Saturday Morning Hiker
VOL. 06, NO. 02, June 22, 2012 (Ashar 08, 2069)
By ABIJIT SHARMA
"It’s just an hour walk from here" came the reply when we asked one of the locals how long it would take us to reach from the spot to the Changunarayan temple.
It was a lovely pleasant morning at Gokarna. A big relief from the excruciating heat, the temperature that morning was relatively low with a gentle, but slightly chilly, breeze. The sun was not up in the sky yet, and it was a perfect weather for a hike. We had started our walk to one of the most beautiful temples and a world heritage site.
Hiking is one of my newly discovered hobbies. I love the prospect of getting to see new places. And with very little hiking experience, I have already found out that Kathmandu valley itself has quite a number of beautiful spots to see around. Interacting with the locals and knowing more about them is one of the other reasons why I’ve grown fond of this new hobby. Listening to the people, hearing their grievances, and getting a first-hand account of their experiences gives you such an interesting and a delightful insight into their lives and make you want to do it again and again.
Our walk was relatively an easier one this time. I say this time because my last hike to Champadevi had one of the toughest trails and no source of water around. Gokarna to Changunarayan, I had heard, is one of the beginners’ trails. Passing by mud houses and thatched roofs, we started our walk enjoying the beautiful scenery around us.
"There has been no plantation even though today is Asadh 15," complained one of the locals when we asked him why the fields looked barren. While we were expecting to see beautiful scenes of rice planting on our way, we were quite surprised to find no such buzz. He blamed it all on the lack of rainfall. "If this continues, I do not know how we are going to survive," he added with desperation on his face.
We reached the temple after about two hours of walk. The early morning ambience amidst the resounding of bells was refreshing. As people were busy offering their prayers, a group of old heads was busy discussing politics and sipping tea while children were busy playing around. The first rays of sun had just begun to touch the temple. We walked around it appreciating its beautiful art work. Renovation was being carried out at one corner. Unlike other world heritage sites, it was good to see Changunarayan receiving the much-deserved attention.
Our way back was a one hour journey. By then, the temperature had already started to climb. We decided not to go the road further which would lead us to another lovely place, Telkot, and then to Nagarkot.
A little tiring but a rejuvenating walk it was, nevertheless. A Saturday morning well spent in the greenery of the Kathmandu's outskirts! No less a great experience than tuning in to the evergreen BeeGees numbers from the Saturday Night Fever.
Disaster Management training
Armed Police has shown that it has capability to deal with disaster
By DEBESH ADHIKARI
At least 10 people were killed when landslides triggered by heavy rains hit western Nepal recently. Hundreds of people lose their lives annually in Nepal due to disasters.
As the rainy season gains pace, various kinds of natural disasters are very much on the cards in the near future. Expressing his commitment to strengthen disaster operation, Armed Police chief Kos Raj Onta recently visited the Disaster Management and Training Center.
Asian Development Bank’s report from a few months back stated that Nepal is the fourth vulnerable nation to climate change and is also a frequent recipient of natural disasters.
Armed Police Force (APF) is the main organization that is at the helm for disaster management. APF established a “disaster management training center” at Kurintar, Chitwan, on March, 2012, with the aim of providing disaster management training to its force.
Including four higher police officials, 48 others were successfully trained at the training center recently.
They were given training on physical fitness, swimming, rafting, first aid, and on prompt rescue. They were provided with knowledge about disaster management and its process.
Inspector General of APF Kosh Raj Onta gave an encouragement speech on the completion of the training.
Onta said training will hold high significance in the real disaster management process, and trainees should transform the knowledge learned on training back on to the work field.
He stressed that APF will give its full support in the disaster management as disasters might strike any time in a disaster vulnerable country like Nepal.
During the establishment of the training center, APF believed that it will be able to train its force in a more effective and managed way and improve the overall quality in disaster handling. It said team which came back after receiving disaster management training from countries abroad like Philippines and India.
“Agricultural loan will not grow if limited in Thousands or Lakhs” Surendra Man Pradhan, Chief Executive Officer, Sunrise Bank
As the fiscal year is coming to the end, talks have already started about the negative impacts from the increase of bad debts. What is the solution for this?
The whole country was nearly shut for one whole month due to various reasons. If we look at the whole year, then two to three months are affected. The effects on the financial institutions have come out.
Last year, Rastra bank added one month to collect interests, but that didn’t seem feasible. Although banks’ profits increased by 10 million or so, it made last year of 13 months and this year 11 months. These kinds of concessions don’t make much impact on the financial sector.
As we all know, the realty sector is going through hard times. Without any transactions in the realty sector, it will be difficult for people involved in that business to pay back loans and even interests. Rather than modifying current loan classifications, we should set up funds equal to the loss amount from which no dividends can be distributed.
You are former central banker, what roles should the regulators and the financial institutions play to solve the current crisis?
In last few years, delay in budget made negative impacts in the banking sector. Banking activities were also near zero. But as the budget came in time for this fiscal year, it has encouraged the banking sector.
This time also it is not sure, whether budget will come in time or not. If budget comes in time and if there will development expenditures, than banking activities will rise. If full budget doesn’t come then there will be no work in development. This will again be very negative for the banking sector.
Israel embassy activities to continue
The Embassy of Israel in Kathmandu has been conducting many programs every year in the fields of health, culture, education, technology, agriculture and social responsibility among others.
The Embassy is giving continuity to some of the programs from the previous year like volunteering at the children's home, bringing experts from Israel for sharing experiences and conduct trainings for the health professionals at the Dhulikhel Hospital et cetera while many new projects have also been introduced to encourage and prove the ability of the people or towards protection of nature or for the betterment of the society.
According to Israeli ambassador to Nepal Hanan Goder, the projects are aimed at strengthening friendly bonds between Israel and Nepal and also to share technical knowhow.
The Embassy has themed this year as the year for the "people with special needs" and most projects are focused on the same.
There are many meaningful activities on the pipeline for the next few months on the embassy’s activities list.
Meanwhile, the Israel embassy will also launch common stamp of Nepal and Israel which have the highest and lowest points of the world – Mt. Everest and The Dead Sea.