EDITORIAL

Depression time

Even as the Madhav Kumar Nepal-led government is coming under increasing pressure, there is no reason to believe that its days are numbered at the moment as the Nepali Congress is still behind it despite some NC legislators floating that particular idea. As for the talk of the national government under the leadership of the UCPN (M), it has not received the back up that is necessary. This is because the UCPN (M), in spite of its largest single standing in the Legislative Parliament, has not been able to provide assurances of its sincere intentions rather it is always on the look out for announcing one or the other form of protest hinging on its self-styled "civilian supremacy" plank. The way the Maoists have been moving does not bring solace to the mind of the ordinary Nepali folks for whom welfare and peace matters the most. Their activities have been counterproductive in the sense that the normal life of the people have been held hostage every now and then with unpredictable regularity. With the fourth phase of the Maoist protest over, it is now poised for the next round which obviously means that the partisan interests outweigh that of the people whose aspirations are still miles away from the fulfillment point.

Now, the only issue in the air is as regards the next round protest of the UCPN (M). It will obviously lead to making the life of the people more difficult. Compounding this particular ominous sign is the open expression of dissenting views from the top ministers in the government. It is only an indication that not all is going well as far as the governance aspect is concerned. It is this very scenario that prompts the destabilizing elements. However, this government may be considered as the most expedient tallying with the present political scenario and the backing of the majority of political parties in the Constituent Assembly. Yet, the government has to be proactive rather than being mute to measures that augur well for the people and the country. It is sheer irony that the political parties that had joined hands for consensus to be the driving force have slowly drifted so apart that all ideas of reconciliation seem to be impossible. The top leaders of the three major parties seem to come together, like they did for the formation of the High Level Political Mechanism (HLPM) and agreeing on the terms of reference, but they have not been able to really make the thrust necessary to break the paramount political concerns. The HLPM formation only generated a response in the form of the withdrawal of the Maoists' indefinite strike at the last minute. Apart from this, real progress has proved to be elusive despite the expectation that HLPM had raised.

The signs at the moment are that the people have to pull up their socks to face another round of UCPN (M) protests. Instead of focusing on the twin urgent missions of statute drafting and the peace process, the whole idea of Maoists' protest seems to be to wean the people from the immediate tasks as mandated by the CA elections. With less than four months remaining for the statute promulgation deadline, and the major party remaining truant, the country may be in for some grievous times.

Building woes

The price of constructing houses shows a pattern of increasing within a short span of time. Those building houses should take this into account when taking on this arduous venture. For instance, the price of constructing houses has soared by as

much as 20 per cent in about a month or so. The reason for this is the sharp hike in the price of cement and steel, the major construction materials. The increase in their prices is attributed to the load shedding and also transportation costs, among others which raises production costs. The price rise of construction materials shows an upward trend most noticeably during the construction season. Then the demand exceeds supply, thereby hiking the price of the construction materials.

To add to the woes of those who are constructing houses they are often swindled. For example, it has been found that there is cheating in the weight of the cement sacks. What more since the price of cement alone has a direct bearing in about 29 per cent of the overall construction costs, the price of building houses is bound to escalate. Those planning to build houses should expect to be making changes in their original estimates of costs of building the same.