नयाँ नेपाल : घुक्र्याउ, धम्क्याउ र ठग

July 30, 2013

मुरारि शर्माभगीरथ बस्नेत

समग्र रूपमा हेर्दा नेपालीलाई सबभन्दा बढी पिरोल्ने शब्द हुन््-’हडताल, बन्द र आन्दोलन ।’ यी शब्दहरू नसुनेका र प्रयोग नभएका दिनहरू प्रायः विरलै हुन्छन् । आन्दोलन त यति सस्तो र पि्रय शब्द भैसक्यो कि यसको प्रयोग राजनीतिक वृत्तमा मात्र नभई चोरी, ठगी र आफ्नै परिवारमा समेत घुक्र्याउन एवं थर्काउनसमेत प्रयोग भैरहेको छ । यसको प्रयोगको क्रम बढ्दो छ ।

केही महिनाअघि सरकारले सुनचांँदी व्यवसायीहरूले जनतालाई ठगेको प्रमाणसहित सबै प्रक्रिया पुर्‍याएर ती व्यवसायीलाई ठगीको अभियोगमा कारबाही गर्न खोज्दा व्यवसायीहरूले मापदण्ड नबनेसम्म ठगीबाट उन्मुक्ति दिनुपर्ने माग राख्दै आन्दोलनमा उत्रेर ११ दिनसम्म पसल बन्द राखे । सरकारले ती व्यापारीलाई कारबाही नगर्ने प्रतिबद्धता जनाएपछि मात्र आन्दोलन फिर्ता लिई पसल खोले । उक्त अवधिभर विश्व बजारमा सुनको मूल्य तल झरेको थियो । तर नेपाली व्यापारीहरूले तल आएको मूल्यमा सुन बिक्री गर्नुबाट पनि आफूलाई बचाए । हुन त पसल खुलेपछिको अवस्थामा पनि सुनचांँदी व्यवसायीहरूले गहनाबाहेक सुन बिक्री गरेका छैनन् ।

केही दिन अघिमात्र कतिपय डेरी व्यवसायीहरूले आपूर्ति गरेको दूधमा प्रतिमिलिलिटर २,४०० भन्दा बढी कोलिर्फम भेटियो । निजी दूध व्यवसायीहरूको कुरै छाडांै, सरकारको स्व्ाामित्वमा भएको दुग्ध विकास संस्थानको दूधमा समेत सरकारद्वारा निर्धारितभन्दा कम पोषक तत्त्व पाइएको समाचार छ । सरकारले दूषित दूध आपूर्ति गर्ने डेरीहरूलाई सिलबन्दी गर्न जांँदा डेरीका व्यक्तिहरूले आक्रमण गरे । त्यसपछि के भयो भन्ने उपभोक्तालाई थाहा छैन । हाल दूधको स्तर राम्रो भएको वा झन् खराब भएको के हो, उपभोक्ता पूरा अन्योलमा छन् । तर न सरकारले नत अनुगमनकर्ताहरूले उपभोक्तालाई सत्यतथ्य जानकारी गराएका छन् ।

वषर्ातको समयमा पनि जनताले खोनपानीको मर्का भोगिरहनुपरेको छ । धारामा पानी आउंँदैन । ट्यांकरको पानी दूषित छ । सुनचांँदी र दूध व्यवसायीले जस्तै ट्यांकरबाट पानी आपूर्ति गर्नेहरूले पनि ४ दिन हडताल गरे । गोठाटारस्थित ३  खानेपानी उद्योग र ट्यांकर व्यवसायीलाई दर्ता गर्ने आदि नौ बुंँदे सहमति गरेपछि मात्र खानेपानी व्यवसायीहरूले असार १६ गतेदेखि पानीको आपूर्ति सुचारु गरे । खानेपानी जस्तो संवेदनशील विषयमा समेत कारबाही गर्नुको साटो सरकारले व्यवसायीहरूसंँग घँंुडा टेकी सहमति गर्नु प्रधानन्यायाधीशको अध्यक्षतामा रहेको सरकारका लागि लज्जास्प्ाद विषय हो । यस्तो विषम परिस्थितिमा काठमाडौं उपत्यका खानेपानी लिमिटेड पानीको नियमित आपूर्ति बढाउने, नसके ट्यांकरबाट शुद्ध पानी बांँड्ने, चुहावट रोक्ने, पानीको समान वितरण गरी कतै छेलोखेलो र कतै सुख्खा हुन नदिने जस्ता अत्यावश्यक कार्यमा नलागी १२७ प्रतिशतले महसुल बढाउने तरखरमा छ । सरकार रमिता हेरेर बसेको छ ।

केही दिनअघि एउटा पत्रिकाले एउटा शब्दचित्र छापेको थियो । त्यसमा बंगलामा बस्ने एक महिलाले खाल्डोमा जमेको पानीले जीउ पखालिराखेको एकजना व्यक्तिलाई एकैछिन पर्खनुस्, एउटा गाडी आएमा सम्पूर्ण स्नान हुन्छ भनेकी थिइन् । यसले नेपालको खाल्डै-खाल्डा भएको सडक र खानेपानीको समस्या स्पष्टसंंँग झल्काउंँछ ।

ग्यास बिक्रेताहरूले उनीहरूले पाउने कमिसन नबढाए ग्यास बिक्री ठप्प पार्ने चेतावनी दिइसकेका छन् । उनीहरूको भनाइ सरल छ, ग्यास बिक्री गरेर जीविकोपार्जन गर्न गाह्रो र नपुग भएकोले कमिसन बढाउनुपर्ने । नेपालमा गरिआएको कामबाट मात्रै जीविका चलाउन मुस्किल पर्ने धेरै काम र मानिस छन्, सबैले यस्तै बाटो अपनाए भने हाम्रो देशभर सधैं आन्दोलनमात्रै हुन्ोछ ।

