Prime Minister Sushil Koirala said that he had tried his best to address most of the issues raised even by the disgruntled parties

The desires of the sovereign Nepali people of drafting a new constitution on their own for over 60 years is going to be fulfilled within a couple of days to come. Yesterday was one of historic events for Nepal as the Constituent Assembly boldly decided to proceed with the constitution-drafting process despite boycotts by some fringe Madhes-centred parties who are in violent agitation over the delineations of the boundaries of the federal units. Top leaders of the three major parties – Nepali Congress, CPN-UML and Unified CPN-Maoist – who addressed the CA full house stood united, vowing that the sovereign body will deliver the new constitution, which they hoped will address the peoples’ expectations, including those of the Madhesi parties, even though they are out of the final stage of promulgating the constitution. The leaders said that the constitution which is a political document of a compromise can be amended in the days to come, if need be.

Prime Minister Sushil Koirala appealed to the international community to extend its support to the new constitution to be delivered soon. He also said that they have tried their best to address most of the issues raised even by the disgruntled parties or groups who chose to stay away from the entire process. The leaders, however, cautioned the agitating parties that nobody can impose their agenda on others through violence. PM Koirala, UML chair KP Oli and UCPN-Maoist chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal expressed their sadness over the non-cooperation of the Madhesi parties in spite of their repeated calls for dialogues. The major parties had put off the constitution-drafting process for three days from Friday to Sunday, hoping that they would return to the talks. Even UN Secretary General Ban Ki-moon had also appealed to the agitating parties to utilize the calls of talks, but to no avail.

Delineation of the parliamentary constituencies based on the distribution of population was one of the major demands of the agitating parties which have been addressed through the joint amendment proposals of the major political parties. The Madhesi parties have once again missed the historic opportunity of taking part in the constitution-making process by resorting to violent protests which have already claimed the innocent lives of over 40 people in the Tarai. The lynching of APF Assistant Sub-Inspector Thaman Bahadur BK in Mohottari on Friday is the latest incident of the series of violence taking place in the Tarai where life has been paralysed for over a month. This proves that the agitating parties do not want to draft the constitution by the CA and it has also proved that their agitation has gone out of their control. The agitating parties should take the responsibility of what has gone wrong in the Tarai-Madhes. The constitution-making process must go ahead as the sovereign body cannot be made a prisoner of indecision simply because of some violence taking place in some places. If everything goes according to the CA plan the new constitution will be delivered by September 17. Major parties deserve appreciation for taking such a bold decision despite the calls for halting the process from some powerful quarters.

Cancer scourge

Nepal and several countries in the South-East  Asia region have pledged to strengthen cancer prevention and control programme. Cancer is a serious affliction and millions die from it every year and around 1.7 new cancer cases are added in this period. Many forms of cancer can be treated if detected early. Tobacco, alcohol, an unhealthy diet, lack of physical activity and infections, among others, are responsible for the ever escalating number of cancer cases. Nepal is no exception. The lack of affordable diagnostics and also medicines is responsible for this sorry plight.  Moreover, antimicrobial resistance is one of the major reasons why diseases like cancer are assuming major threats.

Antibiotics are often prescribed for even viral diseases which do not help cure them. The practice of prescribing them randomly without identifying the bacteria against which they are effective has led to increasing antimicrobial resistance. Some antibiotics are useful for treating cancer by chemotherapy, but they fail to do so due to the growing resistance to the various antibiotics discovered so far. As such, antimicrobial resistance has been given top priority in the national health agenda to respond to the threat.