Showing posts with label international news. Show all posts
Showing posts with label international news. Show all posts

Indian Citizen Killed in Nepal Police Firing

8:29 AM

YNepal police have fired into a crowd of protesters trying to block a key border checkpoint and killed an Indian civilian as anger over a new constitution boiled over.

The violence came hours after police forcibly broke up the blockade in the southern town of Birgunj on the border with India that has led to crippling fuel shortages and cut off access to other vital supplies in the landlocked Himalayan nation.

“Police warned the protesters to disperse but they did not listen, compelling security forces to open fire,” said a Nepalese police spokesman, Kamal Singh Bam. “An Indian national was wounded and died after being taken to hospital.”

Four police were injured in clashes at the checkpoint, Bam told AFP.

Bam could not confirm if any other civilians were wounded. A local party leader involved in the protests said seven people had been hurt, including a 11-year-old boy struck by a rubber bullet.

“When police fired rubber bullets at the demonstrators, one hit the child on the head, leaving him bleeding,” said Shiva Patel, general secretary of the regional Sadbhawana party.

Earlier, police used batons to disperse protesters from Nepal’s Madhesi ethnic minority, angered by Nepal’s new constitution, which they say will leave them politically marginalised.

Patel said hundreds more protesters had arrived at the scene after police beat up demonstrators and burned down their tents to force an end to the blockade, which began on 24 September.

“We were outnumbered then but now hundreds more have descended on the bridge and blocked it again,” he said.

The minority-ethnic protesters want the government to change the constitution because they say the new federal structure it lays out will mean they are under-represented in parliament.

The latest violence dashed hopes of a compromise that was discussed when the government and protesting parties held talks at the weekend. Madhesi leaders announced a halt to negotiations.

“We will not sit at a table and hold talks with the government until the police stop attacking our people,” said Laxman Lal Karna, vice-chair of the Sadbhawana party.

More than 40 people have been killed in clashes between police and people protesting against the constitution, which was introduced in September after a deadly earthquake pushed warring political parties to reach agreement.

India, which has repeatedly urged dialogue, said it was “deeply concerned” by Monday’s violence.

“Issues facing Nepal are political in nature and cannot be resolved by force,” its foreign ministry said in a statement. “Causes underlying the present state of confrontation need to addressed by the government of Nepal credibly and effectively.”

The fuel crisis has soured ties between Nepal and its powerful neighbour, with authorities in Kathmandu accusing Delhi of imposing an unofficial blockade to show its dissatisfactionwith the new constitution.

Nepal has long sourced all its fuel from India, but the movement of cargo across Birgunj and other Indian border checkpoints had slowed to a crawl since the blockade began.

Delhi denies the charge and has urged dialogue with the protesting Madhesis, who have close cultural, linguistic and family ties to Indians living across the border.

There was no immediate sign of fuel tanker lorries entering Nepal, although a customs official told AFP more than 100 empty Indian lorries left stranded in Nepal due to the blockade had crossed to India during the brief period the border was open.

The disruption prompted Nepal to sign its first-ever fuel supply agreement with China last week, ending a decades-long monopoly by India.

Beijing also agreed to donate 1.3m litres of petrol to Nepal to try to ease shortages.

The blockade has also forced international aid organisations to halt relief operations for tens of thousands of earthquake victims just weeks before winter sets in.

The constitution was meant to cement peace and bolster Nepal’s transformation to a democratic republic after decades of political instability and a 10-year Maoist insurgency.

Source: AFP

China to supply oil to Nepal at cheaper rate than India

12:15 PM
China sends oil to Nepal, India loses sole provider status

India on Wednesday lost its age-old status of Nepal's sole fuel provider with the land-locked nation signing an agreement with China on supply of petroleum products to alleviate shortages caused by the blockade of land routes from India due to unrest over the new constitution.

"Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) and China National United Fuel Corporation formalized a long-term commercial agreement in Beijing on Wednesday afternoon," a senior Nepali bureaucrat told TOI.

Under the agreement, the bureaucrat added, China will supply fuel at international rates, which Kathmandu might find cheaper than its imports from India. To begin with, China will fulfill at least a third of Nepal's requirements.
Chaina to supply oil to nepal at cheaper rate than India
 Representative image
Just how effective the Chinese supplies will be remains to be seen as every month, Nepal imports about 2,200 tonnes of LPG. It needs about 15 lakh litres of petrol and 10-15 lakh litres of diesel every day. Nepal spends about Rs 150 billion in Nepali currency to buy fuel from India every year.

Indian officials in Delhi said Nepal was free to act in its interests, though they felt Nepal was to blame for its situation. An official said the ball was still in Nepal's court as India was not responsible for the blockade. "There are sit-ins and protests and only Nepal can address the issues involved. Our truckers are suffering too. It actually seems Nepal itself has given up on the main Raxaul-Birgunj crossing,'' he said, adding Nepal needs to have a relook at its constitution. The official said India was not going to be "prescriptive" about the changes Nepal needed to make in its constitution.

Nepal decided to look beyond India for fuel supply while the two nations were locked in a who-blinks-first game over the Madhesi question.

"Our officials were in talks with China since Tuesday," the bureaucrat said. "From now on, we do not have to depend on one particular country for fuel," he bureaucrat said when asked if China alone would be able to fulfill Nepal's energy requirements. Reports from Nepal, however, said the capacity of the highways from the north needs to be checked in order to ensure steady flow of supplies.

Disruption in fuel supply from India began following a dispute between Madhesi parties and major national parties over Nepal's new constitution. Madhesis (Maithili, Bhojpuri, Avadhi and Hindi-speaking Nepalis) want proportionate representation in Parliament and a separate province comprising all 21 Terai districts bordering UP and Bihar. This apart, Tharus, a plains tribe, too are fighting for similar rights. Major parties claim some of the Terai districts have a Pahari majority.

On Monday, an eight-member Nepali delegation had reached Beijing to discuss the modalities of fuel supply. The same day, Chinese foreign ministry spokesperson Hua Chunying had said China would help Nepal as a friendly neighbour to "relieve its shortage of fuel supply".

