Nepali Times Asian Paints
Strictly Business
Dear Leader


The Maoist-led government never tires of talking about the ideals of democracy and development. Its three recent actions are anything but about those ideals:

Distressed industries:
Two weeks ago, the government announced that it would provide tax relief for five years to 25 distressed companies. A distressed company, by definition, is one that is going out of business for a variety of reasons ranging from bad management to bad products. In general, such a company should be allowed to exit from the market so that newer companies, set up with private money, can come in and compete in the market place. There's no sense spending money that should go for education and rural health services to prop up failed companies.

But no. Using its omniscient wisdom, the government assigned a committee to come up with a list of distressed companies. When bureaucrats and party hacks get together to create a list of distressed companies for state subsidy amounting to figures they recommend, it's anybody's guess what sort of companies with what sort of influence make the list. Politely, this is called helping out government-designated 'nationalist capitalists'. Impolitely, it's called looting the treasury to help one's own political friends and supporters who happen to mismanage companies on the side.

Expansion without compensation: Many people, especially those who have come to live in Kathmandu from other parts of Nepal, have hailed the government's move to widen the streets of the city. True, there is no debating that Kathmandu's traffic congestion requires a state intervention.

But whether that intervention should come in the form of sending bulldozers to demolish private homes and properties in the name of widening the roads is debatable. In most cases, the government compounded the problem by taking a needlessly hard-headed line. It gave little or no prior information to the property owners. It did not talk about providing a paisa of compensation to them, it painted all owners with the same brush, insinuating that all were members of the bourgeoisie class who had long encroached upon public land when the verifiable truth differs from owner to owner.

Democratic niceties be damned, the government seemed to say. What matters is impressing foreign friends when they drive around in Kathmandu next year for a SAARC convention. Broadly though, the government's sledgehammer approach to demolition signals its interest in siding with what is likely to be momentarily popular than with the matter of following due process that that lays down a predictable system for doing public construction.

Havel versus Kim:
On the death of communist dictator Kim Jong Il, our government found time to send North Korea a letter of condolence. But on the death of Vaclav Havel, a democrat who defied communist tyranny and led the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, the government stayed silent. What is one to make of this selective gesture?

That North Korea is closer to where it wants to take Nepal next? Or, that those who fight against tyranny and totalitarianism and champion the rights and the dignity of an individual are to be shunned and are not Nepal's friends?

Our prime minister, a PhD no less, is a man fond of symbols and signals. From riding a Nepal-assembled Mustang jeep to going on live radio to answer callers' questions, he signals that he is a man of the people -- a dear leader, if there is one. But if his recent signals of handing out state funds to his capitalist friends, demolishing private property without following due process, and choosing Nepal's international friends on the basis of his party's political ideology are any guide, our journey on the road to democracy and development is going to be one long and hard trek.

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1. jange

"On the death of communist dictator Kim Jong Il, our government found time to send North Korea a letter of condolence. But on the death of Vaclav Havel, a democrat who defied communist tyranny and led the Velvet Revolution in the former Czechoslovakia, the government stayed silent. What is one to make of this selective gesture?"

One is a serving president. The other is an ex president. There are different diplomatic protocols for the two. Really!!

2. who cares
I had heard that hisila yami asked vote, during CA election, by promising female voters not to demolish their property to widen road at the time of congress led govt if she wins the election.

I think, finance minister pun is trying his team's best to reverse the damage done to our economy by then finance minister bhattarai. 

3. Bange
When Ganesh Man died, there were condolences from heads of state and PMs of other countries.

4. misha
Jange, heads of states of many countries flew to the Czech Republic to attend the funeral of Vaclav Havel. It's called DIPLOMACY.

5. J Thapa

Mr. Tiwari, I always admired your articles. But now, what the heck? The Maoist led government may have many legitimate problems but widening roads is something they deserve much credit. There is just no other way. You know that and I know that. The slums will also have to go. We cannot live in filth and stench anymore. Please support the good work of any government instead of just being criticial for criticism sake.

J thapa


6. jange
4. misha

Jange, heads of states of many countries flew to the Czech Republic to attend the funeral of Vaclav Havel. It's called DIPLOMACY.

