Controversial Pappu Construction barred from bidding contracts

    Post Report, Nov 20 2018

    The Public Procurement Monitoring Office (PPMO) under the Office of the Prime Minister and Council of Ministers has barred Coastal-Pappu Construction from bidding into new contracts.

    Issuing a notice on Tuesday, the PPMO stated awarding any contracts to the company would further harm the country and hinder the development works. It would also have a negative effect in the living standard of the general public, the notice states.

    The Sikta Irrigation Project in Banke had written to the PPMO on November 12 and recommended the company be blacklisted. The PPMO said the decision to bar the construction company from bidding contracts was taken on November 16 after detailed study of the papers sent by the project.

    The decision to blacklist the company follows the termination of a major national contract of construction of the main and link canals and rehabilitation of headworks of the Dunduwa Irrigation System of the Sikta Irrigation Project. The contractor was awarded the contract worth Rs 980 million for the construction but completed only 6.96 percent of the works when the deadline ended on the first week of October.

    The construction company, owned by suspended lawmaker Hari Narayan Rauniyar, had gained notoriety for significant delays in dozens of infrastructure projects across the country. Rauniyar was suspended as lawmaker after Commission for Investigation of Abuse of Authority charged him with corruption.

    The contractor will now be ineligible for government contracts until the ban is revoked.

    Also read: Pappu Construction has billions in contracts—and little work to show

    Arrest warrant issued against Pappu Construction chairman

    full story »

    Ministries ‘demand billions of rupees’

      Rajesh Khanal, Nov 20 2018

      Even as the ministries are struggling to expedite development works, they have asked the Finance Ministry to provide an additional Rs54 billion under non-budgetary headings.  

      According to the ministry, only eight percent of the allocated capital budget was spent in the first four months of the current fiscal year. Management of non-budgetary demands has always been a major challenge for the Finance Ministry. Officials say they have a long list of non-budgetary demands from key departments that include the Physical Infrastructure and Transport, Energy, Agriculture, Home Affairs, and Federal Affairs ministries.


      Citing excess spending on construction of the Bardibas-Nijgadh segment of East-West Highway, the Physical Infrastructure Ministry has asked for additional Rs6.62 billion. It has demanded Rs4 billion extra for the construction of the Mid-Hill Highway and Rs2 billion for the Postal Highway.


      The Ministry of Agriculture and Livestock Development has sought an additional Rs12.48 billion for special agriculture development programme.


      Energy Ministry has requested an additional Rs7.8 billion for irrigation projects while the Ministry of Urban Development has been pressing for Rs6.5 billion more.


      Finance Ministry data show that non-budgetary demands come from the ministries struggling to spend funds allocated to them in the fiscal budget. For example, the Energy Ministry has spent only 13.69 percent of its budget in the first four months. The Physical Infrastructure Ministry has spent 16 percent on road networks and 11 percent on railway development.

      The Agriculture Ministry has spent 14 percent while Federal Affairs Ministry spent 19.75 percent.


      Finance Secretary Rajan Khanal highlighted this anomaly to the Parliamentary Finance Committee during its meeting on Monday.


      “The ministries are asking for billions of rupees for new programmes when programmes, for which budget has been allocated, are pending implementation,” said Khanal.


      During the meeting, Khanal told the concerned ministries to spend allocated budget first, before demanding additional money.


      Despite various measures taken to expedite state spending for development projects, including fixed date for budget presentation, the perennial problem of slow spending persists. Admitting government agencies could not spend significant amount in the first quadrimester, Khanal said there is an urgent need to redefine capital expenditure, as many sub-headings under recurring expense and financial transfer were also part of development budget. The government has allocated Rs313.99 billion for development projects for the fiscal year 2018-19.
      Starting this fiscal year, the government has launched the ‘Line Ministries Budgetary Information System’ that allows the ministries to take prompt decisions for the priority development activities on their own.


      According the Finance Ministry, the concerned ministries could spend the required amount from the allocated capital expenditure for such projects.
      The government has also delegated authority to local governments to run multiyear projects.


      Khanal attributed absence of the strong bureaucratic structures at the local bodies for the slow spending of the development budget.