नेपालमा हुने ठगीका यी केही उदाहरणमात्र हुन् । कतिपय वित्तीय संस्था एवं कम्पनीहरू र बैंकहरूको मिलोमतोमा प्रशस्तै आर्थिक ठगी भइरहेको छ । कतिपय वित्तीय संस्थाका सञ्चालक र व्यवस्थापकहरूले बढी व्याज दिन्छु भनी दुःख झेलेर बचाएर राखेको रकम लिएर बेइमानी गर्दा कति बचतकर्ता घरबारविहीन भएका छन् । सरकारले नत दोषीलाई कारबाही गरेको छ, न पीडितलाई राहत उपलब्ध गराएको छ ।

आन्दोलनका नाममा ठगी गर्ने काम नयांँ होइन, तर यो विगत केही महिनादेखि निकै लोकपि्रय बनेर गइरहेको छ । एकातिर चोरी-ठगी गर्नेलाई कारबाही गर्न सरकारको पहल र कटिबद्धता नभएको र अर्कोतिर कारबाही अगाडि बढाउनै खोजे पनि मापदण्ड नभएको वा अर्बौं ठगी गर्नेलाई १० हजार रुपैयाँको जमानतमा छाडिदिने जस्ता ल्ाज्जास्पद कार्य गरिदिनाले देशमा सरकारको उपस्थिति जनतालाई महसुस हुन छाडिसकेको छ ।

व्यवसायीहरूले ठगी गर्न पाउनु आफ्नो नैसर्गिक अधिकार ठानेको देखिन्छ भने सरकारले ठगहरूलाई कारबाही गर्नु त परै जाओस्, उन्मुक्ति दिएर त्यस्तो अधिकारल्ााई मान्यता दिएको देखिन्छ ।

त्यस्तै आफ्नै नेतृत्वमा अदालतले तोकेको सजाय सरकारका अध्यक्षले कार्यान्वयन गराउनसकेका छैनन् । अवकाश प्राप्त हुनु कैयन दिनअघि फाष्ट ट्रयाक पदोन्नतिबाट मर्का पर्‍यो भन्दै सम्पूर्ण मर्काको कारणसमेत जनाई रिट दिएका अधिकारीहरूको मुद्दाको सुनवाइसमेत नगरी उनीहरूलाई अवकाश लिन बाध्य गराइयो । यदि मुद्दामा तात्पर्य थिएन भनेर सुनवाइ गरी फैसला गरिदिएको  भए भइहाल्थ्यो । प्रधानन्यायाधीशको अध्यक्षतामा गठित सरकारको समयमा हुने यस्तो न्यायबाट उनको छाया हालसम्म अदालतमा उस्तै छ भन्ने देखिँंदैन र ? यो सरकार राजनीतिक दलको कठपुतली र ठगी खाने माध्यममात्र देखिन थाल्ोको छ । पूर्व सरकारले जस्तै यस सरकारले पनि उपभोक्ता र नागरिकको स्वास्थ्य र हितजस्ता गम्भीर विषयमा खेलवाड गरेको छ ।

अब त यत्तिसम्म भएको छ कि कतै अहिलेको सरकारका नेता पनि राजनीतिक नेताजस्तै ठग व्यवसायीहरूस्ाँंग मिलेर आफ्नो दुनो सोझ्याउन त लागेका होइनन् भन्ने शंका पर्यवेक्षकहरूले गर्न थालेका छन् ।

प्रधानन्यायाधीशको अध्यक्षतामा गठित पूर्वकर्मचारीहरू मात्र समावेश भएको अहिलेको ऐतिहासिक सरकारबाट जनताले चुनावको मात्र होइन, विधिको शासन र सुशासनको समेत अपेक्षा राखेका थिए । चुनावका लागि भनेर गठित सरकारले शान्ति सुरक्षा र जनमुखी कार्य गर्न हँुंदैन भन्ने छैन । चुनावको तयारीबारे यस सरकारले आफ्नो प्राथमिकता निर्धारण गर्न चुक्यो र ठोस प्रगतिको आभास दिन सकेन । यो सरकारको काम निर्वाचन गराउने कानुनी एवं प्राविधिक तयारी र निष्पक्ष एवं सुरक्षित चुनाव सञ्चालन हो । चुनावको वातावरण बनाउने काम त दलहरूको हो । कोसंँग कसरी वार्ता गरेर चुनावको वातावरण बनाउने भन्ने विषय यस सरकारको कार्यक्षेत्रमा पर्दैन । तैपनि यस सरकारले अनावश्यक हदसम्म चुनाव विरोधी दलहरूसंँग वार्ता गरेर समय खर्च गर्‍यो र उपलब्धि पनि हात पारेन । जसको जे काम हो, त्यही गरेमात्र उपलब्धि हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा विभिन्न विषयका विज्ञमन्त्रीहरूलाई पक्कै थाहा हुनुपर्ने हो ।

साथै विधिको शासन र सुशासनको माध्यमबाट शान्ति सुरक्षा दिन र देश विकास गर्न प्रयास गर्न पनि यो सरकार चुक्यो । यी काम गर्न सरकारलाई कस्ौले रोक्न सक्दैनथ्यो । यो सरकारलाई दलीय राजनीतिको खिचलो, दलीय स्वार्थको तानातान, आफ्नो दलभित्रको झैझगडाको कुनै झन्झट थिएन । यस सरकारका मन्त्रीहरूलाई भोलि जनताको माझ भोट माग्नु छैन । राजनीतिक कार्यकर्तालाई खुसी राख्न उनीहरूका माग पूरा गर्नुपर्ने बाध्यता छैन । नत चुनाव खर्चको जोगाड गर्न र चुनावमा धांँधली गर्न गुन्डाहरू खुसी पार्न आवश्यक छ ।

यस सरकारलाई कुनै दलले हटाउन सक्दैन । संसद नभएकाले अविश्वासको प्रस्ताव ल्याएर पनि हटाउन सकिन्न । उच्चस्तरीय राजनीतिक संयन्त्रले नै विरोध गरे पनि राष्ट्रपतिले नहटाएसम्म केही गर्न सकिन्न । चुनाव समयमा भएन भने त्यसले दलहरूलाई नै बेफाइदा हुन्छ । देशको हितमा उच्च राजनीतिक संयन्त्रको अनुचित हैकमलाई यस्ा सरकारले नकार्न स्ाक्थ्यो । किनभने राजनीतिक संयन्त्र चार दलको मात्र हो, सबै दलको होइन ।