In addition, Beijing has agreed to send about 1,000 tonnes of fuel in grant. "This consignment has already reached the Rasuwa-Kerung border point," the bureaucrat said. NOC is making arrangements to bring the supplies to Kathmandu, latest by this weekend.

Rasuwa-Kerung is one of the six major trans-Himalayan routes connecting Nepal with Tibet. The biggest entry point, Tatopani, 110 km northeast of Kathmandu, suffered heavy damage during the April earthquake.

Nepal's decision to get oil from China evoked mixed reactions. In Birgunj, on the Nepal-Bihar border where India has a consulate, Madhesi agitators held a demonstration with placards that read 'China, back off' and 'Do not work against Madhesi agitation by supplying oil in Nepal'. In September, burning of a Chinese flag during a Madhesi demonstration had sparked a row in Nepal.

In stark contrast, some sections of hill Nepalis want their new communist Prime Minister Khadga Prasad Sharma Oli to build bigger roads to China, look beyond India for fuel supply and initiate gas and oil explorations within the country itself. Till some time ago, anti-India demonstrations and burning of Prime Minister Narendra Modi's effigies were regular affairs in Kathmandu.

On top of that, many top Nepali leaders, including Oli, Unified Communist Party of Nepal (Maoist) chairman Pushpakamal Dahal aka Prachanda and his deputy Narayankaji Shrestha, have held talks with various Chinese officials in recent weeks.

"It's sad that the situation has reached such a pass despite our shared historical, religious, cultural and ethnic ties with India," the Nepali bureaucrat rued.

Most hill Nepalis, including ministers, have taken exception to blockade of entry points by Madhesi agitators, especially on "das gaja" (no-man's land between India and Nepal). They derisively call it "India's undeclared blockade" to force Nepal to amend its constitution in favour of Madhesis. Days before he became PM, Oli too had remarked, "Why should any country be unhappy when we are making a constitution for ourselves?"

Incidentally, the paradigm shift in India-Nepal relations coincided with Vidya Devi Bhandari, a Pahari leader from the ruling Communist Party of Nepal (Unified Marxist Leninist) succeeding the country's first President Ramvaran Yadav, a Madhesi. She defeated Nepali Congress's K B Gurung in an election boycotted by Madhesi parties.

Via TOI


Interventionist India or China :: A reality check for Nepal

4:35 PM
Writes Rahul Singh

Before I commence going into the intricacies of the headline that I have put up and start substantiating, I would like to salute the valiant spirit of the people of Nepal who have endured a long struggle, innumerable sacrifices and cultural diversity to eke out real democracy for themselves. It may have taken more than 7 years but, it is the end that inspires me more than anything. It sounds like a dramatic fairy tale filled with action, drama and emotions but more than that it’s a tale of fortitude and of the will to let democracy triumph against all odds. Today, Nepal has joined the league of those nations where people will be true sovereign and not any traditional king.

The Nepalese constitution is a land mark document containing the dreams and aspirations of the people of the Himalayan nation. It is a glimmer of hope for millions who had dreamt of the day when they could be the masters of their destiny in every possible way, when Nepal will move as per the aspirations of it’s masses and the day has indeed come. One cannot help but equate the sense of triumph with the one that our people knew when they framed the lengthiest constitution of the world. A secular republic which is extremely diverse in it’s own right has made a dash to the coveted path of democracy.

But, amidst all the good features of the constitution, Nepal is gripped by conundrum and violence as Madheshis and some others feel left out. What complicates the situation is #The Back Off India campaign in Nepal. The campaign comes in the backdrop of India expressing concern due to unrest very close to India’s border. Both the timing and the interpretation of India’s concerns have been misrepresented in Nepalese and our own media. India could have definitely drafted a better note but none of our intentions were towards undermining Nepal’s rights as a sovereign nation. The situation in Nepal is indeed intense and warrants Nepal’s attention and definitely Nepal can and will do everything it can to make sure that Madheshis get their voices heard. What they are saying is also absolutely right given the fact that they stand debarred from constitutional positions in spite of championing the cause of Nepal’s prosperity and democracy but this constitution provides ample flexibility to accommodate public opinion and when I say public opinion I strictly mean that of the people of Nepal irrespective of ethnicity and not India’s.
Interventionist India or China :: A reality check for Nepal

Today the situation is such that everybody is leaving no stone unturned in branding India as the country that is actively pursuing interventionist agenda and hampering the sovereignty of Nepal. China is being projected as a messiah for democracy. Pakistan too is being viewed with the same lens and nothing can be more tragic as it neither respects Nepal’s religious diversity nor it’s own people and has been more of a dictator than a democracy. So, who is being who vis –a-vis Nepal? Who is playing the interventionist? Let us first understand the paradigms of interventionist behaviour to make things clear.

What is interventionist behavior: Interventionist behavior is indicated and dictated by pure strategic goals and has no regard for human values, ethnic and national identities. It prospers at the cost of the intervened state notwithstanding the aspirations of the home state, enjoys playing it against it’s closest friends , isolates it and uses it to harm it’s own interests by sabotaging it’s relations with the countries with whom the intervened share the closest bond. All in all, it destroys the very cordiality which benefits it’s people by creating misleading impressions and doles out money just till the time it loses it’s real friends and leaves it in the lurch after that.
 India, China and Nepal
 India, China and Nepal
Now, let me make this task somewhat easier by providing some grinding facts that can make the job of an average Nepalese and for that matter anybody in the world to make the right judgement.