      During the meeting on Monday, lawmakers criticised Finance Ministry saying it has failed to make clear demarcation of the capital expenses.


      NCP lawmaker Surendra Pandey said, “Just as a date has been set to present the budget, similarly a date should be set for delegating authority for budget expenditure.”

      full story »

      PMO directs pregnant girl, 12, be brought to Kathmandu for safe delivery

      Post Report, Hetauda, Nov 20 2018
      A 12-year-old girl from Makwanpur district about to give birth is being brought to Kathmandu on Tuesday following directions from the Prime Minister Office (PMO) to ensure safe delivery of her baby.

      full story »

      Over 3m travellers passed through TIA in 9 months

      SANGAM PRASAIN, Kathmandu, Nov 20 2018
      Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) recorded robust international passenger traffic growth in the first nine months of the year despite infrastructure bottlenecks.

      full story »

      Officials from Nepal, China to meet in Kathmandu next month

      SANJEEV GIRI, Kathmandu, Nov 20 2018
      Officials from Nepal and China are set to meet next month to discuss the prospects of developing the Kathmandu-Kerung railway line connecting the two countries.

      full story »

      First digital ID card issued in Panchthar

      ANANDA GAUTAM, PANCHTHAR, Nov 19 2018
      Centenarian Bhagawati Devi Bhandari, a resident of Phidim Municipality-4, acquired the first digital national identity card in the country from Minister for Home Affairs Ram Bahadur Thapa in Panchthar district on Monday.

      full story »

      Man accused of raping 12-year-old girl arrested from New Delhi

      RAMESH KUMAR POUDEL , Chitwan, Nov 20 2018
      Police arrested a man accused of raping a 12-year-old girl in Chitwan district from New Delhi.

      full story »

      Main News

      Narrow bridges cause traffic bottlenecks on Muglin road

      RAMESH KUMAR PAUDEL, Nov 20 2018
      The newly widened four-lane Narayangadh-Muglin road is still witnessing traffic bottlenecks as the bridges along the route are still of two-lane capacity.
      full story »

      Priest held for land document forgery

      SHYAM SUNDAR SHASHI, Nov 20 2018
      Police on Monday detained the priest of Janakpur-based Ratna Sagar Temple in a land forgery case.
      full story »

      Attorney’s office to seek custody for three accused

      DEO NARAYAN SAH, Nov 20 2018
      Biratnagar Attorneys’ Office is preparing to file a case in the Supreme Court, demanding overturn of the Biratnagar High Court’s decision to release the three suspects involved in the 33kg gold smuggling and Sanam Shakya murder case.
      full story »

      Money

      World

      Sri Lankan President Maithripala Sirisena dissolved parliament on Friday night and called a general election for Jan. 5 in a move that will likely deepen the country’s political crisis.

      The dissolution, which is expected to be challenged in court, was revealed in an official gazette notification signed by Sirisena which also set the next sitting of parliament for Jan. 17.

      The move comes after an intense power struggle in the past two weeks which followed Sirisena’s sudden sacking of Prime Minister Ranil Wickremesinghe and the appointment of former leader Mahinda Rajapaksa, a pro-China strongman, in his place.

      Following the sacking, the president suspended parliament in a move which Wickremesinghe said was intended to prevent the ousted prime minister from contesting the decision in the legislature.

      Later Sirisena agreed to reconvene parliament on Nov. 14, but that will now not happen.

      Wickremesinghe has refused to vacate the official prime minister’s residence saying he is the prime minister and had a parliamentary majority.

      Before he signed the papers dissolving parliament and calling the election, Sirisena appointed allies of his and of Rajapaksa to cabinet positions.

      “This is a gross violation of the constitution,” Harsha De Silva, a lawmaker in Wickremesinghe’s party, told Reuters in reference to the dissolution of parliament.

      Independent legal experts had told Reuters that parliament could be dissolved only in early 2020, which would be four-and-half-years from the first sitting of the current parliament. The only other legal ways would be through a referendum, or with the consent of two thirds of lawmakers.