जहाँंसम्म्ा ‘ठूला’ ४ दलको कुरा छ, संविधानसभाको विघटनपश्चात् र अर्को चुनाव नभएसम्म कुन ठूलो वा सानो भन्ने तथ्यगत आधार छैन । यस्तो भाग्यमानी सरकारका मन्त्रीहरूले निडर र साहसी भएर आफ्नो वर्षौको अनुभवलाई समेटी एउटा नमुना र गुणस्तरीय सरकारको आभास जनतामा दिनसक्थ्ो । यसले जनहितका काम गर्न र शान्ति सुरक्षाको अनुभूति दिनसकेको भए जनताले राहत पाउने थिए भने यस सरकारमा रहेका सबैको लोकपि्रयता र प्रशंसाले आकाश छुने थियो । तर यस सरकारले त्यस्तो केही गर्न सकेन । जनता निराश भएका छन् । सरकारको सर्वत्र तिखो आलोचना हुनथालेको छ ।

यो सरकारले अरु केही गर्न नसके पनि न्यायाधीशलाई पनि राजनीतिक विचार व्यक्त गर्न भने प्रोत्साहन मिलेको छ । एउटा किताब विमोचन समारोहमा एकजना बहलवाला न्यायाधीशको राजनीतिक मन्तव्य सुनेपछि एकजना लेखकले यस्तो टिप्पणी गरेका थिए, ‘मन्त्रिपरिषदको अध्यक्ष हुने सम्भावना भएपछि न्यायाधीशले पनि राजनीतिक भाषण किन नगरुन् त ?’ आफ्नै हाकिम सरकार प्रमुख भएको फाइदा लिन अब सायद घुक्र्याउने र आन्दोलन गर्ने पालो न्यायाधीशहरूको होला ।

Kantipur: http://ekantipur.com/kantipur/news/news-detail.php?news_id=301597
प्रकाशित मिति: २०७० श्रावण १५ १०:००

Big, Bold, Battered

MURARI SHARMA

NEW BUDGET
A bureaucratic government has done what successive political governments could not do for the last four years: Present a full budget. The 2013/14 budget plans to spend Rs 517.2 billion, of which Rs 354.5 billion will come from revenue and the rest from foreign grants, loans and domestic borrowing. It is big and bold and as battered as ever in absence of transparency and integrity. 

A full budge is a must not only to complete the on-going physical and social infrastructure projects on time and start new ones but also to create a roadmap and confidence for economic growth. The private sector had begged government for it. The talking heads had reasoned for it. Donors had pushed for it. Government employees had pressed for it. Ordinary people had called for it so the projects of their interest could be completed without delay and the delivery of goods and services could be improved. 


Republica

However, deep mistrust among political parties and frequent changes in government stood in the way of a full budget for nearly four years. Opposition parties prevented the ruling parties from presenting such a budget fearing that the latter could bribe voters through populist measures. Besides, governments changed close to the start of a new fiscal year leaving insufficient time for timely budget preparation and announcement. So the government and economy had to stand on the shaky stilt of vote-on-account.

The consequences were grave. Funding uncertainties hampered public sector projects. The private sector segment that relied on government contracts for its bread and butter stagnated. Private investment elsewhere faltered because investors held back for the lack of a clear government policy. Besides, the weather did not help; neither did the stiff depreciation of the rupee. As a result, growth stalled and inflation soared. In 2012/13, for instance, they were 3.6 percent and 9.9 percent respectively.

Amidst this gloom, the Khil Raj Regmi government has tabled the first full budget in four year. 
Out of the total budget of Rs 517.2 billion, 68.3 percent is allocated to current expenditures, 15.2 percent to financing and 16.4 percent to capital expenditures. Development expenditures constitute 46.7 percent and administrative expenditures 53.3 percent of this outlay. While revenue will cover Rs 354.5 billion, Rs 5.5 billion will come from principal repayment and Rs 69.54 from foreign grants; Rs 87.70 billion from foreign loan and domestic borrowing will bridge the remaining gap.

The budget’s objectives—CA II election, broad-based growth, economic and fiscal stability, public-private cooperation, balanced and employment-oriented inclusive development, etc.—are timely and laudable. But the budget itself tells a different story. It is too big in size, in ambition and in inflation and is far from balanced. 

The projected rise in spending by 39.8 percent over the 2012/13 revised estimates is too big for an election budget. In an election year, budget implementation falls by the wayside: Rather than work, politicians are involved in campaigns and jockeying for power and bureaucrats speculate the outcome and change of course. Due to this, and based on recent performance, the growth target of 5.5 percent is hugely ambitious. It may be achieved only if, a big if indeed, weather remains extremely favorable for exceptional agricultural production. The rupee’s depreciation and external borrowing, both inflationary, could have helped export-led growth if we had sufficient exportable products and services, but we do not.

Although the projected increase of 20 percent in revenue can be achieved by tightening the slack, the goal of limiting inflation to 8 percent is a pipedream. The rupee’s steady depreciation and massive injection of steroids—new money—into the economy occasioned mainly by rising remittances and local component of foreign aid financing and by the 18 percent increase in public sector salaries will make it impossible to attain. In a country that is heavily dependent on imports, high inflation comes as a source of misery for the common people and a drain for the treasury, for they have to pay more to buy hard currencies. 

The election and Kathmandu-centric budget looks anything but balanced to those who come from backward areas.

The budget looks bold and bloated in the wrong places—like a man or woman on growth hormones. It plans to enhance spending without increasing taxes. Besides, it offers generous giveaways to please every powerful segment of society. Leaders will have all the pork barrel projects of spurious value continued and new ones added—including the ring road around the paddy fields of Regmi, the current head of government, in Palpa. Public employees have been given a respectable pay raise. Several study projects of little significance have been inserted so senior policymakers and influential members of civil society can make extra bucks without much extra effort. The Nepalis returning from abroad after a year will have custom duties waved for a 30-inch television. Private sector biggies can import vehicles, newsprint, and safa tempos and pay advance taxes at a concessional rate. The customs and export fees have been removed for exports. 

