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MONDAY, SEPTEMBER 14, 2020 | 02


Massive landslide in
Sindhupalchok kills
at least 11 people
Twenty villagers have gone missing in Sunday morning’s disaster
that injured six people and displaced around 58 families, police say.
ANISH TIWARI is often flooded during the rainy season and
SINDHUPALCHOK, SEPT 13 is prone to dry landslides during winter.
“The debris from a dry landslide last year
At least 11 people died and 20 others have had accumulated in the rivulet which was
gone missing when a landslide caused by swept into the settlements by the heavy rain-
heavy rainfall struck Ghumthang in fall last night,” said Khadka of Ghumthang.
Bahrabise Municipality Ward No 7, There are around 200 houses at Bhirkharka,
Sindhupalchok, on Sunday. Nagpure and Newar Tol settlements in
The massive landslide erupted from a frag- Ghumthang village. The locals had sensed
ile landmass—weakened by the 2015 earth- the risk of landslide at Nagpuje settlement
quake and its powerful aftershocks—above and had informed the people’s representa-
Ghumthang village and swept away tives about it.
Bhirkharka, Nagpuje and Dandagaun settle- “The villagers had informed the people’s
ments at around 3:30 am. The landslide swept representatives but they didn’t do anything
away 22 houses and emptied in the Bhotekoshi about it. The tragedy could have been avert-
river some three kilometres below. The area ed if they had paid attention to the locals,”
had been witnessing incessant rainfall since said Sun Kumari Tamang, who was prepar-
Saturday evening. ing to shift to a safe location after she lost her
“We never thought such a massive land- house to the landslide on Sunday.
slide would occur,” said Surya Bahadur According to Min Bahadur Shrestha, the
Khadka, 70, of Ghumthang. “We knew the chairman of Ward No. 7 of the local unit, the
landmass had weakened after the people’s representatives had held a discus-
earthquakes in 2015 but neither the local gov- sion a week ago about a possible landslide
ernment nor the villagers took the threat threat in the Nagpuje area and had informed
POST PHOTO: KESHAV THAPA seriously.” the district administration office and the
Farmers are seen walking to their fields at Shera Phant in Bungamati, Lalitpur, on Sunday. The Kathmandu-Nijgadh expressway, which is being built by the Nepal Army, is set Security personnel from the Area Police district office of National Reconstruction
to pass through the area. Office in Bahrabise, with the help of locals, Authority.
rescued the victims who were trapped in the “We urged the authorities repeatedly to
landslide debris. address the issue but the National
According to Deputy Superintendent of Reconstruction Authority did not listen to us.

Thirty months of poor governance and a weak ... Police Prakash Sapkota, security personnel
have recovered 11 bodies so far while the
search for the missing victims is underway.
He said nine bodies were recovered from the
We were tired of requesting them,” said
According to him, as many as 58 families
have shifted to the lower region of the settle-
>> Continued from page 1 their calls have been lost in the din of Oli’s fan- mired in its own internal conflict as the party incident site while one each was found in the ment where the threat of landslides is mini-
All the while, Oli’s ruling party was embroiled faronade which is often followed by a thunder of heads for its general convention scheduled for Sunkoshi and Bhotekoshi rivers. mal. “The displaced families are living in
in internal conflict, which too hamstrung gov- ruling party leaders’ claps. February 19-22 next year. Six villagers were injured in the landslide. tents right now. Some of them are taking
ernance. Opposition leaders also admit that they have “I wonder if the Nepali Congress has any They were taken to Sindhu Sadabahar shelter in their relatives’ houses.”
The main opposition, which was still licking not been able to put a check on the government character to prove it is the main opposition. The Hospital in Khandichaur. One of the injured Sindhupalchok continues to get battered
its wounds and was struggling to get back on its as much as they could have because of a lack of party has lost its way,” said Maharjan, the polit- villagers who was in a critical condition has by natural disasters this year. In August, a
feet, barely held the government accountable— support from the top leadership. ical commentator. “To play the role of opposi- been referred to Kathmandu for treatment, massive landslide had struck Lidi village,
neither from Parliament nor the streets. Ram Chandra Poudel, a senior Nepali tion, its leaders cannot have any deal with the said police. destroying 17 houses and damaging 37 others.
Analysts say the way the ruling party is func- Congress leader, said party President Sher ruling party and its leaders.” According to locals, there is a rivulet near As many as 39 villagers perished and 135
tioning and the opposition is responding could Bahadur Deuba has not taken a strong stand Wagle, the analyst, said that in the govern- the settlements named Taksare khola, which families were displaced in the disaster.
jeopardise the hard-earned system. against the government—neither in Parliament ment’s failure, Oli is to blame but the leader of
According to Maharjan, the ruling party nor from other platforms. the opposition needs to take the equal blame.
seems to be promoting middlemen and the oppo- “We are also seeking answers [from the party “The main opposition may have fewer seats in
sition is failing to question this, which could president] why we as the opposition have failed Parliament but that’s not the only reason,”
have a dangerous outcome. to hold the government to account,” Poudel told Wagle told the Post. “The main reason why the
“Even when the ruling party is trampling the Post. “We are yet to figure out if our party opposition has failed to play a critical and con-
upon the constitution, the opposition seems to president has any weaknesses that have forced structive role is Congress President Deuba’s
be silent,” said Maharjan. “All these go against him to keep quiet despite the Oli government dealings with the ruling party on constitutional
democratic principles.” making so many mistakes.” positions.”
It’s an irony that what Oli said once about Many say Deuba, despite being the leader of According to Wagle, the Oli government’s
people’s need to wear masks has come back to the opposition, has emerged as Oli’s biggest ally. failure to perform may be an immediate con-
hound him today: amid the Covid-19 pandemic, According to insiders in both the ruling and cern but the more concerning issue is that the
masks, which people used to wear to protect opposition parties, Deuba has been in constant ruling and opposition parties are working hand
themselves from dust, have become a must. negotiations with Oli as well as Pushpa Kamal in glove, depriving people of good governance,
But the Oli administration’s response to the Dahal, the other chair of the ruling communist justice and service delivery.
Covid-19 pandemic has been lacklustre. party, to win some posts and positions for “his “With the government failing to deliver
Even his ministers have been dragged into men”. and ensure good governance and the main
corruption controversy. While Oli has failed to “That makes him weak when it comes to opposition failing to play the role of the
initiate action, the opposition Congress has opposing the Oli government’s actions,” said a watchdog, the democratic system is now
failed to question. Congress leader. “Once in a while he comments at stake,” said Wagle.
Some youth leaders including Gagan Thapa on the government’s functioning, but these are “This will ultimately erode people’s trust in
and Bishwo Prakash Sharma of the Nepali just cosmetic statements which are made for political parties and the government. That will
Congress have tried to raise their voice against public consumption.” be even more dangerous. It looks like the coun-
the government response to the pandemic. But Amid the pandemic, the Congress is now try is on a slippery slope.”