Precisely. And there were many countries that didn't send any representatives. Those countries that had close enough diplomatic relationship with the Czechs sent someone and those that didn't, didn't send anyone. What are Nepal's diplomatic interests with the Czechs that would justify sending a representative? What is the damage done by not sending someone? Or do you think it should be Nepal's foreign policy to send a representative to the funeral of every ex head of government/state?

The author may have a soft spot for Havel and would like the government to send a representative but really there should be a better reason than that.

7. Rambabu
Jange, this one is for you. So much for diplomatic protocol.

8. Gole
#5 J. Thapa.
Widening of road is a good work in principle.
 But that is not enough, in short, Clear 4 or 5 existing roads running North-South & running East-West as priority.
complete riverside roads. Open missing links. Provide lay byes on government owned lands by moving the walls. Repair traffic lights; use traffic police to guide the pedestrians. etc
 Means must justify the ends, not end justify the means. Rule of law is the call of the hour;not tok bolne pratha or verbal orders. With the highest regard to the highest personage involved , even Babu Ram , the law of the land must prevail. every ones duty is to uphold the law of the land not verbal executive orders.,particularly in a democracy.

9. jange

Thanks, Rambabu.

But this is exactly what I have been saying. Those countries that were  close to the Czechs or had interests in the Czech Republic sent representatives. Mostly from Europe.

Out of around 190 countries in the world how many sent representatives? 10, 20, 30?


Lack of readers' reaction to Mr. Tiwari's qualms about govt saving distressed companies shows either full agreement or lack of interest in the subject. If the truth is the latter then I feel sorry for Nepal because that's the more important subject for discussion than whether Nepal should've been equitable in its condolences to some foreign figures or who should bear the costs of widening road in Kathmandu (yes the latter is important subject but still that's a political issue not an economic issue). It will also confirm my fear that intelligent discussion on economics is truly lacking in Nepal. My own 2 paisa on the topic is that I do not agree with Mr. Tiwari's assertion that all govt interventions are bad. It depends. Without belaboring the issue, the US govt saved GM from bankruptcy (yes it was a managed one) but it is now one of the biggest success stories of the Obama administration.

11. jange


Nepalis have more important questions to answer such as- Is it acceptable to use violence as a means to political (or any other ) objective.

12. Bijay Bhandari

# 5 J Thapa,

Mr Thapa deserves credit in supporting good actions of the government. Of course, rule of law and other laws of democracy should prevail. But unfortunately, most of the time democracy is just a front to do whatever benefits the vested interest. Where is democracy when every single party paralyzes democratic rights when they declare bandhs? No functioning democracies tolerates it except Nepal.

13. K.K. Sharma

Pity, Tiwar also, like many others, still do not seem to know that the word " "democracy" connots different thing to a communist than to those who are not communists. Mao had use the word " democracy " or rather real democracy and people's democracy since 1935.

Also all those who had supported the Maoists must accept whatever the Maoists do. Simple. They should not advertise their stupidity by bemoaning what the Maoist had have done or will do.

And for those who had wanted CHANGE, well are getting the Changes, whether they like it or not.. 

14. ushaft
I am confused over a few things:

- when squatters mixed with some landless people gathered in the jungles of Bardiya to capture public land- I thought it was necessary to use force to remove them if they did not pay heed to repeat warnings. At the same time, it is also necessary to gradually solve the problem of landless people and the greater issue of land distribution.

- when house owners of Kathmandu capture public land, I think it is necessary to remove them, after giving some warnings and time to relocate. If they were unlawfully granted the permission to occupy those lands, then they should be given some redress and greater punishment should be given to the people who gave such permission.

Both these cases show that the poor state of law enforcement feeds upon itself. A precedent has to be set and law has to be enforced. Human conditions should be considered and sufficient warning and time to relocate has to be provided, but the occupiers should be removed at any cost after that.

At the same time, I am confused about what will happen if the government decides to bring down all houses that have not followed the building code. I am not sure, but if the code includes earthquake-prevention measures, then there will not be many houses left in the valley.

A strict enforcement of this law is also necessary, but I do not know how.

I have many issues with BRB, but Ashutosh Tiwari wasted a great opportunity to discuss these issues by choosing to target only the person.

15. usha sherchan
Road expansion is a subject difficult to oppose. I think people are tired of those who encroached public land and built commercial properties in govt owned land.

