THT 10 years ago: Snowfall hits cash flow to Humla

Nepalgunj, December 24, 2005

Nepalgunj-Humla air service came to a halt in far-western part of the nation due to heavy snowfall, leading to shortage of cash in Humla-based Rastriya Banijya Bank (RBB), as Nepalgunj-based Nepal Rastra Bank (NRB) failed to send cash on time to the RBB. Heavy snowfall in the Karnali zone since Friday, has hit air service in the far-west with no flights having left for Simikot, the district headquarters of Humla. NRB sends cash to RBB units in the hilly-districts by air. Yagya Bahadur Basnet, RBB Humla unit manager, said the bank had been facing shortage of cash since Friday. Talking to this daily over telephone, he said, “Customers, who came for payments, were compelled to return empty handed.” Suresh Aajad, chief of Civil Aviation Authority Office, Nepalgunj said, “Passengers headed for Jumla, Humla, Dolpa and other districts of far-western Nepal are stranded at Nepalgunj airport”.

Valuable celestial tools sold for a song

Kathmandu, December 24, 2005

As many as 12 Khagol yantras (celestial spherical tools) out of the 13 made by noted astronomer, historian and academician Late Professor Naya Raj Pant are missing with five of them having been sold to scrap collectors for just Rs 50 by the Royal Nepal Academy (RNA). The RNA record shows that five such Khagol Yantras were sold at Rs 50 each to the scrap collectors a few years back. An RNA staffer confirmed the same. RNA recently sent two such yantras (the only one left and an experimental one) to Prof Pant’s family after they showed interest. The tools are used to measure the speed of the sun, distance between sun, moon, stars and the planets. They also help specify the position of the heavenly bodies and the direction in which they are headed. Rukmanath Poudel, associate professor at Nepal Engineering College, said, “The tools also help predict lunar and solar eclipse.” Shyam Khanal, MA Astronomy student of Balmiki Bidhyapeeth, said since he wanted to pursue his thesis on Sidhant Jyotish, he went to do research on the yantras but was shocked to know find only a few pieces of scarp. “They should have been treasured, as no body had made such yantras in the country. They could provide useful information about heavenly bodies,” said Khanal. Late Prof Pant had made 13 metal Khagol Yantras following the formulae of ‘Sidhant Jyotish’ and the same were kept at RNA while he served there for 25 years in the Culture Department. The tools were first exhibited in 1982 during the silver jubilee of the Royal Nepal Academy. “The tools were based on empirical data and works of the world famous astronomers such as Napier (1614 AD), Bhaskaracharya, Bhramagupta and Kamalakar,” informed Dr Dinesh Raj Pant, son of late Prof Naya Raj Pant. “It also shows that many more such valuable items might have been sold to the scrap collectors.”