THT 10 YEARS AGO: CA poll deferral demand wrecked talks: Sitaula

Kathmandu, February 25, 2008

Government spokesperson and Home Minister Krishna Prasad Sitaula said today that the government could not strike a deal with the United Madhesi Democratic Front as the latter, during talks held till wee hours of Monday, demanded the deferral of the constituent assembly polls slated for April 10.

“The government and the UMDF were close to conceding the six-point demand of the UMDF. The government had even promised to request the Election Commission to further extend the dates for filing nominations for polls,” Sitaula said at a press conference at the Home Ministry.

He said the talks failed as the UMDF called for deferral of the polls and amendment to the interim constitution. The government and the UMDF were close to a deal on granting autonomy for Madhes, ensuring inclusiveness while making recruitment in all government bodies, including law enforcement agencies, and declaring those killed during the Madhesi movement martyrs.

The government was ready to concede the demand that a party fielding 30 per cent of total candidates of the CA should not be obliged to abide by the legal provision of inclusiveness.

According to Sitaula, the government had agreed to give autonomy to regions as per wishes of the people of respective regions subject to CA’s approval.

NOC move fails to address petrol shortage

Kathmandu, February 25, 2008

The Nepal Oil Corporation’s decision to distribute fuel from designated petrol pumps to designated vehicles turned out to be a move to manage the crowd instead of smoothening the supply, as situation has not changed much for those who are queuing up to get a refill.

Dhan Bahadur Ale, who was in a long queue outside Maitidevi Petrol Station when this reporter met him, complained, “I joined the queue at 3 am today but the petrol pump is yet to start distributing diesel,” he said. Krishna Shrestha, purchase executive of Everest Hotel, Baneshwore said, “The shortage of fuel has hit us hard. We need more diesel to run the generators, considering the load-shedding.”

He added that buying fuel to run generators has led to a three-fold increase in their expenses. Motorcycle owner Arjun Ramtel came down heavily on the government for its helplessness. “The government is not serious to address the people’s woes. I have been waiting for more than six hours to get six litres of petrol. And even now I’m not sure whether I’ll get it,” he said.

Ramtel was waiting outside a petrol pump at Sinamangal. Another motorcyclist outside Bhadrakali petrol pump was quite livid.