      Given those views, it was not immediately clear how Sirisena can legally dissolve parliament, though his legal experts have said there are provisions for him to do so.

      Sri Lanka’s Election Commission was quoted in some local media as saying that it will seek a Supreme Court opinion before conducting the election.

      Sirisena also put the police and government’s printing office under his defense portfolio, local media reported.

      Ajith Perera, a lawmaker of the Wickremesinghe-led United National Party (UNP) said the party will challenge the decision at the Election Commission first and then may head to the Supreme Court.

      Perera said the dissolution was carried out so that Sirisena could avoid defeat in parliament next week.

      Keheliya Rambukwella, a spokesman for Sirisena’s government, said the president’s coalition had the backing of 105 lawmakers as of Friday, eight short of a parliamentary majority.

      Sirisena has said he fired Wickremesinghe because the prime minister was trying to implement “a new, extreme liberal political concept by giving more priority for foreign policies and neglecting the local people’s sentiment.”

      India and Western countries have requested that Sirisena act in line with the constitution while they have raised concerns over Rajapaksa’s close ties with China. Beijing loaned Sri Lanka billions of dollars for infrastructure projects when Rajapaksa was president between 2005-2015, putting the country deep into debt.

      A gunman opened fire in a crowded Southern California bar popular with college students, killing 12 people, including a sheriff’s deputy, police said on Thursday.

      The gunman, identified by authorities as Ian David Long, 28, was also found dead on Wednesday night in the office of the Borderline Bar and Grill, located in Thousand Oaks, a suburb about 40 miles from Los Angeles, apparently having shot himself.

      Ventura County Sheriff Geoff Dean told a news conference on Thursday morning that Long was a Marine Corps veteran and had apparently fired at random with a .45-caliber Glock handgun with an extra-capacity magazine. There was no known motive.

      “Obviously he had something going on in his head that would cause him to do something like this,” Dean said. “Obviously he had some sort of issues.”

      He said authorities were obtaining a search warrant for Long’s home.

      The Borderline is popular with university students and on Wednesday night was hosting College Country Night. California Lutheran University, located about 5 miles from the bar, canceled Thursday’s classes while Pepperdine University, about 20 miles away, planned a prayer service.

      One of the victims was Sheriff’s Sergeant Ron Helus, a 29-year veteran of the department who died at a hospital, Dean said. Helus and a California Highway Patrol officer were the first to arrive at the bar and went inside just before 11:30 p.m. PST (0730 GMT).

      A statement from the sheriff’s office said there would be a procession in honor of Helus, who leaves behind a wife and son, on Thursday morning. “Ron’s selfless, heroic actions will never be forgotten,” the statement read.

      SCENE LIKE “HELL”

      Asked what the scene inside the bar was like, Dean said, “Like ... hell.” Earlier he had described it as “a horrific scene in there. There is blood everywhere and the suspect is part of that.”

      Long first shot a security guard outside the bar, stepped inside and resumed shooting, Dean said. Witnesses said Long had used smoke bombs to create confusion but Dean said that had not been confirmed.

      Dean, speaking on his last day before retirement, said he had been told 150 to 200 people were in the Borderline at the time and that “it could have been much, much worse.”

      Dean estimated 10 to 15 people, including one with a gunshot wound, had gone to hospitals. He said he thought their injuries were minor, and that most of them were likely injured as they escaped, some by breaking windows.

      Dean told reporters that officers had gone to Long’s home in April in response to a disturbance call and had found him to be agitated. Mental health specialists talked with Long and determined that no further action was necessary.

      Family members of possible victims or survivors of the shooting gathered at a teen center in Thousand Oaks for news of loved ones. A visibly distraught man was seen entering the building.

      President Donald Trump, who has resisted a surge in calls for tougher gun controls since 17 students were shot dead at Stoneman Douglas High School in Florida earlier this year, ordered flags to be flown at half-staff at public buildings and grounds.

      The Borderline massacre was the fourth mass shooting in the United States in less than two weeks. The others included two women killed at a yoga class in Tallahassee, Florida, two people shot at a grocery in Jeffersontown, Kentucky, and 11 worshippers at a synagogue in Pittsburgh killed by a man shouting “All Jews must die.”

