Playing truant

Political veterans like President Girija Prasad Koirala of Nepali Congress and UCPN (Maoist) Chairman Pushpa Kamal Dahal, despite all the animosities vented in public, always come in for

scrutiny when they have their face-to-face meet. Such meets always arouse keen interest of the

political observers as it could be the ray of hope for some positive development in the rather stereotyped and stagnant political development that has had the people disgruntled. The aspirations that the people had from the Constituent Assembly is yet to be

fulfilled to the desired extent. The Maoists too

have had their stint at running the day-to-day affairs of the country but more than bringing in

unnecessary controversies to the streets, nothing tangible has resulted leaving the country in a limbo. The idea of the high level political mechanism to be of help to the government is in the pipeline, but no concrete results have materialized, all because of the usual tug-of-war among the major parties. It could have been a way out of the cold war that seems to be running between the NC, CPN (UML) and the UCPN (Maoist). And, to make matters worse, these are the parties that are calling the shots. Only if the three parties saw eye-to-eye, the whole political story would have gone in the optimistic direction. Even after so much time has elapsed, the said high level mechanism is yet to get off to a flying start in the context of the present volatile political status.

What Koirala and Dahal discussed is yet to be know in the full. Yet, this thaw in relations must point to some meaningful recourse. However, with the election of the Constitutional Committee chief yet on hold, the whole task of getting the draft constitution readied in another nine months is out of bounds, according to politicians and statute experts alike. When even the formation of the high level mechanism including the three major political parties has not been in effect and been able to see daylight, it is but wild conjecture that the statute would be a reality within the deadline. For the peace process that is so vital, there is no sign of any progress. The Maoists, who stand to gain the most from the peace process gaining pace, are themselves stalling the House proceeding for days on end. The whole Maoist ploy is difficult to understand on their rhetoric of “civilian supremacy”. In fact, these three major parties had the task of getting all their petty interests and differences sorted out to make a clear stand on the national issues. But, unfortunately, the party agenda stands on a higher pedestal than the national one.

With the House proceedings halted every time

it is slated to sit down, the scenario is rather bleak that a real breakthrough can come about any time soon. However, the meeting of NC and UCPN (Maoist) chiefs have an added significance in that some sort of formula is being worked upon to get the deadlock untangled. But, given the nature of

the Maoists, words change rather quickly, though they are interested in sorting out the difference through their demands being addressed. On this score, the NC and UML think on the contrary, and so the uncertainty continues.

Keep it safe

It is trepidation that one eats in hotels and restaurants. There are many complaints that the hoteliers and restaurateurs dish out food unfit for eating by any standard. Despite repeated assurances from the authorities that they would act against such offenders, due to the lack of monitoring, substandard food is served in many such places. As it is a matter of public health, the issue should not be taken lightly. The authorities need to keep a strict vigil to ensure the personnel hygiene of those serving and preparing the food, at the same time seeing to it that they are not adulterated with hazardous food colours and other harmful substances as is frequently the case at present. The hoteliers and restaurateurs often are found serving stale foodstuffs not to talk about unsafe drinking water.

Now, it is learnt, the government is to enforce a mandatory code of practice for all hotels and restaurants to see that they maintain the minimum standards of food that they serve comes as a respite for all those who are apprehensive about eating out. That the law enforcement agencies would be taking action against the erring ones should assuage the public.