THT 10 YEARS AGO: Yami game to let Severn Trent work on Melamchi

Kathmandu, June 7, 2007

Minister for Physical Planning and Works Hisila Yami today said the eight parties were committed to make Melamchi project a success. “Melamchi won’t go - it is for sure.

The eight parties have decided to bring back Melamchi in new form for New Nepal,” she said while addressing a press conference here today. She said the ministry would write to Asian Development Bank (ADB) to continue the loan, opening doors for new options.

“We will ask the ADB to let us decide how we can manage water distribution — we may float new tenders, extend the management contract with Nepali companies or even accept Severn Trent Water International with some amendments in the contract,” she said.

ADB had decided to provide $ 120 million loan for the $ 500 million Melamchi project. She said the Asian Development Bank was aware of the political development here in Nepal and the bank’s role to continue development process in Nepal.

She claimed that the confusion among the cabinet ministers had been cleared and all the minister had categorically agreed that the Melamchi project should continue. “There is no doubt that Melamchi is one of the lifeline projects, though we all know that Melamchi alone is not going to solve the problem.

Replaced Kumari carries on as before

Lalitpur, June 7, 2007

As the Kumari of Patan, activities of Chanira Bajracharya differ from that of other girls of the same age: rituals and customs guide her life.

Twelve-year-old Chanira Bajracharya — the Kumari of Patan — has her own rituals and customs to begin her day. But her aunt Dhana Kumari — who was the Kumari for three decades, also has the same rituals and customs. Dhana Kumari’s “divine life” as a Kumari began in 1954 when she was just two years old. She continued as the Kumari of Patan till 1994. Dhana Kumari rarely communicates with other members in the family and is always decked up in an attire of Kumari and devotees still visit her to pay homage to make their wishes come true, says Netra Raj Bajracharya, father of Chanira and younger brother of Dhana Kumari.

“The first menstruation makes Kumari unfit to be a ‘living goddess’, and she has to get back to a mortal life. But she has maintained all attributes of a Kumari,” he says. He says devotees still visit her to pay homage. A team comprising the then royal priest, Juna Nath Pant, chairperson of the Guthi Sansthan, and other stakeholders in 1994 decided to replace Dhana Kumari with a young girl, saying she could not continue as a Kumari because she had crossed a certain age. Though Dhana Kumari is no more the official Kumari of Patan, she follows all rituals, rules and regulations that Kumaris follow. She has not left her house since 1994.