Diversity Visa aspirants rush to meet deadline

Ishwar Khanal

Kathmandu, January 6:

The EDV (Electronic Diversity Visa) craze and the California gold rush have a thing or two in common, if the rush that the Internet kiosks are witnessing is anything to go by. That countdown to the last 24 hours of the DV 2006 lottery in Kathmandu has seen a rush that reminds of the mad Gold Rush in the middle of the 19th century.

Ask any aspirant thronging the Internet cafes to meet the deadline for the EDV 2006 that expires tomorrow morning and you get almost a similar response: “For future prospect.” Reasons, they have, are many — ranging from political instability to deteriorating law and order situation to bleak future and many more in Nepal. Add to them disturbances in education, bandhs, nepotism and favouritism and so on.

Compare the number of aspirants who turned up at the General Post Office at Sundhara to apply for the lottery as of this afternoon to the last year’s. “Last year there were only 10,000 applicants,” Umesh Joshi, an official at the GPO, said. The GPO must be grateful to the Nepali aspirants for a hefty amount of nearly Rs 2 million this year.

According to the US Embassy in Kathmandu, over 4,500 Nepalis have immigrated to the US in the last six years through the DV programme. The embassy said the programme would be continued next year.

The embassy, however, clarified that issuance of visa cannot be guaranteed even if one meets all requirements.