In the 19th century, China did not support Nepal against the British as the colonial forces invaded Nepal twice, despite the fact that the Chinese were bound by a treaty to render help during external aggression. If this betrayal is too old to remember, let us look at China’s foreign policy since the installment of Mao’s regime in China and subsequently. The Chinese have pursued a relentless policy of military expansion and border claims on their neighbours. Tibet’s forcible annexation was a direct threat to Nepal’s sovereignty. The ‘back off campaign’ must also figure out that merely sending congratulatory note does not mean that China is all gung ho about democracy in Nepal. It was never in favour of Nepal’s transition to democracy. So much so, it provided sophisticated arms to the King in quelling the revolutionary movement in Nepal. It is the same country that has stood as a marauding force against cultural synthesis and diversity. The Chinese atrocities in Tibet and the denial of freedom of religion are a well established fact. They have spared no stone unturned in the ethnic cleansing of cultural minorities like the Uighurs and the Tibetan Buddhism and there are significant instances of girls from these groups being forcibly married off to the ethnic Hans to obliterate the very identity of the ethnic minorities in China. China does not treat Nepal more than a counterweight to settle strategic goals and foment unrest in the family like Indo-Nepal relations. The classical saying of divide and rule is being employed by the dragon and the outright loss will be to Nepal and India both, in the long term. Can a country that tolerates no dissent in it’s own territory love to see the blossoming of democracy in another? How can the very government that has effaced multi-cultural identity of ancient China be a natural partner of the Nepalese people, who are extremely diverse and have a culture worth being proud of? Or Can the country that has tried to sabotage the whole process of democratic transition in Nepal be really trusted and called non – interventionist? Ironically, the crusaders of Nepalese democracy fell to the Chinese supplied bullets and yet, China claims that it welcomes democracy in Nepal. Perplexing and befuddling.

On the contrary, India not only took the responsibility of assisting Nepal in securing itself from Mao’s grand expansion but also sought to orient Nepal towards development by providing transit points and port facilities for ensuring smooth foreign trade for Nepal. As our PM rightly pointed out that India indeed has a relation of Roti and Beti with Nepal, Nepalese people in India and Indian people in Nepal have selflessly worked for the cause of each other. We are all aware of the brave Gurkhas and their stellar role in the defence of these two nations who have more similarities than differences. For us in India , the people of Nepal are more like our family members and hence, our businesses, our colonies, shops, companies , public sector, private sector and defence forces have welcomed people from across the physical border with alacrity and treated them at par with native Indian citizens. This is unique considering the fact that this is not reciprocated in Nepal and is a significant support to lakhs of families who find India as the land of their dreams. This has come neither at the cost of ethnic pride nor at the cost of self respect and strangely enough, India has been branded interventionist. This has come out of sheer love for our Nepalese brethren, our historical ties and not due to economic considerations. An average Indian donated in the aftermath of massive earthquake not because we were told by our government to do so, but, because we were driven by the feeling of affinity for people of Nepal and the need to stand with them in their grief. The immediate relief work was more motivated by the need of humanity and not interventionist agenda. It was not to brag that we had done something great but to help a country in desperate need, the country for whom we have worked ceaselessly and whose people have served India as the shield of Iron whenever we have faced aggression.

Conclusion ::

An interventionist state tries to break apart factions, play them against one another and anybody who has closely followed struggle for democracy in Nepal can vouch for my claim that it was India that brought warring parties together to negotiate and pave way for democracy in Nepal. China was sitting and watching the democrats slay the communists and vice versa for it had nothing to lose in another bloody civil war in Nepal for the blood flowing in the streets would have been alien. India’s ‘taking note’ is simply to convey that equal opportunity and citizenship will transform Nepal true to the ideals of it’s democratic struggle where no caste, no ethnicity, no cultural barriers, no socialist, no democrat, no Nepali, no Madhesi and no Tharu mattered ,but, what mattered was love for Nepal and driving it towards people’s rule.

Mere congratulatory notes from despotic regimes do not convey the right intentions. The incoherence in stated and hidden motives conveys very well that neither Pakistan nor China would like to see a strong democracy in Nepal. Their aid..like the beef food is just a tool to lure Nepal in their trap. How hypocritical of China to arm the king’s forces to murder democracy and now acting like a saint. But, they don’t realize that the bonds between the people of our two great sovereign nations will withstand this test of time as Nepal will figure out the dragon’s interventionist agenda and continue to strengthen itself economically, socially and democratically. We wish all the best to Nepal and congratulate it’s people in their endeavor to make democracy a roaring success.

Via DefenceNews

India imposes blockade, Nepal looking to establish link with China

3:52 PM
Upping the ante, Nepal said it is looking at establishing contacts with China through land route and with other countries through air if the blockade on India border does not end soon.

Nepalese deputy PM and home minister, Bamdev Gautam told dna in an interview that it is keeping its options open and will not bow to any pressure.

“It is true that India is a strong country and a big economy but to live we will have to make alternative arrangements. It is within our rights to have alternative arrangements… Nepal has never bowed down to anyone and will not bow even now. We will establish contact with China through land and with other countries through air to get the essential supplies,” said Guatam.

Blaming squarely the government of India, Gautam said that all border check posts along Indian border have closed down and the Indian government has fully supported the blockade.
India imposes blockade, Nepal looking to establish link with China
Nepal cargo truck blockade
“Indian representatives say it is not Indian government’s policy but the Indian officials at the border have told us that they are doing it as per the instructions of their government. This blockade has been done in favour of Madhesi parties. About 29-30 years ago India had done blockade for several days when Rajiv Gandhi was the PM then Nepal showed that Nepal can never be bowed down due to blockade,” said Gautam.

People in Kathmandu have started feeling the pangs of the blockade on the India-Nepal border that continued for the fourth successive day. Several petrol pumps reported shortage of fuel supply in the valley and many turned the vehicles away.

Sources in the government said that the road leading to border check point with China at Tatopani near Sindhupal Chowk that was devastated in the earthquake is being rebuilt and will not take more than seven days to complete.

“It is hardly 114 kilometres from Kathmandu and once ready supplies can reach Kathmandu within 4-6 hours. The other border check point with China, Syapra Besi near Nuakot is also only 132 kilometres away and can be opened up in a few months if needed. China would be more than happy to help us,” said a highly-placed Nepalese government official.

India, however, considers this as more of a posturing by Nepal. Senior government sources dealing with the situation said, it is easier said than done as Nepal knows how much it depends on India, and the Chinese will also not be interested. Nepal is using this only as a bargaining chip.

“The Madhesis have genuine concerns which have not been met by Nepal’s constitution. Nepal would do well if it calls the Madhesis, listens to them and at least gives them some assurance to end this crisis and blockade,” said a senior official.

