EDITORIAL: Oli’s priorities

The Oli government wants international cooperation in productive sectors – energy, agriculture, IT, tourism, infrastructure

Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli interacted with the Kathmandu-based diplomatic community, development partners and donor agencies on Tuesday, for the first time since he took the government helm on February 15. PM Oli outlined his government’s priorities and key areas where he wants to focus on and also sought the international community’s cooperation to achieve the goals set. Safeguarding the national interest, sovereignty, territorial integrity and independence; promotion of independent foreign policy based on the Panchsheel; strengthening democracy and ensuring corruption-free society and social justice and equality through good governance and development are the government’s top priorities, he said. These are the key areas where the PM is looking forward to receiving cooperation from the international community. The PM shared his views with the diplomats that the motto of his government will be to have “amity with all, enmity with none”. He made it clear that Nepal will continue to strive for progressive changes in their political, economic and socio-cultural set-up. “Sovereign people of Nepal are free to take decisions on matter affecting their lives,” he said in an oblique reference to the European Union’s Election Observation Mission in Nepal, which recently called for reviewing a quota system to an already privileged group under the inclusion list.

He gave special emphasis to maintaining cordial and friendly relations, especially with China and India, to engage in the vibrant economic drive of the neighbourhood with a view to benefitting from it. He said he also wanted to enhance ties with all other friendly countries on the basis of “mutual respect and cooperation”. He also invited the private sector – domestic and foreign – to invest in Nepal and contribute to production and employment generation. He also assured the investors of revising laws and policies that create hindrance to the investment climate. Oli emphasised that development process must not be seen “through the optics of geopolitics” and his diplomatic engagement at international level will be focused on economic development.

The PM also tried to allay fears of the international community that Nepal may not impart fair justice to the victims of the decade-old conflict through the two transitional justice mechanisms set up by the government three years ago. He said the government was “serious about ensuring that the justice is fair, free from pressure and influences”. He made it clear that there would be “no blanket amnesty for serious violations of human rights and humanitarian laws”. Imparting free and fair justice to the conflict victims has always been a major concern of the international community, which has been calling for empowering the justice mechanisms on par with the international standard. In his written speech, the PM spent much time on international relations, which he said should be based on “justice, sovereign equality, mutual respect and benefit”. It is a clear indication that the Oli-led government wants international cooperation in productive sectors – energy, agriculture, tourism, infrastructure and information technology – which, he hopes, can help enhance the country’s economy and generate employment opportunities.

Keeping pace

Patan Hospital has started permanent pacemaker implantation service beginning Tuesday. The hospital started the service by implanting a pacemaker on a 65-year-old patient suffering from arrhythmias. A pacemaker is an electrical device used to regulate the body’s heartbeat. It is implanted under the skin of the chest below the collarbone, near the heart and connected to the heart with leads. Pacemakers are usually implanted to treat problems with the rhythm and rate of the heart.

Pacemaker implantation is a costly affair. So the start of the service at Patan Hospital, a major teaching hospital for the Patan Academy of Health Science, is good news for patients, as these life-saving devices here can be implanted at a minimal cost. Patan Hospital, according to Dr Sachin Dhungel, assistant professor, provides the pacemaker implantation service at Rs 150,000. Since the government provides Rs 100,000 for pacemaker implantation, patients have to pay only Rs 50,000 at the hospital to get the device fitted. Since Patan Hospital has also signed a memorandum of understanding with Shahid Gangalal National Heart Centre, for necessary support, cardiac patients are expected to benefit immensely.