Narayangarh, May 31, 2006

The chairman of the Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist), Pushpa Kamal Dahal alias Prachanda’s father Muktiram met his son after seven years, on Monday.

Prachanda had appeared in public to address a mass gathering organised by the Maoists at a village in Makawanpur district. Quoting Prachanda, Muktiram said: “Now, peace will be restored in the nation.”

Talking to journalists today at his residence at Baidiknagar of Bharatpur municipality, Muktiram said: “I had seen him (Prachanda) for a short time in Butwal during his underground period seven years ago. After seven years, I talked with him on Monday.

As he saw me, he greeted and hugged me.” “I am so glad after meeting him. I used to think whether I will get to see him or not,” Muktiram said, adding: “When I reached the programme spot, he was addressing the programme and Maoist armies were providing security for him. Villagers were listening to his address.” “When the organisers saw me, they took me to the podium.

As he (Prachanda) finished his speech after half-an-hour, I talked with him,” Muktiram said, adding: “We talked about our health conditions. He was thin before, but he has become fat nowadays.” “We talked for an hour on the dais.

We take our foods together in the evening. Yesterday morning, too, we met at a place and had tea together. After that, my son and his friends went to their destination, and I returned home,” Muktiram said.

Agriculture sector to take a beating

Agricultural growth is estimated to witness a decline by 1.69 per cent for first nine months of the current fiscal year compared to 2.97 per cent in the previous fiscal 2004-05 as per the preliminary estimates of the Central Bureau of Statistics (CBS).

Similarly, the per capita income of people in the current fiscal year is estimated to go negative in value terms by 0.25 per cent compared to the positive 0.46 per cent during the previous fiscal.

Growth rate in other sector such as mining and quarrying, manufacturing, transport, communications and storage, finance and real estate and community and social services will also go down in the current fiscal year compared, says CBS.

GDP growth rate in the current fiscal year stands at 2.30 compared to 2.33 per cent during the previous fiscal.

Dr Rudra Suwal, director at CBS, while talking to journalists informed that growth in the agriculture sector is going down, due to a decline in the growth of production of foodgrains like paddy, wheat and barley.

Dr Suwal commented that the growth rate in the various sectors of the economy at the regional level seems to be different. Cash crops in the current fiscal year are estimated to go up by 8.85 per cent, as per the CBS estimate.

Dr Suwal mentioned that the growth rate in mining and quarrying is estimated to decline to 2.20 per cent.