Manisha’s poll drive

Biratnagar: Bollywood actress Manisha Koirala said on Monday she could involve herself in Nepal’s politics of Nepal if need be. Speaking to journalists in Biratnagar, Koirala said: “I can get involved in politics if compelled. At present, however, I am limiting myself to acting.” She has been active for the past some days in highlighting the civic polls in Biratnagar. Koirala said, “The publicity of the municipal polls is my responsibility. I am fully satisfied with the publicity drive.” She urged everyone to take part in the coming municipal polls. She said: “The election will be conducted peacefully. None need be afraid of taking part in the civic polls.” She is mainly asking people to vote for Binod Aryal, the mayoral candidate of Biratnagar sub-metropolis. Koirala pointed out that protest in politics was a normal part of the entire process. —HNS

Varsity sans fund

Lekhnath: Continuous reduction of grant by the University Grant Commission (UGC) to the Pokhara University (PU) has left PU facing fund crunch. PU vice chancellor, Prof Dr Purushottam Bastola, said the university is also facing difficulty competing with other universities. “The UGC first reduced the grant amount by 15 per cent in 1999/2000 and now the grant has been reduced by 60 per cent,” Bastola said, adding expenditure in PU, which has 24 affiliated campuses, is about Rs 18.2 million annually but it receives only Rs 9.2 million as grant. UGC chairman Bidur Prasad Upadhyay, however, said the reduction was justified. “ PU was established on the condition that it would operate with peoples’ participation and now they are expecting grant,” he said. Bastola said the UGC has not treated PU as it does the Purbanchal University. though both have equal number of students. —HNS

Maoist cadre killed

RAUTAHAT: One Maoist commander was killed in the clash between Maoists and security forces that erupted during a search operation by a patrolling team of joint security forces in Chatauna Tole of Pachrukhi VDC of Rautahat on Monday. Around 15 Maoists had fired at patrolling team deployed from Gaur at around 2:45 pm and a Maoist commander was killed when the security forces fired in retaliation, district based security source said. The cross fire lasted about fifteen minutes, Major Bishwa Raj Thapa of Barah Dal Company at Purenwa said. The deceased Maoist commander could not be identified, Major Thapa said. — HNS

NSP leader freed

BARDIYA: Maoists released on Monday the central member of Nepal Sadbhawana Party (Mandal), Ram Kumar Chaudhari. Maoists had abducted Chaudhari, a probable municipal poll candidate from Gulariya Municipality of Bardiya, two weeks ago. Maoists had released Chaudhari in the presence of journalists and human rights activists. — HNS

Hospital to run soon

Kathmandu: The Ministry of Health and Population on Monday announced that Mid Western Regional Hospital at Birendranagar with its 50-bed capacity would operate from February 19 as per the cabinet decision on January 30. Government has created 80 posts including 23 for doctors and other health workers for the hospital. Government has allocated Rs 12.5 for administrative expenditure and Rs 130m for building infrastructure in this fiscal year. —HNS

Lakhan’s birth anniv

Kathmandu: Nepal Magar Association (NMA) on Monday formed a Civic Organising Committee under its leadership to celebrate the 129th anniversary of the first martyr of Nepal Lakhan Thapa Magar. Magar was executed by the oligarchic Rana regime for protesting their autocracy on the very day on 1933 BS. The meeting of the committee has decided to organise various functions at Jawalakhel on February 14. The committee has also demanded declaring Magar as the first martyr. — HNS