What makes the budget bold and bloated from the outside also makes it battered from inside. The budget is not only full of pork projects and pseudo-studies; it also hides huge political and security expenses under development projects so it looks good to donors and the public. Similarly, money aimed at providing relief to victims of disasters, diseases and other untoward incidents will continue to flow to the clients of powerful leaders, rather than to the real victims, for the budget proposes no change in disbursement methods. Such a highly opaque budgeting and deficient disbursement perpetuates the misuse of resources and corruption.

To be realistic, pork barrel projects and budget gimmicks to hide truth about questionable spending cannot be eliminated. Those in power will continue to pull strings to earn a rent or cover things up for their personal advantage. Government may also have to make unpalatable choices occasionally to accommodate conflicting and influential interests for the greater good. Frankly, I could not remove such projects and gimmicks when I headed the Budget Division of the Ministry of Finance but I tried to reduce them, which should be our objective. 

But over the years, such anomalies have proliferated and become a much bigger drain on public finances. For instance, only a few leaders could get their pet projects included in the budget when I was in the Budget Division; now there are too many leaders eager and able to do so. Then, only Royal family members and very senior officials with complications that could not be treated in Nepal used to go abroad, mostly India, for treatment on government funding. Now most leaders have become royals to enjoy free overseas health-tourism—more tourism and less health—on the public purse even for a simple check-up or procedure that can be done competently by specialists within the country.

The government seems to have decided to go with the flow rather than trying to limit such questionable activities and promoting the transparency and integrity of the budget. More tragically, the Regmi government may not last through the fiscal year and its replacement will have no commitment to implement this budget. All good budgets in Nepal have failed at the stage of implementation. So the 2013/14 budget is likely to face the same fate in a more aggravated way.

Despite many flaws, the 2013/14 budget is reasonably good in relative sense. An election budget presented by a political government could have been much worse—much bigger and more ambitious, inflationary, and corrupt—to unduly influence voters. I am also pleased that we have a full budget which offers guidance to economic activities for the next few months, if not for the full fiscal year.

 

 
Republica: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=58507  
Published on 2013-07-28 01:10:59

House sans adults

MURARI SHARMA

Nepali Politics

In the United States, most male students from wealthy families live in fraternity houses, without adult supervision. Most of these houses are notorious for irrational exuberance—rambunctious parties, reckless sex, binge drinking, and corrupt behavior. 

Nepal’s politics is an unruly and messy frat house where irresponsible and corrupt bullies and urchins live. According to the Global Corruption Barometer 2013, this house is the most corrupt in Nepal. This house lacks adult supervision. Despite their personal flaws, Girija Prasad Koirala and Manmohan Adhikari were adults in Nepali politics and Madhav Nepal was maturing. But after Koirala and Adhikari’s death and Nepal’s loss of gravitas with his becoming prime minister by stealth, the house has no adult left. 


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Adult supervision is essential for democracy to take root and institutions to develop the capacity to withstand the inevitable volatility in its initial stage. Every country with a stable democracy has had such supervision. For instance, George Washington provided such supervision in the United States, Jawaharlal Nehru in India, and Nelson Mandela in South Africa.

Apparently, Nepal’s frat house is not alone in lacking adult watch, as the recent upheaval in Egypt demonstrates. The deposed Egyptian President Mohamed Morsi ruthlessly bullied his people into Islamization in the irrational exuberance of his victory in the polls. He conveniently misinterpreted the people’s mandate for a democratic government with Islamic orientation for establishing an Islamic caliphate.

The liberal-left alliance, which had fought alongside Morsi’s Muslim Brotherhood to remove the deeply entrenched despotic Mubarak regime, opposed his policy. At their call, 17 million people hit the Tahrir Square in Cairo. The alliance asked the military (which had been ruling the country since 1952) to depose Morsi and the general, itching to get back into the saddle again, happily complied. 

I do not like what Morsi did. Neither do I like the liberal-left alliance’s appeal to the military to take over. Both sides acted amateurishly. Morsi should have offered food, education, jobs and justice the Egyptians badly need, not the Quran, poverty and division. The alliance should have bent Morsi with people power or removed him in the next election rather than asking the military to intervene. 

Well, I prefer elected scoundrels to unelected saints. Power often corrupts both, yet you can throw the former out in the next ballot, but not the latter. 
Although the Nepali people have been more tolerant of their bullies than the Egyptians, they crave for adults to watch the unruly frat house. Even the biggest bully in the house has himself said many times that he would like to wear the crown of adulthood, left behind by Girija Prasad Koirala. But his head has proved too small for the crown. So the frat house, which has several rooms, continues to lack adult supervision and to wallow in bullying, binge drinking of corruption, and other excesses. 

The UCPN (Maoist) room is merciless, remorseless and ethics-less. The big bully in the house misinterpreted the 2008 election verdict to write a democratic constitution with socialist economic orientation for a mandate to impose proletariat dictatorship. To attain his objective, he drove a wedge between ethnic groups, tried to remove the army chief Katuwal, called an indefinite strike on May Day, and insisted on writing a communist constitution. Whenever people tried to stop him in his tracks, he endeavored to poison the already divided society by pitting poor against rich and “dirty” against “clean.”

This bully has been cutting smaller bullies in the room and in the frat house down to size. Frustrated by his insults and shortchanging, a smaller bully in the room split and occupied another room. Another smaller bully, known for his scheming and stunts, has resigned as the deputy head boy and projected it as a personal “sacrifice.” But his real aim is to lure the big bully to follow suit and take the helm with the southern neighbor’s help. The bullies in the UCPN (Maoist) room are doing everything to divide society and weaken institutions to pave the way to their goal of bringing the house under its unassailable control. 

The CPN-Maoist room is clueless in addition to being merciless, remorseless and ethics-less. The occupants of this room still live in the 1940s. They want to destroy the frat house with a wrecking ball immediately and replace it with a new one built in their own vision. So they do not want the frat house’s assembly to be elected to write a new statute. Lost in political wilderness, the CPN-Maoist room is prepared to do anything to attract attention and extract a fair share of power and ill-gotten resources from its alter ego.

