Nepali Times

World Cup Nepal 2034?

Thursday, July 3rd, 2014

Many are calling the current World Cup the greatest of all time. People are staying up all night or missing work to watch matches due to the outpouring of goals and suspense.

In general, it is quite impossible for Nepal to host this kind of event. The World Cup is hosted in vastly developed or rapidly developing countries. The next upcoming editions are scheduled to be in Russia in 2018 and, as of now, Qatar in 2022. The United States, Germany, and France have been hosts in the past.

The Maracana Stadium in Brazil which is believed to have held 200,00 fans at the World Cup final in the 1950s.

The Maracana Stadium in Brazil which is believed to have held 200,00 fans at the World Cup final in the 1950s.

The cost of hosting a World Cup is astronomical. The Brazilian government spent $14 billion on the current edition of the world’s greatest football event. It’s the highest amount ever to be spent on a World Cup, yet it’s likely that’ll increase over the years.

Even if Nepal had the financial capabilities and infrastructure of Brazil or South Africa, would it still be beneficial to host a World Cup? Their governments are under pressure from its citizens. They believe that the money spent on the World Cup could have been used for schools, hospitals, etc.

These protests are legitimate. The same things could be said for us even if we could never hold a World Cup. If a government can’t provide its people with clean water, electricity, safety and education, then how can it spend billions of dollars on a sporting event?

Geographical circumstance is another limitation holding Nepal back from hosting an event like the World Cup. Although Nepal is significantly larger than Qatar, most of our land couldn’t be used to host a World Cup. Even though Brazil built a stadium in the rainforest, Nepal’s many mountains are great for adventure tourists but unsuitable for stadiums. And many roads in Nepal are too dangerous to travel. Even the roads of Kathmandu are rocky and difficult to get through.

While perfectly usable, the two largest stadiums in Nepal are laughable by World Cup standards. The Dasharatha Rangashala is the biggest stadium in Nepal, and can hold around 25,000 people at best with just 5,000 seats. The Halchowk Stadium holds just 3,500 maximum.  In contrast, the Maracana in Brazil holds over 78,000 seats. During the last World Cup in Brazil in the 1950s, it held almost 200,000 people, however.

But improvements are coming. The National Sports Council (NSC) and the All Nepal Football Association (ANFA) have been receiving more money and support from the government, roads are being widened, and more roads outside the capital are under construction.

The Dasharatha Rangashala Stadium in Tripureshwor with 5,000 seats

The Dasharatha Rangashala Stadium in Tripureshwor with 5,000 seats

The Dasaratha Rangashala is being renovated with a 12-13 crore budget. According to Yuvraj Lama of the NSC, the stadium is being raised to international standards. 12,000-13,000 seats are being added along with a new track, a new roof, and the strengthening of the stadium’s parapet over a 15-month period.

According to various media sources, 15 million Nepali rupees are being spent on the construction of an international stadium in Itahari, and another international stadium being built in Dharan with about the same budget which will include V.I.P. parapet and multiple rooms and entrances to the stadium.

If the Halchowk Stadium is renovated and, despite geographical difficulties, if even more stadiums can be built in Chitwan, Pokhara and Jhapa, the development of athletes and sports fans alike from such an investment would be moving in the right direction for hosting international events.

Again, none of this means we could host a whole World Cup by any means. Nepal has twice hosted the SAFF Championship, so we have a small amount of experience organizing international competitions. But we could co-host a World Cup as a supporting nation with India or China. With continued development, by 2034, it’s at least possible for us to start dreaming about co-hosting.

Sakar Prasain


The best World Cup ever? It looks like so, Shobhan Saxena #712

World Cup in Kathmandu 2050, Kunda Dixit, #304


Budget planning

Sunday, June 29th, 2014

President Dr Ram Baran Yadav unveiled the government’s policy and program for the next fiscal year 2014/15 (2071/72 BS) addressing a meeting of Legislature-Parliament on Sunday.
Modernising agriculture sector and bringing energy crisis to an end are among the top priorities of the government.

