Aug 31, 2010

कठैबरा काठमाडौंबासी !

Garbage Depot at Minbhawan
एकपल्ट फेरी काठमाडौंबासीहरुको बिजोग भएको छ । कथित सुकिला मुकिलाहरुको घर ,चोक र गल्लि-गल्लीमा फोहोरको डुङुर जम्मा भएको छ । कारण फोहोर फाल्न प्रयोग गरिरखिएको ठाउँ -ओखरपौवा-बासीको अबरोध ।  फोहोर फाल्ने जिम्मा पायेको काठमाडौं महानगरपालिकाको भरपुर प्रयासका बाबजुद गत एक हप्ता देखि काठमाडौंको फोहोर उठ्न सकिराखेको थिएन ।केही सीप नलागेर कामपा बल प्रयोग गरेरै भए पनि फोहोर फाल्ने मनस्थितिमा पुगिसकेको थियोबल्ल बल्ल हिजो भएको ओखरपौवाबासी र स्थानीय विकास मन्त्रालयबीच हिजो भएको चार बूँदे सहमति पनि १२ घण्टा नबित्दै तोडिएको छ । धेरै दिन देखि फोहोर उठ्न नसकेपछी  काठमाडौँका मुख्य स्थानहरुमा दुर्गन्ध फैलिएर महामारीको चिन्ता बढेको छ। 

ओखरपौवाबासीले फोहोर फाल्न अबरोध गरेको पहिलो वा दोस्रो पटक होईन । काठमाडौंबासीको कमजोर नशा पत्ता लगाएका उनीहरु समय समयमा फोहोर फाल्ने काम अबरुद्ध गरेर आफ्ना जायज-नाजायज मागहरु प्रस्तुत गर्न पोख्त भैसके । यो शायद ३१ औ पटकको अबरोध हो । ओखरपौवाबासीको मागहरु जयाज हुन वा होइनन भन्दा पनि यहाँ मेरो लागि मुख्य बिषय भनेको हामी काठमाडौंबासीको परनिर्भरता र निर्लज्जपन हो । आफुले गरेको फोहोर समेत आफैले तह लगाउन नसक्ने ,आफुले गरेको फोहोर सरकारले आएर तह लगाइदेओस भन्ने सोच राख्नु परनिर्भरताको परकास्ठा हो । तेसै गरि आफ्नो फोहोर अर्काको मा फाल्न जादा फाल्न दिएन भनेर बल प्रयोग गरेर फाल्छु भन्नु निर्लज्जताको परकास्ठा ।  

अर्थविद डा. भोला चालिसेको भनाईमा भन्नुपर्दा "नेपालमा शासक वर्गको थातथलो काठमाडौंका जनतामा शौचालय गैसकेपछी आफ्नो फोहोर भएको अङगसमेत सरकारले पुछिदिनु पर्छ भन्ने सम्मको धारणा छ । अहिलेको नेपालको शिक्षित वर्गमात्र नभएर शिक्षित युवासमेतको सोच आफ्नो आगनमा भएको फोहोर अली कमजोर छिमेकीको आगन्मा मिल्काउन खोज्दा छिमेकीले बिरोध गर्‍यो भने सरकारले छिमेकीलाई प्रहरीद्वारा पिटाएर फोहोर मिल्काउन लगाउनुपर्छ भन्ने छ ।"