The Nepali Congress room is leaderless, spineless and speechless. In this room, a reckless bully, who lost the race for the head boy is pushing the sheepish head boy against the wall in a perennial dogfight, which has broken the windows, doors and china. The bullies in the UCPN (Maoist) room have used, bent and trashed this room to their advantage. The head boy and the reckless bully in the room are speech-deprived. Of all, this room is in the most pitiable condition at the moment. 

In the CPN-UML room, you have principle-less and rudderless members of the fraternity. They change colors like a chameleon with the direction of the wind. They could align with the NC room as easily as with the UCPN (Maoist) room. Three-cornered, the room takes positions only to abandon them midcourse. Though shocked by the departure of minority mates recently, it remains more resilient than any other room, thanks to the sting of spilt it constantly remembers. Though resilience is an adult trait, lack of principles and rudder is not. 

Then you have the Madheshi Front room: Principle-less and patriotism-less. The room outdoes the CPN-UML room in being without principles, and is unrivalled in lacking loyalty to the frat house or the land on which it sits. The sole objective of this room’s occupants is to secure a big room for themselves, called Madhesh, irrespective of what happens elsewhere and to cut their nose to spite their own face. You will not hear a word from this room against border encroachment or managed inundation of their land by the southern neighbor to save its own. 

Neighbors—immediate and distant—find this disarray in the frat house convenient to peddle their interest and theories. The frat members have no sense of dignity and protocol. They feel proud to work under outsiders’ instructions and say so. Only last week, all the bullies of the frat house lined up at a local hotel for ‘darshan’ of the southern neighbor’s representative, who was on a flying trip. There were times when senior frat boys refused to queue up for such ‘darshans’ and insisted on a proper tête-à-tête. How times have changed! 

One of the two things must happen for the frat house to have adult supervision. First, one of the old urchins should shed his churlish attitude and childish behavior, begin to grow as a principled pragmatist with a national vision, and rally the house around his vision. Second, the old boys should step aside to let new boys in the house grow into adulthood and acquire the requisite adult traits. 

Otherwise, Nepal’s frat house will remain bitterly divided, incredibly messy, appallingly misbehaved and inordinately interfered with by the neighbors. The frat house theatrics and excesses are charming to see but gut-wrenching to live with. I hope sooner than later, the house will turn itself from a disorderly bastion of shame, corruption, embarrassment and ignominy into a respectable fountain of ideas, dignity and discipline.

 

 
 Reublica: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=57743  
Published on 2013-07-14 01:46:48

राजनीति, रक्सी र मत

मुरारि शर्मा

विवेकपूर्ण हिसाबले ठिक्क रक्सी खानेको आय बढ्छ भने बढी रक्सी खाने अपराध, कुस्वास्थ्य, घट्दो उत्पादनशीलता, गरिबी र सामाजिक पछौटेपनको दलदलमा भासिन पुग्छन् । नेपालका शासक वर्गले शदियौंदेखि  जनतालाई फुटाउने, नियन्त्रण गर्ने र शासन गर्ने सशक्त हतियारको रूपमा रक्सीलाई प्रयोग गरिआएका छन् । अहिले संविधानसभाको चुनावको घोषणा भएको छ । अब नेताहरूले हाम्रो भोट तान्न रक्सीको खोलो बगाउनेछन् । शासकले रक्सीको माध्यमबाट सर्वसाधारणलाई नियन्त्रण गर्ने पुरानो रणनीति हो । पूर्वी नेपालमा प्रचलित एउटा किंवदन्तीअनुसार एकपटक एउटा किसानले मृत्युलाई चिनेछ र झुक्याएर एउटा कोठामा थुनेछ । मान्छे मर्न छोडेपछि हाहाकार भएछ । देवी पार्वतीले गाउँलेहरूलाई रक्सीले मताएर झगडा गराएर कालका बारेमा कुरा खुलाउन रक्सी पृथ्वीमा पठाइन् । नभन्दै गाउँलेहरूले  त्यसै गरेछन् । काल पत्ता लाग्यो र त्यसलाई छुटाइयो । मान्छे फेरि मर्न थाले ।

तर पहिले विवेकपूर्ण उपयोगको कुरा गरौँ । हकले, यु, कास्वेल्ल र अरु लेखकको अध्ययनबाट थोर-थोरै तर नियमित रूपमा मदिरा सेवन गर्नेहरूको आजीवन आय नगर्नेहरूको भन्दा बढी हुन्छ भन्ने पत्ता लागेको छ । अमेरिका र हल्यान्डमा थोरै तर नियमित रक्सी खानेको आजीवन आय नखानेको भन्दा दस प्रतिशतले बढी पाइएको छ । कर्करन र अरु लेखकले संयमित मदिरा सेवनले व्यक्तिलाई  सामाजिक र काम सम्बन्धित सञ्जाल बनाउन सहयोग गर्ने भएकोले यस्तो भएको भनेका छन् । हुन पनि रक्सी ख्वाएर धेरै काम लिन सकिन्छ ।

दुर्भाग्यवश धेरैका लागि लागूपदार्थ र संयम साथसाथै हिँड्न सक्तैनन् ः मान्छेले रक्सी खान थालेपछि छिटै रक्सीले मान्छे खान थाल्छ ।

अत्यधिक मदिरा सेवनका केही परिणाम हेरौं । यसले अम्मलीलाई अपराधतिर प्रवृत्त गर्छ र कारागारमा पार्छ । अमेरिकाको मदिरा तथा लागूपदार्थ निर्भरता राष्ट्रिय परिषदका अनुसार त्यहाँ हुने वार्षर्िक ३० लाख संगीन अपराधमा रक्सीको संलग्नता पाइएको छ । हरेक वर्ष १,८७,००० -३७ प्रतिशत) बलात्कार र महिलाविरुद्ध हिंसा, १९७,००० -१५ प्रतिशत) डकैती, ६६१,००० -२७ प्रतिशत) गम्भीर हिंसा र १७ लाख -२५ प्रतिशत) सामान्य हिंसाका घटनामा मदिरा संलग्न भएको पाइन्छ ।  