      Jerry Nadler, the top Democrat on the House Judiciary Committee, said lawmakers would get to work on legislation including universal background checks when the House of Representatives convenes in January with a Democratic majority.

      “We must find a way to stop the senseless, and many times preventable killings that are robbing our country of innocent lives,” he said on Twitter.

      “CAN HAPPEN ANYWHERE”

      Thousand Oaks, a leafy, sprawling suburb, was named the third-safest city in the United States for 2018 by the website Niche.

      “I’ve learned it doesn’t matter what community you’re in,” Dean told reporters when asked if he was surprised this happened in Thousand Oaks. “It doesn’t matter how safe your community is. It can happen anywhere.”

      Tristan Appleby, who was at the bar, told CNN that the shooter was dressed all in black and had fired off about a dozen shots, including at those already wounded and lying on the floor.

      Witness Taylor Von Molt, 21, who said she was a promoter at the bar, said the gunman wore a black mask with a bandana covering the bottom of his face, and a black hooded sweatshirt.

      “I heard what I thought was a balloon pop,” she told CNN. “I was confused because we didn’t have any balloons. I saw him, then I saw him fire his weapon one more time. I ran to the nearest exit and tripped and fell on the way and people kept running on top of me.”

      Witness John Hedge told ABC News he was near the front door of the bar when the shooting began.

      “I just started hearing these big pops. Pop pop pop,” he said. “There was probably three or four. I hit the ground. I look up. The security guard ... was shot, he was down. The gunman was throwing smoke grenades all over the place. I saw him point to the back at the cash register and he just kept firing.”

      Entertainment

      Photo-feature

      A three-day International Tripitaka Recitation programme commenced at Lumbini, the birth place of Gautam Buddha, on Wednesday.

      The programme is taking place for the first time in Nepal and over 500 monks from 18 different countries have arrived here to join the mass recitation of Buddhist holy scripture.

      The Buddhist holy book, adorned with special decorations, was carried around the temple of Mayadevi before the programme commenced.

      Thai monks led the recitations followed by monks from Myanmar.

      The Maya Devi Temple premises in Lumbini has been decorated with banners, garlands and flowers in view of the programme.

      The event is being held with the joint initiations of All Nepal Bhikkhu Association, American Buddhist Association, Thai Buddha Vihar and the Lumbini Development Trust.

      All photos by: Manoj Poudel

      Sports

      Influential national team skipper Paras Khadka and his deputy Gyanendra Malla will clash in a blockbuster opening game of the Everest Premier League Twenty20 cricket tournament at the Tribhuvan University Stadium on December 8.
      Khadka-led Biratnagar Warriors will open the title defence with a match against Malla-led Lalitpur Patriots on the opening day of the franchise-based tournament. 
      The EPL Pvt Ltd, the organisers, on Monday informed the final of the six-team tournament will take place on December 22. Warriors beat Sharad Vesawkar-led Bhairahawa Gladiators by one run to lift the title last year.
      The tournament regulation requires each team to recruit three foreigner players in the squad. Kathmandu Kings XI has already announced recruitment of Zimbabwe allrounder  Sikandar Raza, Irish batsman Kevin O’Brien and United Arab Emirates skipper Rohan Mustafa in its squad. Chitwan Tigers had announced former England U-19 skipper Max Holden and another English county cricketer James Fuller as two of its foreign recruits. Pokhara Rhinos is the another team in the tournament.
      Top four teams after the league stages advance to the playoffs. Top two of the four teams will play the first Qualifier with the winner of that game securing a ticket to the final. 
      The loser of the first Qualifier will have a second shot at qualifying for the final as they play the winner of the Eliminator match in the second Qualifier. The Eliminator match will be contested between third and 
      fourth-placed teams of the league.
       
