Nepali Times

Passengers speak

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
..................................................................................................................

As all efforts to lift a Turkish Airlines plane off the runway failed, Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA) remains closed even after 5 p.m. Wednesday.

The airbus 330 of Turkish Airlines, which was carrying 224 passengers, had crash-landed between the runway and the taxiway early morning.   The TIA administration had halted international flights until 5 p.m. But, international flight service could not resume as the runway remained blocked.

In a tweet, Turkish Airlines has promised that it will make public results of the probe into the crash-landing. Here are accounts of two passengers, which will offer an insight into what transpired before and after the crash-landing.

Sashi Poudel in onlinekhabar.com

I was on board the Turkish Airline plane that skidded off the runway.

We were supposed to land at 6.55 am but since there were some problems with the wheels of the aircraft, the plane overshot the runway. After some time the pilot tried to land the plane again but the problem persisted. The plane circled the sky for one and a half hour.

Initially, we were told the plane could not land because of fog. Later, we were told that it was due to some problem in wheels. In the third attempt, only the rear wheels functioned. The aircraft went off runway and skidded onto the grassland.

We thought we would die. Luckily, we landed on grass wet with last day’s rains. No one was hurt but all panicked. I heard that a foreigner had a heart attack and was taken to the hospital.

I will always be grateful to the aircraft crew and TIA emergency team, who acted swiftly and saved all our lives.

 

Deepak Malhotra in pahilopost.com

Along with my son Dikesh and two other friends, I was on board the plane. We were returning to Kathmandu from Barcelona, where we had visited to attending the world mobile congress.

At first the pilot announced we will be landing before time but as we approached the Kathmandu airport the landing was delayed due to poor visibility. The aircraft went on in a circle as the pilot announced we will be landing only after half an hour.

When the plane crash-landed, there was smoke inside the plane. There were hand bags everywhere and we all panicked.

When the emergency doors opened, I jumped out of the plane. The aircraft had skidded off the runway. Outside, an emergency team was on standby. We are glad we all survived the accident.


Kathmandu airport closed

Wednesday, March 4th, 2015
..................................................................................................................

Turkish airlinesNepal’s only international airport has been closed after a Turkish Airlines plane skidded off the runway early Wednesday morning.

Airport officials say flight service might resume by evening but they are yet to find the way to pull the crashed aircraft off the runway.

An airbus 330 plane carrying 224 passengers went off the runway while crash-landing at Tribhuvan International Airport (TIA), Kathmandu at around 7:45 a.m. All passengers are safe. They were evacuated through emergency exit doors.

The plane, which skidded onto grassland after missing the runway, is still stuck there. It is not clear what caused the crash. The TIA officials say technical failure and bad weather might have caused it. The TIA runway was covered with fog early morning.

Civil Aviation Authority Nepal (CAAN) authorities are now busy discussing ways to remove the crashed plane, clearing the runway for other international planes to land and take off.

After the crash, international airlines have either cancelled or delayed their flights to and from Kathmandu. Hundreds of passengers are seen outside the TIA, waiting for information about their delayed flights. Some airlines have asked passengers to contact their travel agencies by pasting notice outside the TIA terminal.

The airport was initially closed till 12 p.m. But, only domestic flights were allowed after 12 p.m. The TIA administration has published another notice, saying the airport will be closed until 5 p.m.

The CAAN lacks equipment to pull the plane off the grassland, without which disrupted international flight service is unlikely to resume.

“We do not own equipment required to remove such a big aircraft because they are expensive,” a CAAN official told Nepali Times.


NC, UML for CA meeting

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
..................................................................................................................

The ruling coalition has decided to ask the Constituent Assembly (CA) Chair Subhas Nembang to call a meeting.

Calling a CA meeting would mean restarting a voting process, which was halted to bring the opposition to the talks table.

In a meeting at Prime Minister’s residence in Baluwatar on Tuesday, the ruling NC-UML agreed to not wait for the opposition Maoist-Madhesi any longer.

“We want to restart the voting process sooner than later,” said NC leader Purna Bahadur Khadka. “So, we will jointly ask the CA Chair to call a meeting at the earliest possible date.”