Via Daily News & Analysis‎

Over 5,000 vehicles stopped at Indo-Nepal border in Sunauli

2:49 PM
LUMBINI: Over 5,000 vehicles, including carrier trucks and tankers, have been stranded on the Indian side as India kept the Nepal-India border check point at Sunauli, close on Sunday also.
The vehicles, carrying different types of goods from India to Nepal, have queued up in a road stretch of 30 kilometre from south of Sunauli after the Indian Customs Office did not give them clearance to enter Nepal via Belhiya of Bhairahawa.

According to Nepali customs officials, the vehicles were stranded in India after the employees at Indian Customs Office started taking hours to check a single vehicle on the pretext of security.
Chief at Bhairahawa Customs Office, Lavanya Dhakal, said the Indian border security force Sashastra Seema Bal (SSB) forced some fuel tankers, which had reached the Belhiya check point after clearing customs, to return.

According to him, the state has faced a loss of millions of rupees as the cargo vehicles were not allowed to enter Nepal.
Over 5,000 vehicles stopped at Indo-Nepal border in Sunauli
Over 5,000 vehicles stopped at Indo-Nepal border in Sunauli
He informed that a total of 94 Nepal Oil Corporation tankers that are ferrying cooking gas and petroleum products from Baitalpur of India were not allowed to enter Nepal.

Meanwhile, around 20 vehicles, including four empty ones each laden with marbles and tiles, five with fruits and the others with fresh vegetables, entered Nepal today, according to Dhakal.
Earlier, around 350-400 vehicles used to enter Nepal from the customs point every day.

Source The Himalayan

India launched Astrosat first space observatory, joins select group

11:19 AM
India launched its first space observatory, Astrosat, from the country’s main space centre at Sriharikota in Andhra Pradesh on Monday, becoming a member of the select group of space organisations to have a lookout in orbit after the US, Japan, Russia and Europe.

The satellite was zoomed into space by a PSLV C-30 rocket from the Satish Dhawan Space Centre at 10am. Six customer satellites, one (micro) each from Canada and Indonesia, and four nano satellites from the US also rode along.

“The mission envisages an earth-orbiting scientific satellite with payloads capable of simultaneously observing the universe in the visible, ultraviolet and x-ray regions of the electromagnetic spectrum,” said an Indian Space Research Organisation (Isro) official.

The satellite launch comes just a year after Isro’s first interplanetary mission, Mangalyaan, entered the orbit of Mars and on the day Prime Minister Narendra Modi is due to meet President Barack Obama during his US trip. The mission will also be the first time the country will launch US satellites.
India launched Astrosat first space observatory, joins select group
India launched its first space observatory, Astrosat, on Monday, making it only the fifth space
organisation to do so. (ANI Photo)
The successful launch of India’s Mars orbiter last year came just days before Modi travelled to the US on his first trip after a landslide electoral victory.
The multi-wavelength mini Hubble-type space observatory, with an estimated cost of about Rs 180 crore and weighing 1,513 kg, will study distant stars, white dwarfs and pulsars. In particular, it will train its instruments at the massive black hole believed to exist at the centre of our Milky Way galaxy.

The Hubble launched by the US in 1990 is 10 times heavier than the Astrosat and is said to cost $2.5 billion. While the Hubble space telescope is still operational, India’s space observatory’s life span is five years.

Astrosat was launched into a 650km orbit carrying four X-ray payloads, one UV telescope and a charge particle monitor. Two of the payloads are in collaboration with the Canadian Space Agency and University of Leicester, UK.

The 44.4 metre-tall polar satellite launch vehicle (PSLV-XL) version is a four-stage rocket with six strap-on motors for additional thrust during the initial phase of the flight. The first and third stages are powered by solid fuel while the second and fourth stages are powered by liquid fuel which will be filled during the countdown.

The rocket with seven satellites cumulatively weighing 1,631 kg blasted off from the first launch pad of the rocket port.

This is the third time that an Indian rocket launched seven satellites in a single mission. In 2008, Isro had launched 10 satellites in one go, including India’s Cartosate-2A satellite.

Just over 22 minutes into the flight, the rocket will eject Astrosat. Soon after, six other satellites will be put into orbit and the whole mission will come to an end in just over 25 minutes.

The Indonesian 76 kg Lapan-A2 is a micro-satellite from the National Institute of Aeronautics and Space, meant for providing maritime surveillance using automatic identification system (AIS), supporting Indonesian radio amateur communities for disaster mitigation and carrying out earth surveillance using video and digital camera.

The 14 kg NLS-14 (Ev9) of Space Flight Laboratory, University of Toronto Institute for Advanced Studies, is also a maritime monitoring Canadian nano satellite using the next generation AIS.

The remaining four LEMUR nano satellites from Spire Global Inc, San Francisco, US, are non-visual remote sensing satellites, focusing primarily on global maritime intelligence through vessel tracking via AIS and high-fidelity weather forecasting using GPS radio occultation technology, the ISRO said.

Apart from Isro, four other Indian institutions - Tata Institute of Fundamental Research, Indian Institute of Astrophysics, Inter-University Centre for Astronomy and Astrophysics and Raman Research Institute - were involved in the payload development.

Source hindustantimes

India stopped fuel supplies to Nepal

12:14 AM
Nepal reels under fuel deficit as IOC stops supply

Writes Anil Giri (girianil@gmail.com)

The ongoing violent protests in Nepal's southern plains opposing the new constitution -- promulgated on September 20 -- have taken a toll on Nepal-India relations as petroleum major Indian Oil Corporation (IOC) has stopped fuel supplies to Nepal from its three depots.

IOC is the sole supplier of petroleum products to Nepal Oil Corporation (NOC) -- the sole distributor for these products in the Himalayan nation.

NOC on Friday said IOC refused to dispatch petroleum products from its Raxaul, Baitalpur and Siliguri depots, citing various reasons such as mechanical failure at the Baitalpur depot and orders from its headquarters to the Siliguri depot not to dispatch oil.

Friday was the second consecutive day that IOC sent no fresh supplies to NOC, it said.

