THT 10 years ago: Jana Andolan-II martyrs’ photos to be placed atop Mt Everest

Kathmandu, April 17, 2007

An eight-member team of the Democratic Everest Expedition (DEE), a non-political expedition team, is all set to place the photos of Jana Andolan II martyrs atop the Mt Everest to honour them.

The team is going to start the scale of the highest mountain from tomorrow “to wish for eternal peace of the Jana Andolan-II martyrs. Minister for Culture, Tourism and Civil Aviation Prithvi Subba Gurung today hand over a national flag to Ang Rita Sherpa, also known as Snow Leopard who has conquered Mt Everest 10 times without oxygen.

Addressing a press conference on the formal farewell programme organised by the DEE, Gurung said: “The Sherpas have always made us proud in the world. The government should respect the contribution of Sherpas in continuing the prestige of Nepal.” Edward Wayne, director of the Bridge of Life Foundation of the USA, said: “The road to democracy in Nepal is like the road to Mt Everest — full of obstacles and extreme happiness after conquering the summit.”

Anil Dhungel of the Everest Insurance Company said that the expedition is an honour to the martyrs who sacrificed their life for the country. DEE president Ang Ngima Sherpa said: “This expedition is organised for the eternal peace of the martyrs of the Jana Andolan-II.”

The expedition would hoist flags of the eight political parties, place photos of the Jana Andolan-II martyrs and release music albums atop Everest.

Rupee touches nine year high

The rupee today climbed to a nine-year high against the US dollar, as it appreciated further against the greenback, which has been losing its steam vis-à-vis the Indian currency, with whom the Nepali rupee maintains a fixed exchange rate.

The rupee came close to breaching the 66 per dollar level to a nine-year high of Rs 66 against the greenback. It was last quoted this high last in May-June 1998. Citing strong appreciation of the Indian currency, market analysts and economists speculate that the Nepali currency will continue to rise against the dollar this week, too.

Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) has set the Nepali rupee’s buying rate at Rs 66.60 a dollar for trading on Wednesday, whereas it was Rs 67.11 today and Rs 68.40 a week ago. Since the Nepali currency is pegged against the Indian currency, the relation of the Indian rupee with the dollar determines the exchange rate of Nepali rupee vis-à-vis the greenback.

In India, it has already climbed a nine-year high yesterday and is expected to further strengthen in the coming days. Ramji Regmi, executive director at NRB-Foreign Exchange Department, attributes the appreciation of Indian currency as the sole reason for the sliding dollar value in Nepal.