The CA has not met for the last three weeks. Nembang had postponed the CA meeting on 12 February for an indefinite period, paving the way for the NC-UML and the Maoist-Madhesi to restart negotiations on the contentious issues of the new constitution.

The CA meeting was postponed as the Maoist-Madhesi were not ready to sit in for talks until cancellation or suspension of the voting process, which was initiated after the parties’ self-imposed 22 January deadline ended without promulgating the new constitution.

However, even after suspension of the voting process, the Maoist-Madhesi refused to sit in for talks, this time seeking a commitment from the ruling NC-UML to write the new constitution through a consensus.

On 28 February, the UCPN (Maoist)-led alliance of 30 opposition parties organised a mass rally in Kathmandu to put pressure on the NC-UML for talks and consensus. It was expected that the Maoist-Madhesi would return to the talks table after their 28 February rally. But, the UCPN (M) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal warned of more street protests.

Addressing his cadres in Khula Manch, Dahal advised the UML to merge with the NC as ‘these two parties were no longer different from each other in terms of political agendas’. Two days later, the UML decided to hold ‘serious talks’ with the NC about restarting the voting process. And, Tuesday’s meeting was an outcome of the UML’s decision to persuade the NC for not waiting the Maoist-Madhesi any longer.

To exert pressure on the NC to restart the voting process, the UML had even warned of quitting the government. The UML secretary Pradip Gyawali had said, “there is no point in being in the government if we cannot write a new constitution.”

But, NC leader Khadka made it clear that the UML would not quit the government. “We asked UML leaders if they really intended to quit the government,” said Khadka. “They said they would not quit the government.”

 

 

 

 


“Saran undid monarchy deal”

Tuesday, March 3rd, 2015
..................................................................................................................

4629From the Nepali Press

Bal Kumar Nepal in Annapurna Post, 2 March

Rastriya Prajatantra Party (RPP) Chair Pashupati Shumsher Rana has made the sensational disclosure that the political parties had reached a secret deal with then king Gyanendra in 2006 not to abolish the monarchy. However, former Indian ambassador Shyam Saran played spoilsport and overturned the deal.

Rana told journalists that Karan Singh mediated between the political parties and Gyanendra to save the monarchy. But, Saran, who was by then India’s Foreign Secretary, visited Kathmandu after Singh and the agreement unravelled.

Singh had come to Kathmandu as a special envoy of India at the height of the April Uprising-2006, and shortly after Gyanendra announced that he was ready to step down as Chair of the Council of Ministers and form a new government of political parties. But, political parties rejected Shah’s offer outright.

Gyanendra reinstated parliament which he had dissolved accusing political parties of being ‘inefficient’ in dealing with Maoist violence, maintain political stability and ensure good governance.

“What Karan Singh said publicly before returning to India indicated that there was a deal between then king and political parties,” said Rana.  “But, the deal was off when Saran returned to Delhi.”

Rana is related to Karan Singh, and this revelation at a politically critical time is now being viewed as meaningful. Highly placed sources say the secret deal would have amended a law about the monarchy in the first session of the reinstated parliament on 18 May 2006.

Last month, issuing a statement on the eve of Democracy Day, Gyanendra claimed he had reached an agreement with political parties in 2006 which they had gone back on. He urged political parties to implement that agreement, but did not specify which one it was.

Meanwhile, the political parties denied any agreement with Gyanendra, and NC leader Krishna Sitaula has said the only deal was that political parties would allow the ex-King to live in Nirma Niwas.

 


Playing with strings

Monday, March 2nd, 2015
..................................................................................................................

From the Nepali press

Sajana Baral in Himal Khabarpatrika

Barta Gandharva

Barta Gandharva

Barta Gandharva‘s petite figure belies her powerful singing and sarangi playing skills. A native of Bhojpur, Barta first learnt to play the instrument from her mother, with whom she travelled around villages, trying to earn a living.

Today, the 27-year-old performs at concerts, rubs shoulders with popular bands like Kutumba, but says making a living is as difficult as it was then.

“Wherever I go, people ask me if I can play the guitar or the keyboard. Sarangi is not much appreciated,” says Barta who is a member of an all-female Nepali folk band, Shree Tara.

