Clarifying leprosy news:

This refers to the news “4 INGOs pulled up” published in THT on January 2. The report said: “A Nepali staffer of Netherlands Leprosy Relief (NLR) has embezzled Rs 1.2 million to purchase a piece of land for himself. The money from the Netherlands was meant for the settlement of three leprosy patients in Dhangadi.” In reality, the three leprosy patients were not in possession of valid identity papers at the time and we had no choice but to have the land temporarily registered in the name of one of our staff members here. As soon as the patients acquired the necessary documents, the land titles were transferred to their names. This happened six years ago. The Social Welfare Council (SWC) has investigated the case and on August 8, 2005 concluded: “We found the procedure faulty in the case of land purchase for the leprosy patients, however, we did not find malafide intention.” The procedure may not have been the best one, but it is clear that according to the SWC there was no mishandling of funds. The person quoted in your report did not speak on behalf of Netherlands Leprosy Relief. We are trying to trace the origin of the statement. It may not be a coincidence that this person has spoken on the basis of anonymity only. NLR is a ransparent organisation and we suggest that you hear both sides before publishing a potentially damaging statement. We have supported the government’s leprosy control programme for the past 23 years and will continue to do so.

K L Braber, Director, Netherlands Leprosy Relief Amsterdam, Netherlands

Seek opinion:

The leaders who are speaking in favour of democratic republic or elections to the constituent assembly must first seek public opinion. Nobody has the right to prescribe such far-reaching changes in the Constitution without ascertaining the people’s wishes. This could bring about unimaginable fall-out from the numerous stakeholders and claimants within and outside the country who could play various games openly or secretly. The leaders should not ignore the significance of the opinion of new voters. Hence, they need to respect people’s right to choose by opting for the democratic exercise of referendum prior to such changes.

Ramesh Bdr. Shrestha, Lalitpur

Beneficial:

This refers to the news “Nepal, India to review Transit Treaty” published in THT on January 3. Nepal can gain if it makes a treaty in the field of industry, commerce and supplies. Nepal and India have enjoyed diplomatic relations for long. In the past seven years Nepal has developed its trade infrastructure. More points should be added to the treaty such as low tax at the border. Similar other agreements should be made for mutual benefit.

Chandan Das, KU, Dhulikhel

Uplift:

Leaders promise to work for poor people’s welfare but only on paper. They have never listened to the farmers who use expensive and imported fertilisers. But when the parties are out of power, they solicit people’s support to win elections or announce an agitation in their name. Is this justified?

Ganesh Subedi, Dharan