के हामी काठमाडौंबासीहरु आफुले गरेको फोहोर समेत आफैले तह लगाउन सक्दैनौ ?बर्सेनी करोडौ रुपैया खर्च गरेर अहिलेजस्तो अनुत्पादक तरिकाले फोहोर व्यवस्थापन गर्नु भन्दा नीजी क्षेत्र लाई फोहोर ब्यबस्थापन गर्न दिएर कामपाले अरु शान्तिसुरक्षा जस्ता आवश्यक बिषयमा चाँही बढी श्रोत खर्च गर्ने हो की ? नीजी क्षेत्रले फोहोर ब्यबस्थपन गरेर उल्टो फोहोर बाट धन उपार्जन गरिरहेका उदाहरण धेरै छन् । काठमाडौंकै कतिपय ठाउमा पनि नीजी क्षेत्रले फोहोर ब्यबस्थपन गरिराखेका उदाहरण छन् । कतिपय ब्यक्तिहरुसँग मैले एस्तो तर्क गर्दा उनीहरुको जवाफ एस्तो हुन्छ "नीजी क्षेत्र त नफाखोर हुन्छ । फोहोरमा समेत नाफा खोज्छन । " ए बाबा ! झन फोहोरबाट समेत धन उपार्जन गर्नु त राम्रो कुरा हो नी होईन र ? अहिले फाल्नलाई पैसा खर्च गरिराख्नु परेको फोहोरबाट कसैले उल्टो पैसा कमाउछ भने के त्यो अनैतिक हो ?

( १६ भाद्र २०६७ को नागरिकमा प्रकाशित )

Aug 29, 2010

Long Live our Merciful Maaliks!! Thank you for the MRPs!!

I can't tell you how relieved I feel that now our "Maaliks " have finally decided to let us have machine readable passports (MRPs). The International Civil Aviation Organization (ICAO) had made it mandatory for all countries to introduce MRPs by April 1, 2010 owing to valid security concerns of many countries.And guess what? It had notified all the member countries of its decision 10 years ago. But our "Maaliks" thought who the heck is ICAO to order us around and infringe on our sovereignty and besides ICAO forgot to allocate some economic incentives for our "Maaliks".

So, as it was bound to happen, we missed the deadline of April 1 and ICAO sent another notification. "Maaliks" decided to play it along and asked for the extension of deadline up to 1st August. And missed it again and asked once again for an extension. Luckily, ICAO didn't lose its temper and extended the deadline once again up to 1st December 2010. As everyone knows "Sujata Maalikni" and "Madhav Kumar Maalik" were the main proponents of this fun game with ICAO. Sujata Maalikni had devised an ingenious way of making some money for her by letting India print all the passports. However, other Maaliks and public failed to show any appreciation for her ingenuity and didn't let her get her way. Maalikni was so upset with our insensitivity that she tried her best to hamper this process of ceding to ICAO. And Madhav Maalik tried his best to support her.

In the meanwhile, we were facing many hardships while traveling out of the country. For some period none of us were granted any passports (even the old ones) as they became unusable and many of us had to forgo our job opportunities in foreign countries , after that when Maaliks decided to let us have older model passports, the queues of people applying for it got longer than the queues for "Sim Card" or even longer than "KFC queues" for that matter and some lucky ones who already had passports , like Dr. Ramesh Khatry were facing public embarrassments in foreigner's lands. I later understood why the man at the Hong Kong airport gave me an irritated look when I showed him my passport with handwritten details.

But now we no more need to worry as our Maaliks have become merciful and finally decided to let us have the passports. Some French company is printing them for us , they say. I wonder what measure of incentive did our Maaliks devised finally so that to think it's okay for us to have MRPs. A pen-friend of mine  from abroad says that "we should be free to live and work anywhere in the world without restriction.It's our right. No government should be allowed to infringe on this right" but I don't believe him. If our Maaliks say we should travel then we should travel. If our Maaliks say working abroad and earning better money and better living standard is bad, then it's bad!! And all I know and care now is that our Maaliks are so merciful. They are going to let us have Machine Readable Passports!! 

Long Live our merciful Maaliks!! Long Live!!

