Archive for Nepal
A rapid increase in the number of foreign workers recruited from Asian countries, especially in the construction sector, ahead of the 2022 Fifa World Cup, has put the embassies of their countries here in a not-so-comfortable situation, with more pressure on consular services and a rise in workers’ complaints. A random survey conducted by The Peninsula among members of different Asian communities shows that very few are satisfied with the performance of their embassies. Most respondents were critical of what they said were poor consular services provided by the missions. A Nepalese worker complained about delays in consular services at the embassy. An Indian expatriate said the Indian embassy had a lot to do to address the problems of the rapidly growing Indian expatriate population in Qatar. Most Sri Lankans this daily spoke to were bitterly critical of their embassy, its staff and services. Several Bangladeshis contacted for comment also said that they were upset by the “poor” treatment they got at their embassy. The Philippine embassy came out with flying colours in the Peninsula survey. Asked whether the embassy would come to their aid if they were in trouble, all the respondents in the survey said yes.
Embassy of Norway has denied allegation by the UCPN (Maoist) that Norway was funding anti-peace activities in Nepal. Issuing a press statement over allegation on the misuse of Norwegian funding to the South Asia Trust, the embassy said all Norwegian funding is transparent and made public on the embassy’s website and its partners are registered and have the approval of Nepal’s Social Welfare Council. “We want to be clear that we have no reason to believe that the embassy’s funding to the Himal South Asian magazine has been misused. However, any such allegations are serious, and requires necessary action from our side,” the statement quoted Norway’s Ambassador to Nepal, Kjell Tormod Pettersen as saying. The statement reiterated that Norway has been a firm, trusted supporter of Nepal’s peace process from the very beginning, and is committed to support the finalization of the new constitution. The statement comes in the wake of Maoist lawmaker Shakti Basnet demanding probe into South Asia Trust Fund during the parliament meeting on Thursday. Basnet, while addressing the meeting, claimed that the grant support provided by Norwegian government to the South Asia Trust was aimed at influencing and disturbing the peace process in Nepal. The Trust is headed by journalist Kanak Mani Dixit.
The Nepali Embassy for India in New Delhi has decreased the salary grade of its two security guards after finding the duo responsible for the escape of two rescued Nepali girls from the embassy a week ago. Security guards Ganesh Poudel and Raghu Gyawali had earlier faced temporary suspension from their work in the wake of the incident. Khagnath Adhikari, charge d’affairs of the embassy, said the investigation showed that Poudel and Gyawali had neglected to to perform their duty well and let the two girls slip past the embassy without anyone noticing. He said the salary grade of the two guards was slashed on the basis of a report submitted by a committee formed to investigate the incident. On April 11, a social organisation had rescued the two Nepali girls from a guest house and handed over to the embassy. The two girls had escaped two days later.
The two Nepali girls rescued from a guest house and handed over to the Nepali Embassy in New Delhi on Friday reportedly disappeared on Sunday morning. Permanent residents of Ichowk in Sindhupalchok, the girls from Tamang community aged between 15 to 16 were rescued by local social organisations at Manju Katila in India. Local residents Fulmaya Tamang and Kalu Lama trafficked the girls to New Delhi through Raxaul on March 15 and were preparing to sell them both to a brothel for Rs 400,000. The fact that the girls disappeared from the embassy is questionable. Khaganath Adhikari, charge d’affaires of the embassy, said that he has been informed of disappearance of the girls and will inquire about the matter.
The embassies of United States of America (USA), Russia, China and Germany, unlike other embassies, have not cooperated with the officials of the Kathmandu Valley Town Development Implementation Committee (KVTDIC) in the ongoing road expansion drive in the capital. Chief of KVTDIC Bhaikaji Tiwari said that all other embassies in Kathmandu except the four have cooperated with the officials in the road widening campaign, even though the cooperating embassies had their structures demolished. Speaking at an interaction programme on road widening campaign here in the Capital today organised by Martin Chautari, Tiwari said that the embassies of the USA, Russia, China and Germany have been obstructing the road widening campaign by raising the issue of Vienna Convention. He said, “It was the embassy of Switzerland that first cooperated with us in course of the road widening drive. The Australian embassy also followed by warning its landlord to leave the house on rent if cooperation was not extended to the officials. Others too cooperated.” He added that the embassies of Japan and France have now pledged their support in the road widening drive, though they were reluctant to do so in the initial phase.
Minister for Foreign Affairs Madhav Prasad Ghimire made it clear that all envoys who have completed their tenure should return home as per the circular sent earlier by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs. Talking to a group of journalists days before his visit to India, Ghimire said it was a matter of principle to return home once the envoys’ ambassadorial stint expired. “It has nothing to do with whether a new ambassador has been picked or not,” added Ghimire. He did not name any of the envoys who had overstayed their tenure. However, The Himalayan Times had reported in recent past that the envoys to the United Kingdom, Kuwait and the USA were lobbying to get their tenures extended. Ambassador to Kuwait Madhuwan Paudel and Nepal’s envoy to the USA Shankar Sharma are yet to return home though their tenures expired last year. Paudel and Chalise had told The Himalayan Times that they would remain in their posts until new envoys were appointed. But the government is yet to take any initiative to appoint their replacements.
Why is a company appointed by the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu seeking to transfer millions of rupees to Hong Kong instead of Malaysia? That’s the question being asked by senior officials of Nepal Rastra Bank’s foreign exchange department. Malaysia VLN Nepal, a company appointed by the Malaysian Embassy to conduct visa processing works, has filed a request at the central bank seeking transfer of around Rs 30 million raised from visa-processing fee here to Hong Kong. The request, according to senior NRB officials, was filed around a month ago. However, officials at NRB’s foreign exchange department have not been able to act on it so far, as the money is not being remitted to Malaysia. “If the company had wanted to send the money to Malaysia there wouldn’t have been a problem. But since the fund is being transferred to a company in Hong Kong, we couldn’t take a decision on our own,” a high-ranking NRB official told The Himalayan Times on condition of anonymity. “We have, thus, forwarded all the documents to the governor’s office.” Malaysia VLN Nepal was registered in Nepal on September 10 as ‘Malesia VLN Nepal’ with an authorised capital of Rs 10 million and a paid-up capital of Rs 1 million, show records at the Company Registrar’s Office. The Lalitpur-based private firm, solely owned by one Din Prasad Shrestha, was appointed by the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu to process documents filed by Nepalis seeking Malaysian visas. The company officially started working for the embassy from November 1. Since the company started handling visa documents, Malaysian visa fee has jumped from Rs 700 to Rs 3,900 per person. Of the Rs 3,900 raised from each person, Rs 700 goes to the embassy as visa fee, while only Rs 150 is kept by the company as service charge. The rest of Rs 3,050 is held by the company apparently in the name of the Malaysian Embassy. Considering around 800 Nepalis leave for Malaysia for employment purpose every day, the visa processing company generates additional Rs 2.44 million for the embassy per day, or over Rs 70 million per month. “This money is Malaysian government’s money and we have no problem in availing foreign exchange facility for transfer of this fund to Malaysia,” the NRB official said. “But why is it being transferred to a company in Hong Kong?”Charge d’affaires at the Malaysian Embassy in Kathmandu Fadli Adilah said he was unaware of the issue and asked The Himalayan Times to contact Second Secretary, Consular and Immigration Section, Shela Vengirasamy. Vengirasamy did not want to comment on the issue.