THT 10 years ago: Govt to ratify anti-tobacco pact, says Speaker

Kathmandu, June 8

Speaker Subash Nemwang today said the government would support the campaign against tobacco by endorsing the Frame Work Convention of Tobacco Control (FCTC).

Since the government was established at the strength of the people’s movement, any decisons by it would not be against the people, he said. “The government will not go against the people and will get the FCTC ratified by the Members of Parliament,” the Speaker said while addressing a seminar on FCTC and its ratification organised by the Nepal Cancer Relief Society.

He assured that the campaigners would not have to go to the extreme of filing writ petitions against the government seeking ratification of the FCTC.

Dr Margarita Rondeors, residential representative of the World Health Organisation, said WHO supports countries in saving lives.

Tobacco Control Act, after the endorsement by the parliament, would enable the implementation of the FCTC that would help make a ban on advertising tobacco complete along with finding measures that would help save the lives of many.

Dr Rajendra Baral, medical director at Bhaktapur Cancer Hospital said there are 40 factories that manufacture cigarettes and tobacco and four per cent of the total income of an individual is spent in tobacco consumption.

Dr Nirakar Man Shrestha, chief specialist at Ministry of Health and Population said if the FCTC is not ratified at the earliest then Nepal would not be eligible to participate in the forthcoming Conference of Parties to be held in Dhaka.

13-yr-old girl left to fend for herself

Thirteen-year-old Shanti Bishwokarma is all alone and helpless. Though she had been studying in class five earlier, she has now stopped going to school due to lack of money to buy text books and pay the tuition fees.

“Who will bear the expenses for my studies when I have no place to live and its tough managing two square meals a day,” Shanti says.

Her father died just nine days after her birth and her mother left her and married another man. Shanti then lived with her maternal grandparents.

Though her maternal uncle was very fond of her, he went missing in the conflict. Deepak Bishwokarma was arrested by security personnel on May 27, 2001 from his residence at Baklauri-4, Sunsari, locals say.

Shanti’s grandparents Bikul Das Bishwokarma and Parvati fell ill soon after their son, the only bread winner in the family, suddenly went missing. Bikul Das died on January 17, 2005, while Parvati died after 18 days.

Now, Shanti is the only person to look after the house.

She has not the faintest idea why the security personnel arrested her uncle who used to work in a Panchyat primary school.