Though the NOC claimed to be having enough fuel reserves, people were rushing to petrol pumps to fill their vehicles fearing an economic blockade.
India stopped fuel supplies to Nepal
KATHMANDU:  Twenty three tankers transporting petroleum products to Nepal from India have
been stopped at Raxual entry point since the last three days citing security reasons, Nepal Oil
Corporation (NOC) spokesperson Dipak Baral said. Pic via nepalmountainnews
Nepal had witnessed a 16-month economic and trade embargo beginning March 1989 imposed by India when people felt the scarcity of essential products and fuel for which Nepal is dependent on India.

The IOC has communicated to its Nepali counterpart that it would not supply petroleum products until the Terai unrest in Nepali was settled at the political level.

At Raxaul, a small town in Bihar's East Champaran district located on the India-Nepal border, tankers were not allowed to park inside the IOC depot.

"As the tankers can not wait for long outside the depot due to traffic congestion, they are reluctant to transport fuel from Raxaul," an NOC official said.

NOC imports petrol, diesel and aviation turbine fuel from various Indian depots, including Barauni, Raxaul, Baitalpur, Karnal, Mathura, Haldia, Banthara, Gonda and Siliguri.

It imports Liquefied Petroleum Gas (LPG) from Haldia, Barauni, Mathura and Panipat depots.

"Fifteen tankers were sent to the Siliguri refinery plant on Thursday. But the IOC refused to refill them citing 'orders' from its Mumbai-based head-office," said the NOC.

Of 30 fuel tankers sent to Baitalpur, only four received oil. "The Baitalpur depot has cited mechanical failure at its refinery." Likewise, out of 50 tankers sent to Raxaul, only three received fuel supplies.

According to the NOC, 62 tankers that were supposed to enter India on Thursday to import fuel were unable to go there due to a strike in Birgunj, a border town of Nepal.

Cadres of the Joint Madhesi Democratic Front (JMDF) -- spearheading the anti-constitution protests in the Nepal Terai -- have stationed themselves at the entry-exit points of the Nepal-India border to ensure that no truck movement takes place across the border.

"All the checkpoints have been blocked, supplies have been halted," said an official.


Via newkerala

India, Nepal set to sign agreement for oil pipeline: Indian Ambassador to Nepal

1:38 PM
KATHMANDU, 17 Aug 2015: India and Nepal are set to sign an agreement for the construction of the much-touted cross border oil pipeline for supplying petroleum products to the land- locked Himalayan country, India’s Ambassador to Nepal Ranjit Rae said in Kathmandu during the weekend.
India, Nepal set to sign agreement for oil pipeline: Indian Ambassador to Nepal
Oil pipeline
Addressing an interaction programme organised by Reporters Club Nepal to mark the 69th Independence Day of India, Rae said that if the two countries worked together and exploit the natural resources at their disposal, economic prosperity and poverty alleviation can both be attained.

Indian government had on Wednesday approved signing of the agreement to lay an oil pipeline from Raxaul in Bihar to Amlekhgunj in Nepal to supply petrol, diesel and Aviation Turbine Fuel and the re-engineering of Amlekhgunj Depot and allied facilities.

Indian Oil Corp (IOC) has agreed to foot the Rs 200 crore cost for constructing the 41-km pipeline, about 39 km of which would lie in Nepal, in exchange for Nepal committing to buy products for at least 15 years.

Nepal depends on India for meeting all of its fuel requirements.

Rae also underlined the need to implement a number of other agreements signed recently between the two countries, including Power Development Agreement and Infrastructure Development Agreement.
He said that Nepal needs to establish peace and stability for attaining economic prosperity and development, and India is ready to join hand with Nepal in its endeavours.

The Ambassador further said that India’s new government has adopted the policy of neighbourhood first, which is proven by the two visits paid by Prime Minister Narendra Modi to Nepal, after assuming power last year.

The recent earthquakes in Nepal have brought the two neighbours even closer, he added.

(PTI)

Metal band from ‪Darjeeling‬ to represent India in Germany

9:52 PM
Sanjog Chamling for IG

Darjeeling music has always made us proud and it's the heavy metal that has done us proud this time. The Gorkha‬ band SYCORAX from ‪Darjeeling is all set to represent India in Germany in an international Metal Battle. The metal band is leaving for Germany to compete in Wacken Metal Battle open air metal fest today.

India was the 27th country to be a part of the Wacken Metal Battle. 2011 saw the first Indian Metal battle band to play at Wacken Open Air. The band was called Eccentric Pendulum from Bangalore. This year  Sycorax is going to Germany after winning the finals of the Metal Battle at the Bangalore Open Air festival which was powered by Wacken Open Air.

About Wacken Open Air
Wacken Open Air (W:O:A) is a summer open-air heavy metal music festival which annually takes place in the small village of Wacken in Schleswig-Holstein, northern Germany. The festival was first held in 1990 as a small event for local German bands. Now it has become an international event and is usually held at the beginning of August.
SYCORAX from ‪Darjeeling‬ to represent INDIA in GERMANY
SYCORAX band members with the indian flag
About the band
Sycorax is a Thrash / Death Metal band from Darjeeling, that was formed in January 2011.The band plays heavy metal music and can be associated with many of its sub genre, with no one genre in particular to fit the musical style of the band, they have coined themselves as a band that plays "Pavitra Gorkha Metal".The band has currently recorded their debut album "Sycotherapy" which is slated to release this August. According to Reverbnation the band has performed in Marine Winter Metal Fest Kolkata, Wacken Metal Battle 2013 Guwahati ASSAM.
SYCORAX‬ band from ‪‎Darjeeling‬ performing at W.O.A. in Germany.
SYCORAX‬ band from ‪‎Darjeeling‬ performing at W.O.A. in Germany.
Ever since the bands inception in 2011 the band has been playing gigs in and around India and has opened for some of the international bands that have hit the Indian shores for the past few years

Band Members :
Trivinesh Subba - Vocals
Gautam Singh - Guitars
Ravi Singh - Bass
Ribesh Gurung - Drums

SYCORAX have already done us, Gorkhas, proud and they've already done themselves  proud. ... If  they do this just one more time they'll give us a day that all of us back home will never forget. Go win the Wacken Metal Battle open air metal fest.