In order to increase productivity of agriculture sector, cooperative campaign will be made effective, while efforts will focus on graduating Nepal from the group of least developed countries by 2022, reads the policy and program document.

Organic farming will be promoted to tackle climate change issues and lower the effect of chemical fertilisers. Concession and loan will be offered to those who adopt fishery and meat production business, in which Nepal aim to be self-dependent.

To develop a self-reliant and independent economy, stress will be laid on developing public, cooperative and private sectors as the foundation of Nepal’s economy.

Private sector will be encouraged to involve in the import and supply of petroleum products, while the Bright Nepal, Prosperous Nepal (Ujyalo Nepal, Sammridhha Nepal) program will be continued to terminate the energy crisis.

The ongoing hydro-electricity projects will be completed soon, while reservoir based projects will be promoted to avoid energy crisis in the dry (winter) season.

“Within three years, every household in Nepal will have toilet, drinking water facility and smoke-free kitchen,” reads the document.

The government’s policy and program have been made public ahead of the national budget likely to be presented in the second week of July.

Child predators detained

Saturday, June 28th, 2014

Two men working in an orphanage in Kathmandu have been arrested and are facing trial next week accused of sexually abusing children in their charge.

Rabin Shrestha, former head of the adoptions at Bal Mandir, and Rabin Chalise, an ex-student who ran a Youth Club at the shelter, were arrested by the Central Investigation Bureau (CIB) last week after child rights activists presented evidence of repeated rape and abuse of girls and boys at the orphanage.

Shrestha had been arrested before in 2012 after a British woman lodged a complaint against him for allegedly raping a five-year-old blind girl that she was going to adopt.

“I tried to adopt her, but Shrestha told me I couldn’t do that. He wanted me to sponsor her instead and told me I would get a decision after she turned 16,” the mother told Nepali Times this week.

A Bal Mandir caretaker had informed her then that the girl was bleeding, and after examination a doctor confirmed she had been raped. Shrestha and Chalise are now also accused of also raping three other autistic girls at Bal Mandir, using other orphans for prostitution, and also abusing two young boys. Another unknown accomplice is at large.

The three men introduced themselves to the children as Bollywood film stars Amitabh and Abhisek Bachchan and would lure them into drinking alcohol and watching pornography before abusing them, activists say.

They would organise ‘wedding ceremonies’ every Saturday and dress the girls in red saris and play brass-band wedding music. One of them would spray water on the girls, who would then be forced to take off their wet clothes. This occurred during the afternoons, when Shrestha got a free pass at the orphanage. In the evenings, Shrestha used to take the children to a bar in Thamel where they were groomed to be prostitutes, according to children’s accounts.

These detailed testimonies were presented to the CIB by child rights activists from ACR-Int (Action for Child Rights International). The evidence was cross-checked for veracity, and was so compelling that Shrestha and Chalise were arrested right away.

The British woman, who did not want to be named, also says her vision-impaired adopted daughter was tortured while in the shelter and suffered psychological trauma. She used to be tied up and hung from a tree, or lowered into a hole in the ground.

Both Shrestha and Chalise have denied the allegations and the Nepal Children’s Organisation that runs the Bal Mandir orphanage says neither men are involved with the orphanage. This is contrary to the British woman’s testimony that Shrestha had met her about adoption procedures. The CIB refused to comment because it said investigations were still ongoing.

Shrestha and Chalise were remanded in custody for another week on Thursday, and are due to appear in court on 3 July. The scandal follows a series of reports of abuse and trafficking at orphanages and shelters in Kathmandu.

The Bal Mandir is responsible for over 600 children in 11 homes across Nepal and is administered by the Nepal Children’s Organisation which has been mired in charges of corruption and abuse. In 2010, the Australian charity Mitrataa Foundation which had agreed to manage the orphanages pulled out because of corruption and mismanagement.

