THT 10 years ago: Far-west sees heavy snowfall

Dadeldhura, December 23, 2005

Heavy snowfall has been reported in the hilly region of the far-western part of the country following a heavy rainfall today. Dozens of vehicles have been stranded at Hagulte Lek on the Bhimdatta Highway following the heavy rain and snowfall. The vehicles coming from Dipayal have been stuck at Sau Kharka of Dadeldhura district and hundreds of passengers have been stranded there. A number of vehicles coming fronm Baitadi and Bajhang and heading for different destinations like Mahendranagar, Dhangadhi and Nepalgunj had not reached Dadeldhura till late in the evening. Temperature has drastically dropped due to the snowfall and the stranded passengers have been facing hard times to find shelter and food. A snowfall of up to two feet in thickness was measured at the Doti district headquarters at 2 pm today and heavy snowfall continued in Hagulte and the nearby areas. The thickness of snow along the 17-km section of the Highway from Syaule to Gahira was almost 5 to 6 feet, Tek Bahadur Bohra, a driver who returned from Hagulte, said. Daan Bahadur Bhandari, a local resident of Dadeldhura, said the hills around the region have been totally covered with the snow. Electricity supply in Dadeldhura, Baitadi and Doti districts has been disrupted following the heavy snowfall. Chief of Doti Micro-Hydro Power Project, Niranjan Pant, said the electric cables must have been disconnected due to the snowfall.

SAFTA to mean acid test for Nepal

Kathmandu, December 23, 2005

Come January 2006, Nepal will be entering into the domain of the South Asia Free Trade Area (SAFTA), the buzzword of South Asian political and economic leaders, aimed at advancing intra-regional trade. However for Nepal, SAFTA is likely to be an acid test, thanks to its weak infrastructure coupled with a fragile private sector and a low economy of scales. Prior to such an important changeover, private sector experts and intellectuals are putting their brains together as to how Nepal can cope with emerging challenges brought about by SAFTA enforcement in the SAARC region. Prof Bishwambher Pyakuryal, president of Nepal Economic Association (NEA), while talking to The Himalayan Times said, when there is nothing complementary between member countries in the region, it would be a hard ‘specially’ for Nepal to reap the benefits from SAFTA enforcement. As per the SAFTA agreement reached earlier between member countries, LDCs will get revenue loss compensation for the first consecutive four years. However, what Nepal will do after the completion of four years has to be worked out in time to stay away from ‘economic hardship’, suggested Prof Pyakuryal. In SAARC, India is strong in production of goods which can dominate the market in the whole region.