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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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9 Climbers Pulled From Snow After A Sudden Storm On Mount Gurja, Nepal

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

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Mount Gurja
Tourists take pictures at Sarangkot in Pokhara, with the view of the Mount Annapurna range in the background, some 200 km (124 miles) west of Kathmandu, Nov. 30, 2008. Annapurna, at 8,091 meters high, is the 10th highest mountain in the world.. VOA

A rescue team Sunday began retrieving the bodies of nine climbers killed in a violent storm on Nepal’s Mount Gurja, a freak accident that has left the mountaineering community reeling.

A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp where the South Korean climbing expedition was staying when powerful winds and snow swept through, killing the entire team and scattering their bodies as far as 500 meters (yards) away.

“All nine bodies have been found and the team are in the process of bringing them down,” said Siddartha Gurung, a chopper pilot who is coordinating the retrieval mission.

Mount Gurja
A helicopter dropped four mountain guides at the camp.

A second helicopter along with a team of rescue specialists and villagers were also involved in the mission, which has been hampered by strong winds as well as the camp’s remoteness in the Dhaulagiri mountain range of Nepal’s Annapurna region.

The bodies of the climbers, five South Koreans and four Nepalis, will be flown to Pokhara, a tourist hub that serves as a gateway to the Annapurna region, and then to Kathmandu, said Yogesh Sapkota of Simrik Air, a helicopter company involved in the effort.

‘Like a bomb went off’

The expedition’s camp was destroyed by the powerful storm, which hit the area late Thursday or Friday, flattening all the tents and leaving a tangled mess of tarpaulin and broken polls.

“Base camp looks like a bomb went off,” said Dan Richards of Global Rescue, a U.S.-based emergency assistance group that will be helping with the retrieval effort.

Mount Gurja
Wangchu Sherpa of Trekking Camp Nepal, organised the expedition

The expedition was led by experienced South Korean climber Kim Chang-ho, who has climbed the world’s 14 highest mountains without using supplemental oxygen.

Experts puzzled

Mountaineering experts are questioning how the experienced team was so badly hit at their base camp at 3,500 meters.

Also Read: Nepal Saves Its Tiger Population, Doubles It

“At this point we don’t understand how this happened. You don’t usually get those sorts of extreme winds at that altitude and base camps are normally chosen because they are safe places,” Richards said.

The team had been on 7,193-meter (23,599-foot) Mount Gurja since early October, hoping to scale the rarely climbed mountain via a new route. (VOA)