THT 10 YEARS AGO: Nation sees driest winter post-1990

Kathmandu, January 27, 2006

If anyone is apprehending a rainless winter, he/she could be right. In fact, weathermen who have nearly given up hope of much-awaited “winter showers in the foreseeable future”, say this could go down as one of the driest winters in a decade and-a-half. For all practical purposes, this indicates poor winter crops and receding level of groundwater, thus spelling crisis for those who depend on groundwater. The nation has been craving for blissful showers for the last three months, panicking laymen and met office alike. “The westerly disturbances, which used to blow into Nepal, have drifted towards Jammu and Kashmir, Himachal Pradesh and towards the western Himalayas and into Tibet, thus depriving the country of showers,” said senior meteorologist Krishna Bhakta Manandhar. Whatever rainfall the farwestern part of the country witnessed in the preceding weeks was “peripheral effect of the phenomena”, he said. The region even witnessed snowfall, leading to disruption of vehicular movement along the Dhangadi-Dadeldhura road. However, Manandhar claimed that while the absence of winter showers might result in dropping groundwater level, the same may not culminate in soaring temperature in the months ahead. “There will be a normal rise in temperature after February,” he added. Kathmandu, which used to witness a minimum of 0 Degree Celsius every year in winter, has so far been witnessing a “warm and balmy” winter. Recalled Archana Shrestha, another meteorologist: Like this time, there was no rainfall in the city in January 1990.

Ex-EC chief calls for rethink on polls

Kathmandu, January 27, 2006

Former chief commissioner of Election Commission, Surya Prasad Shrestha, who has executed two elections, today urged the King to rethink about holding the forthcoming municipal elections. “After seeing the insignificant participation in the nomination, one can imagine of its utility. As a head of the government, King Gyanendra now should rethink about holding elections,” he said, while addressing a programme at Reporters’ Club. Time has come for the King to seek help from all factors and work for reconciliation for the better future of the country, Shrestha said. The Election Commission has the right to decide whether the election is possible or not without participation of “tried and tested” political parties, Shrestha said. “The EC is an autonomous constitutional body and need not always agree to the government’s plans. It can tell the government that holding election at the time of confrontation is not possible” he said, adding, “The main objective of the EC is to hold parliamentary election and form a legitimate government”. According to him, it is useless for the government to call urban election as achievement, or for the parties to create a storm against it, as it is only a small and local event.