Barta studied music at Lalit Kala Campus and sarangi at Nepal Music Centre on scholarship. She now teaches at  Nepal Sangeet Vidyalaya. She also taught sarangi to students at Ani Choyying Drolma’s Arya Tara School for seven years before the lessons were cancelled by the management citing lack of funds.

She feels that since sarangi is mainly being used for fusion music the significance of traditional artists like her has decreased. In this scenario, she thinks grooming a newer generation of female musicians is near to impossible. “Maybe because they see no future in this field even good students drop out. It is sad when this happens,” she says.

Provided an opportunity Barta wants to pursue a graduate degree in singing. But given the circumstances she laughs at her own desire. She says, “Nothing has happened even with hard work. What will I achieve with desires?”

Currently, Barta is working on releasing an album, most of which she composed in Norway.


UML pushes for vote

Monday, March 2nd, 2015
..................................................................................................................

The UML has decided to create pressure on the NC to restart the voting process, which was halted to bring the Maoist-Madhesi to the talks table.

A meeting of the UML’s standing committee on Monday decided to hold ‘serious talks’ with the NC to restart the voting process, saying that  possibility of talks with the Maoist-Madhesi is very slim.

The UML wants to promulgate the new constitution before May 2015 by sorting out the contentious issues through a vote in the Constituent Assembly (CA).

Apparently frustrated with the NC’s reluctance to restart the voting process, the UML has also warned of quitting the government. “We joined the government to write a new constitution,” said the UML secretary Pradip Gyawali. “If a new constitution is not written, we will quit the government.”

As the Maoist-Madhesi refused to sit in for talks saying that the NC-UML sidelined them by initiating the voting process, the CA Chair Subhas Nembang postponed the CA meeting on 12 February for an indefinite period.

However, the Maoist-Madhesi have not rejoined talks with the NC-UML. Instead, they are warning of more street protests. Addressing a mass assembly on last Saturday in Kathmandu, the UCPN (Maoist) Chair Pushpa Kamal Dahal said their cadres would now ‘seize district headquarters’.

Two days after what was described as a show of strength by the opposition, the UML said it waited too long for the Maoist-Madhesi. “The CA has not met for 20 days now,” said Gyawali. “We have waited too long for the opposition. We must go for a vote now.”

 

 

 

 


RK Mainali rejoins UML

Sunday, March 1st, 2015
..................................................................................................................

Radha Krishna Mainali, who rose as a radical communist leader after Jhapa rebellion of 197o but lost communist credentials by supporting then king Gyanendra Shah’s coup in 2005, has returned to the UML.

On Sunday, the UML appointed Mainali, better known by his initials RK, as a Central Committee member alongside Bijaya Subba.

Mainali and Subba both had defected from the UML. While Mainali left the UML to join then king Gyanendra Shah’s government, Subba quit the party to form Federal Socialist Party Nepal (FSPN), which secured five seats in the last Constituent Assembly (CA) elections.

Jhapa rebellion, spearheaded by RK Mainali along with his brother CP Mainali, was inspired by India’s Naxalite movement, and is now considered by many as genesis of the Maoist war. He was arrested in 1973 and was imprisoned for 14 years on the charge of killing people whom he described as ‘class enemies’.

Mainali rose as a prominent leader after the CPN (Marxist) unified with the CPN (ML) to form the UML. He was one of the four leaders to negotiate with then king Birendra Shah at the height of first people’s movement that restored multi-party democracy in 1900.

In 1998, Mainali formed the CPN (ML) after splitting from the UML) alongside Bam Dev Gautam and CP Mainali. While his brother CP Mainali remained with the CPN (ML), he and Gautam returned to their old party. But, he again quit the UML and supported king Gyanendra Shah’s political move. After the April Uprising-2006, he was close to the UCPN (Maoist).

The UML is yet to delegate responsibility to Mainali and Subba. The UML secretary Pradip Gyawali told Nepali Times that the next meeting will decide on it.

 


 

himalkhabar.com            

NEPALI TIMES IS A PUBLICATION OF HIMALMEDIA PRIVATE LIMITED | ABOUT US | ADVERTISE | SUBSCRIPTION | TERMS OF USE | CONTACT