NASA named the Pluto's mountain chain as "Norgay Montes" after Tenzing Norgay Sherpa

11:02 AM
Sanjog Chamling for IG

Scientists at NASA have named the Pluto's mountain chain as "Norgay Montes" after Tenzing Norgay Sherpa an Indian Gorkha Sherpa mountaineer.When Indian government have failed to confer Bharat Ratna to Tenzing, NASA have bestowed him with this prestigious honor.

NASA's New Horizons historic flyby of Pluto have found icy mountains ( "Norgay Montes") when the first zoomed-in image of Pluto was released on Wednesday. They think mountains, which was often referred to as just an icy orb before,  are made of water ice, but they still aren't sure what's causing them to form.

Pluto's mountain chain as "Norgay Montes"
Pluto's mountain chain "Norgay Montes"
People at home have been trying to recognize Tenzing  Sherpa's achievement by asking the Government to confer him with the Bharat Ratna which is the highest civilian award of the Republic of India. He was one of the first two individuals known to reach the summit of Mount Everest, which he accomplished with Edmund Hillary on 29 May 1953.

At the time when people have been trying to get some attention of the government regarding Sherpa's due right by placing the demand to rename Bagdogra airport after him and a request to confer Bharat Ratna to Tenzing, prestigious honor from NASA might play some role to reach the voice to the deaf ears of the concerned Indian authorities.


Gorkha ex-servicemen back in action in Nepal Earthquake mission

9:48 AM
As many as 1.25 lakh ex-servicemen from the Gorkha regiments of the Army, who are back in Nepal, have now been roped in for rescue operations. “We have contacted all the ex-servicemen from the Gorkha regiments,” a Defence Ministry spokesperson said. Army Chief General Dalbir Singh, from the Gurkha Rifles regiment, is the Honorary Chief of the Nepalese Army.

As Kathmandu continues to reel under aftershocks, the Indian Army has turned to its Gorkha network of serving and retired soldiers hailing from Nepal for better coordination of rescue and relief operations.

The Army, which has 39 battalions and seven Gorkha regiments comprising 38,000 troops, plans to use this network of serving soldiers backed by 1.25 lakh pensioners in Nepal to ensure relief reaches the right quarters.
A Buddha statue is surrounded by debris from a collapsed temple in the UNESCO
world heritage site of Bhaktapur on April 26, 2015 in Bhaktapur, Nepal.
Photograph: Omar Havana/Getty Images
Military officials are also planning to incorporate Gorkha troops in rescue and relief teams that will be sent out to Nepal. "It will help in utilising the local knowledge and language skills in assisting even the relief teams of NDRF, that have already been deployed to Nepal," said a senior official from the Gorkha Regiment.

The Army has already despatched to Kathmandu Major General Sandhu, a Gorkha officer, who will coordinate rescue and relief operations as the task force commander.

The task force will include troops from NDRF, the Indian Army and the Nepalese army.

All Gorkha units have already sent out small groups of troops that had families in Nepal and will continue to grant leaves to troops in batches.


Via Hindu and indiatimes

In Photos - Earthquake in Nepal 7.5 to 7.9 magnitude Massive Damage

2:45 PM
An Earthquake of magnitude  7.5 to 7.9 striked Nepal on 25th April 2015 which heavenly Damaged the capital city of Kathmandu. There was widespread devastation in Hanmandhoka area in the old area of Kathmandu. Several casualties were feared as buildings collapsed. Bhimsen tower collapsed in Nepal.

View the Photos of the Earthquake effected Areas in Nepal and India

Hundreds trapped as iconic Bhimsen Tower collapses - Nepal Earthquake
Hundreds trapped as iconic Bhimsen Tower collapses - Nepal Earthquake

Ekantipur is showing footage of bodies being piled up outside buildings that have collapsed
Bodies being piled up outside buildings that have collapsed

 Road Cracked - 7.5 m Earthquake Nepal 25th April 2015
 Road Cracked - 7.5 m Earthquake Nepal 25th April 2015

Building collapsed in Pradhan Nagar ‪‎Siliguri‬ Photo: I Love Siliguri
Building collapsed in Pradhan Nagar ‪‎Siliguri‬ Photo: I Love Siliguri India
In Photos - Earthquake in Nepal 7.5 to 7.9 magnitude Massive Damage
People Helping the injured 
Car crashed in the Quake
Car crashed in the Quake
 At least two deaths in Nepal. Toll likely to increase. - ibtimes
 At least two deaths in Nepal. Toll likely to increase. - ibtimes
Residents in Kathmandu have been injured in the earthquake
Residents in Kathmandu have been injured in the earthquake
Building collapsed by the Earthquake Nepal 2015
Building collapsed by the Earthquake Nepal 2015



Major ‎Earthquake in Nepal 7.5 Magnitude, Tremors felt in India

12:24 PM
A major ‎Earthquake jolts North India and Nepal today on April 25 , 2015 quake lasted for 15 to 20 seconds. As per the United States Geological Survey (USGS), the epicenter of the quake with magnitude 7.5 was Lamjung near Pokhara in Nepal.
Earthquake Nepal 25th April 2015
Earthquake Nepal 25th April 2015
Tremors were also felt in several parts of North and Eastern ‪India‬. Tremors were felt in Delhi-NCR, Uttar Pradesh, Haryana, Bihar and as far as Sikkim and Darjeeling. The earthquake-report.com reported that the quake was of about 4.5 Magnitude or more in Inaia and 7.5 in Nepal.
7.5 m Earthquake Nepal 25th april 2015
7.5 m Earthquake Nepal 25th April 2015
Some buildings have been damaged in the quake but there was no initial word on any casualties.


