THT 10 YEARS AGO: PM meets leaders, but stalemate persists

Kathmandu, October 24, 2007

Prime Minister Girija Prasad Koirala today opened talks to resolve the political crisis.

However, given the reaction of CPN-UML General Secretary Madhav Kumar Nepal after talks with Koirala, the chances of resolution of the crisis have not improved although they have reaffirmed commitment to resolve the issues unanimously.

Seeing that Koirala is still adamant on the crucial issues, Nepal said the best alternative was to go with what the CPNUML has suggested by moving two separate motions.

Meanwhile, Maoist supremo Prachanda, who had talks with Nepal and fringe Left party leaders earlier in the day, shot down the suggestion of Nepal, saying, “Maoists have already given an alternative.” Left leader Nand Kumar Prasai, who was privy to talks between Prachanda and Nepal, said Prachanda drew attention to the motions moved by his party and the alternative, that the demand for announcement of a republic can be withdrawn if the NC agreed to full proportional electoral system.

Prachanda has decided to take the debate on the Maoist motions to voting. Prasai claimed that “the alliance will reach a consensus on declaration of a republic.” Meanwhile, the NC opened talks with the CPN-UML on improving the performance of the government. NC Joint General Secretary Arjun Narsingh KC said while the talks centred on solving the crisis, the leaders also discussed ways to burnish the government’s image.

Petrol, diesel to cost more

Kathmandu, October 24, 2007

The Nepal Oil Corporation today finally raised the prices of all the petroleum products, with effect from midnight.

“According to the new price list, kerosene and diesel will be dearer by Rs 3 a litre and petrol by Rs 6 per litre,” said Purushottam Ojha, secretary at the ministry of industry, commerce and supplies, adding that the price of cooking gas will cost Rs 1,100 per cylinder.

The price of air turbine fuel (ATF) will, however, remain the same. “The new prices may vary as the private dealers will fix the retail prices after adding their commission in the depot price,” Ojha said.

Besides commission, the dealers are allowed to charge shrinkage and working loss, insurance and transportation cost while they fix the retail price. The NOC has hiked the wholesale prices of all petroleum products citing whopping losses resulting from the widening disparity between domestic and international prices. Digamber Jha, acting chairman of the NOC said the price hike was an obligation to avert a looming crisis on smooth supply of petroleum products.

In August 2006, the government had to rollback its decision to hike prices of all major petroleum products within 48 hours.

Then the NOC had hiked the wholesale price of a litre of petrol by Rs 15.77 per litre, diesel by Rs 4.98, kerosene by Rs 10.16 (open), air turbine fuel (ATF) by Rs 21.38.