A right time to look for alternative fuel
Nepal is recognized internationally for its high conservation standards in community forestry program. Not long ago, the country’s vast stretch of forest was reduced to half by massive deforestation until community forestry came into the effect: the rate of forest shrinkage was 1.7% per annum in 1978, which decreased to 0.06% in 2000 according to Ministry of Forests and Soil Conservation.
If the soaring fuel crisis resulting from India's blockade escalates, there is a risk of another massive deforestation as people seek alternative to petroleum products.
Nepal’s forests are already under mounting pressure after two massive earthquakes that struck the country in April this year increased demand for timber for reconstruction and construction-related industries as brick kilns. The shortage of petroleum products may intensify logging to meet energy needs of people in the cities. Although the share of petroleum product is less than 10% as cooking fuel, most people in urban areas heavily rely on LPG gas and kerosene. Village folks use kerosene and firewood with 59% of fuel wood in the country coming from forests. Although biogas has been gaining popularity recently, this option is not available to all. Indeed, of the total annual energy consumed, only 0.56 precent of residential uses is produced from renewable sources.
As Nepal reels under petroleum shortage, it unfortunately does not have many options to weigh. While cleaner energy such as electricity can be an option in long term, for short term, rationing of fuel and increasing fuel efficiency could help. Electric vehicles can be of great use. Cycling has already become poplar mode of travel, and its use has been intensified in the cities after the blockade. In the meantime, this shortage needs to be dealt immediately to prevent illegal logging.
Nepal’s complete dependence on petroleum products as fuel needs change. Biofuels can be explored. Government of Nepal started Biofuel Programme through Alternative Energy Promotion Centre in 2008, however progress remains slow. Nepal’s march to cleaner energy is not only expected but essential as an alternative to petroleum products is strongly felt among public and political circle. This sentiment should be used as an opportunity to tap Nepal's vast hydroelectricity potential (currently Nepal utilizes only 1% of its hydro-electric potential from its vast river system). However, it all depends on political commitment and how well Nepal can invest its scarce resources amidst conflicting priorities.
(Mishra is a Public Health student at The University of Western Australia)
Calling for a Public Debate on CSOs
The solution suggested by many, i.e. delegitimizing and killing off NGOs through regulatory mechanisms, harks back to the days of the Partyless Panchayat System, when the right to organize and associate freely was overridden by the state’s preoccupation with control, coordination, and uniformity.
Nepal facing disaster in the recovery from earthquakes
The disaster in earthquake recovery is as visible in the politics of power around the national disaster recovery institutions and aid-funded programs, as in local places where the earthquake victims continue to struggle for rebuilding houses and regain a normal life, for nearly two years now.
Dr Hemant R Ojha
Ideologies on T-shirts
In my opinion, Buddha was a great revolutionary, as was Einstein. Anything that challenges the present way of thinking about life is a revolution. In student politics, when it comes to revolution, the only blood I want to imagine being used is that flows into your brain and comes out energized with new ideas with every heartbeat.
Rules are made with keeping greater public safety in mind and mandatory helmet rule is an example. But it is equally true that majority of riders do not care to strap helmets as necessary.
Menstrual taboo outdated
I have seen my sisters and friends isolated and treated in discriminatory manner during their first menstruation cycle. They were not allowed to look at the sun, to touch water source, flower, fruits, any male family member, nor even hear their voice. The activist may claim the situation has changed and I do agree but still during every month my loved ones turns into untouchables beings.
Physicians are humans too!
To err is human. People make mistakes. Clinicians are no exception. But as soon as a patient or a person enters a doctor’s room, he or she forgets that the doctor too is a human being and expects too much from him or her.