Dr. M P Lama Represents India in Joint Indo-Bangladesh Dialogue on Regional Security Issues

7:13 PM
Bangladesh Enterprise Institute (BEI) and New Delhi-based Observer Research Foundation (ORF) jointly organised the sixth dialogue on Security related issues.
Dr. M P Lama Represents India in Joint Indo-Bangladesh Dialogue on Regional Security Issues
Dr. Lama is the representative of Government of India in the South Asia Forum
The closed-door discussions are said to be of strategic importance, and on behalf of India Dr. Mahendra P Lama had attended the dialogue. In each dialogue only 10 researchers, scholars and think-tanks are allowed to attend.
Speaking at the occasion Bangladeshi foreign minister Abul Hassan Mahmood Ali said this kind of dialogues at the civil society level "strengthens the bridge of friendship” between Bangladesh and India.
Through engagements of almost all conceivable sectors of cooperation, he said, the relations became "increasingly interlinked".
Hassan said, “...straddling the crossroad of south and Southeast Asia, taking advantage of this unique geographical location Bangladesh is poised to play its natural role as the hub of connectivity. We are keen to establish connectivity for the whole region including India, because this would bring about unprecedented prosperity for all the countries.”
Dr. Lama is known to have spoken on the issue surrounding “Exchange of Natural Resources and Security Issues.”
Currently Dr. Lama is the representative of Government of India in the South Asia Forum.

Source: DC

Prof Mahendra‬ P Lama to speak on Energy Security in Pakistan

6:12 PM
Prof ‪P Lama has been invited by the Institute of Strategic Studies, Islamabad, to speak in the Global Conference on Narratives of National Security on November 25-26 at Islamabad.
Institute of Strategic Studies is the most eminent think tank of Pakistan on various issues of International Relations in Pakistan.
Prof Mahendra‬ P Lama to speak on Energy Security in Pakistan
Prof Mahendra‬ P Lama 
Very noted speakers from around the world will be addressing this Conference on various themes of national security. The Conference would be inaugurated by Shri Khawaja Muhammad Asif, Federal Minister for Water and Power & Additional Charge of Defense Ministry – Government of Pakistan.
Prof Lama would be speaking on “Security Issues in Cross Border Energy Trade: Framework for South Asia”. He would mainly highlight the strong possibility of signing of an agreement for the free exchange of energy among South Asian countries in the forthcoming SAARC Summit in Kathmandu on 26-27th November.
He would present the security issues related to cross border transmission lines on which Prof Lama has worked extensively in the last 20 years.
While on his way to Pakistan he would also speak in the University of Dubai in the United Arab Emirates.

Source: kalimpongnews

Pratik Chhetri to represent India at an international Youth Exchance program

10:15 AM
NCC
Pratik Chettri, an Indian Gorkha,  has been selected out of over 13 lakh NCC cadets to represent India at international Youth Exchance program, and will be travelling to Singapore shortly.
Pratik Chhetri selected to represent India at an international level
Pratik Chhetri selected to represent India at an international level 
Pratik son of Mr Tulsi and Mrs. Monu Chhetri is originally a resident of Gadadharpally, in upper Bagdogra and is studying Computer Science (Hons) at the St. Joseph’s College, Darjeeling.

At only 20 years old, Pratik has participated in many NCC camps in India and internationally, including the prestigious Republic Day Parade, where he got a chance to meet the then Defense Minister of India, Shri. A K Antony.

Pratik hopes to join army and sees his mom and dad as his inspiration and role model. Ever humble, Pratik attributes his success and interest at NCC to SUO Rohan Chettri, SUO Brijesh Yadav , SUO Roshan Tamang , and SUO Bishal Gond.

As Pratik is set to represent India at the international level, we wish him luck and pray for his stand out performance in the program.

Through your grit, determination, sincerity and hard work Pratik you have upheld the Great GORKHALI name and tradition of excellence, which our forefathers have earned through their blood and sweat. It is youngsters like you who are helping to redefine the Gorkhali identity.

Source: Dibya Chettri for DC

GTA offered land for Thai Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling

12:23 PM
 GTA (Gorkhaland Territorial Administration) Sabha today offered land to a visiting Thai delegation to set up a Buddhist monastery here and decided to take steps to strengthen cultural ties between Darjeeling and Thailand.
GTA offered land for Thai Buddhist monastery in Darjeeling
statues of the Buddha and his two disciples which were installed at Dichen Tashi
Choling Gumba at Singtam; (right) Gurung rides an all-terrain vehicle
to reach Singtam on Sunday.
The 31-member Thai delegation which comprised a former minister, serving generals and entrepreneurs, was in the hills to attend a ceremony in which the statues of Buddha and two disciples were installed today at Dichen Tashi Choling Gumba at Singtam, 8km from here.

GTA chief executive Bimal Gurung was present at the consecration that was also attended by Harsh Vardhan Shringla, the Indian ambassador to Thailand.

After the ceremony, the Thai delegates made a courtesy call on Gurung at the Gorkha Rangamanch Bhavan in Darjeeling.

After the meeting, Gurung said: “The GTA has decided to give land to them to set up a monastery in Darjeeling. They will build the monastery in their own architectural style.”

Buddhists constitute over 30 per cent of the hill population.

The GTA has also decided to strengthen the ties with Thai nationals. “Since there are a number of Thai students studying in the hills, we have decided to organise cultural programmes involving them and local children in Darjeeling every week. The GTA will also look after the welfare of the Thai students and ensure that they do not face any problem in the hills.”

Gurung said: “There was also a discussion on the possibility of working together in tourism, agriculture, food-processing and horticulture. They have invited a GTA delegation to Thailand. We will be going there, possibly in January, to take today’s discussion further.”

The Indian ambassador said there was considerable interest about Darjeeling in Thailand.

“In Thailand, when you say you are from Darjeeling, there is lot of interest as the people there are not only aware of the place — as many Thais who are holding high posts have studied in Darjeeling and also see Darjeeling as a beautiful place with strong cultural heritage,” said Shringla.

The four-foot Buddha statue and the statues of his two disciples had been donated by 37 Thai nationals who had pooled in around 1 million baht, which roughly translates to nearly Rs 20 lakh. Of the 37 people, 31 visited Darjeeling to attend the statues’ consecration.

Nalinee Taveesin, a former minister attachéd with the Prime Minister’s office of Thailand and the co-ordinator of the Thai group, said all the delegates were batchmates at National Defence College in Thailand. “We have also collected Rs 1.5 lakh for the Singtam monastery,” said Taveesin.

