Thursday August 22, 2019
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Nepal bills to address quake reconstruction, Madhesis

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Kathmandu: The Nepal government tabled two bills in the parliament amidst the instability in the country borne by the devastating earthquake and protesting Madhesis. The “Nepal Reconstruction Authority” bill seeks to rebuild the earthquake-hit country while another seeks to address the concerns of the Madhesis who are protesting for a constitutional amendment.

The reconstruction bill was tabled eight months after the earthquake. The delay was a result of finding a CEO for the authority that was acceptable to the two largest parties in the parliament. The erstwhile Nepali Congress government had introduced an ordinance and appointed Govinda Pokhrel as CEO, but later the Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxists-Leninists), the second largest party in parliament, did not support the conversion of the ordinance into a bill.

Over $4 billion dollars was committed by International donors to reconstruct earthquake struck Nepal. However, not a penny has been spent due to the failure to construct a competent authority. Under overwhelming pressure from National and International quarters, the ruling dispensation was compelled to negotiate with other political parties to formulate an acceptable bill.

Another bill tabled in the parliament sought to resolve the simmering agitation of the Madhesis for proportional representation under the new constitution. The bill aims to amend the Constitution to ensure inclusive proportional representation of ethnic minorities in various state entities apart from the Nepal Army and redrawing the electoral constituencies based on population.

The southern plains comprise over 50 percent of the country’s population and if this bill is passed, the plains will have a majority representation in parliament after the next general elections.

However, the Madhesi leaders have opposed the move saying that were not consulted before the tabling of the bill. The agitating Madhesi parties have refused to accept the constitution amendment bill, claiming that it failed to address their concerns.

The government feels that the constitution amendment bill will address some grievances of the agitating Madhesi leading to an end to the ongoing demonstrations at Nepal-India border entry points.

Due to the ongoing agitation, thousands of Nepal-bound cargo vehicles have not been able to enter Nepal from India since the last four months. As a result, Nepal is facing a serious shortage of essential supplies like food, medicines, fuel and other items. (IANS)

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Bardiya National Park in Nepal Using Mobile App for Conservation of One-Horned Rhinos

In the past, the park used the satellite-GPS collar on the rhinos in the Babai valley to enhance the monitoring of the endangered animals

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National Park, Nepal, Rhino
According to park officials, the app will help receive vital information about rhinos, including their photographs by using smartphones. It has been named "smart patrol", The Kathmandu Post reported. Flickr

The Bardiya National Park in Nepal has started using a mobile app for the conservation of one-horned rhinos.

According to park officials, the app will help receive vital information about rhinos, including their photographs by using smartphones. It has been named “smart patrol”, The Kathmandu Post reported.

In the past, the park used the satellite-GPS collar on the rhinos in the Babai valley to enhance the monitoring of the endangered animals. But that technology was useless now.

Ananath Baral, chief conservation officer of the park, said that satellite-GPS collars were not working on the rhinos in the Babai valley.

National Park, Nepal, Rhino
The Bardiya National Park in Nepal has started using a mobile app for the conservation of one-horned rhinos. Flickr

“The satellite-GPS collars do not provide information now. They might have been damaged or lost,” said Baral, adding that the details will be known after they start a census of the animals this fiscal year.

The Department of National Parks and Wildlife Conservation, National Trust for Nature Conservation, WWF Nepal and local communities have been involved in satellite tracking of endangered wildlife, including rhinos and tigers in the park.

In 2016 and 2017, eight rhinos which were translocated from Chitwan National Park to Bardiya National Park, were successfully collared with radio transmitters. As per the record of the park, there were only six rhinos in the Babai valley.

One of them died of natural causes, said Baral.

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According to the 2015 count, Nepal is home to 645 rhinos — 605 in Chitwan, 29 in Bardia, eight in Shuklaphanta and three in Parsa.

The number of rhinos, which fell sharply in the 1950s and 60s, started to rebound after the establishment of the Chitwan sanctuary in 1973. (IANS)