‘Unfortunately, due to severe corruption within NCO, we had to cancel the project as we were not confident that we would be able to deliver on the objectives without risking Mitrataa’s reputation as an organisation that refuses to pay bribes,’ the charity says in an online post.

Sunir Pandey and Trishna Rana

Denali Nepali Women

Thursday, June 26th, 2014

The Seven Summits Women’s Team from Nepal reached the top of North America on June 24th at 1:45pm. Thirteen days after arriving at base camp on Kahiltna Glacier, five of the Nepali women reached the summit of Mt Denali: Chunu Shrestha, Nimdoma Sherpa, Asha Kumari Singh, Pema Diki Sherpa, and cameraperson Ang Tshering Lama. According to their website, Kumari Singh shared from the summit “The weather is foggy but it’s great being here.” 

The successful climb of Mt. Denali in Alaska, also known as Mt. McKinley, was their sixth summit of the highest peaks on all seven continents since 2008. The team is scheduled to climb Mt. Vinson Massif in Antarctica in December.

Fog was just one of the elements that made for an extremely difficult climb. The team waited, bags packed, for five days at Camp 14 at 4300m for weather to clear. Team member and coordinator Shailee Basnet shared with us via email that weather near the equator tends to be more stable, and the further south or in this case north you are, various pressure systems change the weather and forecast quickly.

They took one day’s rest at Camp 17 after it cleared, before starting their summit push at 7:50am on June 24th, and summited at 1:45pm. As of Wednesday morning, 25 June, the women were waiting out a blizzard still high up on the mountain. “To protect from wind”, Basnet said “climbers need to build an ice wall, which we haven’t done in other climbs. So weather is certainly a much bigger factor than other mountains.” Basnet added all of the women are safe and healthy.

This was also the women’s first self supported climb which presented it’s own challenges. Including backpacks and sleds full of supplies, they were pulling over 50 kgs each on the glacier.

Not all of the seven woman team reached the summit, however. Maya Gurung was diagnosed with pneumonia before the climb, Pujan Acharya was affected by a shoulder problem that hampered her last climb and Shailee Basnet had to stay back at camp to take care of logistical issues.

Their reception in North America has been overwhelmingly positive. They prefer to focus on climbing before each summit, “But as a team of Nepali women” Basnet said “it’s impossible not to be noticed. We come across people absolutely in love with Nepal, female climbers who want to discuss women health while on the mountain, children who notice our same shoes!”

In addition to climbing, the Seven Summit’s Women’s Team are ambassadors for Nepal, for women, they are educators and motivational speakers focused on empowerment and gaining knowledge.

Prior to climbing Mt Vinson Massif in Antarctica in December, they will be addressing the Lions International Club at the Air Canada Center in Toronto, an audience of over 12,000. Afterwards, the US State Department has organized a week-long tour of meetings and media interaction in Los Angeles and Washington D.C.

The team’s overall goal is to compile the knowledge gained in the seven continents in an illustrative educational book which will be distributed to students worldwide.

Read Also

High Five, Nimadoma Sherpa

WOMEN ON TOP, Tsering Dolker Gurung

Seven Women, Seven Summits, Candice Neo


Circus Kathmandu in Europe

Monday, June 23rd, 2014

Circus Kathmandu has stayed almost one month in Norway, and left for England today. And it is not just any circus, the performers are all Nepali children who were trafficked or they were rescued from the streets.

The Circus was set up four years ago by the British charity, Freedom Matters, after it rescued the children from circuses in India where they had been sold by human traffickers. Circus Kathmandu put their acrobatic as well as their many other skills to good use with structured training in a safe environment.

First performance at the festival.

First performance at the festival. Photo: Marit Bakke

Earlier this year, Circus Kathmandu performed a fundraiser in Dubai prior to the troupes current tour of Norway. The 10 circus performers are between 18-25 years old now and have been putting up shows for Norwegian school children and conducting workshops.

Circus Kathmandu had its first show in Pokhara in May last year, and the performers conducted workshops among street children and in factories.