      Everest Premier League Fixtures
       
      Dec 8 Biratnagar Warriors vs Lalitpur Patriots
      Dec 9 Lalitpur Patriots vs Chitwan Tigers
      Bhairahawa Gladiators vs Pokhara Rhinos
      Dec 10 Chitwan Tigers vs Kathmandu Kings
      Pokhara Rhinos vs Lalitpur Patriots 
      Dec 11 Biratnagar Warriors vs Pokhara Rhinos
      Chitwan Tigers vs Bhairahawa Gladiators
      Dec 12 Bhairahawa Gladiators vs Biratnagar Warriors
      Kathmandu Kings vs Lalitpur Patriots
      Dec 14 Biratnagar Warriors vs Chitwan Tigers
      Pokhara Rhinos vs Kathmandu Kings
      Dec 15 Bhairahawa Gladiators vs Kathmandu Kings
      Chitwan Tigers vs Pokhara Rhinos
      Dec 16 Lalitpur Patriots vs Bhairahawa Gladiators
      Dec 17 Kathmandu Kings vs Biratnagar Warriors
      Dec 18 Qualifier 1 (Group winner vs runner-up)
      Dec 19 Eliminator (Group 3rd vs Group 4th)
      Dec 20 Qualifier 2 (Qualifier 1 loser vs Eliminator winner)
      Dec 22 Final (Qualifier 1 winner vs Qualifier 2 winner)

      Health & Style

      Fiction Park

      Colour me you

      Subani Sapkota, Nov 18 2018
      Fear feels strange. It starts with your mind, goes to your heart and travels all the way through your body, making your entire body shake and tremble. It creates a continuous drumming sound, and your heart does nothing to lessen the tension building up inside you.
      full story »

      Escalate

      Wealth of generations

      Bibhu Luitel, Nov 19 2018
      Champa Devi Tuladhar has been knitting socks for over 60 years. In her 76 years, she has given away more socks than she can count—to her family members, friends and just about anyone who would visit her. So when her granddaughters, Lorina and Irina Sthapit, approached her to market her warm handmade socks and sell them, she was hesitant. She had always expected nothing in return.
      full story »

      Saturday Features

      A tiny, delightful morsel

      Richa Bhattarai
      Indian author Siddharth Dhanvant Shanghvi’s latest offering, The Rabbit and the Squirrel, is likely to baffle librarians and booksellers, for it defies conventional genres.

      Going the extra mile

      Amir Raj Thapa
      At 4am on a chilly autumn morning, a troupe of 23 students and teachers from the Ambika Secondary School gathered in Panauti. The crowd stirred—ready to get on the bus to Kathmandu where the students were to take part in the Kathmandu Marathon set to kick off later that morning.

      Nepaleaks

      Guffadi
      We are done with Tihar and yet, evil continues to rule over good in this land of ours. The only folks who have all the fun during the festive season are our hardworking civil servants, honest contractors and humble politicians.

      Falling in and out of love with words

      Ajit Baral
      When at home and not working, my wife and I usually read books, sitting alongside each other. And when she comes across a word she is not familiar with, she invariably asks me its meaning.

      Mardi mountain madness

      The Mardi Himal trail is an incredible trekking route, where the terrain varies from dense forests to rugged rockscapes and mountain landscapes.

      Art imitates life

      ABANI MALLA
      Ashim Shakya’s artwork is a time machine that merges decades and histories. It takes observers to a surreal Kathmandu, where the cityscape is a platform on which is staged a play where artefacts and deities frolic.

      Movie review: Producer Changa; Storytelling Chet

      ABHIMANYU DIXIT
      Nepali bureaucrats all seem to be under a malaise that invites much criticism—they do their 9-5 jobs without any conviction or any motivation to perform, since at the end of the month, they will be paid regardless. The team behind Changa Chet seems to be afflicted with the same syndrome.

      Wake up and smell the jamun

      Mohan Guragain
      Kathmandu sets numerous national records in Nepal. It is the biggest city of the country, most populated and most polluted. As the country’s largest metropolis, its population composition is also hugely diverse. Furthermore, as the Valley holds much of the country’s wealth, it is Nepal’s biggest market.

      Tea party

      Guffadi
      If you want to know how a political party would run this country were they to come to power, attend one of their tea parties. Don’t fall for their hawatari speeches because our netas have promised us thousands of MW of electricity in the past decade and we have not even managed to add a hundred.