THT 10 YEARS AGO: Parleys among parties pick up pace

Kathmandu, November 13, 2007

The three main political parties, which differed on early republic and election system during the special session, have initiated fresh round of talks aimed at striking consensus among themselves and avert a constitutional crisis during the winter session.

Much like the talks with CPN-UML leaders yesterday, the talks with Janamorcha Nepal leadership today saw a Nepali Congress team narrating its stance once again. The party will continue talks with others as well. “What we found today is the NC is not averse to consensus politics.

It is not negative at least towards what has come out of the special session,” said Janamorcha Nepal leader Leelamani Pokharel. He, however, said further talks are needed. “Threads are being picked up from where we left. The NC could be talked into a solution we do not yet know,” CPNUML Chief Whip Mahendra Pandey told this daily. The fresh round of talks among the allies are expected to be fruitful as the NC has reportedly “come forward with changed overtones”.

However, it is still not clear whether the NC will agree to an election system based on an all-out proportional representation. “The NC has come forward this time.

But what we need to ensure next is the CPN-M leadership, too, is convinced about the need to make a shift on the issue of election system,” Pandey said. The CPN-UML leadership, which is keen to have the nation declared a republic, is equally earnest in driving home a point to the Maoists that “while the election system is a means, the need was to hold one at the earliest.”

Most taxis in Valley have their meters tampered with

Kathmandu, November 13, 2007

It must be nuisance to customers when the taxi drivers charge exorbitant fares specially during the festive season when less number of taxis are operated.

But anyone would be shocked to know that meters in over 75 per cent taxis operating in the Valley have their meters tampered with. But this is the fact admitted even by the president of the Nepal Taxi Drivers’ Union.

Sita Ram Khatri, the president of the Union, said customers’ complaints against high taxi fare are obvious as around 75 per cent taxis have their meters tampered with. The meters are tampered with so as to make them faster than the one sealed by the Nepal Bureau of Standards (NBS).

Talking to this daily, Khatri said mst taxi drivers in the Valley are from outside the Valley and are illiterate. He said the drivers tamper with the meters sometimes out of the lack of awareness and sometimes out of sheer greed of earning the bucks faster.

To add to it, lack of a government mechanism for on-the spot penalty for the guilty drivers is encouraging them to tamper with the meters, Khatri said.