After initial funding from Freedom Matters, Circus Kathmandu is now earning its own keep.

It was a great disappointment when last year they were refused visas to perform at the Glastonbury Festival in England, but they finally made it there after staging events at the Kalvøya Circus Festival, Norway. Their five ”Swagatam” performances 20-22 June were greeted with huge applause from the audience as the Nepali performers showcased somersaults, acrobatics with rings, and re-enactments of their difficult childhood days.

Ali Williams is founder and creative director of NoFitState Circus, a 28-year-old company with an international reputation for creating innovative contemporary circus. She did a 14 month sabbatical in 2012-13 in Kathmandu working with Circus Kathmandu. Understanding the group’s potential , Ali brought in volunteer trainers, including Felipe Salas from Colombia.

Photos: Marit Bakke

Felipe knew exactly what was at stake, having himself lived on the streets from the age of three before joining Circocolombia. He now works with homeless children to help them become circus artists.

“Felipe told us to work hard, he pushed us,” says Rajan, one of the performers.

Ali is full of praise for the determination and talent of Circus Kathmandu members, some of whom were trafficked into Indian circuses and rescued, rehabilitated and educated. In Norway, Circus Kathmandu has been hosted by the Xanti Circus.

Marit Bakke in OSLO

Read also:

Nepal’s circus champs Rubeena Mahato

Juggling with young lives Pranaya SJB Rana

A faraway rescue Rubeena Mahato


Conservation first

Sunday, June 22nd, 2014

Interview with former finance secretary Rameshwor Khanal who was appointed chairman of the recently formed Chure Hill Conservation Committee.

Read the original interview at

Why was the Chure Hill Conservation Committee formed?

The Chure region is an ecologically sensitive area, and the rampant degradation of the fragile Chure range has a direct impact in the Tarai. People downstream are already facing a range of problems including water sources drying up, frequent floods and landslides.

Why do you think you were chosen to lead this committee?

The Minister for Forests and Soil Conservation would be able to give an exact answer on this matter. But I feel that I might have been selected for this post since I was the finance secretary when the budget was allocated for Chure conservation.

What rights will the committee have?

The main task of the committee is to stop the ongoing, indiscriminate extraction of sand and stones in the Chure range. The committee will be responsible for designing and implementing programs and plans to save it from this practice’s destructive effects. It will also direct appropriate bodies to implement the committee’s decisions. The second objective is to ease the burden on and improve lives of affected local communities.

What will be done about ongoing debates over the jurisdictions of concerned districts and village development committees?

We will coordinate with all the district development committees and VDCs for Chure conservation. However, the conservation efforts shouldn’t be affected regardless of which concerned body objects.

Similar committees to protect the Chure range in the past struggled to yield substantial results. How will this committee be different?

The Chure Hill Conservation Committee wont be ineffective as others have been because I plan to involve committed, capable and qualified people.

Read also:

Help save Chure hills

Original Interview can be found at


Elections 2.0

Saturday, June 21st, 2014

The final preparations for the Constituent Assembly (CA) by-election scheduled for tomorrow (Sunday) have been completed, the Election Commission (EC) said on Saturday.

The voters in Kathmandu-2, Chitwan-4, Kailali-6 and Bardiya-1 are casting their ballots on Sunday.

The by-elections are being conducted as Madhav Kumar Nepal, Sushil Koirala, Sher Bahadur Deuba and Bamdev Gautam won the CA election held on November 19 from two constituencies.

The EC said that the voters would cast the votes through the electronic voting machines and all the officials have been given trainings for the same.

According to the EC, a total of 3,520 officials would be deployed in the four constituencies to conduct the by-election in a free, fair and fearless manner.

All the election materials and human resources needed for the by-election have been supplied to the concerned voting centres and the entire preparations needed for prior to elections were completed, Chief Election Commissioner Nilkantha Upreti said.

The EC has estimated the total expenses of Rs 110 million for the by-elections in four constituencies.

Nepal Police and Armed Police Force have been mobilised for the security.