Nepali Times
Shop 'til you drop

Laxmi Bank and Bhat-Bhateni supermarket have launched a loyalty points card that customers can obtain when they open a savings account at the bank. The store card can be used at both the Maharajgunj and Bhat Bhateni stores.

Himalayan Distillery, a domestic liquor producer, has received four ISO accreditations on international health and safety standards. The certification covers environment and management systems, health and safety and food safety.

Customer draw
LG Electronics is aiming to up sales of its mobile phones by offering scratch cards with each purchase. Prizes include cash, an LG wrist watch and 160cc TVS Apache bike for the winner of the final a lucky draw.

Sales drive
Microwave ovens, deep freezers, watches and cash are among the prizes Chaudhary Group is offering in order to encourage sales of its home appliances. CG also recently introduced a 48-month warranty and interest free financing on televisions.

Phone access
Registered customers of Nawakantipur Cooperative Society can now check their balance via SMS for free. Type 'BE' along with last five digits of the transaction ST to 2122.

The premium car market in Nepal may have been dominated by Japanese or Indian made cars, but Skoda, which has Czech roots, European design and uses German technology, has fared quite well even before its official launch.
Axel Andreas Oberdiek, the regional manager of Skoda Auto, is positive that the response will be even better now with the demand for cars in Nepal increasing. Oberdiek has worked for Skoda parent company Volkswagen for three decades and has been involved with Skoda for over five years.

"After Skoda became a part of Volkswagen Group, the third largest automobile company in the world, we made a special effort to refine its image," says Oberediek, "and now Skoda competes with our other models because it is cheaper than its VW or Audi equivalents."

Nepal is the 105th market where Skoda has been launched. "We came into India about a decade ago, explains Oberdiek, and now we are spreading out in the region." Morang Auto Works (MAW) showroom in Thapathali has been displaying the two models while its workshop in Dhobighat has been fully fitted to service the cars by specially trained Skoda staff.

Asked if the high-performance, stylish Laura and Octavia sedans, are too refined for Nepal's bumpy, pot-holed roads, Oberediek replies that the robustly designed cars are fitted with a rough road package: up rated shocks, underbody protection and very high clearance. MAW had brought in the cars only after an extensive testing process.

The Skoda fleet is soon to be joined by the compact Fabia and even an SUV named Yeti. The economic downturn has made the business risky but Oberediek asserts that Skoda's commitment to quality, safety and style has kept things afloat comfortably.

Paavan Mathema

Sri Lanka's golfing triumph
Sri Lankan golfer Anura Rohana won the Surya Nepal Masters 2009 title on 25 April with a finishing eagle two, two shots ahead of fellow Sri Lankan, Mithun Perera.

Anura was awarded the top prize money of Rs 405,000 by President Ram Baran Yadav at a ceremony at the Gokarna Forest Golf Resort on the same day.

Kunal Bhasin, from Australia, finished third place, just managing to pass last year's winner Shamim Khan from India. Deepak Thapa Magar who was the highest scoring Nepali on the field, tied in sixth place.

At the start it didn't look promising for Rohana, who scored a double-bogey at the opening hole while amateur golfer Perera hit his second shot close to the pin. However, by the time Perera reached his fifth, he already had more bogeys on his card than he had in his first three rounds.

After an impressive first round Nepali Shiva Ram Shrestha, who won five tournaments last year, spiralled downwards by the second day's match at Gokarna. But he still retained an outside chance of taking the title being just five off the lead on the second day. Another local pro, Ramesh Nagarkoti, also fell back by the second day.

At other events of the Surya Nepal Golf Tour, Perera easily won the international amateur country championship, while Jamal Hossain Mollah from Bangladesh came in second place and Nepal's Rupak Acharya,third.

Former Indian Open winner Vijay Kumar's team won the Standard Chartered Pro-Am on 21 April. Teams were formed by a draw from the ten best professional cards and thirty best amateur cards. Shiva Ram Shrestha's team came in second.

(11 JAN 2013 - 17 JAN 2013)