Talks invite for agitating factions

Kathmandu, February 12, 2008

The seven-party alliance has invited the agitating Madhesi groups for talks. A meeting of the talks team, named yesterday, urged all the agitating groups, particularly United Madhes Democratic Front to come to the negotiating table.

“We publicly appeal to all agitating groups to come for dialogue,” talks team coordinator and Minister for Peace and Reconstruction Ram Chandra Poudel told mediapersons at the end of its first meeting that began late in the evening. “A formal letter could be sent inviting them for talks if needed.” He said the team would endeavour to find a meaningful solution to the problem of Madhes to ensure conducive atmosphere for the forthcoming Constituent Assembly election. “We hope that the agitating factions will withdraw their programmes of general strike,” Minister Poudel said. UML leader Jhalanath Khanal said the team was unaware if the Prime Minister himself was involved in negotiations with the agitating factions.

He suggested that the talks team, mandated by the seven-party alliance to negotiate with the agitating groups, had enough capacity to find a comprehensive solution to the problem of Madhes. “We should be able to work out some solution within the next four days or so,” Khanal said.

“Nobody should doubt the seven parties’ decision and commitment to go for federalism. The modalities and structure of the federalism could be sorted out after the CA polls.” Sarita Giri, another participant of the team, expressed hope of finding a peaceful solution to the problem.

NT slashes mobile phone tariff

Kathmandu, February 12, 2008

The state-owned telecom giant, Nepal Telecom, is reducing tariff on mobile phones, from tomorrow. As per the new tariff, calling through NT post-paid mobile will cost Rs 2.40 per minute during peak hours (8 a.m. to 8 p.m.), while it will be Re 1 during off-peak hours (8 p.m. to 8 a.m.) on working days from Sunday to Friday.

The call tariff will be Re 1 throughout the day on Saturdays. Before this cut, the call tariff on post-paid mobile was Rs 3 per minute during peak hours and Rs 1.50 during off peak hours and Saturdays.

The new call tariff on NT pre-paid mobile phone has been fixed at Rs 3.20 per minute during peak hours and Rs 2 during off-peak hours and Saturdays. Earlier, it used to cost Rs 3.50 during peak and Rs 3 during off-peak hours and Saturdays.

NT has also reduced tariff for CDMA pre-paid Skyphone to Rs 2.70 per minute during peak hours and Rs 2 during off-peak hours and Saturdays from the current rate of Rs 3 per minute. However, all these tariffs will attract 13 per cent value added tax and 12.5 per cent telecom service fee.

NT spokesperson Surendra Thike said Nepal Telecom had been cutting tariff gradually with a view to increasing the customer base as well as network in the country.