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Spice of Life

B y P. Kharel

Painful Press presentation
Bits of inside information keep flowing from the Prime Minister KP Oli’s China visit in June. His lieutenants wore a long look when its official photographer to Beijing lost his ID card and could not enter the premier’s brief meeting with Chinese President Xi Jinping. Radio Nepal representative was seen as having fumbled and faltered in coping with the technology.  Nepal Television lost two chapters and had to make do with what was supplied by the private channel ABC TV, which, incidentally, was included in the list of official delegates.
One of the delegates told this scribe that Bishnu Rimal’s grip at the PMO is such that all staff members are treated in a manner that constantly reminds them that they are “subordinates” and are expected to follow orders only. That might be the reason why none of the communication section of advisors was included in the official entourage to China. Instead, others were accommodated. “Rimal passes insulting comments on others, including party [Nepal Communist Party] members, perhaps intoxicated by the two-thirds majority syndrome that has injected so much arrogance in many ministers of the cabinet,” said a leftist politician who has been to the PMO a number of times.
The press team members were categorised as official delegates and non-official delegates. Nepal Media Society is striving to ensure that its nominee gets aboard PMO official teams in such visits as a permanent feature. This might create a problem in the long-run, considering that more than 99 per cent of the news media categorised by Press Council Nepal are not members of the Media Society. Kantipur House’s chief Kailash Sirohia had and two others had met with Oli a few days before his China trip, and pressed for such recognition.
Kantipur and The Kathmandu Post editors Sudhir Sharma and Akhilesh Upadhyay’s bylined stories despatched from Beijing made eyebrows rise in their own newsrooms for going overboard and reporting as if Tibet-Kathmandu railway would arrive soon. Pre-feasibility stage, they did not know. They were ignorant of the possibility of not one but two feasibility studies before things the final go-ahead is given. After all, Oli himself does not how the project will be financed.

Madhav’s grudge
By the way, Madhav Kumar Nepal vents his ire against the institution of monarchy most vocally in the CPN (UML) faction of the recently unified Nepal Communist Party whose initials are bracketed to get safe passage through the Election Commission’s scrutiny as there already exists a Nepal Communist Party. There is nothing wrong in harbouring republican stance.
Ideology is a matter of conviction. In Madhav Kumar Nepal’s case, it is a grudge more than ideology. His deep-seated grievance emanates from not being able to extricate himself even after all these 15 years. When NC leader Sher Bahadur Deuba dissolved the duly elected parliament and opted for general elections, only to backtrack from the pledge after the legilature was no more, he was dismissed by King Gyanendra. He tendered a written petition to King Gyanendra expressing keen interest in taking charge of the government after Sher Bahadur was declared “incompetent” for not holding general and local elections on time. The prospect made him say that “half correction” had been made to the existing political situation that he and his peers had dubbed as authoritarian. When he did not make it to the coveted post, he fumed and fretted; his wife Gayatri even more so. Time might be a great healer but a decade and a half seem not quite enough.

Open borders
Their Excellencies of the Eminent Persons Group prepared its report in its concluding meeting on June 30. How the report ends up regarding concerns whether Nepal’s national interests will be sacrificed on the altar of open borders with India, inviting domestic disaster and adversely affecting the nation’s stability, safety and security in its various aspects for more decades.
Open border is a tool for Indian to have a stranglehold on Nepal.
Garbage guys
A news item reported that more than 32,000 kg waste was collected this year from Mt. Sagarmatha. Mountaineers are estimated to have generated over thirty tonnes of garbage below Camp II to the world’s tallest snow-capped peak. Similar stories have been carried since five decades. The polluters’ compatriots come here and speak of corruption and impunity, doing little to pull up their own lot.
Above all, what are the liaison officers appointed by the government to accompany the foreign teams headed for the various towering peaks? They go for the extra money-packed they can collect but obviously do not do their duty well. Will the “youth minister” looking after Tourism care to look into this?

Without comment
Former Deputy Prime Minister Chitra Bahadur KC, on Radio Nagarik: How can a government that goes around begging for money to run the central government support seven provincial government?…People have begun to feel the deep pinch inflicted by federal structure and will reject it in course of time.

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