Water for petroleum

Nepal is rich in water resources. With a little chemical management technology, Nepal can

export any amount of international quality of drinking water to Gulf countries at cheaper prices. Most of the Arab countries are rich in petroleum but they have to spend a lot of money in evaporating and purifying the impure salty seawater. In hot desert climates, they would certainly prefer to import fresh Himalayan international quality mineral water at cheaper prices. So, there is a good scope for Nepal to give drinking water and take in return the petroleum she needs from these countries. The balance of trade can then be in favour of Nepal. Also in the long run, Nepal would have established a competitive market for the sale of drinking water because of her snow-clad mountain water reserves. The King is participating in the South-South summit conference in Doha. Here is a good opportunity for Nepal to push her economic diplomacy in the summit either at the bilateral or multilateral level with the Arab countries. If Nepal could achieve the exchange of water for petroleum, the King’s participation will definitely be a success. It will also be one of the glaring examples of South-South cooperation in the summit attended by G-77 nations.

Prof S P Dhoubhadel, via e-mail

Child labour

This is in reference to the editorial “Worst of it all” regarding child labour in Nepal. It is unfortunate that despite several laws and regulations, child labour is still prevalent in the country. According to the Labour Act 1992 and the Children’s Act (1992), employment of

children below the age of 14 years is considered to be an offence. Nepal is also a signatory to the UN Convention on the Protection of the Rights of Child (1989). It also ratified ILO’s Minimum Age Convention 138 in October 1996. Nepal is a member of the Colombo Resolution (1992) and the Rawalpindi Resolution (1996) of the South Asian Association for Regional Cooperation countries (1992), calling for elimination of hazardous child labour by 2000 and child labour in all its forms by 2010. But it seems that we have achieved nothing till now in this regard. In my opinion, poverty is the main cause behind child labour. The rural people are so poor that they are compelled to send their kids to work. Also, they have no time to attend awareness campaigns against child labour and are ignorant about the health consequences due to exposure to hazardous work experiences. So, unless we concentrate in the “economic empowerment,” as highlighted in the editorial, we cannot get rid of this problem.

Sunil Kumar Joshi, via e-mail

Clean it

It is unfortunate that even after repeated complaints by the people, the condition of the holy Bagmati river is deteriorating by the day. It is more polluted than ever before and the foul smell from the river has made life of the locals miserable. Despite major plans to clean Bagmati, it seems that the government bodies and many NGOs have been unsuccessful in doing anything about this problem. But the government should not ignore this problem. The municipal officials should waste no time in starting the cleaning drive.

Bijaya Paudyal, Aaloknagar