As for due process, if we start giving compensation to these unlawful squatter, they will be demanding 1 billion per anna. We know how the compensation story goes in Nepal. Some jerks are still demanding compensation from TU location in Kirtipur, and others are still demanding it from Tribhuvan International Airport. Supreme Court, who justices certainly have relatives in those areas, will probably favor these obstructionists.

Development is tough ; it is tough to some in almost every country. Some people have to give up. If they have legitimate claim, there are still many avenues left (go to supreme court).

16. Kenji

I couldn't agree with Mr. Tiwari more, particularly in regards to the way road expansion in KTM is occurring. It's scary that this populist trampling on basic due-process rights seems to be going on with remarkably little opposition from the public ...or from CA members, if my news reading-at-a-distance is accurate.

Most countries have legal mechanisms for appropriating private property to deliver public goods, or else highways, airports, and hydro projects would never be built.  However, in democracies those seizures are subject to the rule of law, with court rulings on questions of legality BEFORE seizure.  It stretches credulity to believe that in Nepal, where court decisions take forever and then some, all legal channels were followed prior to beginning demolition of houses supposedly encroaching on public rights of way. 

 It sounds like anything goes in Nepal nowadays, as long as it doesn't affect the majority too much. China used these methods to remake Beijing before the Olympics, but it wasn't right there and it isn't right in Nepal.

17. BK

Most are elated like never before regarding road expansion. Only a few with selfish/sly interest are pretending to be scared. It is democratic right of the nation to clear people and places who have encroached on public land by illegitimate means. Even if some land does legitimately belong to some people where road expansion is taking place, then the government does have the legal right to buy the property at the price it seems fit. It happens in every democracy from Greece to USA. 

18. Rajaram
Improvement of the unruly places imfront of individual shop fronts is a very good work and should be upheld.
 But the saddest story on other part is the ignorance of our architect- engineers or negligence, to even build a pedestrian friendly foot -path at this age.  The present work is a foot breakers with abrupt fall at every entrance /access to a house. Can we not build foot paths with proper ramp or slope at these places so that the pedestrians or even invalids can negotiate? The Japanese grant project has shown the example. Can we not follow that?  Mr.Babu  Tiwari learn from them.

19. Ghoe Chaku Naran
 P M .Babu Ram Bhattarai of Khoplang is no doubt very fond of symbols ; he is really symbolic!
 As a reward why not place him at the place of King Tribhuwan at " the Sahid Gate" itself  Or his full sized idol?
His ideology is out of date.
His gurus/ mentors Marx, Lenin , Stalin or Mao are out of date and failed. Let him follow Deng Xio Peng and convince his Old Guards about the failed ideology; unfit for our development and progress of our poor peoples.

20. umesh shrestha

It's a hogwash. Why is it "scary that this populist trampling" is going with remarkably little opposition? It is because it is not so. The government seems to be sure about the law it was following. People knew that roads were encroached to build commercial buildings in the past by powerful men.

When you say it takes forever to go to the court in Nepal, you are basically saying courts are useless as an avenue to seek justice. Now that is controversial and whole new issue. One needs to have some faith on at least something. No faith on government, no faith on courts, no faith on Pashupatinath, then I guess there is no likely justice to faithless.

Mr. Anurag's this blog doesn't make any sense on one hand. on the next, it is a biased article for being Dr. Baburam a leftist PM of nepal and somehow it also evokes against him doing populist activities. 

Make space for someone who does better for Nepal and Nepalese. I am feeling that someone just paid attention to do something for the nation and people. Who was there to be able and had planned to do betterment of the nation rather than throwing and passing the ball to stick in the same chair? Don't politicize each and every activity. However, let's oppose against whatever he might bring against people. Let's go against his decree for blanket amnesty of the perpetrators of the conflict and other crimes. 


It doesn't make any sense talking about politics.In Nepal we require young leader.just i would like to publish that gradutes and masters are sitting in their home not doing anything but Murkh house ( A group of CA) are leading the countrry.IS IT FAIR???????????????

23. thapa
From government's intention to help sick industries to widening road to Kim Jung the author seems to have an issue with the Maoist leader - one can understand the partisan views of the writer. But I am confused if the author is downright opposed to Socialism - helping sick companies or that he chooses to favor a few while ignoring others? Former is idealism latter is promoting vested interests.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)