Aug 27, 2010

केही स्वतन्त्रताप्रेमी भनाईहरु-३

  1. प्रत्येक महान र प्रेरणादायी कुरा, स्वतन्त्रता पूर्वक काम  गर्न पाएको ब्यक्तिले सृजना गरेको हुन्छ ।  – Albert Einstein
  2. स्वतन्त्रता भनेको उत्तरदायित्व हो । तेही भएर प्राय मान्छे यस देखी डर मान्छन ।   – George Bernard Shaw
  3. सम्विधान सरकारले जनतालाई नियन्त्रण गर्नको लागी बनाइएको उपकरण होईन । यो त सरकारलाई जनताले नियन्त्रण गर्न बनाइएको उपकरण हो ताकी एस्ले हाम्रो जिवन र हीतमाथी दमन गर्न नआओस ।   – Patrick Henry
  4. यदी हामी आफूले घृणा गर्ने ब्यक्तिको वाक स्वतन्त्रतामा बिश्वास गर्दैनौ भने हामी वाक स्वतन्त्रतामा नै बिश्वास गर्दैनौ ।   – Noam Chomsky
  5. तपाईको जिवनमा सधै नै कोही न कोही यस्तो ब्यक्ती अवश्य हुन्छ जस्ले तपाईलाई  केहि नगर नगर भनिरहेको हुन्छ । मुख्य कुरा के हो भने , तपाई उसलाई ध्यानै नदिनोस ।  – Tim Robbins
  6.  राजनितिमा सम्लग्न हुन नचाहनुले तपाईले पाउने एउटा सजाय हो, निम्न स्तरकाहरुबाट शासित हुन पुग्नु ।  – Plato
  7. जब सामानहरुले सीमा पार गर्दैनन तब सेनाले सीमा पार गर्छन ।   – Fredric Bastiat
  8. प्राय: जस्तो दासताको बाटो कस्तो हुन्छ भने, पहिले उनिहरुले तपाईको बन्दुक खोस्छन्, तेसपछी तपाईको सम्पती खोस्छन र अन्तिममा तपाईलाई चुप लाग्न र रमाइलो भैरहेको छ भन्न आदेश दिन्छन ।   – James A. Donald
  9. प्रत्येक मान्छेसँग आफैंमा एउटा यस्तो सम्पती हुन्छ जसमाथी उस्को बहेक अरु कसैको हक लाग्दैन । त्यो हो उस्को शरीरको श्रम र उस्को हातको काम ।    – John Locke
  10. म राजनितिमा चाख यसकारण राख्छु ताकी मैले कुनै दिन यसमाथि चाख राख्नु नपरोस ।   – Ayn Rand

चुरोट आधरभूत आवश्यक्ता हो... ए होईन! हो हो!! होईन होईन!!

क्युबामा सरकारले सहुलियतमा दिदै आएको चुरोटको सेवा बन्द गरेको समाचार सुन्दा मेरो हासोको सीमा रहेन ।  कुनै देशका सरकार(जस्तै नेपाल्) जनतालाई चुरोट हनिकारक हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा थाहा हुँदैन तेही भएर कानून बनाएर चुरोट खानबाट रोक्नुपर्छ भन्ने सोच्छन्, कुनै देशका सरकार भने चुरोट आधरभूत आवश्यकता हो भन्दै सहुलीयतमा जनतालाई चुरोट उपलब्ध गराउछन । यो सरकार भन्ने जन्तु चै साह्रै रमाइलो हुदो रहेछ चाहे त्यो जहाँकै किन नहोस । अझ अधिनयकबादी देशका सरकारहरु को त कुरै छोडिदिउ ।   प्रहसन हेरे जत्तिकै रमाइलो । 
 
ईन्टरनेट जस्तो कुरा चै २१ औ शताब्दीको रोग रे , चुरोट चै आधरभूत आवश्यक्ता रे । अहिले आएर खर्च ले धान्न नसके पछी चै चुरोट आधरभूत आवश्यक्ता होईन रे ।  हैन , के कुरा आधारभूत आवश्यक्ता हो, के कुरा आधारभूत अवश्यक्ता होईन भन्ने कुरा तोक्ने नैतिक अधिकार सरकारमा छ ?

How to be kind and generous-our government's way?

If not anything else, our state run public enterprises have always provided us with enough reasons to be ashamed of them.  From Nepal Telecommunications Corporation of the past which used to take just about a decade to provide a single telephone line, to Nepal Airlines Corporation, which came up with a brilliant idea of looting us in broad daylight by buying airplanes in higher than the competitive prices, our public enterprises have been very competitive in committing acts of pure corruption and causing public embarrassment. Not only the above mentioned entities but entities like Nepal Electricity Authority who has brilliantly designed and implemented the service of load-shedding and Salt Trading Corporation which dreams of selling products in prices higher than market prices despite receiving government subsidies – they all deserve equal accolade when talking about shamelessness. However, Nepal Oil Corporation with its recent staff bonus scandal proved itself to be very serious on being the forerunner of shameless acts.