During her address at the monastery, Taveesin said: “We are all very delighted to be part of this auspicious occasion (consecration). We thought we would only be sending the statues but we have actually come here.”

As the condition of the road from Darjeeling to Singtam was bad, the Thai delegates had to be ferried in two different types of vehicles (with local drivers being used to ride over a difficult hill patch) to reach the monastery.

Gurung arrived at the venue in an all-terrain vehicle.

The delegation also handed out 300 replicas of the Buddha statue and two cartons of medical kits to the management committee of the monastery to be distributed among the people.

Taveesin had studied at Mount Hermon in Darjeeling. The Thai initiative was basically worked out by Shringla and the Darjeeling based Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association.

S.L. Palzor, president of the association, said: “People of Singtam have constructed the gumba (monastery) with their own contribution. Since they did not have a statue, we got in touch with Harsh Vardhan Shringla and everything fell into place within three to four months.”

Source: Telegraph

Darjeeling monastry to receive Buddha statue from Thailand

9:46 AM
A 31-member delegation from Thailand will present a bronze Buddha statue to a monastery in Darjeeling on October 26 as part of a philanthropic endeavour.
Darjeeling monastry to receive bronze Buddha statue from Thailand
File photo: Buddha statue
The Thai delegation is scheduled to arrive in Darjeeling on October 25 accompanied by Indian ambassador to Thailand Harsha Vardhan Shringla.

Darjeeling Eastern Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association (DEHBCA) S.L.Palzor said on Wednesday:  “One of our members in Delhi was informed about some people from Thailand wanting to donate a

statue of Buddha in India. He referred the name of Dichen TashiCholing Gumba located at Gopal Dhura in Singtam Darjeeling which was then approved by the Indian Ambassador to Thailand”.

Besides the Buddha statue, the Thai delegation will also present two statues of revered monks to the Singtam tea estate monastery. “The presentation of the statues from Thailand to the Singtam monastery is being coordinated by the Himalayan Buddhist Cultural Association,” said Palzor.

It is learnt that the monastery has Singtam did not have a proper statue. However when the proposal was made the monastery committee accepted it in the hope that it would benefit the devotees of the area who flock to offer prayer.

Source:EOI

SSB seminar on building Indo-Nepal ties

9:45 AM
The 19th Battalion of the Seema Sashastra Bal today held a seminar on ‘Role of the SSB in invigorating Indo-Nepal Relations’ here at the sector headquarters.

 A photo shoot at the SSB seminar Monday afternoon.
 A photo shoot at the SSB seminar Monday afternoon.
The Indo-Nepal border stretches across 99km and is dotted by 18 border outposts. Taking this into consideration, the seminar was organised to create a better understanding between the SSB and media persons in terms of the Indo-Nepal border and also to inform the latter about the facilities being provided by the SSB to those living along the border including various development and social activities.

The SSB monitors the Indo-Nepal and Indo-Bhutan borders and has been doing so for several decades. In order to maintain friendly ties between locals living along the border, the SSB conducts awareness and medical camps and also provides computers, books and other necessary items to the needy.

During the seminar, SSB personnel noted the scenario along the Indo-Nepal border is by and large peaceful and also claimed illegal activities such as human trafficking and smuggling are rate compared to other border areas.

The SSB officials also spoke about the poor conditions of roads in Ribdi, Uttarey and Nambhu, places that border Nepal, adding electricity and water problems are a regular affair in the areas. They said road conditions across the border are much better, while only a few outposts of the SSB are connected by road.

SSB deputy commandant MK Singh said the morale of the jawans is positive as officials visit them regularly and take care of their basic needs of food, clothing and phone connectivity including their leaves.

PIB director CK Dorjee, the chief guest at the seminar, lauded the SSB’s services as it provides both security in border areas and keeps an eye on illegal activities. He said Nepal and India share a common culture and traditions and as India is the bigger of the two, it wants Nepal to sustain politically and economically. (PIB)


Source: EOI


Nepali short film Ek Dhakar Jiwan bags international Best Short Film Peace Award

9:58 AM
A short Nepali film “Ek Dhakar Jiwan / The Beaten Path” produced and directed by a Kurseong lad, Phurba Tshering Lama has won the Best Short Film Peace Award in the just concluded Gothenburg Independent Film Festival in Sweden.


Phurba Tshering Lama, Producer and Director of 'Ek Dhakar Jiwan' from Kurseong.
Phurba Tshering Lama, Producer and Director of
 'Ek Dhakar Jiwan' from Kurseong.
Lama informed a total of 65 films from 30 different countries were screened in the inaugural or the first Gothenburg Independent Film Festival from May 22 to 25, in Sweden. "There were three films from India. The films from India were Vivek Budakoti’s 'Pied Piper', Utpal Borpujari’s 'Songs of the Blue Hills' and 'Ek Dhakar Jiwan / The Beaten Path'. These films were selected and nominated for the film festival on different categories," he added.

Lama also informed that his 27 minute Nepali-language film is based on a short story ‘Manchhey Manchheyko Busty Bhitra’ written by Gupta Pradhan, a renowned Nepali littérateur from Ghoom/Darjeeling. The story revolves around Balvir, a porter, who lives and coexists in the grand mosaic of nature like any other entity. However, his human spirit yearns to understand life especially from a sense of disorientation and confusion as a result of the material world.

It was learnt that Phurba Tshering Lama’s short film “Ek Dhakar Jiwan” has also been selected for screening at the upcoming SIGNS Film Festival to be held in Kochi from May 28 - June 1.

Notably, after completing his graduation from NP College, Darjeeling, Lama completed the course of direction in the Films & Television Institute of India, (FTII), Pune in 2010 and for the past few years he has been involved in different films on different aspects in Mumbai and in Nepal. His 27 minute short film was shot in Sikkim last year and after mixing and editing in Mumbai the film was completed in the month of February 2014. Lama is also targeting to participate in more film festival.

Lama has credited his success to his father Jay Prakash Lama and mother Prabha Lama.

Source: EOI

 
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