बेलायती चिकित्सक संघका अनुसार बेलायतमा ६०-७० प्रतिशत हत्या, ७५ प्रतिशत छुरा प्रहार, ७० प्रतिशत कुटपिट र ५० प्रतिशत झगडा र घरेलु हिंसामा रक्सी एउटा कारकतत्त्व रहेको छ । अस्ट्रेलियामा ५९ प्रतिशत हिंसापीडितले रक्सी र अन्य लागूपदार्थ हिंसाको कारण बताएका छन् भने ५५ प्रतिशतले हिंसाको कारण रक्सी रहेको बताउंँछन् ।  

नेपालमा, प्रहरी सूत्रका अनुसार अहिले करिब ७० प्रतिशत अपराधहरू मदिरा र अन्य लागूपदार्थसँग सम्बन्धित छन् । गैरसरकारी संस्था सेविनले २००१ मा तयार पारेको प्रतिवेदनमा भनेको छ । १६ जिल्लामा २४०० परिवारको सर्वेक्षणमा केटाकेटीउपर भएको हिंसा र भौतिक दुव्र्यवहारका ३३.४ प्रतिशत,  बेवास्ता र मानसिक दुव्र्यवहारका २८.५ प्रतिशत, शिक्षाबाट बञ्चित गरिएका २०.२ प्रतिशत र केटाकेटीलाई मादकपदार्थतर्फ प्रेरित गरेका ११.१ प्रतिशत घटनामा मादकपदार्थले योगदान गरेको थियो । अहिले परिस्थिति झन् बिग्रेको छ ।  

रक्सीले स्वास्थ्य बिगार्ने काममा पनि मद्दत गर्छ । विश्व स्वास्थ्य संघको मदिरा र स्वास्थ्यसम्बन्धी २०११ को प्रतिवेदनअनुसार संसारमा ४ प्रतिशत मानिसहरू -६.२ प्रतिशत लोग्नेमान्छे र १.१ प्रतिशत स्वास्नीमान्छे) मदिराको कारण लाग्ने चोटपटक, क्यान्सर, मुटु र कलेजोका रोगहरूले मर्छन् । १५-२९ उमेर समूहमा ९ प्रतिशत मदिराको कारण मर्छन् ।

अधिक मदिरा सेवन र गरिबीले एकअर्काको पृष्ठपोषण गर्छन् र अधोगामी चक्रको सिर्जना गर्छन् । क्यानाडाकी फ्लोरा माथसनको एक अध्ययनअनुसार गरिब छरछिमेकमा बस्ने मान्छेले धनी छरछिमेकमा बस्ने मान्छेको दोब्बर रक्सी खान्छन् । विश्व स्वास्थ्य संघको मदिरा र स्वास्थ्यसम्बन्धी २००४ को प्रतिवेदनले भन्छ, श्रीलंकामा ११ जिल्लामा गरिएको सर्वेक्षणले ७ प्रतिशत मान्छेले आफूले कमाएको भन्दा बढी रकम रक्सीमा खर्च गर्छन् । जीर्ण गरिबी अनुसन्धान केन्द्रको २००७ को प्रतिवेदनअनुसार अत्यधिक मदिरा सेवन गर्नेहरूले रक्सीमा गर्ने खर्चको अलावा कम ज्याला पाउने, जागिर गुमाउने, उपचार खर्च बढ्ने र स्थानीय स्तरमा उपलब्ध हुने विकासका अवसरहरूबाट बञ्चित हुनेजस्ता अन्य आर्थिक समस्याहरू पनि भोग्नुपर्छ ।

नेपालमा सेविनको उक्त प्रतिवेदनअनुसार रक्सीको दुरुपयोगले २७.८ प्रतिशतले सम्पत्तिको नाश र ऋणको पीडा व्यहोर्नुपर्छ भने अरुले सामाजिक प्रतिष्ठाको स्खलन र परिवार एवं छिमेकीसँंगको सम्बन्धमा तीतोपन भोगेका छन् । मैले आफ्नै आँखाले कतिपय खातापिता परिवार रक्सीको दुव्र्यसनले गरिबी र अभावको भुमरीमा परेको देखेको छु । कतिपय मदिरासेवीले बियर -जाँड) वाइन कडा रक्सीभन्दा सुरक्षति सम्झन्छन्, जुन गलत हो । यस्तो भ्रम चिर्दै अमेरिकाको मदिरा तथा लागूपदार्थ निर्भरता राष्ट्रिय परिषदले भनेको छ  १२-औंस बियर, ५-औँस वाइन र १.५-औँस रक्सीमा बराबर हानिकारक मादकपदार्थ हुन्छ । पहाड र तराईका शासक वर्गलाई रक्सीका आपराधिक, आर्थिक, सामाजिक र स्वास्थ्यसम्बन्धी बेफाइदाहरू बारेमा वैज्ञानिक अध्ययनहरू  हुनु अगाडि नै थाहा थियो । त्यसैले उनीहरूले आपmनो वर्गलाई मादकपदार्थ निषेध गरे वा सेवनमा नियन्त्रण लगाए । रक्सी बनाए र बेचे । उनीहरूलाई थाहा थियो, गरिब, अशिक्षति र अम्मलीलाई नियन्त्रण र शासन गर्न सजिलो हुन्छ ।

मलाई लागेको थियो, १९९० पछि प्रजातन्त्र र भोटले सर्वसाधारणलाई सशक्तीकरण गरेर उनीहरूको पक्षमा शक्तिको तराजु ढल्काउलान् । भोटको उचित प्रयोगले हामी जनताले आफ्ना प्रतिनिधि चुन्ने, राम्रो काम गर्नेलाई फेरि चुन्ने र राम्रो काम नगर्नेलाई हराउन सक्थ्यौं । दुर्भाग्यवश, तर त्यसो भएन । कतिपय पञ्चायती नेता नै बहुदलका नेता भएर आए । नयाँ नेता पनि पहाड र तराईका सम्भ्रान्त शासक वर्गबाट नै आए । किनभने हामीमध्ये कतिले दुई ग्लास रक्सीसँंग हाम्रो बहुमूल्य मत साट्यौं । नातागोता, जातजाति र क्षेत्रीयताको आधारमा मत हाल्यौं ।  