Though general public and CIAA failed to appreciate, when NOC’s managing director Digambar Jha decided to be generous by providing bonus to his dear employees, he was trying pretty hard to impart the thought typical to Nepal’s policy practices, “always be kind and generous but at someone else’s expense.” You may find it surprising but the events that have led to this state of NOC were purely based on this principle itself. Didn’t get it? Well, one fine day in the past, the government thought that the general public couldn’t pay for the expensive petroleum products and Nepalese people didn’t know at all about the search for alternatives if something got expensive or alter the amount of consumption to adjust to the increased prices. So the government decided to be generous and provide us with subsidies. Despite our general belief, it’s a fact that there’s nothing such as free lunch in the world. So who is to cover the losses?? Of course, the government! Who is to finance the government? Of course, the general public!  And to our surprise, we realized that the cost of financing the losses of NOC were even greater than the amount of expense we would have to pay for the petroleum products had they been allowed to be priced in the market prices. Hence, Nepal government made an example of its kindness at our expense; it’s as simple as that.

Curious? You have treasures of examples to explore in this regard. Just look at any of the public enterprises our government has created with this very noble intention. The major reasons for which our state has spent billions and continues spending millions in various public enterprises ranging from match factory to tannery is that it wants to provide us (people with political connections at least) with jobs and also wants us to provide us with goods and services so that they don’t cost us an arm and a leg.  The state has spent about 123.85 billion in various public enterprises which generate a return of about 1.8 percent in aggregate .You may wonder that is too low as compared to private sector which would have at least generated something in two digits but remember the government is not supposed to make profits! Out of the 123.85 billion, the assets have depreciated to about 81.92 billion, 33 percent less than the original value. The loan has accumulated to 83 billion and unfunded contingencies are about 21.31 billion. And a total of 37,000 people are being employed by these enterprises. So, calculating the amount, more than 60,000 rupees is being spent per person (not including the salaries, benefits, pensions etc.) to provide employment. And of course, the recent trends of generosity, “bonus” hasn’t been included in these figures yet. Who pays for all of these costs you may ask? Of course, Nepalese citizens should be proud to be supporting such noble causes. Residents of Jajarkot are paying for it forgoing their medicines that could have saved their lives from diarrhea; people in Jumla are paying for it forgoing the infrastructures in their places. That’s the way it works; “be kind and generous but at someone else’s expenses”.

Aug 13, 2010

स्वतन्त्र बजार र कार्टेलिङ :कती ठिक , कती बेठिक ?

सारा नेपाली जनता मुल्यबृद्धीको पासोमा निस्सासीरहेको अवस्थामा ब्यापारिक सँगठनहरुले  खुल्लम खुल्ला उपभोक्ता बस्तुको मुल्य तोकेर जनतालाई सास्ती दिरहेको र अझ आफुले तोकेको मुल्य लागु गर्न आबद्ध ब्यबसायीहरुलाई धम्की समेत दिरहेको देख्दा देख्दै सरकार मौन बस्नु उदेक लाग्दो कुरा हो । र यसबाट सरकार जनताको हितलाई लिएर कत्तीको चिन्तित छ भन्ने कुरा प्रस्ट रुपमा झल्कन्छ । 

आपसी सहमतीमा मुल्य निर्धारण गर्नु आफैमा स्वतन्त्र बजारको भावना बिपरीत नभए पनि बल्जफ्ती मुल्य असुल्नका लागी कर गराउनु र कुनै पनि सँगठनमा आबद्ध नभै ब्यापार गर्न नपाउने अवस्था सृजना गर्नु भने स्वतन्त्र बजारको मर्म बिपरीत मात्र नभै गैर्-कनूनी अपराधिक कृयाकलाप पनि हो ।  यस्ता अपराधिक कृयाकलापले गर्दा जनताले तेस्तो दुख पाइराख्दा पनि समबन्धित निकायहरु के हेरेर बसी रहेकाछन ?

