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Four Madheshi parties announce fresh agitational programmes in Nepal

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Kathmandu: At a time when the process of drafting Nepal’s new constitution has gained momentum, four dissident Madheshi parties announced fresh protest programmes on Friday.

Objecting to the 16-point deal reached among the four major parties on June 8, the four disgruntled Madheshi parties — Federal Socialist Forum Nepal, Nepal Sadbhavana Party, Tarai Madhesh Democratic Party and Tarai Madhes Sadbhavana Party — decided to go for fresh agitation beginning on July 11, Xinhua news ageny reported.

According to a statement issued by an alliance of the four Madhesi parties, the United Democratic Madhesi Front (UDMF), on Friday, they would hold a mass assembly in Nepal’s capital Kathmandu on July 12, Xinhua news agency reported.

Ending continuous differences over the past eight years on key contentious issues of the new constitution such as federal system, forms of governance and electoral system, major parties of Nepal struck the 16-point deal on June 8, which had paved the way to ensure the drafting a new constitution.

The four major parties agreed to federate the Himalayan country into eight provinces on the basis of economic viability and identity through the new constitution.

According to the agreement reached among the major parties, the government will form a high-level commission with a six-month mandate to take decisions over demarcation of the federal units. The Madheshi parties have objected to the formation of such a commission stating that this was against the provision of the Interim Constitution.

The protest programmes jointly unveiled by the four parties include showing black flags in public places and holding mass assemblies in Kathmandu and major cities till July 25 across the country.

Last week, the UDMF had burnt the copies of the draft constitution in Kathmandu as part of its first round of protest against the 16-point deal.

The Madheshi parties have been stating that the first draft of the constitution did not resolve the issue of federalism and provision on citizenship mentioned in the first draft was discriminatory for Madheshi people.

“The first draft of the new constitution is against the spirit of the Interim Constitution, past accords and recent ruling of the Supreme Court and aspirations of Madhesis, indigenous nationalities and marginalized communities,” a leader of the alliance, Laxman Lal Karna, told reporters in Kathmandu. He also argued that such a constitution was unacceptable to these communities, including Madheshis.

Earlier, issuing an interim order against the 16-point deal, the Supreme Court of Nepal had said that a new constitution without names and borders of the provinces would be against Articles 138 and 82 of the Interim Constitution. The Madheshi parties are urging the major parties to respect the court’s ruling in line with the Interim Constitution.

Despite strong objection of the Madheshi parties and the interim order of the Nepal’s Supreme Court, the major parties — the Nepali Congress, the Communist Party of Nepal-Unified Marxist Leninist, United Communist Party of Nepal-Maoist and Madheshi Janaadhikar Forum (Democratic) — have geared up for drafting the new constitution.

According to the action plan endorsed by the Constituent Assembly on Thursday to seek public feedback on the preliminary draft of the constitution, lawmakers from various parties are visiting 240 electoral constituencies and 75 districts.

(IANS)

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Nepal Restaurant Replaces Its Waiters With Robots

Paaila Technology has spent around 15 million Nepali rupees ($134,568) on research and development in the last few years.

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A newly-launched restaurant in the capital of Nepal is using robots as waiters under the slogan, “where food meets technology”.

The Naulo Restaurant (“naulo” means new in Nepali) operates with the help of five robots, three named Ginger and two named Ferry, designed and manufactured by Paaila Technology, a Nepali company established by six young engineers, specializing in robotics and artificial intelligence (AI) technology, Xinhua news agency reported on Saturday.

“Naulo is the first digitalized robotic restaurant not just in Nepal, but also in South Asia. We believe that our robot is one of the most advanced service robots in the world which is user friendly and very easy to operate,” Binay Raut, CEO of Paaila Technology and Naulo Restaurant, told Xinhua.

The restaurant has a menu implanted in digital screens on tables from where orders can be placed directly to the kitchen. After the dishes are ready, the robots collect them from the kitchen counter and serve the customers.

This is the first time in the Himalayan country that a restaurant has used “Made in Nepal” robots as servers.

Robot waiter
The restaurant has a menu implanted in digital screens on tables. Flickr

Raut, 27, who completed engineering studies in India and the UK, said: “We travelled to different countries including China and Japan to learn about the design, framework and operation of robots before launching it in Nepal. Now, our target is to introduce this Nepali innovation in the international market.”

Robot Ginger is powered with swarm intelligence, speech recognition, natural language processing, auto-dock ability, among others. The robot also cracks jokes and answers basic IQ questions in both English and Nepali.

Paaila Technology entered the hospitality sector after the operation of its first humanoid robot named Pari stationed in a branch of Nepal SBI Bank.

Also Read: Children Get a New Reading Companion in This New Robot

Pari has been deployed in the digital branch of the bank known as inTouch branch, which functions as a source of information and guides customers. The robot started work by greeting customers with “Good afternoon. Welcome to Nepal SBI InTouch”.

Paaila Technology has spent around 15 million Nepali rupees ($134,568) on research and development in the last few years.