The landslide swept away 22 houses in Bhirkharka, Nagpuje and Dandagaun settlements of Ghumthang
village at around 3:30 am.

Anti-graft body had relied ...

>> Continued from page 1 “In many large-scale corruption cases, the
This principle states, “There must be commission has either not taken the accused
direct, result-oriented and reliable evidence into custody or taken them in custody for
that proves that the defendant has benefited only a short period of time and this is evi-
oneself or any other person illegally, in a dence that its misguided focus is to threaten
manner beyond doubt.” lower level government staff,” said Aryal.
In its charge-sheet, the commission had The suicide of a civil servant charged with
claimed that Ghimire had stated during the taking a bribe of Rs1,000 and subsequent
commission’s inquiry that he had bribed acquittal by the court comes at a time when
Subedi so that he would look at the voices are being raised that the anti-corrup-
related documents regarding his property at tion commission has been lenient on cases
the earliest. involving politicians while its spends its time
The court verdict, however, says that the and energy on petty cases involving small
anti-graft body failed to produce any evi- amounts.
dence from the Land Revenue Office that “The commission cannot prove its signifi-
there had been any sale or purchase of land cance by only increasing the number of cases
that involved Ghimire, as claimed by the every year while just focusing on small ones,”
commission. said Srihari Aryal, a senior advocate and
“Therefore there is no situation where former chairperson of the Nepal chapter of
Ghimire was required to pay a bribe to Transparency International, an anti-corrup-
Subedi,” the verdict says. tion advocacy group headquartered in Berlin.
As per Section 3 (3) of the Corruption “It will be judged based on whether it takes
Prevention Act-2002, there should be evi- any action on big cases that are politically
dence that Subedi had taken money from connected.”
Ghimire for performing some work designed The commission has been criticised for
to favour Ghimire, which according to the recently ignoring scandals involving Gokul
court verdict, has not been proved. Baskota, former minister for communica-
Citing these factors, the court acquitted tions and information technology, and land
both Ghimire and Subedi. purchase deals by the Nepal Oil Corporation.
In the case of Subedi, the court Baskota was caught on tape negotiating
also scrapped the case against him after Rs700 million bribe with a local agent of an
Subedi’s wife provided evidence that he had international firm attempting to set up a
already died. security printing press in Nepal while he was
As per 133 (1) of the Criminal Procedure a minister. Baskota resigned after the tape
(Code) Act-2017, any case against a defendant was leaked.
who dies before the court verdict, must be According to a report by Kantipur, the
scrapped. Post’s sister paper, the commission is prepar-
“This case shows that the commission has ing to exonerate Baskota, a close confidante
misused its power disproportionately against of Prime Minister KP Sharma Oli.
Subedi by taking him in custody for so many There have also been reports of the com-
days and eventually filing the corruption mission suspending its investigation on a
case which led to his suicide,” said Om multi-million rupee land purchase
Prakash Aryal, an advocate who played a deal, where officials were accused of
crucial role in bringing down the reign of purchasing land at highly inflated prices in
Lok Man Singh Karki in the anti-graft body. different parts of the country to build oil
Lok Man Singh Karki was appointed chief storage facilities.
commissioner of the Commission for “Due to the commission’s disproportionate
Investigation of Abuse of Authority in 2013 action against lower level government
despite protests, with the support of all polit- employees and lenient attitude towards large-
ical parties even as he lacked the qualifica- scale corruption scandals involving political
tions required to head the constitutional leaders, questions of legitimacy of the com-
body. The Supreme Court eventually disqual- mission have arisen,” said Aryal. “This may
ified Karki as the anti-graft agency chief lead to civil disobedience in the future
after Aryal petitioned the court. against the commission.”