 स्वतन्त्र बजार र कार्टेलिङ 

स्वतन्त्र बजारको अवधारणा अन्तर्गत मुल्य निर्धारण आफैमा अनैतिक होईन । आफ्नो सामान बिना बल प्रयोग आफुले चाहेको मुल्यमा बेच्न पाउनु ब्यक्तिको नैसर्गिक अधिकार हो । र स्वतन्त्र बजारको एउटा प्रमुख मुल्य-मान्यता नै के हो भने कुनै पनि ब्यक्तिलाई उस्को सामान उस्ले चाहेको भन्दा अरु मुल्यमा बेच्न बल प्रयोग गरी बाध्य गराउन पाइदैन । मेरो कलम म १० रुपैयाँमा बेच्न चाहन्छु भने मलाई उक्त कलम ८ रुपैयाँमा बेच्न बाध्य गराउनु अनैतिक काम हो ।  

र कहिले काही स्वतन्त्र बजारमा कारटेल देखिन्छन पनि तर स्वतन्त्र बजारको सुन्दरता नै के हो भने यदी निजी ब्यक्ती वा सरकारले बल प्रयोग नगर्ने हो भने स्वतन्त्र बजारमा आएका कारटेलहरु स्वत हराएर जान्छन । किनकी एउटा स्वतन्त्र बजारमा कारटेल्ले मुल्य बृद्धी गरेर नाफा कमाएको थाहा पाउना साथ अन्य कुनै ब्यक्तिले कम मुल्यमा उक्त बस्तु वा सेवा प्रदान गरेर प्रतिस्पर्धामा उतृन सक्छ । जसले गर्दा कारटेलको औचित्य रहदैन ।  

तर जब यस्ता कारटेल हरुले बल प्रयोग गरेर मुल्य निर्धारन गर्न थाल्छन अनि बजारमा नया ब्यक्ती वा ब्यापार लाई प्रबेश गर्नबाट रोक लगाउछन तब त्यो स्वतन्त्र बजारको मुल्य-मान्यता बिपरित हुन जान्छ । यस्तो काम अनैतिक मात्र नभएर अपराधिक पनि हो । 

हाम्रो परिरेक्ष्यमा 

नेपालको परिप्रेक्ष्यमा भने कारटेल हरु पूर्ण रुपमा गैर्-कानूनी रुपमा सन्चालन भैरेहेका छन । उनिहरु आफुले भनेको मुल्य निर्धारन नगरेमा बल प्रयोग गर्ने मात्र होईन बजारमा नया सेवा प्रदायकले पर्बेश गर्न खोजेमा हिन्सा प्रयोग गर्न पनि पछिपरेका छैनन । जस्तै उदहरणका लागी नाई संघलाई नै लिऊ । कुनै न कुनै नाई संघमा दर्ता नभै नाईले आफ्नो ब्यापार सन्चालन गर्न सक्ने अवस्था छैन ।  

अर्को उदाहरण यातायातको क्षेत्रमा देख्न सकिन्छ । कुख्यात अरानीको बस ब्याबसयी संघले अन्य सेवा प्रदायकले उक्त राज्मार्गमा आफ्नो सेवा सुरु गर्न खोज्दा हिन्सा प्रयोग गरेको हामीले धेरै चोटी सुनेका छौ । अर्को उदाहरण पश्चिम भेगका बिकट जिल्लाहरुमा खाध्यानन लादा समेत कारटेल्लिङले गर्दा मुल्य बढी भएर जनताले समस्या पाएको त हामीले सुनी नै राखेका छौ । यस्तो अवस्थामा पनि सरकार केहि नगरि बस्नु निरासाजनक कुरा हो ।  

जनतालाई धुम्रपान गर्दा हानी हुन्छ भन्ने कुरा थाहा नै छैन जस्तो गरी "चुरोट का बट्टाहरुको ७५% भागमा बैधानिक प्राबधान राख्नु पर्ने" जस्तो ठट्टाजनक कानून बनाएर बस्नुको साटो कारटेल्लिङको प्रकोप बाट जनतालाई बचाउन तर्फ लगे सरकार , सरकार जस्तो हुन्थ्यो कि ?

