Two-year jail, fine for Deuba, Singh

Kathmandu, July 26, 2005

The Royal Commission for Corruption Control today made history of sorts by slapping a two-year jail term on former Prime Minister Sher Bahadur Deuba and three other accused in the Melamchi project contract case. This is the first time a former prime minister has been jailed. Others convicted include former minister Prakash Man Singh, former secretary Tika Dutta Niraula and executive director of Melamchi Drinking Water Project (MDWP) Dhruba Bahadur Shrestha. Deuba, Singh, Niruala and Shrestha have been fined Rs 45 million each and told to pay up another Rs 45 million each as repayment of the amount embezzled. Deuba was lodged at the National Police Academy, Maharajgunj, after RCCC chairman Bhakta Bahadur Koirala announced the verdict. Sources said the convicted four will be sent to central jail tomorrow. The RCCC also slapped one year jail term and Rs 22.5 million fine and Rs 22.5 million each as repayment of the amount embezzled on deputy executive director of the MDWP Deepak Jha and Jip Chhiring Lama of Lama Constructions. Koirala said Deuba and Singh “did not cooperate” with the RCCC. While Deuba and Singh were present in the court room, the four others were absent today. The RCCC bench also ordered the government to cancel the contract that was awarded to Lama Construction. Emerging out of the RCCC, Deuba vowed to initiate a political fight against the RCCC, billing the penalisation as an “unconstitutionaland prejudiced” decision.

Unnecessary demand bleeding blood banks white

Unnecessary demand for blood by hospitals and nursing homes has created an imbalance in the stock in blood banks, experts say.“If hospitals in the valley demanded only necessary amount of blood, it would not be wasted,” Dr Manita Rajkarnikar, director at the Central Blood Transfusion Service (CBTS), operated by the Nepal Red Cross Society, told The Himalayan Times. “Most of the hospitals lack equipment to preserve blood due to which it is wasted.” Last year CBTS collected 8,2677 units of blood and provided 1,23,042 units to the needy patients from 41 districts. The CBTS alone collected 31,293 units of blood while the target was to collect only 30,000 units.

The blood donated by volunteers has increased by nearly 3,000. “Female donors’ number has increased by 4 per cent which is very low as blood is mostly used by women,” said Dr Rajkarnikar. The CBTS was established 39 years ago with only one centre in Kathmandu and collected only 157 units in the initial years.