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Constitution of Nepal: How long will it last?

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credit: www.constitutionnet.org

by Dinesh Gautam

Recently, Nepal adopted its seventh Constitution in 67 years. This exercise of forming the Constitution took two Constituent Assemblies, seven years of time and 150 billion from Nepali exchequers. Out of a total of 610 representatives of the Assembly, 85 per cent voted in its favour.

credit: www.sausociology.wordpress.com
credit: www.sausociology.wordpress.com

However, 60 representatives belonging to Nepali tribal population or Madhesis rejected the process. They had issues with the seven states coming to life after the Constitution is adopted. Earlier, there was a proposal of forming 14 states as against the current seven.

Nepal President Ram Baran Yadav, repeatedly, asked three main parties of the nation, namely, Nepali Congress Party, Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist-Leninist), and Unified Communist Party of Nepal- Maoist, to not to overlook the concerns of the Madhesi leaders on the issue of formation of states. But, his words were not given any attention. The happiness for adopting the Constitution was missing from the face of the President when it was being announced.

India’s hand in bringing the Nepali Maoists to the mainstream, in 2006, under the 14-point agreement can’t be ignored. Another fact is that India is Nepal’s second largest neighbour that it shares a long and open international border with.

This is the reason why Indian Prime Minister Narendra Modi, in his address to Nepali Parliament, requested them to include the concerns of all sections of the society. In the same regard, to reiterate India’s stand, Indian Foreign Secretary S Jayshankar met with Nepali PM and the President before the announcement of the new Constitution.

It was a reason for astonishment when leaders like Koirala, Prachand or KP Oli didn’t care for India’s concerns on the matter. The result came in the form of Constitution– opposing violent rebellions that took the lives of 43. How many breaths could this seventh constitution take is a question with little answers!

For a peace-loving and helping neighbour like India, this is a cause of concern. India’s low-spirited stance was evident from the statement: “We are looking at the process of Nepal’s adoption of its Constitution. India’s absence from the celebrations in Nepal as well as no functions at the Nepali Embassy, said more about the low key response from the neighbours in this regard.

Apparently, there are several challenges in front of Nepal, and India’s challenge is to help Nepal by being in its diplomatic limits.

The author is the Deputy Editor/Senior Anchor with Sahara Samay.

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Fear of Leprosy Resurgence in Nepal

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper

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Leprosy, Wikimedia

Health officials in Nepal fear leprosy resurgence in the country with prevalence rate reaching 0.94 per cent in 2018.

Leprosy-free status was given to the Himalayan nation after it declared elimination of the disease in 2009. However, that status could be lost if prevalence rate reaches one per cent of total population, Kathmandu Post reported on Thursday.

Experts already fear that this marks the resurgence of the disease in Nepal. The percentage could be more, an official said, as the current given figures have been derived just from preliminary data.

The Leprosy Control and Disability (LCD) section of Epidemiology and Disease Control Division (EDCD) of Department of Health Services said that the prevalence rate was 0.92 and 0.89 in 2017 and 2016, respectively, the news report said.

“It will be a great setback for the country if it loses the status,” said Rabindra Baskota, a doctor and chief of the LCD section.

Incubation period of leprosy varies from one to 20 years and diagnosis of more patients could help stop the further spread of the disease, according to him.

An amputated leg, claw toes and claw hands of leprosy patient Gopal Bag are seen at the Leprosy Mission Trust India hospital. Kolkata. VOA

“It will take only a couple of years to reach one percent if this upward trend continues,” he added.

The prevalence rate is over one per cent in various districts of the Tarai region, Baskota said, adding that the country had received the leprosy eliminated status, after reducing its prevalence rate by 0.77 per cent, in 2009.

Sishir Silwal, a focal person for the leprosy control programme in Gulmi district, said regular review meetings for leprosy, which should be held every four months, has not been held for the last eight months.

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Kathmandu Post quoted Bibek Kumar Lal, Director at EDCD, as saying that there is a severe crunch in manpower that hinders proper functioning.

There are only three staff working in the leprosy section and the same team looks after the disability programme, as well, he told the newspaper.

Leprosy, a chronic infectious disease caused by Mycobacterium leprae, is transmitted through nasal secretion or from droplets from the mouth. It affects the skin, peripheral nerves and eyes, leading to disfigurement and nerve damage. The disease is curable with a multi-drug therapy. (IANS)