Aug 10, 2010

Youth and the last fragment of freedom

(published in The Himalayan Times of 17th August 2010)

“The surest way to corrupt a youth is to instruct him to hold in higher esteem those who think alike than those who think differently.” -Friedrich Nietzsche

While the International Youth Day is on the air once again, young people all over the place are eager and excited about the various programs they have on the day. However, every year as I see my contemporaries, especially during the first half of August, I am reminded of the above mentioned quote again and again.

I believe, being alive at this point of time at this place in the earth is a challenging job. With the globalization, the world is turning into a small village and we happen to be the major stakeholders of the upcoming future. However, no matter how brightly we think about the world or our future, it’s a bitter truth that we have our feet placed on the levels from which the world has risen quite above already. An average citizen of the world earns $10366 every year whereas an average Nepali citizen earns just about $1200 every year, which if not shocking is surprising and shameful for sure. An average Nepali youth, who dreams of changing the world sooner or later, finds the so called changing of the world his means of earning rather than a passion which it once was.

I find Nepalese youth truly remarkable for the way they have played a pivotal role in the fight for freedom. No matter what others would like to think, it was the youth who played the most important part in dragging down the tyranny of the King in the second people’ movement in 2006 and the fact is that it has always been the same from the first democracy movement that overthrew Rana rule to the people’s uprising in 1990 . However, youth have always been sidelined from the mainstream politics, denied from any decision making power whatsoever. As a result, change and innovation is rarely seen not only in our politics but in almost every aspect of our lives. Policies that have been defunct since long are still guiding our lives at the cost of prosperity and progress.

The most detrimental effects of bad policies are seen in the economic aspect of our lives. Isolationist policies that prevent free trade and free movement of labor are still in force. Policies essential for economic development like rule of law, property rights, contract enforcement laws are nowhere to be seen. Corruption is rampant making Nepal one of the most corrupt countries in the world (surprise for us who take such a pride in our culture). Government is creating and nurturing monopolies like Nepal Oil Corporation which is a drain on our economy, Nepal Electricity Authority who is turning our nights into nightmares, transportation cartels that provide services of the middle ages and charge luxury rates. Registering a business is tougher than committing a crime, extortion is the most lucrative business. Youth who seek better future through hard work in foreign lands are despised and discouraged instead of being supported. The concept of state is a nanny who is supposed to spoon feed us rather than make an environment for us to stand on our own with our talents and intelligence. But the worst thing about all of this is, our youth have been led to hold in high esteem the same policies and are skeptic of any changes.  The hostility that new ideas, especially those in economic spheres, face from youth is quite surprising and depressing indeed.

Our ignorance and reluctance to change is manifested in our day to day lives. Try the thought by asking yourself these questions. How many times have you thought of restricting imports or consuming our local products (even if they are inferior in quality or higher in price) is a good idea? How many of you think one of the primary responsibilities of the government is to provide jobs? How many of you think foreign investment shouldn’t be allowed in our country? How many of you think profits made by businesses are made at your cost?  How many of you think foreign employment should be discouraged or our youth shouldn’t be allowed to go abroad for work?

If you answered affirmative in most of these questions, you certainly follow the current mindset. If we were to just rise above the political propaganda and misleading mainstream economic thoughts, we will realize the aspects of our economy that are in serious need to be fixed. Upholding the same policies and trend of thinking is never going to raise us above this quagmire of poverty. Getting out of the corrupt mindset is the first step that we need to take towards the path of prosperity. We played an important role in accomplishing political and individual freedom and no one but us can bring economic freedom and hence prosperity to our country. And it’s already time for us to fight for our last remaining freedom- economic freedom.

Our politicians may find the status quo to be beneficial for them but we have observed the world progress and can never be content with it. We are youth. In other words, we dare to dream and we dare to act!