THT 10 YEARS AGO: Tarai tangle resolved with 22-point accord

Kathmandu, August 30, 2007

The government and the Madhesi Janaadhikar Forum today reached a “historic” 22-point agreement.

The government agreed to the MJF’s demand for autonomy in a federal system of governance while restructuring the state keeping the country’s sovereignty, unity and regional integrity intact, and the MJF dropped the demand for full proportional representation in the Constituent Assembly.

Minister for Peace and Reconstruction and the government talks team leader Ram Chandra Poudel and MJF talks team leader Upendra Yadav signed the agreement in the presence of mediapersons at the Ministry of Peace and Reconstruction.

The rights, nature and limitation of the autonomous federal state would be determined by the Constituent Assembly. Autonomy in a federal state was the key demand of the MJF, which had launched an agitation in the Tarai after the interim constitution was introduced on January 15. In a footnote to the agreement, Yadav has, however, said their “position” on the issue of establishing a republic and proportional representation system remains unchanged. Those issues would be raised during the constituent assembly polls, he said.

The Forum has agreed to call off its planned agitation and to actively participate in the assembly polls.

NAC HK flight returns from Biratnagar

Kathmandu, August 30, 2007

Nepal Airlines flight 757 — from Kathmandu to Hong Kong re-scheduled for 8 pm today — was cancelled at the proverbial eleventh hour.

It was also scheduled to fly to Dubai after returning from Hong Kong. The 757 Boeing, which took off from TIA at 1:15 pm today, made an ‘emergency’ landing back just after half-an-hour of take-off as it was just crossing Biratnagar.

The Boeing was bound to Hong Kong (which is four-and-a-half-hour flight) with 144 passengers, 11 crew members, including four pilots. The Nepal Airlines Corporation authorities, however, denied that it was an emergency landing.

According to RB Shrestha, Operation Director of NAC, who was flying the aircraft, the decision to return was taken as a “precautionary step” as “no compromise could be made on passengers’ safety.” “After the failure of antiice system of right engine, we thought it is safe to return,” Shrestha said adding that failure of anti-ice system is actually not a dangerous situation but the present weather (monsoon) could lead to more ice formation. “Though the problem was not a major one, I did not want to take any chance,” Shrestha added.

The only aircraft that has been doing the international flights non-stop has been in trouble since Saturday. Raju KC, Corporate Director of NAC, had, however, earlier confirmed that the flight was re-scheduled and would fly at 8 pm. The cancellation caused inconvenience to the stranded passengers.