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)
Why should we save the ethos of 2015 Nepali constitution?
While Nepal should address voices that question the constitution, it should not undermine the document’s dignity and longevity if the country wants to establish a constitutional culture. No constitution can fulfill all wishes. The drafters of the present constitution should not feel guilty in not securing the consent of all citizens. If the constitution is not fundamentally discriminatory, it has chances to grow further.
One Belt One Road: Prospects & Challenges
Nepal thus has to debate, discuss, analyze and then conclude the cost and benefits of the OBOR for its populace. The benefits of OBOR for Nepali economy are easy to understand, but the short, medium and long-term consequences are not simple, and thus require careful examination.
Dreams and drains
A water-filled ditch looks quite benign until someone lands into it. It was a case of extreme apathy on the part of the perpetrators as the girl paid up with her life for their neglect.
Govt apathy toward flood control
While some opine that, relief can be an option for providing an instant solution, the majority believes that Nepal needs a permanent solution to the problem. And the solution could be construction of dams and water reservoirs, which are the best instruments for flood control.
Traffic Police in Kathmandu
As busy and hassling as the traffic system in Kathmandu is, the Traffic Police here have to handle an equally strenuous job. Over 1,400 traffic officers in and around the Kathmandu Valley battle against the pestering traffic and air pollution each day.
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.