Tailored to fit

The long-drawn battle to get the Constitutional Committee (CC) chairperson finally came to a grand finale on August 28. Choosing the CC chief had been at the centre of big brainstorming sessions among the major political parties represented in the CA namely CPN (UML), Nepali Congress (NC) and UCPN (Maoist), over the past few weeks. Despite the rhetoric about consensus by each and sundry, it was but a recourse to the time-tested democratic means through the ballot to fill in the august position, lying vacant for over three months after the assumption of Madhav Kumar Nepal to the high executive post of the prime minister. Nilambar Acharya, of the NC, has been elected the CC chairperson, defeating his only rival Narayankazi Shrestha of the UCPN (Maoist). The election was the only alternative as the parleys among the major political parties extended no further than inconclusiveness. This was all because of the fact that both the NC and UCPN (M) stuck to their guns on the “selection” of the CC head. It was all because the CC is the powerful CA committee entrusted with the all important task of getting the constitution drafted within the deadline that is to expire in around nine months time. In all this, the CC chief not only has to go through the reports presented as regards the various relevant headings, but also be able to defend the ones that suit in the CA. It is a task that carries responsibility, and no room for any excuse.

In this regard, Acharya has had a long political innings behind him. It may be worthwhile remembering that after the People’s Movement 1990 he served as the law minister competently. It is but expected of him to take up the tasks entrusted to him in a manner that would gain support from all the parties. Of course, the Maoists may have a grudge through the very fact they had keenly wanted the post which would have given it at least this committee of importance under its belt. But, this did not happen and disappointment reigns supreme in their quarters. But, they have likened every election to one of someone’s victory while of loss of the other/s, and this is somewhat encouraging.

Playoffs like this have been rituals in the confrontational attitude that the parties have developed particularly after the CA elections. This is but unfortunate for the republic that wants the new constitution within the prescribed time frame, in keeping with the urgency with which the people want it. But, going by the antics of the parties, particularly the UCPN (Maoist) after it walked out of the government it was leading, the indications are not bright as to the statute being readied as per the calendar. Even now, the Maoists continue to obstruct the House sessions, thereby, creating uncertainties. No breakthrough can be predicted at the moment to get the House functioning smoothly, as the Maoist demands regarding their motion to be discussed in the House are vehemently opposed by the ruling parties, namely CPN (UML) and the NC. In the meanwhile, the repercussions of Acharya’s election as the CC chief are yet to be felt. However, with the achievements that Acharya has to his credit, some progress may, hopefully, be the outcome in the coming days.

Safety first

Test carried out the Central Lab shows that most of the pasteurized milk being sold in the market is adulterated. What raises concern is that most of the milk sold is contaminated with bacteria like Coliform, which makes them unfit for consumption. The milk, furthermore, was found not containing the required nutrients. Such “pasteurized” substandard milk puts the health of the consumers at risk. The concerned authorities advise consumers to drink properly boiled milk only. Since Coliform bacteria can cause diseases like diarrhoea and dysentery, the sale of milk that has not been properly processed should be prohibited.

The milk products should be closely monitored by the Department of Food Technology and Quality Control so that the pasteurized milk and milk products sold in the market meet the prescribed standards. To top it all off, some of the pouches of milk were found containing less quantity of milk than specified. This is outright cheating considering that some brands contain 50 ml less milk in every packet instead of what is printed. The authorities should ensure that this does not happen, and ensure the quality of the milk allowed to be sold.