Apropos of the news story, “Basic minimum wage eludes Nepali migrant workers” (THT, May 9, Page 1), although average Nepalis will never receive the average minimum wage of US$13,951 a month in Qatar, the largest employer of Nepali migrants in the history of this country, the government could have deftly negotiated for a wage ten times of what Nepalis currently receive. The problem for this sorry state of affairs lies with the government’s inept negotiators. There is no point in blaming the private recruiting agents as they don’t run the country. Maybe, this real story will help expand the minister and other negotiators’ mental horizon. The event goes like this. Not too long ago, when Nepal was popular with the rich and famous, the royalties and rock stars, a Canadian tourist, owner of a zoo, wanted to hire an elephant trainer, a mahout, for about a year or two to train his African elephants.
The negotiator on behalf of the mahout was an English-speaking manager of the lodge, where the Canadian was staying, who agreed to a salary of US$220 a month. Happily, the lodge owners negotiated a salary of US$500 for the mahout.
The moral is, the people who are in charge of negotiation for basic minimum wage should not only be skilled but well travelled, knowledgeable, worldly wise and of an aristocratic background. In future, unless the government has qualified people, it should hire experienced negotiators to lead negotiations for labour wages to get a better deal for its workers.
Manohar Shrestha, Kathmandu
Cyclone Fani has become the talk of the town in Asia apart from the West. Much more than the cynosure of all eyes or on top of everything, it is the salient benefits of such tropical storms as Cyclone Fani that matters most and best. We have been all talking, but no sincere and long-term steps have been taken so far to save natural resources like rainwater, forests, trees and so on.
Even now there are so many areas on Earth crying for proper water and irrigation requirements.
Incidentally, for instance, my native state of Tamil Nadu has been enriched by natural resources like the Thamirabarani River, thereby enabling gricultural activities like anything. Largely dependent on natural resources like water, cities are no exceptions or face no exemptions from the natural vagaries. In fact, my city life and professional activities in Mumbai have largely exposed me to the colourful life and beautiful landscape brought together by the seasonal monsoons. The pre-monsoon, which is the result of the seasonal cyclone, is essential for post-winter farming, especially in the hilly areas of Nepal, where the farmers start planting maize and other crops. So many tropical storms have formed across the world that countries now have to take sincere steps towards making the most of Mother Nature’s gifts like the monsoon, rainwater, rivers, seas, trees, as the saying “make hay while the sun shines” goes.
P Senthil Saravana Durai, Mumbai
A version of this article appears in print on May 10, 2019 of The Himalayan Times.