त्यसपछि माओवादी सशस्त्र विद्रोह आयो । माओवादीले आफ्ना तिलश्मी प्रचारले झुक्याएर गरिब र उपेक्षतिहरूबाट सहयोग जुटाए । कतिपय हाम्रा मत फेरि पनि जनवादी सांस्कृतिक कार्यक्रम, फोस्रो वाचा र रक्सीमा बिके । माओवादी नेता पनि पुरानै शासक वर्गबाट आए । शान्ति प्रक्रिया सुरु भएपछि २००८ को चुनावमा माओवादी सबभन्दा ठूलो दल भए, संविधानसभामा । उनीहरूले दुईवटा सरकारको नेतृत्व गरे भने एउटाबाहेक अरु सबै सरकारमा सहभागी भए ।

यस अवधिमा माओवादीको दल सबभन्दा धनी भयो भने माओवादी नेता नेपालका नवधनाढ्य भए । उदाहरणका लागि पुष्पकमल दाहाल १५ करोडको महलमा बस्छन्, अति महंँगा घडी र सुट लगाउँछन् र महंँगा होटल एवं रिसोर्टमा आराम गर्छन् । फेसबुकमा पोस्ट गरेको एउटा चित्रमा माओवादी नेता कृष्णबहादुर महराका भनेर दुईवटा घरहरू एउटा थोत्रो र अर्को आलिशान महल देखाइएको छ । घर महराका भए वा नभए पनि त्यस चित्रले मध्यमवर्गी माओवादी नेताहरूले गत ५ वर्षमा नाटकीय रूपमा उच्चवर्गमा फड्को मारेको स्पष्ट पार्छ ।   

नभन्दै संसारका साम्यवादी नेताहरू लेनिन, माओ, होची मिन्ह, कास्त्रो, किम आदि मध्यम वर्गबाट आएका थिए । तर सत्ता पाएपछि उनीहरू विलासी राजकीय शैलीको जीवन बिताउनतिर लागे । सत्ता पाउने बित्तिकै यी नेताहरूको वर्गीय र व्यक्तिगत स्वार्थले साम्यवादी लक्षलाई किच्यो । त्यसले मलाई जर्ज अर्वेलको ‘एनिमल फार्म’ भन्ने उपन्यासमा समावेश गरिएको भनाइको सम्झना गराउँछ ः केही जनावरहरू अरुभन्दा बढी समान हुन्छन् ।

मधेस आन्दोलनले धेरैवटा मधेसवादी दलहरूलाई जन्म दियो  र सामूहिक रूपमा ती दलहरू चौथो शक्तिको रूपमा उदय भए । मधेसवादी नेताहरूले २००८ देखि सबै सरकारमा निरन्तर भाग लिए । उनीहरूले पनि शक्तिमा छँदा अरु नेताजस्तै आफ्नैलागि धन आर्जनमा लागे र जनतासँग गरेका वाचा-बन्धन बिर्सिए । मतदाताले चुनाव अगाडि फोस्रो भाषण, दुई ग्लास रक्सी र दुई चोक्टा मासुमात्र पाए । अझ खतरनाक, खुला राजनीतिक र आर्थिक वातावरणमा धनी र सम्भ्रान्त झन् धनी र सम्भ्रान्त भए । गरिब राजनीतिक र आर्थिक रूपले झन् सिमान्तकृत भए । स्पष्टतः राजनीतिक परिवर्तनहरूले नेताहरूलाई सशक्तीकरण गर्‍यो, तर सर्वसाधारण जनतालाई गरेन ।

यसको केही दोष नेतालाई र केही हामी जनतालाई जान्छ । नेताहरूले जनतालाई झुक्याए र आफ्नो स्वार्थमात्र पुरा गरे भने हामीले चुनावको मुखमा आफ्नो भोट रक्सी र मासुसँग बेच्यौं । नातागोता, जातजाति र क्षेत्रीयताको आधारमा भोट हाल्यौं । मतको विवेकपूर्ण उपयोग नगरेर हामीले नेताउपर आफ्नो नियन्त्रण र नैतिक अधिकार गुमायौं । हामी जनताले नै नेतालाई हामीमाथि अवाञ्छित नियन्त्रण गर्ने अवसर दियौं ।

हामीले स्वसशक्तीकरणबाट यस अवस्थालाई उल्टाउन सक्छौं । यसका लागि हामीले पढ्ने, आफ्नो क्षमता वृद्धि गर्ने, काम गर्ने, राजनीतिक एवं आर्थिक अवसरहरूको उपयोग गर्ने, रक्सीको संयमपूर्वक उपयोग गर्ने, आफ्नो भोट दुई गिलास रक्सी एवं दुई प्लेट मासुमा बेच्न बन्द गर्ने र भोटको विवेकपूर्ण प्रयोग गरी जनसेवामा प्रतिबद्ध नेता चुन्ने र स्वार्थी एवं भ्रष्टहरूलाई हराउने गर्नुपर्छ । दिगो सशक्तीकरण हामी भित्रैबाट आउँछ र यसले हामीलाई दासत्व र नियन्त्रणबाट मुक्ति दिलाउँछ । अबका दिन र चुनावमा हामी यसको ख्याल राखौं ।

Kantipur Daily: http://ekantipur.com/np/2070/3/18/full-story/371251.html 

 June 2, 2013

 

Constitution Chimera

MURARI SHARMA

Finally, the government has set the date of November 19, 2013 to elect the Constituent Assembly (CA) II, which will pick up the pieces the CA I had left asunder. It is possible to hold the polls and write the constitution through the CA II on schedule. But I will not bet my bottom rupee on it because of the myriad internal problems, further aggravated by external players. 

