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Nepal’s Prime Minister urges India to lift economic blockade

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Kathmandu: Nepal’s Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli has called on India to lift “unofficial blockade” in Nepal as soon as possible.

In his televised address on Sunday to the nation, the premier, who assumed office as the head of the government on October 11, explicitly mentioned that Nepali people have been undergoing through a hard time due to blockade imposed by India.

“It is unthinkable that a sovereign nation faces such an inhumane and severe pain, misery and blockade in the 21st century for having a Constitution with a progressive, pro-people and democratic contents through an elected Constituent Assembly with people’s overwhelming participation and democratic franchise,” Prime Minister Oli said, Xinhua reported.

The Nepali prime minister’s remark has come at a time when Nepali people have been reeling under acute shortage of fuel and basic commodities due to an Indian embargo after the Nepal adopted democratic constitution on September 20.

This was the first time Nepali prime minister categorically pointed out Indian economic blockade in the Himalayan nation, though the Indian has been denying any embargo against Nepal.

The Indian government has cited security reasons behind the obstruction of fuel and basic commodities supply to Nepal due to ongoing agitation against the new constitution by Nepal’s Madhesi parties at the India-Nepal border.

“Nepal is passing through a serious humanitarian crisis, which should not happen even during the wars. The blockade imposed by our southern neighbor has underestimated the feeling of the Nepali and Indian people. Imposing a blockade to a landlocked nation is a breach of international treaties, norms, and values,” the prime minister said.

He said that Nepal wants to have relations with its neighbors on the basis of the principles of Panchsheel.

Stating that the government was making all efforts to address genuine concerns of agitating Madhesi parties, Prime Minister Oli remarked that the government is ready to review the demarcation of federal state borders which has been a key demand of the agitating parties.

“The newly promulgated constitution is not discriminatory to any sections of people including the Madhesi. It has addressed the aspirations of all people. As the constitution is a dynamic document, it can be amended several times. I would like to urge Madhesi parties to end the ongoing agitation,” the prime minister added.

Meanwhile, Sunday’s talks between the agitating Madhesi parties and the government has failed to reach any conclusion, officials told Xinhua.

(IANS)

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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)