project. They have pressed for their resettlement in the river bank and jungle areas. Local Lal Bahadur Majhi said that the Majhi community who earn their living fishing should be resettled in the river bank.

“We have a culture of immersing the dead bodies in the river upon demise of people in our community. Rivers are attached with our sentiments for generations. We want the government to consider us resettling us by the river bank,” he urged.

Rawabeshi Rural Municipality chair Bidur Khatiwada opined that the Majhi communities here that are at the risk of displacement should be resettled in an appropriate manner.

Altogether 162 households in the villages surrounding the hydro power project will be inundated due to the project. In total, 988 families would be badly affected by the hydropower project. The project is estimated at Rs 1.6 trillion, according to parliamentarian Bishal Bhattarai.

The dam would measure 220 metres in height and 630 metres in length. Dudhkoshi Reservoir Hydroelectricity Project chief Basanta Shrestha said the Asian Development Bank (ADB) would be the leading co-financing bank.

Expecting mother airlifted to safety

Kalikot, Nov 28, A woman who suffered complications during delivery has been airlifted for advance treatment to Surkhet.

Jayapura Bom,40, a resident of Parauti in Palanta rural municipality-7 had come to the local health post after experiencing labour pains but could not deliver her child.

As a result, she was rescued on Friday on a helicopter under the President Women’s Upliftment Programme.

“She was referred to an advanced medical facility after failing to deliver her baby here,” said chief of the health post Himal Sanjyal.

She was sent to the provincial hospital in Surkhet.

Four killed in road accident

Jajarkot, Nov 28, Four people have died in a road accident that took place in Pokhara in Aathbiskot municipality-7.

The accident took place last night as a jeep (Ra.1Ja.589) was heading towards ward no. 8 to ward no. 2 of the municipality carrying marriage procession members.

The deceased have been identified as Sarke Nepali,66, Aaite Chadara,48, Gore Nepali of around 51 years, and Kalibhan Nepali,51, of the same municipality, according to Mayor Gorakh Bahadur KC.

Lal Bahadur Nepali,60, was seriously injured in the accident. The Jeep driver has absconded following the incident.

Chhath festival begins today by worshipping sun

Kathmandu, The Chhath festival observed as a common cultural symbol of Tarai/Madhes is beginning today. The festive fanfare has been seen in different parts including Ranipokhari, Gaurighat, Kupondole of Kathmandu Valley as well.

The festival is dedicated to the Sun God, with offerings made to the rising and setting Sun. It is observed for four days, from Kartik Shukala Chaturthi to Kartik Shukla Saptami as per the lunar calendar. It usually falls between October and November in the Gregorian calendar.

The Sun considered as the God of energy and of the life-force, is worshiped during the Chhath festival to promote well-being, prosperity and progress. The ritual of Chhath festival includes taking holy bath, fasting and worshiping the Sun for a long time and offering prasad and argha (curd) to the ‘Rising and Setting Sun’.

Chhath is a festival of bathing and worshipping that follows a period of abstinence and segregation of the worshiper from the main household for four days. During this period, the worshiper observes purity, and sleeps on the floor on a single blanket. This is the only holy festival which has no involvement of any pandit (priest).

The devotees offer their prayers to the setting sun, and then the rising sun in celebrating its glory as the cycle of birth starts with death. It is seen as the most glorious form of Sun worship. Main rituals of the festival, observed in succession in a period of four days, include Arba-Arbain, kharana, offering argha to the setting sun and also offering argha to the rising sun.

Arba-Arbain ritual is observed on the first day. This ritual is also called nahaya-khaya. Devotees start observing fast from this day and abstain from eating meat and fish, onion, garlic, millet and lentils. They take holy dips in ponds and rivers on this day in the early morning and start the fast.

On the second day (panchami), kharana ritual is observed, which is also known as ‘reduction of sins’. A paste prepared by mixing rice flour and holy water is sprinkled over the place and the altar for performing Chhath rituals. The devotees observe a complete fast on this day without drinking even water.

They offer rice pudding to the moon and partake this offering. On the third day of the festival, various delicacies are prepared from flour of rice and wheat grains ground in traditional grinders. All family members go to the ponds or the banks of the river, carrying a variety of offerings, amidst singing of devotional and folk songs.

Parvan rituals are observed on the fourth day or the last day of the Chhath festival. On this day, the devotees go to the banks of the pond or the river, specially anointed for the rituals in the early morning.

As per the myth, human civilisation developed on the river banks and the sun and water are the most essential elements out of the five main elements that sustain life on earth.

Framework for school operation in non-risk area put in place

Kathmandu, Ministry of Education, Science and Technology (MoEST) has opened up avenues for resuming teaching and learning activities in COVID-19 risk free area and the schools of local level witnessing gradual decline in the coronavirus cases through rotational shift or proper methods.

The Ministry has provided a guideline to the local levels to gradually resume school operation by mapping the coronavirus risks. The Ministry has included the cabinet-endorsed ‘Framework for School Operation in the Context of COVID-19’ in its website.

At a time when teaching and learning made in educational institutions through online measures did not go effective at local levels, the government has prepared the base for school operation. The framework has highlighted the need of adopting public health safety protocol including sanitizing of schools used as quarantine and isolation centers before re-operation.

The government has urged the local levels and schools to manage student enrolment, school operation and teaching-learning management as well as the procedures for the resumption of postponed examination.

The government has initiated the task of conducting examinations of all levels acting on the cabinet decision of October 8. Direct examination for 40 marks of grade 12 of the last year is taking place since November 24. However, there was a discussion on alternative measure for conducting examinations online.

The government decided to adopt the direct examination system with a conclusion that the examination through online mode would lose credibility, it is informed.

Gai Puja, Govardhan Puja and Mha Puja being observed

Kathmandu, Gai or Cow puja, Goru Puja or ox worship and Govardan Puja are being observed throughout the country today on the fourth day of the five-day-long Tihar festival celebrated by the Hindus in the country.

The cow is worshipped as per the religious belief that we get love from her like a mother. The cow milk, urine and dung are all sacred, hence the cow is worshipped, said Nepal Calendar Determination Committee Chair Prof Dr Ram Chandra Gautam. The day today is also locally called Gai Tihar. The cow is garlanded and fed various delicacies.

Meanwhile, the Govardhan Puja rituals are being observed today with the replicas of the Govardhan Mountain made out of the cow dung. People prepare a mixture of the cow dung and ochre formed into a paste and apply on the courtyard of their homes and on the floors today.

The rituals are linked to the Hindu God Sri Krishna who, according to the legend, lifted the Govardhan Mountain by his hand and protected the people of a place called Gokul from torrential rains caused by Indra, the God of rain. It is believed that the rain God was angered and thereby caused the heavy downpour.

Similarly, the ox is also worshipped today as it is a very useful animal in different agricultural works in Nepal which is a predominantly agricultural society. Similarly, Mha Puja is celebrated on the fourth day of Tihar by Newar Community.

It also falls on the Newari New Year which is based in the Newar calendar, Nepal Sambat. Mha Puja literally refers to self-worship, making offering to one’s body.