Internal problems—technical and political—abound. On the technical side, the redistricting of constituencies consistent with the 2011 census is yet to be set in motion, and there will be many disagreements in the process. Many political parties are yet to be registered. Voting machines are yet to be procured. Security and transport provisions are yet to be worked out. With tenacious efforts, these technical bumps could be smoothed out. 

However, political problems would be more difficult to tackle. 

For instance, despite its sound and fury, the UCPN (Maoist) does not want the elections on schedule. Whenever it wants to procrastinate, it abandons its accord with other parties. This time, it has abandoned the agreement, among others, on decreasing the number of CA II members to 491 from 601. Last time, it did that on the number and nature of states at the last minute to prevent the CA I from completing its task. 

Besides, 33 political parties, led by the CPN-Maoist, have hit the streets. Of late, the CPN-Maoist has asked for postponing the elections and safeguarding national interest mainly by annulling the citizenship certificates given recently to non-citizens. These demands are more conciliatory than the previous ones asking for the ouster of the Regmi government and a pro-people (read: communist) constitution drafted through political consensus. Among other agitating parties, Upendra Yadav’s MJF wants citizenship certificates issued to all remaining Madheshis before the vote. The rest have their own demands.

While the CPN-Maoist’s new demands are easier to fulfill than the old ones, the MJF’s are impossible to meet before the vote. However, such demands are the Potemkin’s village. The real goal of the protesting parties is to have a share in power, pelf and privilege before going to the polls. It is understandable. 

When the undivided UCPN (Maoist) was in government, the Pushpakamal-Baburam faction, also known now as the cash-Maoists, denied the Baidya faction a fair share of ministerial berths. It locked the Baidya faction out of the vault of the wealth accumulated during and after the insurgency. The incensed Baidya faction split and formed the CPN-Maoist, known as dash-Maoist. After the separation, the cash-Maoists shelled out some assets, but far from a fair share. To add insult to injury, they finagled the Nepali Congress, CPN-UML, and Madheshi Front to shut the dash-Maoists out of the High Level Political Committee, the puppeteer that moves the puppet Regmi government. 

The dash-Maoists want from protests what they failed to get from the mother party in bargain. So they have kept the door open for reintegration with the mother party by not separately registering with the Election Commission. They have vowed to disrupt the polls if their public demands are not met. Some leaders from the Big Four, like Bamdev Gautam, have entertained the idea of having the vote without the dash-Maoists and Upendra Yadav’s MJF. But that is unrealistic. The dash-Maoists have the capacity to pummel the polls into a paste using the disgruntled members of the notorious Young Communist League and former combatants in their fold. 

Goddess Laxmi makes the enmity arising from money so vicious that the rivals can never forget or forgive. If the old generation passes away, the new carries it on as a family feud. Only in films can you see the hero and heroin from rival families falling in love and bringing them together after much suffering. In real life, it happens only if money changes hand to mutual satisfaction. It is yet to happen between the cash- and dash-Maoists. 

Upendra Yadav has made the popular and perennial demand for citizenship a bargaining chip for a piece of power, money and privilege as well. He needs these vital resources to garner support from the disenchanted voters and revive his moribund party, which has eroded into a miniscule of its former self. Most other small parties too want time and resources to find their feet.

So the election on November 19 is highly uncertain, if not impossible.

Even if the polls were held, the CA II may die in court. The Interim Constitution was amended through an ordinance to make room for the Regmi government and the polls. Several court cases are challenging the constitutionality of this measure. On strict legal grounds, an ordinance is the constitution’s baby. The baby cannot beget its parent. So a bench of independently-minded Supreme Court justices could rule the Regmi administration and CA II polls unconstitutional. Courts have voided parliamentary elections in Egypt and Kuwait on such grounds. 

Even if the CA II survives these formidable vicissitudes, it might not be able to put together the law of the land. Many differences faced by the CA I remain unresolved. For instance, the debate over whether the form of government should be presidential, parliamentary or mixed is likely to be reopened. The independence of judiciary will be another serious bone of contention. Emotions over the number and nature of federal states are as raw as ever. These issues will determine who yields power and how, and the parties will stick to their guns.

The raw emotions have been fueled and stoked further by external players. Western countries support ethnic federalism that may give their NGOs more freedom to proselytize the minorities through bribe, deception and coercion; this might eventually break Nepal, just like Sudan and Indonesia. China and India have their conflicting strategic interests to safeguard and promote in Nepal. 

China does not want on its borders economically and politically weak and socially fractious ethnic states, which might be soft to secessionist elements from Tibet and Dharmashala, due to shared culture. It also fears that just one or two state(s) in the Tarai, on the Indian border, would be capable of exerting pressure on Kathmandu to tilt towards its southern neighbor further and upset the strategic balance in Nepal. 

Nepal has been operating under Indian security umbrella created by the 1950 treaty and 1965 letter of exchange. India wants to maintain and strengthen it. For instance, it imposed the economic impasse of 1989/90 to punish Nepal for importing Chinese weapons without its approval to maintain the umbrella. Now India is trying, as China fears, to strengthen the umbrella by creating just one or two state(s) in the Tarai and using their abidingly pro-Indian elite to make Nepal as pliant as Bhutan. The Indian diplomat SD Mehta’s call on Madheshi leaders to unleash a storm for “One Madhesh, One Pradesh” was part of this strategy.

So is the exceptionally warm treatment accorded to Pushpa Kamal Dahal, a communist, and Sher Bahadur Deuba, a pro-Washington Nepali Congress leader, during their recent visit to India. India perceives these leaders, based on their track record, as more willing and ready than their rivals and competitors to make a Faustian bargain for power and support “One Madhesh, One Pradesh.”

Dahal has proved the Indian perception right by proposing a single autonomous Madhesh, which has delighted India and horrified China and a large section of Nepali people. Time will tell whether Dueba follows suit. 

It is therefore that writing a new constitution is very difficult.

If Nepali leaders want the vote to take place on November 19 and the CA II to write a new constitution, they must begin to resolve technical and political problems quickly. Otherwise, Nepal may have to import a constitution, just like everything else, from outside.

 

 
 Republica: http://www.myrepublica.com/portal/index.php?action=news_details&news_id=57029  
Published on 2013-06-30 01:58:12